East Central Indiana is celebrating a significant win for its advanced manufacturing sector. The Brevini Company recently announced it will relocate its U.S. headquarters and build its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Delaware County. The Italian manufacturer will invest more than $60 million and bring at least 455 jobs to East Central Indiana. More importantly, local economic leaders say it will give the area an unprecedented competitive edge and the opportunity to attract even more investment from around the globe.
The Brevini relocation also continues Indiana's winning streak in foreign direct investment. The recent IBM Global Location Trends study ranked Indiana first among states for the second consecutive year in creating new jobs through international deals.
Brevini builds gears for final drive components used in many industries, including manufacturing, agriculture and transportation. Greg Winkler, president of the small consulting firm Lead Climber, was part of the team that first contacted the president of Brevini USA two years ago, on the lead that company executives were interested in moving Brevini's U.S. headquarters out of the Chicago area due to Illinois' steadily-climbing business taxes.
It was the beginning of a story of tenacity for Central Indiana economic developers, who continued their pursuit despite a disappointing initial contact.
"[The president's] response was, 'Thanks for the call, but we're not interested,'" says Winkler.
Undeterred, leaders at Energize ECI (East Central Indiana) along with government leaders persisted, determined to convince Brevini leaders that Indiana's business friendly climate is ideal for the company's U.S. headquarters.
"There are a lot of assets here in Indiana and East Central Indiana, and we tried to highlight those assets," says Energize ECI Executive Director Roy Budd. "One of these assets is affordability. We have the lowest cost of business of any state in the Midwest, and fourth lowest in the country." Listen
Nearly two years after the initial contact, Brevini agreed to relocate its U.S. headquarters from the Chicago area, and in addition, build its first U.S. manufacturing facility at the Park One Center east of the State Road 332 and I-69 interchange, just outside Muncie. Budd says the foreclosed property appealed to Brevini because it was priced below market value, had interstate visibility and was within a few miles of Ball State University, which could be a valuable resource in preparing future employees. Listen
"Brevini is an Italian company, and one thing that also made it attractive for them to invest here is the value of the U.S. dollar being so low right now. They can really get a big bang for their investment dollar by relocating here to the U.S.," says Budd. "And our governor, in particular, being very pro-business helped make this project a reality as well." Listen
Brevini also chose Delaware County because of its substantial supply of skilled workers with manufacturing expertise. Winkler says the new manufacturing facility will build gearboxes for large, industrial wind turbines to be used at wind farms in Indiana and across the country. Listen
"The skill level that's required in their manufacturing process is very high. It will require a great deal of CNC (computer numerical control) talent, machining talent, tool dye talent and gear-cutting talent," says Budd. "Central Indiana has a great deal of that type of skilled labor and a lot of mechanical engineering depth and expertise. That's what attracted Brevini to Central Indiana, and ultimately, Delaware County." Listen
While company leaders expect the project to generate about 455 new jobs, Energize ECI considers that a conservative number.
"We've done a supply chain analysis, and as a result of that, we've identified seven suppliers who work with Brevini right now and may want to consider relocating their facilities here as well," says Budd. "It could be, prospectively, 800 new job opportunities here as a result of the Brevini project in East Central Indiana, but not all of those will be Brevini jobs. It could be Brevini and its suppliers."
Brevini leaders plan to hire employees for its corporate headquarters next spring, with start of production at the manufacturing facility scheduled for the first quarter of 2011. In addition to East Central Indiana gaining a competitive edge for more global investment, the company will give Hoosier workers a new opportunity to utilize their manufacturing talent.
"This is the kind of company you want to work for. It's family-owned, and it's focused on family life. Consequently, the pay and benefits are very good," says Winkler. "Once you become part of the Brevini family, you really are family. It's going to fit the Hoosier culture very well, and hopefully give us a significant advantage moving forward."