Last Thursday night, Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation celebrated 25 years of progress and leadership during a dinner at The Pines Evergreen Room in Seymour. More than 150 business and industry leaders, elected officials and supporters of JCIDC attended the event.
In 1984, a group of community leaders, spearheaded by then county commissioner Mike Tormoehlen, decided to form an organization to foster industrial growth in Jackson County.
Today, Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. is responsible for bringing companies like Aisin, Wal-Mart Distribution, Seymour Tubing and Cerro Wire, and the thousands of jobs that came with them, to the area.
“When we started planning for our 25th anniversary, we could not imagine that our economy would look so much different now than in the summer of 2008,” said Jim Plump, executive director of JCIDC. “But I think that goes directly to why we do what we do. The economy will always be ever-changing and JCIDC has to remain as a constant through these changes.”
Mike Tormoehlen, JCIDC’s first board president, spoke on the history of the organization.
“The only way we were going to be able to do anything was by working together,” Tormoehlen said of the success of JCIDC.
The organization recognized two members, Curt Kovener of Crothersville and Bob Zickler of Seymour, for serving on its board of directors for 25 years. Plump also received special recognition for serving as executive director for all 25 years of JCIDC’s existence.
In fact, Crothersville’s involvement in economic growth for the county and the organization’s 25th celebration was pretty high profile.
In addition to Kovener’s 25-yerar contribution, native son and motivational speaker Scott McKain gave the keynote address, his sister Shelley McKain who designs the JCIDC website was in attendance, and Shaun Kendall of Uniontown was responsible for the evening’s audio and visual service through Klaes Image.
Before giving the invocation, Pastor Ralph Blomenberg of Immanuel Lutheran Church praised the efforts of JCIDC.
“In 1984, it was just an idea to help diversify the local economy, but we now see those companies that JCIDC has been instrumental in bringing to Jackson County as a mainstay and the fabric of our community,” Blomenberg said.
McKain gave a humorous presentation on the importance of standing out in business and focusing on the customer experience.
“The great thing I believe about business is competition,” McKain said. “Why do people do what they do? Why are choices made?”
Using skills and knowledge he gained from being in FFA in high school as well as helping his parents run McKain’s Grocery in Crothersville, he discussed his four cornerstones of distinction in business: clarity, creativity, communication and a customer-experience focus.
McKain is now a motivational speaker and the author of three books, including his most recently released book, “Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails,” which is the number one worldwide seller on the Amazon business book list. He’s also vice president of Seymour-native Tim Durham’s Indianapolis-based company Obsidian.
“Each of us can make a difference and that’s what we celebrate tonight, how you have made a difference here in Jackson County,” he said.
1984 – JCIDC forms; Mike Tormoehlen elected president of board of directors; Jim Plump hired as executive director
1986 – First successes for JCIDC as new companies select Seymour for manufacturing facilities, including American Inline Graphics and Aisin Seiki. Aisin U.S.A becomes first Japanese company to locate in Jackson County.
1988 – Wal-Mart selects Seymour for new distribution center; Kobelco Metal Powder breaks ground for new facility in Seymour; Jackson County’s assessed value tops $175 million.
1990 – More than 1,000 new jobs have been created by seven new industries in Jackson County since inception of JCIDC; Seymour Tubing celebrates grand opening; Russell Stover Candies announces new distribution center will be built in Brownstown.
1992 – Aisin announces $30 million expansion; Jackson County’s assessed value tops $275 million.
1994 –Cummins announces joint venture with Komatsu will be located in Seymour; Osram Sylvania announces $46 million expansion; county’s assessed value tops $300 million.
1995 – Aisin announces Crothersville will be the site for a new $25 million facility to assemble drivetrain components.
1996 – Indiana Steel breaks ground on new facility in Eastside Industrial Park in Seymour; Excel Manufacturing is formed; Aisin Drivetrain celebrates grand opening.
1997 – Cerro Wire and Cable becomes second resident of Crothersville’s Industrial Park; Schwarz Pharma holds groundbreaking for new manufacturing facility and opening of new distribution center; Seymour Housewares breaks ground on new logistics center; assessed value for county tops $400 million.
1998 – Lexmark establishes customer fulfillment center at former Ben Franklin facility in Seymour.
1999 – Lexmark expands facility; RR Donnelley and Schwarz Pharma plan growth at Freeman Field; Cerro Wire announces expansion at Crothersville.
2000 – Unemployment hits all-time low in Jackson County as rate drops below 2 percent; total county assessment increases to $466 million; R.R. Donnelley expands facility; Dicksons continues to invest and grow in Seymour; Versatech announces decision to open new facility in Crothersville.
2001 – Schwarz Pharma invests $11 million and creates 70 new jobs during economic downturn.
2005 – Aisin U.S.A. creates second manufacturing location in Seymour.
2006 – Aisin selects Crothersville for a new chemical company and adds training center in Seymour; Cummins produces its 10,000th engine at Seymour location.
2008 – Former Russell Stover facility becomes new home to Indiana Steel and Tube in Brownstown; Cereplast selects Seymour as home for new bio-plastic production; Schwarz Pharma promises 150 new jobs by 2011.
2009 – County as well as state and nation experience a major economic downturn; Indiana Economic Development Corp. designates a 94-acre site in Seymour “shovel-ready.”