Hoosier Daddy

Magnet wire company expansion means jobs, dollars for Indiana

Hoosiers aren’t losers. They’re hard workers, and many of them have experience in the trades. This week brought some welcoming news to the manufacturing sector, with reason for optimism for Indiana residents. A company that makes magnet wire will invest more than $7 million to expand in Fort Wayne.

President and CEO C. David McBane confirmed to NewsChannel 15 on Monday that Alconex plans to build a new, 100,000 square foot facility. The company will move from its current facility on Ferguson Road in Fort Wayne. McBane said that while most of Alconex’s product is shipped to Mexico, the company intends to stay in northeast Indiana. Alconex currently has about 70 employees, but plans to add another 25 over the course of the next 5 years.

The current facility spans 80,000 square feet. Alconex plans to build a 100,000-square-foot plant at the new location (at the intersection of Cook and Chalfant roads in Fort Wayne) that could be expanded by another 50,000 square feet if necessary, McBane told the city’s Redevelopment Commission Monday. He cited industrial ties to the area as a reason for staying in town.

“We’re in our 30th year in Fort Wayne, which has a rich history in the industry,” McBane told the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel“Seventy percent of our products go to Mexico, and (fellow wire makers) Rea and Essex have yielded to that tug. Magnet wire in Fort Wayne is 5 percent of what it used to be.”

McBane said another reason for the relocation is that expansion would not have been possible by merely enlarging the existing facility. The company currently employs about 60 production and 11 office workers, and the new jobs are expected to pay about $15 an hour. The Commission Monday approved $175,000 for infrastructure improvements near the new facility, and the company is expected to seek additional incentives, including a tax abatement. The TIF money granted for improvements to the new premises includes existing water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure, plus widening of the road to accommodate larger vehicles at the plant.

Construction is expected to begin this year, and the move will be completed in stages over several months in order to maintain production.

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