Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, along with a team of state, county and city officials, announced May 14 that Electric Motors Corporation (EMC) of Camarillo, Calif., manufacturers of electric drive system technologies, will be partnering with Gulf Stream Coach of Nappanee, Ind., to launch electric vehicle production facilities potentially creating an estimated 1,600 jobs by 2012.
EMC has partnered with RV manufacturer, Gulf Stream Coach, to produce the first light-duty electric pickup truck. Together, the companies plan to invest more than $80 million on building renovations, machinery and equipment to site manufacturing facilities in Wakarusa and Nappanee. EMC plans to hire 450 associates by 2012 to produce and assemble electric motors. Gulf Stream Coach hopes to recall displaced employees that could add up to 1,200 associates to its current workforce within the same timeframe.
"You can't keep a great workforce and a great business environment down for long," said Daniels. "Every trip starts with a single step, but this is a huge step on the way back to the prosperity we've always associated with Elkhart County."
"Electric Motors Corporation is proud to work closely with the EDC of Elkhart County and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to help attract other new manufacturers to Elkhart County. These companies will provide the advanced component systems we need, such as permanent magnet electric motors, power electronics, and small fuel efficient gasoline and bio-fuel internal combustion engine technologies, for the future growth of the electric vehicle industry in Elkhart County," stated CEO of EMC, Wil Cashen.
Cashen added that the decision to expand EMC's light to medium-duty truck operations into Elkhart County was based on their proximity to one of the largest concentrations of motor home, commercial panel truck and ambulance vehicle manufacturers in North America.
President of Gulf Stream Coach, Brian Shea, briefly stated, "We appreciate the efforts of our state and local officials to get employment restarted here in our community. This is an excellent opportunity to bring in new technologies to provide for future growth. We look forward to working with Wil Cashen and EMC on the hybrid electrification of light- duty pickup trucks."
The first contact by EMC to Elkhart County, Indiana was with Wakarusa Town Manager Tom Roeder in February of 2009, "We worked with EMC to introduce them to area companies that could partner with their hybrid technologies. We quickly realized that EMC was just the company to help put our people back to work," said Roeder.
Mayor of Nappanee, Larry Thompson, also played an integral role in the attraction efforts of EMC. "This was an opportunity for two communities to come together during these economic hard times. That was the driving force that brought us together to bring jobs back to our area and help our families," he concluded.
President of the EDC of Elkhart County, Dorinda Heiden-Guss, elaborated on the synergy between this new manufacturing cluster and the existing manufacturing base in Elkhart County, Indiana.
"EMC's expansion to Elkhart County and its partnership with Gulf Stream Coach is a perfect fit. The combination of our automotive, truck component, RV and commercial utility vehicle industries with the electric power drive systems for electric vehicles could have a profound effect on our entire region," she said. "Elkhart County, Indiana is re-energized by this latest green industry diversification."
Elkhart County has a great work ethic, a talent pool of skilled labor ready to go to work, a variety of world-class manufacturing facilities to choose from, and a group of town, county and state officials that understand manufacturing, technology and what companies need for successful expansion.
The EDC of Elkhart County is a not-for-profit, 501 C-3 organization. The EDC is comprised of business and community leaders in Elkhart County dedicated to maintaining and growing a diverse economic base.