By the BF Staff
From the November/December 2022 Issue
Business Facilities: Tell us about Seymour-Jackson County, Indiana.
Plump: Seymour-Jackson County, Indiana is located along Interstate 65 in South Central Indiana, one hour south of Indianapolis, IN, one hour north of Louisville, KY, and 90 minutes west of Cincinnati, OH (via U.S. Highway 50). Our location and transportation system are two huge benefits we highlight in our marketing efforts. Our local airport, Freeman Field, also has recently expanded and now offers a 6,000-foot runway; we are served by two rail lines, CSX and LIRC (Louisville Indiana Railroad Company); and the City of Seymour will be completing a new southeast bypass in 2023 that will provide improved access to the interstate and also open up several hundred acres for potential new growth.
Our location and transportation system has helped us attract a number of domestic and international companies during the 38-year history of Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation (JCIDC). Combined with expansions of these and others over the years, more than 30% of our workforce is involved in manufacturing and logistics/distribution.
Many of our international companies are involved in the automotive industry. The Aisin Corporation from Japan has several divisions located in Jackson County, and Valeo of France has a very large presence in Seymour, plus we also are home to a number of distribution centers (Wal-Mart and Pet Supplies Plus) and companies involved in plastics (Silgan) and pharmaceuticals (Lannett) that have recently expanded.
We also see continued growth from the Seymour Engine Plant, where Cummins produces their largest engine (the QSK95, a 16-cylinder, 4,000-horsepower engine). Since 2010, Cummins has grown from a workforce of a couple hundred to over 1,000 associates, which includes a large number of engineers. Cummins also has its joint venture with Komatsu (CKEC) located in Seymour.
BF: What are recent notable relocation or expansion projects?.
Plump: Earlier this year Guardian Bikes selected Seymour as its new home for production and distribution, and while that highlights our attraction projects, we have seen many expansions that have totaled $275 million over the past two years.
Since we have several Tier one and two automotive suppliers, there has been focus on the changes coming to that industry. Aisin Drivetrain, located in Crothersville, has invested nearly $55 million since late 2021 in equipment to produce electric rear axle assemblies and electric water pumps. We believe that is just the beginning of several years of large investments as the industry continues to evolve toward electrification.
I would also mention Touchpoint, a local corrugated company building a 100,000+ square foot expansion, and the pharmaceutical company previously mentioned had a capital investment of over $20 million during 2022 to support future growth.
It is worth noting that Seymour-Jackson County is a rural area (population 46,428). However, it was also the fastest-growing rural county in Indiana according to 2020 census. Jackson County grew 9.6% while the City of Seymour grew 23.2%, and the Seymour area now has a population of over 28,000.
This growth has fueled expansion in other sectors, including housing and retail with an emphasis on downtown development and quality of place. Crossroads Community Park in downtown Seymour was developed as a “focal point” for activities and concerts, and other businesses are opening there.
BF: What is a program that’s having an impact for business? What does the future hold?
Plump: Although not a new program, one of the most important aspects of our economic development efforts has been the continued growth of the JCIDC Workforce Partnership. Over 20 years ago, we recognized the need to bring industries and schools together to help prepare the “workforce of the future,” and we continue to expand the Partnership’s scope in working with school officials and company management. Recent emphasis has been on career technical education, specifically welding, precision machining, and robotics—skills our companies need. We continue to assist a school-based manufacturing enterprise at Seymour High School, which also is supported by our local industries.
As we close 2022, we are finalizing acquisition of additional land at our East Side Industrial Park, and 2023 will see the completion of our southeastern bypass. We will also be working on our new strategic plan in 2023, and that always includes input from our existing industries on new or expanded programs.