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Helena Chemical Opens in Huntington

April 18th, 2012

News Coverage:

Helena cuts the ribbon

Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 4:00 am

BY LUCAS BECHTOL lbechtol@h-ponline.com

When construction started more than a year ago for Helena Chemical’s Huntington terminal, the weather was not very cooperative. However, the sun was shining Tuesday when many people’s hard work came to fruition with the grand opening of the facility.

“We’re quite excited, obviously,” said Randy Parman, the vice president of the Northern Business unit of Helena Chemical. “We’re really proud with what we have.”

The terminal has already created nine jobs for Huntington and Parman said that should increase to 15 or more within the next year.

“This facility will also feed our other locations in the state,” he said.

The Huntington Terminal is a dry and liquid fertilizer terminal facility.

“There’s really no heavy manufacturing going on; this is more of a terminal/distribution site,” Parman said.

The Huntington Terminal may produce chemicals, but will blend some of their products at the facility, he said.

“The other plant is a distribution center for our product line,” Parman added.

The Huntington location will serve 5 to 10 million acres in agricultural production and hold more than 70,000 tons of product at its facility. The terminal will serve Helena retail locations in three states: Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, according to a company press release. It will also serve as a proprietary distribution center for the division.

Parman said Helena Chemical chose Huntington because it was a good location for the company.

“This facility fit us from a geographic standpoint,” he said, adding that part of what makes this a good location is the access to the rail system.

Tuesday was an exciting day not only for Huntington, but for the whole state of Indiana, said Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who was present at the opening.

“Agriculture is a big business in Indiana, generating $26 billion a year for our state economy,” she said. “And companies like Helena help that agricultural industry grow and thrive.”

Skillman said she is working to bring more agricultural-based businesses to Indiana, which currently has 208,000 such businesses.

Japanese-based businesses, like Helena Chemical, are also well represented in Indiana, with 230 Japanese-based companies employing nearly 40,000 people in Indiana, she said.

Huntington City Mayor Brooks Fetters said Tuesday was “a great day for Huntington.”

“We’re just delighted to have them call Huntington home. It’s a great place for them to be,” he said. “We’re delighted to have this facility here, it’s strategically located with the four-lane highway, with the rails close by, easy access up to (Interstate) 69 and places along U.S. 24. It’s a win-win for all of us.”

Even though there aren’t very many employees at this time, they’re still great jobs, he said.

“The pay scale’s a great area; what they are able to do and bring to the community as a whole is very positive,” Fetters said.

Huntington County Commissioner Tom Wall applauded Helena Chemical for the way the company has handled some protestors to their coming to town.

“What they did is brought all the naysayers to the table and let them ask questions,” he said.

After having a tour of the facility, he found the company’s safety consciousness for both the employees and the environment to be “phenomenal,” he said.

“It’s going to be very, very good for the community. They’re a great fit for us,” Wall said.

He said the fit was great because the location had access to a railroad and the dual-lane highway.

“You couldn’t ask for a more perfect location to other interstate opportunities for them to transport their products across the country,” Wall said.

Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County United Economic Development Corporation, said bringing Helena to Huntington showed the cooperation that should be had during economic development projects.

“It was a textbook definition of how economic development projects should be done with the collaborative help of state, local, county and construction officials,” Wickersham said.

He found it rewarding that the entire county worked hard to develop an opportunity for Park 24, which was what the location was known as before Helena Chemical moved in.