Project may add 100-plus new jobs

March 27th, 2017

By Sherry Slater | The Journal Gazette

An Elkhart manufacturer plans to expand its New Haven presence with a $19 million project that will create 140 new jobs.

Lippert Components Manufacturing Inc. will invest more than $15.3 million to build a 380,000-square-foot factory at Edgerton and Ryan roads, according to a tax abatement application with Allen County’s Department of Planning Services. The property at 1400 Ryan Road is now zoned for agricultural use.

The company, which makes seating for pontoon boats, will invest $3.8 million in equipment.

The operation will retain 185 jobs in New Haven. Plans call for vacating Lippert’s facility on Nelson Road, said Brian Yoh, New Haven’s director of planning and economic development.

The investment will also create 140 production and sewing positions by the end of 2019, when the facility is scheduled to open. The jobs will pay $15 an hour on average, according to the filing. 

The consolidation will include some work from Lippert’s Auburn facility, which employs about 30, a Lippert official said.

Troy Wuthrich, Lippert’s controller, confirmed the DeKalb County operations are moving to the new manufacturing plant. He was unsure Friday how many of the Auburn workers will remain with the company after the Auburn facility closes.

But even if every employee chooses to commute to New Haven, Lippert will still need to hire more than 100 new workers, he said. 

The manufacturer’s revenues have been steadily growing in recent years, according to data disclosed in the abatement filing. Lippert’s annual sales for the past three years were $1.2 billion, $1.4 billion and, in 2016, $1.6 billion.

Lippert’s largest suppliers and customers are considered confidential information. But its largest competitors are Patrick Industries, Dexter Axle and Dometic Corp.

According to the company’s website, Lippert Components is a subsidiary of LCI Industries, which is publicly traded. LCI employs more than 7,500 working at 48 facilities around the world.

Lippert is asking New Haven City Council to approve tax phase-in on the real estate and equipment. The request is scheduled to be presented Tuesday and could be approved as soon as April 11 following a public hearing during that meeting.

If approved, the company would save about $2.4 million over 10 years. It would pay about the same amount to the city.

Lippert’s filing indicated company officials also will request economic incentives from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.