VALPARAISO | Indiana lost out on a new plant that an auto parts maker plans to build in Ohio.
UGN, a first-tier supplier with a plant in Valparaiso, narrowed its search to Indiana and Ohio. Ohio won a $50 million investment in a factory where 150 workers will make carpets and underfloor units that will start showing up in Japanese cars next year.
Construction starts next month on a 206,400-square-foot facility in Monroe, which is located along the Interstate 75 corridor between Cincinnati and Dayton.
"JobsOhio's aggressive approach and Gov. John Kasich's personal involvement were major deciding factors," CEO Peter Anthony said. "They do a nice job of helping business leaders explore the possibility of working in the state."
Anthony said Indiana put together a competitive incentive, but the state's economic development officials were not as aggressive in recruiting the business as they had been in the past.
"Indiana did not show the level of energy that it historically has," he said. "Frankly, we were a little surprised. It was a little slow out of the gate to respond to the letter we sent to Gov. (Mike) Pence. I would say the Ohio package was very competitive, but we thought that Indiana would have been much more aggressive."
The Tinley Park-based company makes acoustic, interior trim and thermal management products for domestic and foreign automakers.
The auto parks maker will pay more than $7 million a year in wages and benefits in Ohio. The company already employs more than 1,500 workers at six facilities in the United States and a seventh in Mexico.
"UGN is a premier, tier-one manufacturer with a stellar reputation for supplying the auto industry throughout North America," said John Minor, JobsOhio's President and Chief Investment Officer. "We are excited that UGN has chosen to invest in Monroe and look forward to a productive and long-term relationship with the company."
Last year, Ohio attracted more than four times as many new business facilities as neighboring Indiana, according to Site Selection magazine. The Buckeye state landed 480 new facilities with at least $1 million in investment, 20,000 square feet and at least 50 new jobs, while Indiana attracted 103 such facilities.
Indiana also lagged far behind its other neighbors – Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky – in attracting new business investment, according to the magazine's data. Illinois and Michigan both had three times as many big economic development projects.