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BusINess » Manufacturing

Posts Tagged ‘Manufacturing’

Rob Thorgren

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Rob Thorgren originally planned to become a physical education teacher and coach like two of his mentors. “I graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, the study of human movement, at mid-year. There were no teaching jobs to be had during Christmas break,” he recalls.

“My dad asked me if I could help him out with a project for a couple of months until I could get a teaching job. I stayed on with the company because I loved it,” Thorgren says. “I felt like I was contributing something that was important.” The company he has stayed with for the past 11 years is Thorgren Tool and Molding Inc., a Valparaiso-based manufacturing and distribution firm started by his great-grandfather and grandfather in 1946. The company creates injection molded plastic parts for the appliance industry.

“We estimate that every American home has at least four of our parts in it. We make fans and air movement parts for refrigerators and microwaves for almost all the major appliance manufacturers,” he says.
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Region likely to benefit from state manufacturing growth

U.S. Steel Corp. in Gary is planning to develop four plants to produce Cokonyx, a carbon alloy that reduces emissions in the production of coke. (Photograph by The Times.)

U.S. Steel Corp. in Gary is planning to develop four plants to produce Cokonyx, a carbon alloy that reduces emissions in the production of coke. (Photograph by The Times.)

Steady job growth in manufacturing over the past year bodes well for Indiana, the state with the highest percentage of manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Between January and June, Indiana added 16,700 manufacturing employees, a 3.9 percent increase, and more than 10 percent of the 136,000 total manufacturing jobs added in the country since December 2009. More than 19 percent of Hoosiers work in manufacturing.

While many of the new Indiana manufacturing jobs added this year were located outside of Northwest Indiana, region workers stand to benefit from several major manufacturing projects now moving forward close to home.
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Area businesses named as top small businesses

Task Force Tips of Valparaiso has been named a Small Business of the Year Finalist by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Omnitech Systems of Valparaiso was named a semi-finalist for the same award.

A South Bend-based company that provides friction welding technology and services was honored as the state’s Small Business of the Year by the Indiana Chamber. Manufacturing Technology Inc. was chosen from a field of dozens of nominees from around the state. MTI and other top small businesses were recognized at the recent annual awards luncheon held in downtown Indianapolis.

A fourth-generation family-owned business, MTI primarily builds machines that carry out the friction welding process (the solid state joining of two parts using frictional heat and applied force to create a forge-quality weld). MTI also sells the only line of frictional welders worldwide that includes all three major variations: rotational linear and stir.

The Small Business of the Year award is open to all Hoosier companies with 250 employees or fewer.