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Business and community leaders celebrate manufacturing industry

Manufacturing is a big part of the Tri-State community and on Friday business leaders came together to celebrate what manufacturing has done for the community.

Dozens of people toured the new Knapheide Manufacturing facility Friday morning for manufacturing day, celebrating over 1/4 of the workforce in Adams County that is in manufacturing related industries.

“This facility here is focused on aluminum products. Traditionally we’ve been a company that builds steel products, and our other facility is 100% steel,” said Knapheide CEO Bo Knapheide, explaining the new line of truck-beds made at the facility. He said the new facility is a shift from their traditional business model.

“People are looking for more lightweight solutions so we thought it was a natural way for us to grow and compliment our current steel business,” said Knapheide.

Community and business leaders gathered at the new Knapheide Manufacturing facility on Friday to celebrate manufacturing growth in the area. Officials at the Great River Economic Development Foundation said this is part of a larger trend in Adams County.

“In our region we’re seeing so much growth in manufacturing, whereas in some places in the nation you’re seeing some decline,” said Joi Austin, marketing & communications manager for GREDF. The growth isn’t just at Knapheide.

“Kohl Wholesale, ADM, Adams Fiber, GatesAir, all of them have been really investing in technology and investing in equipment and investing in really just modernizing and advancing manufacturing and technology here in Adams County,” said Austin.

But that doesn’t come without challenges. Knapheide said it’s hard to get the right people who have the skills to build their new aluminum designs and supply lines they need

“There’s so many good things that are going on but at the same time we’re faced with new challenges,” said Knapheide.

He said he’s glad to have the community’s support,

“That’s where I think organizations like GREDF, our schools and everybody, we all have to work together as a community,” said Knapheide. “We have a lot of great jobs here and we’re looking for a lot of great people.”

Knapheide said when the new facility is at full production, they’ll have 150 manufacturing positions and around 100 hundred other jobs at the facility.

The new Knapheide facility opened earlier this year and the company says it plans to add more jobs at the facility as their engineers develop more aluminum products for their line.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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