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Superior Essex to upgrade, hire 20

New equipment set for Kendallville

A Kendallville manufacturer is buying new equipment as it plans to increase its workforce by 33 percent.

Superior Essex will invest almost $2.4 million in new magnet wire production equipment, which includes an oven, plant manager Jesse James said Friday. After the 30-foot-long machinery is installed, the company will add 20 new jobs.

The Atlanta-based company has applied for a 10-year tax abatement on the equipment. The Kendallville City Council is expected to vote on the measure Tuesday.

The Noble County operation now makes insulated copper and aluminum wire as fine as a human hair, James said. Magnet wire is used in motors, generators, transformers – anything that uses electricity.

“Anywhere you live and work, that’s where Essex is,” he said, quoting the company’s motto.

The new equipment will allow the plant to produce larger-gauge wire, like that used in pool pumps and small household appliances, James said.

The plant at 800 W. Mitchell St., Kendallville, now employs 61 with an annual payroll of almost $2.7 million.

Installation of the new equipment is set to begin immediately and last until the end of August.

James estimated hiring will begin at the end of the year or in early 2014. He directed interested applicants to the company’s website, www.superioressex.

com.

New jobs will be in production with average annual wages of $33,900, according to the abatement application.

Kendallville Mayor Suzanne Handshoe said she’s been talking to Superior Essex officials since August, looking for ways the city could help the company grow.

“We’re really excited they chose us” for the investment, she said. “They were considering other locations.”

The new jobs come at a good time.

Noble County reported the highest unemployment level in northeast Indiana in December, according to the latest data available. Noble’s rate was 9.5 percent, a full percentage point higher than the state rate of 8.5 percent. Allen, Adams, Kosciusko and Wells counties all reported unemployment rates of less than 8 percent for December.

sslater@jg.net

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