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280 jobs coming to Fort Wayne, Bluffton; among 2,500 announced in state

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 6:08 pm

Companies in Fort Wayne and Bluffton will add up to 280 jobs in the next few years – part of a wave of new jobs announced by state economic-development officials Tuesday.

In total, the expansions announced by businesses throughout the state Tuesday are supposed to add more than 2,500 jobs in coming years, according to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. The promises of new jobs were hedged in each case with the phrase “up to.”

In Fort Wayne, Brunswick Fort Wayne Operations, producer of Harris FloteBote and Cypress Cay pontoon boats, plans to expand its operations in northern Indiana, creating up to 200 jobs by 2016, the IEDC said. The company said it hasn't decided how many jobs will be needed to support its growing business, but it is looking for a new facility and hopes to move into a larger one by early 2014.

"I think we're sticking within the Fort Wayne area," said Jane Schlegel, marketing and product manager for the Fort Wayne plant. "We're working closely with Fort Wayne and Allen County."

In Bluffton, Inventure Foods, a marketer and manufacturer of specialty food brands, will expand its Bluffton operations, creating up to 80 jobs by 2015, the IEDC announced. The company plans to add bagging machines and distribution systems to accommodate product growth. With additional locations in Arizona and Washington, the company's products range from Jamba smoothies and Boulder Kettle chips to T.G.I. Friday's potato skins and onion rings.

Businesses in or coming to Marion, Elkhart, Indianapolis and Franklin also announced plans for new hiring in coming years. In all, the prospective new jobs add up to 2,552, according to the IEDC tally. Other coming expansions announced by the IEDC on Tuesday include:

Angie's List, a national provider of consumer reviews on local service companies, plans to invest approximately $1 million to expand its Indiana operations, creating up to 850 jobs by 2017. Angie's List currently employs more than 1,000 people in Indianapolis.

Elkhart-based Atwood Mobile Products, which makes components for recreational vehicles, will invest $5.9 million to consolidate manufacturing operations from Michigan and distribution and warehousing operations from Tennessee and other locations to Elkhart County, creating up to 132 jobs by 2015. With more than 700 associates nationwide, the company currently employs 368 employees at four Elkhart County sites.

BidPal, an Indianapolis-headquartered handheld bidding device company that helps nonprofits enhance charitable fundraising, will invest $3.5 million to expand its existing office space on the north side of Indianapolis, creating up to 172 jobs by 2017. As part of the project, it will also acquire additional information technology and telecommunications equipment to support growing customer demand and expand the company's service and support capacities.

BidPal received a $1 million grant from the state's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund (21 Fund) in 2009 and has since grown to more than 65 associates in Indiana.

Café Valley, based in Phoenix, Ariz., is a producer of baked goods - both private label and its own Café Valley Bakery brand - for restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores across the United States as well as 50 countries. The company plans to construct a facility on the former Thompson Consumer Electronic site in Marion, creating up to 400 jobs by the end of 2018. The new facility is expected to open its doors in 2014 with approximately 100 employees.

ExactTarget will invest $55 million in equipment and real estate to expand its Indianapolis operations over the next five years, creating up to 500 jobs by 2018. The global interactive marketing provider employs more than 1,000 in Indianapolis.

Mitsubishi Engine North America will begin manufacturing turbochargers for automobiles in the United States and will invest $10.8 million to locate its first plant on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Climate Control's campus in Franklin, creating up to 73 jobs by 2016. The turbocharger division will occupy approximately 18,500 square feet of the existing MCCA Franklin plant and add an additional 10,700 square feet of construction.

Moorehead Communications, doing business as TCC, the largest Verizon Wireless premium retailer in the nation, plans to expand its Indiana operations, creating up to 145 jobs by 2016. Founded in 1991, today the company employs 467 and operates more than 850 locations in 39 states across the nation. Over the last four years, the company has had a growth rate of more than 325 percent.