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Ecolab announces $4.5 million investment in Huntington plant

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@h-ponline.com

An investment for an expansion of operations in the Ecolab Huntington plant was announced Tuesday morning.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation said the $4.5 million expansion will include new machinery at the plant, which will result in a new product line and an expansion of manufacturing presence in the area. The investment will cover a conveyor system for the product line and a clean-in-place system, which aims to reduce the plant’s water use and cut the cleaning time for products from one hour to 20 minutes.

Roman Blahoski, director of global communications for Ecolab, said the investment comes after the Huntington plant has had a successful operation for years, citing a “great operation and workforce, making it ideal for the increase.”

Area business leaders praised the development as well.

“Ecolab is a client of HCED, and we appreciate having them as a corporate citizen. We are honored to have a part in their growth and prosperity,” said Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County Economic Development. “We are happy for the support of our (county) commissioners and the mayor.” 

The upgrades to production machinery are expected to be operational later this month. Water usage at the plant is planned to be optimized by improving the line cleaning process.

“Huntington is a great location for our operation, and we value the support we’ve received from the city, county, Northeast Indiana Works and IEDC,” Erick Bricker, Ecolab plant manager said in a prepared statement. “We’re proud to be a member of this community and look forward to our continued growth and success in Huntington.”

The plant currently houses 105 full-time Indiana employees and will seek to hire six additional positions in manufacturing and plant logistics. Ecolab also has a distribution center, which employs 15 associates, at the industrial park on Commercial Road in Huntington.

In announcing the investment, the IEDC, which provided $35,000 in training grants to Ecolab as part of the investment deal, said Ecolab invested $92,000 in the Huntington community through various programs and organizations last year.

The IEDC grants will provide on-the-job training for Ecolab employees to learn how to use new equipment. Huntington County and the City of Huntington each offered incentives as well, totalling $200,000 from the County Economic Development Income Tax fund. The funds will are a performance-based grant that will be dispersed gradually. Northeast Indiana Works will provide additional support and training services, according to the IEDC announcement.

The Huntington plant produces a variety of cleaners, soaps and sanitizers ranging in size from four ounce bottles to 330 gallon containers.