IBC North America, Clean Tide manufacture, refurbish intermediate bulk containers, employ 87
IBC North America and Clean Tide Container will open a facility in Chillicothe to manufacture and refurbish intermediate bulk containers, investing more than $5.1 million, and creating 87 new jobs.
The announcement came during a breakfast reception hosted today (Wednesday) by the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce at Chillicothe Country Club. Around 80 community members, as well as local and state dignitaries, were present to extend a warm welcome to the companies’ president and chief executive officer, Dick Harding.
“Today we gathered here for not one, but two major announcements,” Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney told the group. “We have waited and we have worked hard to bring both of these companies to our town. That is why this is a great day for the city of Chillicothe.”
The companies will occupy the former 50,000 square-foot Gear for Sports building that was vacated about 18 months ago.
The industrial park facility becomes the first Missouri location for these two companies, said Mike Downing, acting director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
“This new location will play a strategic role in meeting the demand for IBC North America and Clean Tide parts, and strengthens Missouri’s position as a leader in advanced manufacturing, one of our key industries that we found in our strategic initiative for economic growth,” Downing said.
With plants in Michigan, Georgia, California, Alabama and Kentucky, the companies need a facility in the Midwest to keep up with the increased demand, particularly in the agricultural sector.
“Their new location here in Chillicothe will allow the companies to provide more efficient services to customers in the Midwest,” Downing said.
IBC North America’s roots date back to the 1940s when Harding’s grandfather began making steel storage tanks in Clawson, Mich. In 1997, building on its reputation as an industry leader in the IBC market, IBC North America was formed.
“That small business grew, and businesses grew off of that business,” Harding said. “Today, 67 years after my grandfather started, three generations, we are still the same.”
“We have simple Midwestern values — faith, No. 1; family, No. 2; honesty and hard work,” he said. “These are still at the core of our companies. We try to instill it into each of our employees.”
The companies pride themselves in their employees.
“We build some of the finest IBCs in the country,” Harding said. “Our people put the quality into those IBCs each and every day and we look forward to producing quality IBCs here in Chillicothe.”
“Finding good employees is very important and one of the reasons we picked Chillicothe to come to and the state of Missouri,” he said. “We want employees who are going to stay, work hard and work smart.”
“We want to turn a profit,” he added, “but more than that we want to be good stewards of the opportunities and the assets that the Lord has given us.”
The Chillicothe plant will be the third IBC North America plant, joining facilities in Clarkston, Mich., and Lawrenceville, Ga.
The plant will also house the fifth Clean Tide operation.
“Clean Tide recycles the used IBCs that IBC manufactures. IBC makes the container, they ship it out to our customer who fills the container with their liquid product, they ship it to their customer who empties it; that customer, after he gets done emptying it, calls an 800-number, we come out and pick that unit up and then bring it back to one of our Clean Tide facilities for either reconditioning or recycling.”
Clean Tide facilities are located in Robertsdale, Ala., Clarkston, Mich., Stanton, Ky., and Perris, Calif.
“We are opening this plant because we’ve become ingrained over the years in the agricultural chemical community,” Harding said. “This community is spread out across the country but finds large expressions in the chemical facilities in places like Des Moines, St. Joseph, Kansas City, Dodge City, and Muscatine — areas that can be served very well from this location.”
Aside from location, the quality of the local workforce contributed to the decision to locate in Chillicothe.
“We saw in the people that we talked to the same values that we embrace: faith, family, honesty and hard work in everybody we talked to in Missouri and, especially, in Chillicothe,” Hardin said.
“Our customers appreciate those same values,” he said.
They also appreciate doing business with a U.S. company, he added.
IBC began considering Chillicothe as a possible site for a new facility in 2009.
“I know it has been a long time,” Harding said. “Although our decision took time, this is going to be a wonderful adventure for us.”
He extended words of appreciation to those who worked on the process.
“There has been a huge team that made this possible,” he said. “It’s time for me and my team to do our work to build and recycle IBCs that will be used in the farmers fields, and in many industries around this location. We’re honored to be here, humbled to be here.”
Clean Tide will be the first to locate in the facility, with anticipated startup in September. IBC is expected to start renovations in August, with startup projected later this year. Most of the 87 employees are expected to be hired within the first three years, with an average hourly wage of $13.50.
The companies are utilizing benefits from locating in an enterprise zone (receiving tax credits for investment, hiring and training) and low interest loans.
Ed Turner served as the master of ceremonies at today’s breakfast event.
“It takes teamwork to make something like this happen,” Turner said. “It takes unprecedented cooperation, coordination and communication to make things like this happen.”
He introduced some of those involved in the project, and those seated at the head table: Jackie Soptic, assistant director of Green Hills Regional Planning Commission; Clint O’Neal, vice president of business recruitment of the Missouri Partnership; Bill Young, president of Chillicothe Development Corp., and vice president of Chillicothe Development, Inc.; Mike Downing, acting director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development; Mayor Chuck Haney; Terry Rumery, of Rumery and Associates, head of the economic development team; Dick Harding; Robert Cowherd, attorney for CDI and city attorney; the Rev. John Rice, of United Methodist Church in Chillicothe.
Haney, on behalf of the city, extended words of appreciation.
“It does take a team to get this done and we have a great team from the state level to economic development locally and statewide to the KCADC and many others that have a part in this along with CDI and CDC,” Haney said. “To all those folks, on behalf to the city and all of our people, I say, ‘thank you.’”
Downing stated that “forward-looking” investment will pay big dividends for the company and the state for years to come.
“With our predicatable low tax economic climate, a perfect Triple A credit rating, a skilled work force, we are bringing more companies to our Show Me state,” he said. “last week, a national study ranked Missouri among the Top 10 most business friendly states in the nation for the fourth year in a row.”
Rumery also noted the cooperative effort among the City of Chillicothe, Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, Farmers Electric and Chillicothe Development Corporation, as well as Chillicothe Development, Inc., which purchased the building when it became vacant, and Kansas City Area Development Council which provided the business lead to Chillicothe.
“Chillicothe is going to be blessed in many ways having IBC and Clean Tide here,” Rumery said.
Robert Cowherd talked about how something good came out of the loss of Gear for Sports leaving.
“Most towns would have said ‘that’s really going to hurt the economy.’ What we did was say, “How can we make something good come out of this? This is an opportunity and not the end of the world.’”
It took time for grant applications and financing to be in place.
“Sometimes, you work on a project for years and finally, it happens. In this case, we went from a very bad day — the loss of 100-plus jobs — to a good day when we are going to be hiring people back. We are happy to welcome Dick and his companies to Chillicothe.”
Turner closed the reception by thanking the citizens of the community.
“They are the reason we are here,” Turner said. “They have supported this economic development team through thick and thin and provided an infrastructure that provides a quality of life that is second to none.”