Traffic Control Specialists, Inc. (TCS) is one of Starke
County’s fastest growing companies. The company is a
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)/Women’s Business
Enterprise (WBE) certified traffic control company dedicated to
providing professional service using equipment that meets or
exceeds Indiana state standards to provide a safe work area for
customers, employees, and public users. Their services include
daily rental of cones and other traffic maintenance devices,
contract traffic control, pavement marking, MOT design, and
A family owned business that has been operational in Knox since
2007, TCS has rapidly gained both reputation and knowledge
throughout Northwest Indiana and surrounding areas as providing
the highest quality services possible.
Kemin Industries is a global bioscience company that
combines sound molecular science with human qualities of
creativity, curiosity, and collaboration to improve the lives
of humans and animals around the world. Using superior
science, Kemin Industries manufactures more than 500
specialty ingredients that deliver important nutrition and
health benefits through products consumed by people and
animals. The North Judson facility is part of their Human
Nutrition and Health Division.
The Kemin plant in North Judson produces Hi-RA mint using
a proprietary line of spearmint that is grown by the Lambert
family in North Judson. That product grown in Starke County
has been certified as “Sustainably Grown” by SCS Global, and
their spearmint extract has been shown in clinical studies as
having cognitive performance benefits for adults experiencing
age-associated memory impairment.
Norton Packaging, Inc. is a world-wide known packaging
crafter for several different industries. Norton Packaging,
Inc. offers a full range of precise packaging services to satisfy
the needs of any client. Norton Packaging, Inc. also implements
the value of environmental protection by using sustainable and
source-reduced materials to produce packaging.
Norton Packaging, Inc. was formed in 1901, with Bernard W.
Norton establishing a small custom tool shop in Oakland,
California. The focus of this tiny shop was to produce
custom-stamped metal parts for local industries.
Built in 1996, the Hamlet production facility is a
state-of-the-art facility that uses the industry’s most advanced
equipment and systems. Additionally, the Norton Packaging, Inc.
Hamlet facility creates opportunities to meet the demands of
today’s high-speed automated lines. The Hamlet facility produces
pails for a wide variety of products including paint, janitorial,
petrochemical, agricultural, adhesive, and food packaging
J.W. Hicks, Inc. is a world class refractory maker
for the metals industry who offers a full range of mechanical
services and products to complement their refractory products.
Product applications include handling, treating, and controlling
the flow of molten metal.
J.W. Hicks, Inc. was formed in June of 1985 with this focus:
to provide refractory products and services to the primary metals
industry in North America.
Built in 1998, the Knox slidegate plant is one of the most
technologically advanced facilities in the world. Additionally,
the J.W. Hicks Knox lance-making facilities embody the latest
technology and manufacturing methods available in the world today.
Outstanding Tradeshow Exhibit Services (OTES) moved their operation to the former Thermo Products building in North Judson in 2016. OTES is a woman-owned business specializing in affordable, custom booths for rent or purchase. Their focus is making a company stand-out on the show floor by providing full, turnkey services. The OTES team has over 75 years of service and experience in custom tradeshow exhibits. That diverse experience allows them to create a unique tradeshow exhibit that suits a growing business, giving them the greatest impact on the show floor.
They also print signs, banners, shirts, vehicle decals, and window and door lettering. You can visit their website at www.otesinc.com to view many of the exhibits they produce as well as their printed products.
In 1916 Frederick Vorm & Charley Vorm set up a preserving operation to process oak leaves and named it American Oak. The preserving method originated in Europe processing beech leaves. North Judson, Indiana was chosen as the location for the processing plant because of the abundance of oak trees. In the first years, American Oak only sold oak leaves and operated from May through November. Charley Vorm, a tinsmith by trade, then sailed back to Denmark for the winter months. From 1928 to 1935, other foliages were added to the processing method, requiring year round operations. Those additions generated a long period of expansion through the 1930’s.
Charley Vorm traveled around the world searching for new products through the 1950’s. He became one of the most renowned big game hunters in the world. He hunted all corners of the globe for animals as diverse as polar bears, kuda, lions, tigers, elephant and gazelle.
In the 1950’s his two sons, Fred and Nels, were brought into the operation and in 1959 Charley “retired” in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 1962, Nels died in a plane accident and Fred took over the operations. In 1972, Charles Vorm, son of Nels, started working at American Oak, and became the President and Chairman of the Board in 1985.
Still today, Charles Vorm is the President and Chairman of the Board and now has his three daughters also working at American Oak. As the market changes, American Oak continues to expand.
It first began preserving oak leaves and has since expanded to all types of natural home décor items, which are sold in small stores and large chain stores throughout the United States.
While still manufacturing in Indiana and Mexico, American Oak now imports many products from all over the world including Kenya, Italy, India, China, the Phillipines, and many others.
MPI is a global leader in the technology of fineblanking. Since its formation in 1969, MPI has grown steadily under stable leadership, sound business practices, and a corporate culture that strives to be the best within their industry. The core of their organizational strength resides in the knowledge, dedication, and values of their people.
Today, MPI is a highly competent supplier of sophisticated components and subassemblies. The value of their products is complemented by a broad scope of manufacturing capabilities.
Starke County’s largest manufacturing employer has been in Knox since 1988 and among its many customers are several automobile manufacturers in the United States, Europe, Canada and Mexico. In 2018 MPI invested in and installed major capital equipment such as (1) 800 ton fineblanking press, (5) stainless steel three stage washers and (2) complete Weber deburring cells a completely new technology. The added capacity has paved the way for future continued growth and stability.