Starke County Economic Development Foundation, Inc.
                                             Common Collabs Groundbreaking Photos     

the foundation board 2001

            There are twenty-one members of the Board of Trustees for the Starke County Development Foundation.An Executive Committee of seven is derived from the officers of this Board to help provide direction for the Foundation.


            The Board of Trustees represents a broad scope of interests from the community in retail, manufacturing, health care, media, government, finance, law, utilities and concerned citizens.The Board consists of Erik Back (Fifth Third Bank); Mark Milo (Starke County Commissioner); Linda Berndt (Knox City Council); Gene Blastic (Starke County Chamber of Commerce); Jennifer Davis (Starke County County Council); Nancy Dembowski (Citizen); Vicki Cooley (Starke County Planning Commissioner); Dennis Estok (Mayor of Knox); Robert Howard (Robert Howard Company): John Joyce (North Judson Town Board); John Fowler (1st Source Bank); Jack Lynch (Citizen); Gene Marks (Citizen); Ben Osinski (Citizen); Jon Mack (Kankakee Valley REMC); Ed Bracich (Hamlet Town Board); Bill Sonnemaker (Retired Businessman): Mat Swanson (Retired Banker);Julie Van De Water (NIPSCO); Jim Wagner (Sprint); Charles Weaver (Nichols, Wallsmith & Weaver);

            Executive Director: Terry D. Kimmel.The Executive Committee , for 2005, is comprised of President Ben Osinski (Osinski Auction Service); Vice-President Jim Wagner (Sprint Telephone); Secretary Gene Blastic (Retired Business) , Past President Mathew Swanson,.

Starke County Development Foundation


            The Starke County Development Foundation today continues to work toward the goal of bringing new wealth and opportunities to the residents of Starke County.

            The Foundation works to assure that available resources are utilized for the pursuit of worthy business and community development efforts.The Foundation maintains a working relationship with a wide variety of local, state and federal agencies for two purposes: to be aware of economic development financing available to Starke County's industies and governmental entities and to assure that rural areas, such as Starke County, are properly considered when state and federal agencies develop their assistance programs.

                 As we look to the future it is believed that communities will be forced to rely more and more on their own resources.There will be communities that win and those that lose in the arena of economic development and the possible good fortune which will follow.The successful communities will be those that have a realistic strategy and that are willing to commit the resources necessary to carry out their strategy.Business investment capital is fluid; it can go anywhere in the world.Most new location and expansion projects do not wait for infrastructure to be developed.As a consequence, communities must have fully developed sites before a prospect make a first visit.

            It is important to realize that there are no quick fixes.As a consequence, the best economic development programs have a long-term vision and a long-term commitment.

            The Foundation will continue on the course that it set out in 1985.Many activities will be utilized to this end.The Foundation's success is dependent upon cooperation and enthusiasm from every segment of the community and welcome for our industrial partners.

            Our marketing story is quite simple when we say the Starke County advantage is "Small town life close to the bigger city amenities, accessibility to all markets, availability of hard working employees, opportunities to be involved with quality, community life and an affordable, profitable, welcome location for Business and Industry".   

Starke County Development Foundation, Inc.

            In 1985 The Starke County Development Foundation was started with local bankers and business people who had the foresight to understand that the closing of the largest employer would kill the local economy unless they did something about it.They were aware that they needed to have a building to offer before a company would come in.They bought an old foundry at a good price and renovated it.Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and cleaned the building and patched it.The Governor came to the opening of the building.The Foundation had plans to develop a small industry incubator.Instead they got the attention of a company that wanted to rent the building.That company was Bobko, then came Galbreath and then it was Ravens, Inc.which is now Kruz, Inc.That location has provided jobs since 1987.


Where does the not-for-profit Starke County Development Foundation comes into play?The purpose of the Foundation is to attract viable industries and help create additional jobs in Starke County in order to improve the quality of life.The Foundation uses every possible resource to attract industries and additional jobs to Starke County which then helps to attract other forms of business and more economic development opportunities.

One way the Foundation has been successful is to create fully developed industrial sites for industrialprospects to visit.This is accomplished by putting the county Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) to good use for expansion and economic developmentEDIT funding is used by the Foundation to buy land and further develop it with the infrastructure needed including roads, sewers, drainage, electricity, gas, water and in some cases railroad spurs.The Foundation then turns around and sells land to a manufacturer at its cost in order to help attract the industrial base needed for employment and economic development.Proceeds from these sales then go back to the county to recapture some ofthat money used for economic development.




            The Foundation has recently sold a in theNorth Judson Industrial Park.Today there are several buildings available in the area, in various sizes.

We work with the State Department of Commerce, site consultants, the Northwest Indiana Forum and all the utility companies to attract new industry.

            Starke County has succeeded beyond what is normal for a county our size.The Foundation and its supporters are to be applauded for the tremendous amount of work and accomplishment of the past twenty years.   It has taken the work and dedication of individuals in the private and public sector.It is the pioneer spirit of the “American Way” that these individuals have beaten the odds.They have refused to let their communities grow old and die.


Knox Industrial Park Rail Lead Track


After many years of planning a Lead Track and Loading Dock in the Knox Industrial Park, the Foundation was able to obtain a Grant to assist with the placing of the Lead Track and the Loading Dock.Today this track is in full swing.There are several Industries that have already taken full advantage of the use of the Lead Track.This Lead Track is a great attraction to Industries.



Hamlet Firewell


There was a need for a fire well in the Hamlet Industrial Park.This Firewell was put in place in 2004 to service the Hamlet Industrial Park, because of the EDIT Funds the Foundation was able install the firewell in the Industrial Park.




Diversified Manufacturers Contribute to Starke County's Economy

            Starke County has a diverse make up of manufacturers - everything from apparel to zinc alloys.Baked goods, buckets, car parts,disposable syringes fertilizers, heating units and industrial trailers are but some of the products made within the 309 square miles of Starke County.Currently there are 1200 employed in the Starke County Industries.

Following is a list of the local manufacturers;


American Oak

Charles Vorm                                    

P O Box 187

North Judson, IN46366



Daubert VCI, Inc.

Brian Trappe

P O Box 479

1805 West Pacific Avenue

Knox, IN46534



J. W. Hicks

James Hicks

20 South Kloeckner Dr

Knox, IN46534



Farm Fertilizer

Hobart Martin

P O Box 88

Hamlet, IN46532



Deans Weld & Feb Inc

Al Fletcher

409 W. Plymouth

Hamlet, IN46532






Fingerhut Bakery

Keith Fingerhut

119 Lane St

North Judson, IN46366



Gerox, Inc.

Steve Spaw

P O Box 277

Knox, IN46534



I P Callison

Dan Felcheck

411 Plymouth St.

Hamlet, IN46532




Dick Binkley

3940 E 200 S

Knox, IN46534



Hoosier Custom Plastics

Gordon Schenk

201 Hamilton Dr

Knox, IN46534



Knox Fertilizer

Robert Shaw

P. O. Box 248

Knox, IN46534



Knox Wood Shop

Richard Shepperd

1290 W 150 S

Knox, IN46534



Konrad & Sons, Inc.

Philip Konrad

1315 E State Road 10

Knox, IN46534



The Market

Jack Reimbold

P O Box 218

North Judson, IN46366



MPI Indiana Fineblanking

Alex Weisheit

P O Box 409

Knox, IN46534



Norton Packaging

Jim Koch

5190 Hamlet Industrial Park

Hamlet, IN46532



Obrecht Trailer Mfg. Inc.

Paul Obrecht

705 E New York St

Knox, IN46534






Kruz Inc

Kent Kruzick

P O Box 129

Knox, IN46534



Barber and Ross

Scoitt Galke

P O Box 130

Knox, IN46534



Stelrema Corporation

Subsidiary of Gettig Technology Inc.

Jim Benz

4055 E 250 N

Knox, IN46534



Studio Printers

Mike Reimbold

1202 S Heaton

Knox, IN46534



The Leader

Dana Keaton

P O Box 38

Knox, IN46534



Thermo Products Inc.

Allen Kuehl

P O Box 217

North Judson, IN46366



Transit Mix Concrete Co

Rich Overmyer

2695 S Hwy 35

Knox, IN46534






Larry Richie

6595 E State Road 10

Knox, IN46534



Windy City Golf Car Ent.

Edward Arnold

P O Box 311

Knox, IN46534




Thanks to all of our industrial and business partners for being a part

of Starke County…we appreciate our “good corporate citizens.”


Knox Industrial Park Rail Lead Track


After many years of planning a Lead Track and Loading Dock in the Knox Industrial Park, the Foundation was able to obtain a Grant to assist with the construction of the $1.7 million Rail Facility Lead Track.Today this track is in full operation serving industries in Starke County.Several Industries have already taken full advantage of the use of the Lead Track.This Lead Track Facility is also an attraction to industries looking for expansion opportunities.