Starke County Economic Development Foundation, Inc.
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2018 Robert E. Hamilton Award Winner Announced




Starke County, Indiana, October 4, 2018 – This year the Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) announced the annual Robert E. Hamilton Award winner at its recent Prospectus & Achievement Luncheon, held in conjunction with its annual Manufacturers Day events.  This year’s winner, and very deservingly so, was Alex Weisheit.  Alex has been a member of the SCEDF Board of Directors since 2011.

In 1986, Alex joined MPI for the express purpose of finding a location in the northern third of Indiana for a new location where they could better serve the automotive industry.  At that time MPI operated plants in Wisconsin, Michigan, and South Carolina.  That search eventually included some 20-22 different communities where Alex evaluated location, labor availability, rural area, roads, schools, hospitals, and other community attributes.  MPI was also looking for a location where they could grow and become the largest industry in the community.  That search eventually resulted in three communities making the list of final sites – Knox, Culver, and Berne.

It was on the third trip to Knox that Alex, accompanied by three additional members of the MPI team, learned that the Economic Development Foundation had come up with a site that eventually became where MPI is currently located.  The acreage offered was exactly what the MPI team was looking for.  The team from the Economic Development Foundation was led by Robert Hamilton and included Jack Lynch (a former Robert E. Hamilton award winner), his brother Bob, then the Mayor of Knox, Mat Swanson (also a former Robert E. Hamilton award winner), and Steve Spaw, among others. 

Alex has made huge contributions to economic development through his involvement with SCILL as well as the Foundation.

On the SCILL side, Alex has led the Workforce Development Committee of the Foundation which has resulted in the launch of two very successful SCILL training programs in welding, and in automation, robotics, and equipment maintenance. His understanding of industry, their needs, the availability of apprenticeship programs, and his ability to organize and lead these programs to the point of launch are remarkable pieces of work.  He currently serves as President of the SCILL Board.

On the Foundation side, Alex has been a Board member, a valuable member and chair of more than one committee of the board and is always quick to drop everything and attend a meeting, sometimes on a moment’s notice.  He has been tireless in his efforts to help Starke County grow and prosper both when he served as General Manager at MPI and even now, more than 10 years after his retirement from that company.  Each resident of this County has been enriched by Alex’ work here whether they personally knew him or not, and he has contributed greatly to the success that both the Foundation and SCILL have achieved. 

We congratulate Alex on this honorable achievement.

The Robert E. Hamilton Award is awarded to a person who has contributed greatly to the economic development in Starke County, Indiana.  Through his involvement with the Foundation as the General Manager of what remains today as the largest industrial company in Starke County to his continuing work with the Foundation and SCILL and the Workforce Development Committee, Alex Weisheit has left a legacy of economic development efforts for Starke County, and he is truly deserving of the award named after the person who was very much involved with attracting Alex to this county in the first place.


The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is a not-for-profit local economic development organization (LEDO) providing economic development opportunities on behalf of Starke County, Indiana, the City of Knox, and the Towns of North Judson and Hamlet through the development of industrial parks, rail spurs, greenfield sites, shovel-ready sites, infrastructure and workforce development. For more information regarding the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, visit