Starke County Economic Development Foundation, Inc.

2018 Manufacturers Day





Starke County, Indiana, October 4, 2018 – This year the Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) and WorkOne co-sponsored a Career Fair at the Knox Middle School the evening prior to Manufacturers Day.  Eleven companies participated in the Career Fair.  They included:  Callisons, Elkay (Medallion), J.W. Hicks, Kemin Industries, Knox Fertilizer, Kruz, Inc., MPI, Norton Packaging, Outstanding Tradeshow Exhibit Services, Toll Integrated Systems, and White Flyer, in addition to SCILL (Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning).  Approximately 20 jobs seekers attended the event.  There were also approximately 60 high school seniors in attendance from North Judson-San Pierre and Knox School Corporations for a “Career Exploration”.  The students attended the event to learn about the companies here in our local communities, current available jobs, and educational requirements for those jobs, as they are nearing the end of their high school experience and will be looking towards their future careers after high school.  

The next day SCEDF hosted its 6th Annual Manufacturers Day and Prospectus & Achievement Luncheon.  All of the companies who participated in the Career Fair the evening prior were in attendance for Manufacturers Day, in addition to EZ Blockchain and Traffic Control Specialists. 

SCEDF partners each year with Knox, North Judson-San Pierre, Culver, and Oregon Davis School Corporations.  Approximately 330 seventh grade students from those school corporations visited the companies’ displays to learn what they manufacture or what services they provide, the skills and training required for each job at the company, and the kinds of jobs they have. 

The goal of the program for the students is to make sure they are aware of what is available in their own communities, and the skills and education needed for them to be able to work for one of these companies.  The seventh grade was chosen because what they learn can be used the following year when they start preparing their high school pathways.  With knowledge of what is at stake, it is hoped that students properly prepare for their futures, whether it be college or a vocational program. 

The Foundation is using this event, in part, as a way to answer industry’s cries for help in finding workers with proper job skills, and at the same time, engaging students in what opportunities their home communities can offer if they have the skills employers need. 

As part of the days’ events, a prospectus luncheon was held to honor our annual Robert E. Hamilton award winner, an award that is named in honor of the Starke County banker who was instrumental in the creation of the Foundation.  It is awarded to a person who has contributed greatly to economic development in Starke County, Indiana.  This year’s recipient of the Robert E. Hamilton Award was Alex Weisheit.  Alex retired in 2007 as the General Manager at MPI where he began in 1986 with the job of finding an appropriate location in northern Indiana for the current MPI facility.  He joined the SCEDF Board of Directors in 2011, where he has been instrumental in creating new workforce development opportunities through SCILL.  This year’s keynote speaker was John Greaves, Vice President Specialty Crops at Kemin Industries.  Mr. Greaves shared a presentation that highlighted the many specialty crops grown by Kemin and the products that are made from those crops.  It was a very informative and engaging presentation enjoyed by all in attendance.

Through the cooperation of many involved, including the Knox Community School Corporation, our local manufacturers, guidance counselors from Knox, North Judson-San Pierre, Culver, and Oregon Davis, 7th grade teachers from all of those school corporations, many volunteers, and our generous sponsors (NIPSCO, Kankakee Valley REMC, Wabash Valley Power, Purdue IN-MaC, and Regional Development Company), this event continues to evolve and GROW more successful each year, no pun intended, considering this year’s theme was “Cultivating Manufacturing Careers.”


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