Industries

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Regional Thinking for Global Competitiveness

The following industries are driving the growth of Northwest Indiana. For an overview and analysis of each industry sector, click below to learn more.

 

 

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING

LOGISTICS + DISTRIBUTION

FOOD + BEVERAGE MANUFACTURING

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

PROFESSIONAL
OFFICE SPACE

 

 
 

Advanced Manufacturing 

Northwest Indiana’s manufacturing sector gives companies an edge. Businesses in Northwest Indiana enjoy strategic location within the Chicagoland area, the third-largest metropolitan economy in the U.S., while taking advantage of Indiana’s stellar business climate.  

We get rewarded every day in lower product movement costs, lower energy costs and lower maintenance costs that improved almost every aspect of our business.
— Patrick Thompson, CFO, Modern Forge, Merrillville

Northwest Indiana: We Know How to Make Things

  • 25% of the nation’s steel is made in Northwest Indiana. Northwest Indiana is home to ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor and Burns Harbor facilities, as well as U.S. Steel’s Gary Works plant.
  • The BP Whiting Refinery, the largest refinery in the Midwest, recently completed a multibillion-dollar modernization project to process heavier crudes.

Manufacturing Solutions for Today and Tomorrow
Northwest Indiana is home to companies and universities that are creating new technologies. 

  • East Chicago is home to one of ArcelorMittal’s 12 global R&D facilities, where researchers are designing the latest high-strength steel used in automobiles and elsewhere. 
  • The food cutting and processing equipment at Urschel in Chesterton is used by every major food-processing manufacturer in the United States and in more than 120 countries worldwide. 
  • Fronius located its U.S. headquarters in Portage, where it makes solar panel inverters, experiments with different ways of capturing solar energy, and supplies all welding equipment to electric car maker Telsa. 
  • Monosol, headquartered in Merrillville, developed the single-use pods that have changed the way people do dishes and laundry around the world. 
  • Tri-State Automation in Hammond builds, installs and services customized industrial robots that weld, haul materials, or do whatever the customer needs. 
  • Purdue University Northwest’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation solves real-world issues for steelmakers such as ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel. 
  • BraunAbility, headquartered in Winamac, produces several different wheelchair-accessible vans as well as the new BraunAbility MXV, the first wheelchair-accessible sport-utility vehicle in volume production.

Success Stories
Northwest Indiana is one of the leading regions in the United States manufacturing. Numerous manufacturers have chosen Northwest Indiana for their relocation or expansion projects. 

  • Hoist Liftruck, which makes forklifts and material handling equipment, is moving from Bedford Park, Illinois, and investing $40 million and bringing 500 new jobs to East Chicago. 
  • Water-soluble film-maker Monosol is investing $95 million in an expansion project in Northwest Indiana that will result in 157 new jobs by 2020.
  • Alcoa has invested $100 million to open its state-of-the-art jet engine parts facility in La Porte, that doubles Alcoa’s capacity in La Porte and provides new capabilities that broaden its reach in engines for large commercial aircraft. The expansion will create 329 jobs by 2019.
  • Modern Forge which makes side frames and fender struts for Harley Davidson and custom metal forgings for other companies, invested $35 million for a new production facility in Merrillville, employing up to 200.
  • Pratt Industries is investing $260 million, to build the world's most technologically advanced recycled paper mill next to its cardboard box plant in Valparaiso, while adding 137 jobs.
  • Robot and automated systems manufacturer Tri-State Automation is investing $2.5 million in an expansion and plans to hire up to 50 more workers in Hammond.

 
 

Logistics & Distribution

Northwest Indiana’s location and comprehensive transportation network allows companies to reach customers worldwide with ease. Businesses in Northwest Indiana enjoy strategic location within the Chicagoland area, the third-largest metropolitan economy in the U.S., while taking advantage of Indiana’s stellar business climate. 

Our Midwest location, combined with a comprehensive transportation network and intermodal connections, allows for fast, efficient and cost-effective access to customers.

Companies in Northwest Indiana are within a day’s drive to 80% of the U.S. population. Major metropolitan centers are within close proximity, including Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis and Toronto.

The success of the program, together with the proactive Indiana business environment, has helped us fulfill our vision for world-class cold storage in this strategic location.
— Andrew Janson, President, Hanson Logistics, Hammond

 
 

Food and Beverage Manufacturing

Northwest Indiana is one of the leading regions in the United States for agribusiness, food processing and distribution. A number of companies including Albanese, American Licorice, Cargill, ConAgra and Monsanto, serve the world from our community.

Northwest Indiana is home to a cluster of businesses that process, distribute and market foods enjoyed worldwide. Freshness matters in today’s marketplace. Our location, combined with a comprehensive transportation network and intermodal connections, allows for fast, efficient and cost-effective access to customers.

We chose Portage for our first farm because of the business-friendly environment, the good work force and the easy access to the interstate highway system that allows us to serve a five-state area.
— Robert Colangelo, Co-founding Farmer and President, Green Sense Farms, Portage
We continue to grow in a highly competitive industry, due in part, to the quality of the Indiana workforce and the state’s positive business climate.
— Bon Wojcik, Plant Manager, Hearthside Food Solutions, Michigan City

Growing solutions for today and tomorrow
Northwest Indiana is home to food companies that are creating new technologies.

  • Green Sense Farms, in Portage, is the country’s largest indoor vertical farm. The facility was recently hailed by Popular Science magazine as one of the year's 100 Greatest Inventions.
  • The food cutting and processing equipment at Urschel in Chesterton is used by every major food-processing manufacturer in the United States and in more than 120 countries worldwide.
  • The water-soluble films, compounds, and solutions from Merrillville-based Monosol enable impactful product innovations from detergent to agrochemicals.
  • APACKS in LaPorte offers a scalable design of bottle fillers, cappers, conveyors, and labelers that allows companies to replace or add packaging stations to an existing line that will  increase automation, speed up production, improve accuracy, reduce downtime and allow companies to expand or reconfigure lines as they grow.
  • Microbac’s Chicagoland Division in Merrillville offers comprehensive sampling and analytical services for the environmental, food, and food-related markets

Food supply chain
The region offers a strong network throughout each step in the food supply chain

  • Raw materials, including dairy, seed corn, wholesale grains and beans
  • Food equipment and service 
  • Secondary suppliers, including mechanical and machine fabrication 
  • Food processing and distribution
  • Food packaging companies

 
 

Information Technology

Google’s Digital Capital for Indiana
Valparaiso was awarded Google’s eCity designation, in part, because of the expertise of its local businesses to maximize the value of the Internet. This makes Valparaiso the ‘digital capital’ of Indiana and reflects Valparaiso's innovation and dedication to being technologically savvy.

Fiber
Northwest Indiana is home to world-class fiber connectivity needed in today’s marketplace for businesses to reliably transmit large volumes of data.

  • Valparaiso is building a municipal fiber network infrastructure to offer dark fiber optics to businesses when the network is in place in late 2016. This infrastructure will provide enhanced connectivity for data transmission as well as the internet. The dark fiber will be installed in a loop around Valparaiso so businesses can connect to the fiber at a reasonable cost for connectivity
    • The fiber backbone will loop the city and provide direct access to Chicago. The primary areas of focus will include commercial corridors along Ind. 49 and U.S 30, as well as the north Calumet Avenue area.
  • NITCO has been producing fiber-based connections in NWI since 1985. The company currently supports 185 miles of fiber for both businesses and residents.
  • There are 33 fiber providers in Indiana serving 46.2% of the state population, compared to a national average of 23%.
  • Chesterton has been aggressive in developing a fiber optic project that will allow them to deliver high-speed Internet access to companies who need leading-edge technology.

Broadband
Indiana is served by over 100 broadband providers, ranking 12th nationally for speed download greater than 3Mbps and upload greater than 0.768 Mbps.

Data Centers
Northwest Indiana offers a competitive position to attract data center development as a suburb of Chicago. The Chicago metro area is one of the largest data center markets in the country.

  • With the exception of tornados, the Chicago/Northern Indiana region is relativity free from a natural disaster, and has good utility infrastructure.
  • Northwest Indiana is located on the main telecommunication networks between New York and Chicago and is within a short radius of 350 E. Cermak, allowing low round-trip latency.
  • Developers plan to build a four-story, $32 million data center at the newly renovated Centier building at 504 Broadway in downtown Gary.

 
 

Professional Office SPace

The Northwest Indiana Forum can help expanding or relocating businesses identify suitable office building properties for sale or lease. We have experience across a diverse range of industries and routinely work with business executives, consultants, and other parties involved in the site selection process to understand the key property attributes and specifications necessary to achieve identified project goals. 

The Forum staff provides personalized assistance to find professional office buildings with the right combination of infrastructure, size, amenities, and any other special space requirements for your business. We also provide comprehensive resources to help facilitate the selection process, such as information on workforce availability, applicable incentives, and industry support services.