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162-Year-Old Manufacturer Union Iron To Expand Its Decatur, Illinois, Production Center

Area Development Online News Desk (08/28/2014)
A 162-year old manufacturer, Union Iron will enlarge and consolidate its Decatur, Illinois, manufacturing operations, creating 25 new full-time jobs. The new 135,000-square-foot manufacturing facility will be built for Union Iron at 3550 E. Mound Road.

According to Governor Pat Quinn’s office, the company chose to reinvest in Decatur after evaluating several locations in the U.S. and Canada. The company selected the site so it could bring several locations under one roof. Access to the state’s superior transportation network, highly-educated workforce, culture of entrepreneurship and competitive cost structure was vital in its decision to expand in Illinois.

“We are very pleased about the opportunity to have all of the Union Iron operations contained within one facility. This will enhance the effectiveness and productivity of our operations and improve the service levels we provide to our customers,” Gary Anderson, President/CEO of the parent company, Ag Growth International said. “The team at Union Iron has done an excellent job of keeping up with the growth in our domestic and international business, this new facility will allow us to continue to grow and improve the Union Iron product line.”

“We appreciate the efforts of the state of Illinois, local economic development officials, Macon County and the City of Decatur for their support of the project,” Mike Brotherton, General Manager of Union Iron said. “We will realize significant improvements in efficiency and overall operational capacity and thus will be instrumental in satisfying the growing needs of our customers.”

“Illinois has been home to Union Iron for more than 160 years,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “This expansion will mean even more jobs and economic growth for a company that has evolved with our state’s agricultural and industrial markets. With our highly skilled workforce and easy access to the rest of the world, there is no better place for Union Iron to grow and thrive.”

Union Iron’s expansion was made possible by a state incentive package worth an estimated $1.1 million over 10 years. The incentive is primarily a credit against the company’s state income tax liability under the state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program. The package also includes a $41,000 grant for job training. The EDGE program, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), requires companies to meet agreed-upon targets for job creation or retention and capital investment to receive the credits.

The agreement requires Union Iron to invest at least $10.3 million at its Decatur location over the next 10 years. Besides creating 25 full-time jobs within two years, the company also has pledged to retain its existing 115 full-time positions in Decatur. Union Iron currently employs 115 at its two Decatur facilities, as well as 100 seasonal employees from March through September on an annual basis.

“This is the type of project we are proud to support,” DCEO Director Adam Pollet said. “By helping this manufacturer become more efficient, the state is helping a storied Illinois company continue to grow and succeed in the Land of Lincoln.” Union Iron is one of the state’s oldest manufacturers. Founded in 1852 in Decatur, Union Iron is now owned by Canadian-based AGI. The company began by building steam engines. Over the years, it has evolved into a manufacturer of conveying equipment and related components for commercial and farm grain handling systems.

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