C&A Tool expands into new facility

CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco’s largest employer will soon be even larger and the company’s president attributes the constant growth amidst economic uncertainty to diversity.“We’re five different business units, so this is a natural part of our continued growth, said Dick Conrow, president of C&A Tool Engineering, which announced Wednesday it will expand its northern Whitley County operations and add about 18 news jobs.“It’s a continuing part of our planning,” Conrow said.“Our growth rate is pretty phenomenal.”The manufacturer, which employs 511 full-time people at its facilities in Churubusco and Auburn, will add equipment to its jet engine operations as well as machinery to enhance its precision fuel systems operations.“I think the biggest thing is our extension of the fuel systems work and our entrance into the aerospace work,” Conrow said this morning.The announcement of the expansion was made official Wednesday night at the Churubusco Town Council meeting by the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation, which presented a tax abatement to the board for consideration.The board agreed on a “phase-in” of personal property taxes for the $8 million of new equipment purchased by C&A Tool.“On behalf of the town council, we are pleased to again support C&A Tool’s continued growth and success in our community,” said Town Council President Frank Kessler in an EDC press release.“We cannot overstate our appreciation for the commitment the company’s leadership has demonstrated to our community.”Since 1969, the Churubusco-based tool and die maker has become a national and international supplier of metalworking specialties, according to the EDC.The company currently occupies about 75,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Churubusco and Auburn.The latest expansion will allow the company to occupy the former MAHLE Clevite facility it purchased about a year ago.“It’s very good news for the town,” said Kessler this morning.“It utilizes a facility that has been empty for more than a year. They’ve (C&A) been revamping the inside to meet their needs.”The company, determined to stay on the fast track, will have a presence at trade shows around the country during the spring and summer of this year, according to the EDC.Aside from diversity, Conrow also pointed to a family atmosphere inside the walls of the tool and die manufacturer.“We have a lot of people over here doing a lot of great work,” Conrow said.“A lot of families, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters work here.”For Kessler, who also serves on the Whitley County Redevelopment Commission, the C&A success is an extension of what he says is going on countywide despite a severe recession.“Whitley County has been very fortunate,” Kessler said, pointing to not only the C&A expansion but also recent announcements by the EDC on behalf of other companies such as 80/20.“We’ve had about four major successes here,” he said. “So, I hope that’s a good sign that we’re going to be on the upward swing.”