TIMES UNION REPORTS – Three years of planning and three months of demolition work cleared the way for Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a multi-phase renovation by CTB Inc. at its Milford manufacturing and office headquarters.
The renovation project includes a number of facility upgrades, ranging from telecommunications and computer networking infrastructure improvements to large and small group employee meeting spaces, according to a news release provided Wednesday at the groundbreaking.
The conference center serves CTB’s Chore-Time, Brock and PigTek divisions, and will enable the company to better host in-person and virtual large employee and corporate meetings, distributor network conferences and training events, the release states. CTB is investing approximately $20 million to renovate 38,000 square feet of its existing Chore-Time facility on the east side of Ind. 15, north of Milford.
The new facility is expected to become operational in the second quarter of 2023.
The project is being financed in part through the aid of a 10-year tax phase-in with the maximum 100% deduction schedule. The phase-in was recommended by the Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) and Milford Redevelopment Commission and granted by the Milford Town Council. The package will provide an estimated $2 million in tax savings.
Rob Young, vice president of business development with The Hagerman Group, emceed the groundbreaking ceremony, introducing each of the nine speakers.
Milford Town Council President Doug Ruch said, “On behalf of the Town Council, we’re truly in gratitude to Chore-Time Brock Corporation in them choosing to keep their world headquarters here and the amount of expansion that is happening here. Past, present and future, we wish them all the luck in the world.”
Greg Fitzloff, business development partner with KEDCO, said, “This is just a great project, and I really want to congratulate CTB for investing and continuing to invest in the community in this county and obviously in the state of Indiana. A tremendous asset to the county, to the agri-business sector in this community.”
He said CTB has, for a long time, been a major community and county supporter.
“This project is just going to be a wonderful edition to, not only the company, but, I think to the entire area,” Fitzloff said. “When you think about this being the northern entrance into the county, if you look at this facility, what a wonderful statement to tell people as they come into our area. The quality, the dynamic energy that it presents, we’re so excited about that. We really appreciate the fact that the Town Council has been so supportive. A really great example of what happens when we all can work together to support these initiatives, this continued investment into the community, the additional jobs into the community.”
He then introduced Mary Martin, regional director for the Office of Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, who had a letter from Braun that she read.
“I want to congratulate you on the groundbreaking of your new conference center and community center in Milford, Indiana,” the letter stated in part. “Expansion is always an exciting time and I am certain that the newly renovated 38,000 square feet will be put to good use.”
As a global designer and manufacturer, Braun’s letter states, communication is an integral part of CTB’s success.
“I am positive that the new state-of-the-art technology will enable CTB to maintain customer relations, and continue to provide quality assistance. The conference center with the 400-person capacity will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for many business deals,” the letter also states.
Braun wrote that the products CTB produces for the agriculture business are “invaluable” and “these improvements to your manufacturing headquarters and office campus will solidify CTB as a global manufacturer and leader.”
Terry Thornsbury, Viridian Architectural Design president, first thanked CTB Executive Assistant and Project Manager Beth Cripe for the opportunity to work on the project and The Hagerman Group for being a great team to work with. He also gave thanks to his architectural and design team and electrical engineer.
“This is a new 38,000-square-foot conference center. It’s going to be state-of-the-art as compared to the old one that used to be right behind us and the sagging ceiling tile. So we’re looking forward to this new modern conference center. It’s going to hold about 400 people. Multi-screen, new technology. Bring us into the 21st century, so it’s going to be really nice,” Thornsbury said.
It will have a new manufacturing space, as well, he said.
Brad Smith, president of The Hagerman Group, said his company’s journey with CTB began five years ago in a pickle factory in Middlebury. CTB’s facilities and maintenance manager befriended a former Hagerman employee, who started out being a project executive on the CTB renovation project, but has since retired.
“That relationship that the two of them cemented has really kind of created the catalyst for the relationship we have today,” Smith said. “Relationships are crucial to our business. Having said that, we can not say enough about Beth Cripe and her leadership over the last several years. Getting to know Beth and CTB has just been an honor and a joy to us.”
Victor A. Mancinelli, chairman and CEO of CTB Inc., said the project has been a long time coming.
“But to me, it seems like it’s been a decade since we started talking about this very project, the expansion, the renovation, whatever you want to call it,” he said. “The driving force behind it all of this time has been Beth Cripe. And I think all of us should give her a nice round of applause.”
Mancinelli also acknowledged Cripe’s team behind her.
Tina Streit, vice president and general manager of Chore-Time, said the new edition will be an integrated part of the facility in Milford. Employees will get to enjoy beautiful days outside for their lunch breaks as there will be common spaces for them to use. For less beautiful days, she said there will newly renovated indoor space for employees to use that will be fully modernized, clean and bright. There will be more parking spaces and locker rooms, as well as new mothers room. The manufacturing group will have the support of a new tool and die area as well, she said.
PigTek Vice President and General Manager Greg Bodak said everyone is looking forward to the new building.
Finally, Brock Grain Systems Vice President and General Manager Don Sjolin said, “We’re in the infrastructure business ourselves. We build the best grain storage facilities that are used around the world.”
He said there Milford is the epi-center of CTB Inc. and there are more people that know Milford outside of the town than the town has residents.
“We do a lot of training here. We bring a lot of customers and a lot of our dealer partners in. This is really going to be an appreciated expansion for us, because as a premium brand it’s nice to be able to bring those folks in and have a state-of-the-art facility. It really reinforces the brand promise that we bring to the industry,” Sjolin said.
The ceremony concluded with the “turning of the dirt” and photos.