New plant moving 170 jobs

A recent groundbreaking ceremony for a new manufacturing plant in Scottsburg will lead to the transfer of about 170 jobs from Crothersville later this year as part of a consolidation project.

Versatech, 400 W. Howard St., still produces cable and other electronic interconnections at the Crothersville facility. The employees there, however, will begin moving in the near future to the new Samtec Inc. plant about 10 miles south.

Versatech is a subsidiary of Samtec, a privately held $613 million global manufacturer of electronic interconnect solutions.

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Seeking to streamline operations in southern Indiana, Samtec has decided to relocate not only its workforce at Crothersville but employees at a plant in Salem to Scottsburg’s Certified Technology Park District. That district is adjacent to the Mid-America Science Park.

The company plans to leverage advanced manufacturing training opportunities and meeting space at the new plant near Interstate 65, according to a news release.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the 70,000-square-foot plant was conducted in February, and plans are for operations to begin by the end of the year. There will be about 300 jobs moving to Scott County, company officials report.

Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., said the closure of the Crothersville plant is a loss for Jackson County, but he understands business decisions are simply just that — made for the betterment of the business.

“In this instance, it made a lot of sense for them to consolidate and operate in a new facility,” he said. “The good thing is that all of the people employed in Crothersville will be offered jobs at the new location.”

He also said the commute from Crothersville to Scottsburg isn’t too far for Jackson County residents.

The Versatech plant, which once housed a shoe factory, opened in 2000 as a cable manufacturer and is leased from Grover Stacey. The plant, which consists of several buildings, sits on more than 5 acres at Howard and Kovener streets.

Plump said next year at the appropriate time there will be an attempt to find potential users for the plant.

He also said the company’s exit won’t have a huge tax impact on Crothersville or Jackson County. In 2014, $2,382 was paid in personal property taxes. A similar amount will be owed in 2016, he said.

According to the JCIDC website, Versatech employed about 173 people in early 2014, making it the 10th-biggest employer in Jackson County.

Samtec Inc., headquartered in New Albany, employs about 4,000 people worldwide and has offices in 18 countries and seven manufacturing locations.