MEK will open a plant on Industrial Drive. (Photo submitted)
MEK will open a plant on Industrial Drive. (Photo submitted)

VAN WERT — Skilled workforce is a buzzword in economic development and Van Wert is on the international radar. It was the trained manpower in Van Wert that was a key component in landing a global company to the city.

Officials from MEK Group, headquartered in Mallabia, Spain, were in Indiana in March to purchase machinery from a plant set to close. When MEK personnel discovered many of the equipment operators were from Van Wert, a call was made to Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Stacy Adam and company officials were in the county an hour later looking for a home.

MEK has plans to hire 20 – 25 employees and acquire 12 Hydromat transfer machines over the next three years, housed in 23,000 square feet on Industrial Drive. JobsOhio offered the company a Job Creation Tax Credit to incentivize the company’s selection of Van Wert as the location of its first U.S. plant and will also benefit from Van Wert’s local Job Creation Incentive Program.

Instead of workers being faced with the prospect of a plant closure in Indiana, MEK identified a skilled workforce here and worked with the Economic Development office to bring Van Wert residents back home to work. Jim Miller was willing to fully utilize and share space at Miller Precision, providing a suitable home for MEK.

The establishment of a U.S. location is one piece of a larger plan for the maker of automotive parts to become a global supplier. The company currently operates facilities in Spain, China, Germany and now the U.S.

“We are fortunate to have found the right people and the right place,” shared Javier Berastegui, CEO. “Building a team was a top priority and we are fortunate to have two leaders with over 40 years of experience. They will be able to mentor and transition new employees into the company.”

“In Europe and Asia, we have 350 tenured employees, averaging 37 years in the industry and have developed very efficient operations there," he continued. "We’re confident that with our professional team here we will deliver the same results and grow in the U.S.”

"Having an international company locate their first U.S. facility in Van Wert is a great testament to the business environment of Northwest Ohio," said the Regional Growth Partnership's President and CEO Dean Monske. "The RGP is proud to have worked with local and state officials in bringing this new business to our region."