Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

April 12, 2012

Bus repair company may add mechanics

NAPPANEE — Business is booming at the ABC Bus refurbishing complex in Nappanee, so much so that company officials are predicting a large influx of jobs could be on its way to the facility in the not-too-distant future.

That was the news announced during a press conference Wednesday morning at the 504 S. Oakland Ave. facility which serves as ABC’s primary refurbishment center for the bus and motorcoach industry. During the press conference, ABC Bus Vice President and General Manager Lee Loper indicated the facility has far exceeded the company’s expectations since it was first opened in September 2010.

“We’ve been up a little higher, we’ve been down a little lower, but now we’re back on the rise again,” Loper said of the facility. “Currently we employ about 165 people on this campus, and we’re in the process of hiring some more. I have to hire another 35 people immediately. We’re on the hunt for experienced mechanical technicians.”

In addition to those immediate hiring needs, Loper noted the company is also attempting to obtain big project contracts. If those contracts are signed, even more workers will be needed.

“We have four more projects that are out there in reach for us to secure,” Loper said.

Should business at the complex continue to go well and at least two of those four project contracts be secured, Loper said he anticipates having to double his current work force in order to handle the increase in workload. However, should the company have the good fortune of securing all four of those potential project contracts, Loper said the sky is really the limit as far as how many new workers he may have to hire in the future.

“A bigger footprint at this complex is our goal,” Loper said.

Loper thanked the many local suppliers he utilizes on a daily basis for their help in allowing him to keep costs down and production up at the Nappanee facility.

“They’ve really done a nice job of providing what we need,” Loper said. “The suppliers in Elkhart County understand these issues.”

Loper also thanked Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson, the Nappanee Chamber of Commerce and the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp. for their continued support in helping to make the business a success.

“It’s important to have the proper help, and the proper horses behind you,” Loper said.

Thompson was quick to reciprocate.

“Lee Loper and ABC Bus have met or far exceeded its goals since the 2010 opening,” Thompson said. “Nappanee, as well as Elkhart County Economic Development Corp., are proud to be partners in their success. Their investment here, both in dollars and jobs, comes at a critical time in this economy.”

ABC Companies has facilities in California, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, Texas and Indiana. ABC specializes in bus and motorcoach refurbishment and sales as well as vehicle service, collision and body repair work, custom vehicle graphics and RV service and repair.

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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