Nov. 21—ODON — A $300 million advanced micro-chip development and manufacturing operation is coming to Daviess County.
The plant, called Westgate One will be located in the Daviess County section of the tech park just outside of the Crane gate.
"I feel giddy," said Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, following the groundbreaking. "I feel Thanksgiving came early or Christmas or all of the above. This is a big day for America, for Indiana and for this region."
Westgate One will be a combined effort of NHanced Semiconductors, Everspin Technologies, Trusted Semiconductor Solutions and Reliable MicroSystems.
"This day will change the world. This facility will be the first purpose-built advanced packaging and manufacturing factory in the United States and the world," said Robert Patti with NHanced, the company that will be operating the news 100,000 square foot facility. "I see what we are doing here as planting a new seed which will dramatically increase the footprint of Indiana in the semiconductor industry but it secures our economic and military supremacy in the world. This is a way we can on-shore technology. This is about getting across the valley we have between very innovative technology, which the U.S. is number one in to volume manufacturing where we have been stymied. This is about proving it can be done and we can win in a global marketplace when it comes to manufacturing."
It is also about providing the American military with the latest high-tech electronics to defend the nation.
"Our warfighters cannot sit and wait," said Dr. Angie Lewis with the Crane Naval Warfare Center. "They cannot be left vulnerable and they cannot put their future into the hands of others. The in-sourcing and the development of this capability is critical and I am glad to see this community come together to rise and meet that need."
Not only will the project add a $300 million investment in Daviess County but it is also expected to add 549 new high-paying jobs over the next two years.
"These careers are all based on $50 to $80 an hour and the incentives will be based on how the companies scale up," said Holcomb. "They are not going to waste any time. They are going to move quickly to scale up to meet the time-lines of the Department of Defense. It's full-steam ahead."
Local officials say they are still working out the details on incentive packages that will be offered the companies. But they point out this project is going to have a huge impact on Daviess County and the region.
"This is truly going to be a game-changer for our area, not only for Daviess County, not only for Westgate but for the region. This is one of the keystone projects for the READI initiative in our region," said Daviess County Economic Development Executive Director Bryant Niehoff. "We wouldn't be here if it were not for the amazing work at Crane right here in our backyard."
"This project is great for not just this region but the entire country," said President of the Daviess County Council Matt Meredith. "This is chip manufacturing in advanced micro-electronics that had always been done overseas. With the CHIPS act, this brings it to southern Indiana and it's going to be a great starting point for us and it is only going to expand from here. This is going to be high-tech manufacturing. It is going to bring high-tech equipment and a lot of good paying jobs."
And officials are projecting that this micro-electronic center for excellence may well be just the beginning for what could become a high-tech explosion in southern Indiana.
"It cannot be overstated how exciting today is, how historic this day is. It might even be a redefining day for our state," said Holcomb. "To have these four companies come together, no one harnesses synergy like Crane. To have these four companies come here and do what they plan to do is a grand slam for the state of Indiana. I'm optimistic. I see growth in the future. The direct impact is going to be immense. The indirect impact on this whole region, with talent moving here is immeasurable."
"I know we are talking about hundreds of jobs now," said Patti. "I hope we are talking about thousands of jobs in the future."