(From the July 9, 2012, issue of Rubber & Plastics News)
JOHNSTOWN, Ohio—Technical Rubber Co. Inc., a manufacturer of tire repair equipment in Ohio, recently received a $100,000 grant and a job creation tax credit from the State of Ohio.
The funds and tax break will be used to help pay for operational equipment upgrades and the hiring of nearly 29 employees at its Johnstown, Ohio, headquarters, said Chief Financial Officer Kim Hansen.
The new full-time positions will include manufacturing, sales, customer service, marketing and other general posts, Hansen said.
The employees are needed to help support an increase in customer demand that has accelerated over the last year.
“We're acquiring new customers and our distributors business is growing so we are in need of new professionals,” she said. “Just like (other manufacturers) things were tough financially in 2008 and 2009 but over the past year business has really picked up.”
Sales are at or above where they were when the severe recession first hit, Hansen said.
Technical Rubber has been in existence since 1939.
It brands itself as Tech International and also manufactures tire accessories for retail shops and distributors around the world. It has plants in China and India.
“This is part of our effort to expand our production of current products,” Hansen said.
Technical Rubber has also recently secured bank financing of an undisclosed amount of money for other business investments and new hires, she said.
Firm passes on loan
The company turned down an additional $6.5 million loan package from the State of Ohio when it was able to secure a better rate.
The family-owned business, in addition to hiring 29 employees, plans to invest in an array of equipment and operational upgrades.
Even though Technical Rubber didn't take the state loan, the proposed $6.5 million figure would have been a low-interest loan, said State Rep. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, who is also a member of the Ohio State Controlling Board who oversaw the approval of the package.
The $100,000 that has been received is a Rapid Outreach Grant that is essentially a “gift” to the company, he said.
Hottinger said Technical Rubber plans to purchase an inventory system with the $100,000 grant.
However, that is only part of the reason the firm received the financial package from Ohio.
Hottinger said the new jobs and plans to create a new product were key factors, too.
Those strategies are designed to make Technical Rubber more efficient and competitive, according to Hottinger, whose district includes Johnstown.
“Like most states Ohio has a limited amount of funds we have available to utilize to help businesses who are making investments,” the state representative said.
“There's a limited number of tools we have in our toolbox these days to support businesses and not all companies that apply for such (loans and grants) will receive them,” Hottinger said. “There is more demand than supply.”
Technical Rubber is in the process of interviewing and hiring to fill some of the posts, Hansen said, and will continue to do so over the next several months.
The job creation tax credit is tied to a reduction in state withholding tax the company must pay, according to Hansen.
She estimated the financial benefit to Technical Rubber will be about $150,000.
Technical Rubber also distributes tools and accessories such as wheel weights and valve stems that are used for tire repairs.