HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Good economic news doesn't always get judged by how many new jobs are created.
At least that's what Huntington County economic development leaders would argue, on the heels of an effort to keep a long-standing employer from shutting down.
A company called Isolatek, a maker of fire resistant insulation, will stay in business, keeping about 50 good paying jobs from going away.
It's because of a plan to power the operation through natural gas fired furnaces, replacing older furnaces run by a coal product that are now costing the business too much money.
U.S. Senator Dan Coats was on hand for a Thursday announcement that Isolatek is pursuing an $8-million plant upgrade to increase efficiency, and reduce harmful emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are putting pressure on a number of industries to reduce bad emissions, which was putting financial pressure on the company's profit picture.
Isolatek Plant Manager Jakub Tomaszewski says Senator Coats' office and Huntington County officials played a role in convincing regulatory agencies to permit installation of the natural gas furnaces.
" It seems about everything we do, the Environmental Protection Agency sticks its nose in, and this was a tough one. But it was a big winner for the environment, a big winner for Indiana and it kept this company here," Senator Coats said.
" Those people are paid on an average of more than $21.00 an hour, so those are well paid positions with a comprehensive insurance package, 401-k match. So, we do like to think we take care of our employees well," said Tomaszewski, who believes as many as four new manufacturing positions could be created from the furnace conversion.
Phase One of the project should be complete by the end of 2012.
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