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Aug 25, 2017By Andy Ober, Assistant Managing Editor
ANDERSON - Anderson leaders say the growing Purdue Polytechnic Institute continues to pay dividends. Officials have cut the ribbon on the new $15 million Flagship East facility, which Mayor Tom Broderick says keeps the city "at the forefront of innovation." Also today, Switzerland-based energy storage technology company Leclanché officially opened a new research and manufacturing facility at the center. The company makes products ranging from vehicle charging stations to grid storage system technology.
In interviews with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Broderick and Leclanché Chief Operating Officer Thom Reddington say the center and the company are helping diversify Anderson's economy.
Broderick says Anderson learned its lesson from the most recent recession "not to put all of our eggs in one basket." He says that's why it is important to work with the city's manufacturers and educational institutions, including Purdue, Anderson University and Ivy Tech Community College, to make sure Anderson's work force is trained on cutting-edge technologies.
Leclanché's 10,000 square-foot facility also features testing and manufacturing space, offices and a customer demonstration area. The company was founded in 1909 and has energy storage projects around the world, including an electric vehicle fast-charging station network along the Trans-Canada Highway and battery storage technology for what it says is the world's fastest air support ferry in Europe. It also has grid storage systems near Chicago and Toronto.
Reddington says he chose to help grow Leclanché in Anderson because of his strong ties to the city.
"What satisfies me is to bring jobs back to the area," says Reddington. "I worked in China for Delphi, I worked in Europe, I worked in Mexico, I've done all that. I'm trying to bring jobs back here to where I live and where I'm from."
The Purdue Polytechnic Institute in Anderson is owned and operated by Flagship Enterprise center. Chief Executive Officer Charles Staley says the project is a "seamless partnership of academic, business, and government resources." Construction began on the center began in September 2015. It has been open to students since January.
The center is located at the former General Motors Delco Remy Plant 3 site.