J.W. Hicks, Inc., with locations in both Knox and Merrillville, has announced plans to proceed with two expansions in Knox while continuing the operation in Merrillville. The company has been in Knox since 1998 and these expansions will mark the third and fourth such expansions since the plant has been in Knox.
J.W. Hicks is a manufacturer of specialty refractory shapes for the primary metals industry. Primary product lines include flow control refractories (valves for molten steel or “slide gates”), refractory precast shapes for the full range of high temperature industrial uses, and refractory lances for treatment of both iron and steel.
“The final piece came down when the State of Indiana offered money to assist in training people to work at the facility,” said Starke County Economic Development Director, Charlie Weaver, of the expansion. “J.W. Hicks does things you just don’t find people doing off the street. They’re one of the few left in the United States, with their slide gates, they’re the only manufacturer left in the United States so they’re competing with people in Germany, China and Japan. We’re really pleased about that and that’s a huge thing for Hicks to get that money.”
In all the two expansion phases could land 30 new jobs to the area. The City of Knox has authorized tax abatements of 10 years on the real estate expansions and 5 years on the new manufacturing equipment to be located there.