Part of ORBIS’ interest in Urbana for its location comes from its proximity to major highways, but Ash said he also loves the spirit of the community.
“People make things happen here, and they work to overcome challenges,” Ash said.
The pandemic has been challenging for manufacturers, given supply chain issues and many companies experiencing short staffing. Ash said he does not anticipate “significant labor challenges” for the Urbana location.
Although 46 new employees will be brought to the company in phases over the next three years, the plant expansion brings the opportunity to further grow Urbana’s ORBIS workforce, Ash said.
More than $350,000 of the project will go toward improving the site’s portion of the Indiana and Ohio Railway System. ORBIS was awarded a $100,000 grant by the Ohio Rail Development Commission.
Urbana has a strong presence of manufacturers, with companies like Rittal Corporation and Colepak located minutes away from ORBIS.
ORBIS is among the top employers in Champaign County, according to Ebert.
Champaign County Economic Partnership Director Richard Ebert said the employer base has a domino effect on development in the area. Work opportunities encourage people to take root in the area, and others create new amenities and necessities: coffee shops, housing projects and more.
The expansion “encourages people to come here, work here, live here,” he said.
Urbana Mayor Bill Bean said the expansion was a “long road traveled,” with many partners putting forth effort in the process.
Manufacturing, Bean said, is among the most important businesses in the city, and ORBIS has played a key role in keeping money in the city.
“People go out and spend their hard-earned dollars here in Urbana,” Bean said. “And I think manufacturing like ORBIS makes us what I call a community and not a city. It’s a place to live, a place to play and a place to raise your children.”
ORBIS is a part of the Menasha Corporation, which is headquartered in Wisconsin. The company employs more than 3,000 people overall with locations throughout the country and in Europe.