Avery Dennison is sticking to success


Have you received a package at your front door recently? Enjoyed a bottle of water? Cracked open a jar of pasta sauce? There’s a good chance the adhesive labels on those products came from one of Hancock County’s biggest businesses.

Avery Dennison in Greenfield, Indiana employs about 450 workers and is completing an expansion that will bring its size to about 650,000 square feet. It’s the company’s biggest plant in North America.

Hancock Economic Development Council representatives meet with Avery Dennison officials on September 21st, 2023 at the company’s plant in Greenfield, Indiana.

The facility produces various label materials made up of a label face, adhesive, and liner. Avery Dennison supplies its label products to a wide variety of customers, who print on them before applying them to their lotion bottles, laundry detergent jugs, and scores of other goods.

Inside the facility is filled with machines spanning hundreds of feet long capable of running material through at a rate of 3,000 feet per minute. Automatically guided vehicles haul rolls of material weighing thousands of pounds.

A display case in Avery Dennison’s Greenfield offices exhibits some of the products that use the company’s label materials.

Avery Dennison started with a 151,000-square-foot facility in Greenfield before expanding throughout its nearly 30 years in the city. The local plant is also engaged in community impact projects that benefit area nonprofit organizations.

Manufacturing Talent Pipeline & Education Roundtable coming up

WorkOne and Ivy Tech are partnering to conduct the first Hancock Co. Manufacturing Talent Pipeline & Education Roundtable! Short presentations will be provided by the Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship, Ivy Tech, and WorkOne. They’ll be followed by an open discussion with the employers in attendance to discuss their needs and ideas for collaboration. Please register here if you will be attending.

New workforce initiatives launch locally in healthcare, education


The mission behind a new initiative from Hancock Health may seem unexpected, at least at first blush.

“We’re here to send business away from the hospital,” Dr. Michael Fletcher, SVP Employer Strategies, recently told a room full of human resources and related leaders from across Hancock County. “We’re here to decrease the demand for services. Where there is a need, we want that to come to Hancock Health, but our job is to help people be healthier so they do not need the expensive things that we provide.”

He was describing Hancock Well-Being @ Work, a program that connects employers to the essential health services employees need while offering a range of additional benefits customizable for companies.

It was one of several topics discussed at the Hancock Economic Development Council’s HR Group Lunch & Learn at the Thrive Center in late August. The event, which drew about 25 attendees, also featured a new initiative at Eastern Hancock schools that fosters partnerships with employers.

New rules of engagement

Fletcher emphasized the importance of engagement when it comes to healthcare. Without it, challenges arise in hiring, employee retention, and maintaining a happy workforce. A lack of engagement also drives increases in absenteeism, decreases in productivity and more money spent on healthcare.

But the scenario improves, Fletcher continued, by having a health system partner with goals aligned with those of business owners and human resources leaders, that understands engagement, has wellness capabilities, and is local, focused, innovative and kind.

That’s where Well-Being @ Work comes in.

“Opportunity in our county hinges on the ability to have that healthy, productive workforce,” said Joel Hungate, Director of Hancock Well-Being and Employer Strategy. “Wellbeing is reducing the total cost of care. It draws people in, it gives you a better story to tell to attract and retain talent, it creates more opportunity for our county in total.”

Dr. Michael Fletcher, SVP Employer Strategies for Hancock Health, speaks at a Hancock Economic Development Council HR Group Lunch & Learn at the Thrive Center on August 30th, 2023.

Total cost of care is a burning topic throughout the healthcare industry, Fletcher also noted.

“Hospitals are front and center when it comes to the cost of healthcare,” he said. “It’s expensive to run a hospital, and charges reflect that.”

Hancock Health opened Gateway Hancock Health a few years ago at I-70 and Mt. Comfort Road separately from the hospital so that services can be charged for less.

“We’re creating access at the system level to lower-cost, higher-quality care, because we know that’s what the future of healthcare is,” Hungate said. “It’s not a black box where the healthcare system is this antagonist to your bottom line every year where people go to spend lots and lots of money. The future of health is stakeholders engaged like we are today.”

Bolstering Hancock Health’s offerings are its three medically certified wellness centers and four direct primary care clinics. The wellness centers have 13,800 members and draw over 500,000 visits annually.

“We can move the needle on biometrics, we can move the needle on that total cost of care in extraordinary ways focusing on integrating, enculturating, creating access to physical activity, nutrition, and healthcare education,” Hungate said. “It’s what we do every single day in the wellness center setting, with high levels of engagement.”

Joel Hungate, Director of Hancock Well-Being and Employer Strategy for Hancock Health, speaks at a Hancock Economic Development Council HR Group Lunch & Learn at the Thrive Center on August 30th, 2023.

Fletcher, Hungate and their team are eager to learn more about what companies are spending money on when it comes to healthcare and how Hancock Health’s solutions can help, whether it’s direct contracting for services or corporate agreements for wellness centers.

“If we do this right, and we listen, we recreate the kind of partnership that we’re talking about here – we can build a solution tailored to whatever you need,” Hungate said. “And it’s not just ‘hop on the carousel, here’s the big blanket that’s going to cover everything for everybody.’ Our job is to understand what those needs are, what those pain points are; and we’re agile enough, local enough and innovative enough to build a solution that meets those needs in a very flexible fashion, in a very cost-effective fashion without sacrificing the quality of care that you’ve come to expect.”

Check out the slide deck from Fletcher and Hungate’s presentation on Hancock Well-Being @ Work

Pursuing partnerships

Libby Manship, president of Greenfield-based Manship Consulting LLC, recently became a Career Coach Liaison at Eastern Hancock schools thanks to a grant through the Community Foundation of Hancock County from the East Central Indiana Education Coalition. Her mission is to grow partnerships between the school corporation and employers, prioritize career exploration and preparedness for Eastern Hancock students, and help develop a pipeline of talent that employers can build upon for the future.

Those efforts have led to the launch of a new program allowing students to learn about career opportunities, experience real world environments from professionals within the community, and apply what they’re learning in the classroom directly into the workplace.

The initiative has also started introducing teacher exploration opportunities by sending teachers into workplaces, where they can gain experience before bringing it back to their classrooms and applying it through examples.

Manship is eager to work with employers to engage in career opportunities for students, including visiting classrooms and focused after-school activity groups, providing tours of workplaces, offering interactive experiences, and ultimately placing students into internships.

An employer engagement roundtable has resulted from the efforts as well.

Check out the slide deck from Manship’s presentation

Explore ways to partner with Eastern Hancock schools and students to advance and support your organization by taking this quick survey

An upcoming Eastern Hancock C.A.F.E. meeting invites community leaders to learn more about the exciting opportunities in Eastern Hancock Schools on September 28, 2023 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Thrive Center, 971 W. U.S. 40, Greenfield. RSVP here.

The luncheon winded down both chronologically and mentally thanks to Meghann Holmes, a Health Coach with Hancock Health, who walked attendees through yoga exercises that can easily be done from a desk as a way to relax and manage stress throughout the workday.

The Hancock Economic Development Council aims to host HR Group Lunch & Learn events quarterly. If you are interested in attending or presenting, please contact HEDC Project Manager Connie Schmidt at cschmidt@hancockedc.com or HEDC Communications Director Mitchell Kirk at mkirk@hancockedc.com.

NineStar Connect developing building in McCordsville’s new downtown


Other users anticipated to join utility co-op in McCord Square facility

McCORDSVILLE – NineStar Connect is developing a building that will house offices for the nonprofit utility cooperative and make space available for other uses in the new downtown district underway in McCordsville.

The project bolsters NineStar Connect’s presence in one of its fastest growing service areas, continues its commitment to a locale it has served since its beginnings, and NineStar will not depend upon rate increases to fund the project.

The building is coming to McCord Square, an expansive town center planned at the southeast corner of Broadway and Mt. Comfort Road in McCordsville. At three stories spanning a total of about 34,600 square feet, the building will stand at the southeast corner of Mt. Comfort Road and Second Street, anchoring the south end of the entrance to McCord Square’s gateway.

NineStar Connect will primarily occupy the building’s first floor, with remaining public and commercial space completing the first level as well as much of the second and third floors. The co-op has a community center at its headquarters in Greenfield, and looks forward to offering something similar at its new McCordsville location. A large stair-step community and gathering space will stretch from the first floor to the second, with a small catering kitchen also available. Plenty of glass will span across the north face of the community space, allowing in natural light and providing a view of what will be Main Street running through McCord Square.

NineStar Connect’s presence in the building will initially consist of customer service operations and a 24/7/365 support center. About 15 to 20 NineStar Connect employees will serve customer needs from this location.

Ground-breaking is anticipated in late 2023/early 2024, with initial occupancy in the first quarter of 2025.

While NineStar Connect has an office in McCordsville, it is much smaller and the new building will allow the co-op to better meet the needs of members in the quickly expanding area. By some estimates, the greater McCordsville/Fortville area could have a total population of nearly 100,000 people by 2050. NineStar is focused on being able to serve those future members of the cooperative by creating a facility that has sufficient room to allow it to grow its presence in the community as the community grows.

“The growing McCordsville and Fortville communities provide an excellent opportunity for NineStar Connect to expand our exposure and presence to NineStar members in this area,” said Steve Vail, a member of NineStar Connect’s Board of Directors. “The board of directors are excited about supporting McCordsville and its development of a new downtown McCord Square. This building allows us to do that while also better serving our members and customers in that rapidly growing area of our service territory.”

Fellow director and board chairman Ray Kerkhof agreed.

“McCordsville is going through a rapid transformation with its expanding growth and new town square,” Kerkhof said. “The Board has elected to pursue the McCordsville project to meet that growth and the needs of our current and future members in the McCordsville/Fortville/Fishers area. It is our hope that the project will serve our members and the entire community for many decades into the future.”

Tim Gropp, McCordsville Town Manager, as well as Larry Longman, Vice President of Town Council and liaison to the Redevelopment Commission, welcome the project.

“McCord Square is the result of over a decade of planning and represents the future of McCordsville,” Longman said. “Having NineStar invest as an anchor at the entrance of this new downtown reinforces the Town’s vision and sets a high standard for future development to follow. NineStar has been and will continue to be a wonderful community partner and we look forward to growing the community together.”

Central Indiana Communications, Inc. (“CICI”) is a for-profit subsidiary NineStar Connect established decades ago to make investments that support the co-op and its members without impacting rates for the utility’s services. For example, CICI has brought cable and satellite television to unincorporated areas of NineStar’s service territory and paid for prior building expansions to avoid impacting current ratepayers who would otherwise have to bear those expenses. CICI will buy the land and fund the construction of the building. Because NineStar believes in growing the tax base of the community, it does not intend to seek tax abatements for the project.

For Andy Hine, the project represents a return to his roots. The 1983 Mt. Vernon High School graduate is an architect with arcDESIGN working with NineStar Connect on the development.

“This project means a lot to our company and to me personally — to complete a highly relevant, ground-up building in my home county,” Hine said. “They are ensuring that this building will be a permanent fixture in McCordsville’s new downtown and a part of our community for the long term.”

He added NineStar Connect’s building will be a great addition to McCord Square.

“NineStar is making a commitment to long-lasting construction and materials,” he said. “This building will be an asset that serves the members of the co-op and the community for many years to come.”

Garmong Construction is the lead contractor and project manager for the building.

The plans hark back to NineStar Connect’s beginnings, when in 1895 McCordsville resident Loren Helms strung a wire across a fence from his sister’s house to their mother’s house and installed the first telephones in town. Other neighbors soon joined the line, and the McCordsville Telephone Company was born. That company went on to be part of what became NineStar Connect in 2011.

Struggling with manufacturing challenges?

Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) can help. Purdue MEP provides high-value, affordable solutions to help businesses increase profitability. As advocates for Indiana’s thousands of manufacturers, Purdue MEP staff leverages resources in both the public and private sectors to help identify areas of improvement, streamline processes, and ultimately increase competitiveness. Purdue MEP offers consulting, training and workforce development in the following areas:

Additive Manufacturing
Advanced Manufacturing (Lean) Practitioner I Certificate
Advanced Manufacturing (Lean) Practitioner II Certificate
Collaborative Robotics
Electrical Fundamentals And Safety
Employee Attraction and Retention Overview
Industrial Maintenance
Leadership Offerings
Leadership S4S Frontline
Leadership S4S Manager
Lean Implementation Certification
Lean Offerings
Manufacturing S4S with Results 2023
MEP All Services
MEP Services 1 page Summary
MEP Solutions and Impact Info Sheet
Quality Management Services

Interested in learning more about how Purdue MEP can help your business? Contact Sharon Ohman, Senior Industry Advisor, Central-East Indiana for Purdue MEP at 765-496-6499 or sohman@purdue.edu; or Hancock Economic Development Council Communications Director Mitchell Kirk at mkirk@hancockedc.com or 317-477-7241.

Opportunities available to help food pantry with move to bigger space

An organization that feeds 800 Hancock County families every month is in need of some help of its own.

The Hancock County Food Pantry currently rents about 4,000 square feet at 741 S. State St. in Greenfield. In early July, the organization purchased its very first building to call home and will relocate to the former K&R Tool Shed property at 2040 W. Main St. in Greenfield. The 7,200-square-foot building will provide much needed space with improved infrastructure required to serve clients. However, first the organization will need to complete some significant remodeling and updating to maintain food and volunteer safety.

The Hancock County Food Pantry has outgrown its current location.

Since starting in a small closet at Faith United Methodist Church in 1993, the Hancock County Food Pantry has moved several times before settling into the State Street rented location in 2009. The pantry has served the community for the last 30 years by providing grocery items to those in need. Clients may visit the pantry two times each month and receive about $150 to $175 of food on each visit. The pantry is a 100% volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization and is funded solely by the generous support of the community. Eighty to 100 volunteers serve each week, and it takes more than 800 volunteer hours per month to serve all the clients. The pantry currently serves 800 households each month – a record number. Inflation has caused many new families to visit the pantry and the organization is grateful to have the means to serve them. In addition to serving hundreds of families each month at its location, the pantry also stocks Greenfield-Central and Eastern Hancock school pantries and provides weekend meals for their school children in need, and also collaborates and shares food surpluses with other local organizations.

Read the Hancock County Food Pantry’s 2022 Year End Review Report

The Hancock County Food Pantry will relocate to the former K&R Tool Shed property at 2040 W. Main St. in Greenfield.

The remodel will cost about $481,000 and the pantry hopes to move into the new building by Christmas this year. While the organization is confident the community will stand behind it as it continues its mission “to secure and distribute food to the needy in an effort to alleviate hunger in Hancock County,” help is needed. Construction costs are at an all time high, the pantry is serving record numbers of clients, and food prices have significantly increased. While the pantry has cash reserves for ongoing normal operating expenses, bills for the remodeling begin accumulating in August 2023.

Here’s how to help support the capital campaign for the new-and-improved pantry:

  • Send check or cash donations to P.O. Box 244, Greenfield, IN 46140. Make checks payable to: Hancock County Food Pantry
  • Donate a one-time or recurring gift online at hancockcountyfoodpantry.com (online donations incur a 3% transaction fee to the pantry)
  • Donate shares of stock through the pantry’s Edward Jones account. For details, contact president@hancockcountyfoodpantry.com
  • Suggest any other foundations or organizations to approach for funding
  • Connect with the pantry on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

All donations are tax-deductible.

Hancock County Food Pantry Board Member Liz Rusche, left, speaks with Hancock Economic Development Council Project Manager Connie Schmidt at the pantry’s future location at 2040 W. Main St. in Greenfield.

The remodel will include:

  • Open-sided canopy for serving clients
  • New HVAC, roof, garage doors, signage
  • New walk-in cooler/freezer to store food
  • Electrical upgrade for entire building
  • Parking lot repair/resurfacing
  • New paint for walls, trim, doors, windows
  • 2 new ADA-compliant restrooms

Architectural drawings for the remodel planned at the pantry’s future location.

The remodel will:

  • Expand storage capability for food
  • Improve client experience and traffic flow
  • Provide a functional, safe, and climate-controlled environment for volunteers
  • Create a building ready for the next generation of clients and volunteers

The pantry is working with Mills General Contractors, Inc. to help bring its vision to life.

The Hancock County Food Pantry would appreciate opportunities to share its story, or better yet, offer tours of its existing and new buildings. The organization is scheduling tours of its new building (2040 W. Main St., Greenfield) on Friday afternoon from 1-6 p.m. on August 25th and September 8th and would be happy to meet with those interested then or reach out for a time more convenient.

The organization would also be happy to talk with companies about ways in which they can help the pantry and clients it serves.

Contact Liz Rusche at 317-446-6227 or liz.a.rusche@gmail.com to set up a time to talk or to schedule a visit.

New Italian restaurant opens in Greenfield


Take a lifelong love of cooking that developed growing up in an Italian family and mix it with classical culinary training – and you’ve got a recipe for something special.

That’s the concoction behind the new Tuscan Table Ristorante in Greenfield started by Chef Tony Lepore and his wife, Tracey.

“Everything is handmade with passion and love,” Tony said. “I love what I do, and it’s something that I think will show in the end product.”

“It’s really handmade for them,” he continued, referring to his customers. “It’s almost like coming to my house and eating at my house, because I treat you the same way.”

The restaurant is located at 275 Center St. in Greenfield, which formerly housed and is still owned by Photon Automation, a Greenfield-based advanced manufacturer for which Tony also works as a mechanical engineering technician.

Tuscan Table Ristorante is open on Sundays by reservation. The menu on a recent Sunday evening was made up of chicken marsala and lasagna. Both were exquisite. Starters included breadsticks with flavorful marinara sauce, garden salads filled with fresh vegetables, and caprese salad made up of olive oil coating perfectly ripened tomato slices topped with pillowy slabs of mozzarella and basil leaves.

The chicken marsala was sweet and featured superbly cooked chicken with handmade pasta and delectable mushroom slices. The lasagna came in a personal baking dish packed with rich meat, cheese and sauce divided by layers of pasta cooked to perfection.

Tuscan Table Ristorante gets its meats locally from Maxwell Meats in Maxwell just north of Greenfield. Products there are high quality, Tony said, as animals are processed onsite.

“Chicken marsala has three ingredients to it, maybe four ingredients to it,” he noted. “You have to use higher quality ingredients if you have very little ingredients in a dish to begin with, so local sourcing is very important to us as far as the quality. I want to start with the best of the stuff because the way that we do our food is the highest care.”

The cheesecake for dessert was phenomenal. Mellow Italian music played throughout the evening in the dining area, adding to its warm atmosphere and Tuscan culinary decor.

Tony has fond memories growing up in an Italian-American family and his grandmother making fresh pasta on Sundays for big meals.

“When you make Italian food – and even when you look at the different regions in Italy – the best Italian food is food of the grandmothers,” he said.

Opening his restaurant was 20 years coming, ever since enrolling at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale at age 32 to become a chef. That was shortly after he closed his business working on electric motors and pumps and other electromechanical work due to the mounting stress that was negatively affecting his health.

“I had to take some time off to repair myself mentally and physically from the damage the business was putting on me,” Tony said. “Something that I felt was helping me was I’d get in the kitchen and start cooking. And that was beginning to heal me – cooking in the kitchen.”

His romantic partner at the time and office manager for his business pointed out his culinary talent and encouraged him to pursue an education in it. They planned to open a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, but she passed away before they could.

“I had this whole new direction, and the person I was doing it with was gone,” he said. “…That’s why I say opening the restaurant’s been 20 years coming, because the original reason for me to go to college was to learn the right way so I could open a business.”

When selecting ingredients for his dishes, balance is at the front of Tony’s mind.

“For example, each color of pepper hits a different spot on your tongue,” he said. “So I’ll use white, black and red pepper in a recipe that I’m making – and I’m not using the red pepper to make it hot, I’m using the red pepper to hit a different spot on the tongue. There’s a lot of things that I learned in college and continue to educate myself even after college – how ingredients will complement each other, and balance the whole dish across the board.”

Photon Automation learned of Tony’s cooking chops not long after he started working for the company a few years ago. Soon he was preparing meals for employees in the commercial kitchen at the advanced manufacturer’s former building on Center Street. The business moved to a bigger facility at 501 W. New Road in recent years, but held onto the previous property and was happy to provide space for Tuscan Table Ristorante.

The growth of Greenfield and the surrounding area excites Tony as a new restaurateur.

“The clientele that we want to see come and eat our food are the clientele that appreciate food and enjoy good food, and I see a lot of that clientele in the growth of this town,” he said. “Simply put – I want to cook good food for good people, people that want to come out and have an experience, and enjoy something, and try something that they haven’t had before, and get outside their comfort zone.”

To learn more about the restaurant and make reservations, visit tuscantableristorante.com.

The ‘main’ event: NineStar’s latest utility projects are all wet


By Julie Young

In anticipation of a flood of new development taking shape throughout Hancock County, NineStar Connect is going with the flow to ensure that water infrastructure is in place to meet the demand. With the planned $40 million Education and Innovation Center expected to open at CR 300N and 200W in 2026 as well as a possible I-70 interchange in the area, the time is right to expand utility services and prepare for what’s in store.

“It’s quite a menu of projects,” said Alan Martin, NineStar’s manager for water and wastewater utilities. “We have several things going on all at once that will benefit the county and help us bring a better quality of life to those who work here, live here and spend money here.”

One of those projects, which wrapped up at the end of June is the extension of the water main from the Mount Comfort area to Riley Village and the Heartland resort area where NineStar has a small water treatment facility that could not support more growth.

“I think it is going to turn into a really up and coming area, and our getting the utilities out there and ready to go will be a driving force in the growth that is anticipated.” Martin also said that the Riley Village main extension is going to be a good for Western Hancock County as well.

The second project, which is expected to begin in early 2024, is a sanitary sewer main along CR 200W between The Boulders subdivision near US 40 up to CR 300N. This project has been made possible from a partnership with Hancock County and it is awarding NineStar an ARPA grant to build this sewer main.

In accordance with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) regionalization goals, the co-op will decommission an older wastewater plant  on Sugar Creek north of I-70 and pump flows to NineStar’s new state-of-the-art regional wastewater treatment facility just north of US 40 near Philadelphia.

“IDEM is all about regionalization,” Martin said. “They want the systems that do not have the budget or capacity for growth to merge with the ones that do.”

Another project that is planned is a water main extension that will connect water systems between Gem and Philadelphia where NineStar’s existing water system serves the two areas. Several years ago, NineStar acquired the Philadelphia Waterworks site when the original development fell through during the 2008 recession. The co-op was able to install the water and wastewater infrastructure that allowed Joyner Homes to develop the parcel into a residential neighborhood now known as the Boulders.

“It’s kind of a chicken and egg type of thing,” Martin said. “You need access to utilities before you can build anything on the site and that’s a fine line to walk for our utility cooperative. You have to plan ahead and anticipate the needs so that you can get the proper infrastructure in place, while also being budget conscious.”

That means knowing exactly what kind of development is planned, how feasible the project is and how long the infrastructure will work before major upgrades are required. Having access to water and wastewater infrastructure means significantly mitigating the risk of contamination that can cause health issues. Martin said that most of the unincorporated area of the county is on private residential wells and septic tanks which is a public health concern as the county grows in population.

According to a 2019 ULI Panel Report, Hancock County has been underserved in terms of water and sewer infrastructure, which has had a negative impact on quality development, land value and growth opportunities. When NineStar purchased Gem utilities that same year, the company served approximately 460 water customers in the western Hancock County area. Within four years, the co-op has more than doubled that number and has been quick to expand its water infrastructure if it meant quality development for the county.

“We never would have seen this kind of growth back when we purchased Gem Utilities,” Martin said. “We quickly realized that they were at capacity and would not be able to sustain any growth, which was a detriment for the western part of the county.”

NineStar is currently working on plans for another water treatment plant to support additional growth. “It’s going to be a good-sized plant that will treat 1 million gallons per day to begin with, but can be expanded to 7 million,” he said. “We are always looking for more water and test wells because we don’t want IDEM to come in and tell us that we are over capacity.”

Considering Hancock County is the last donut county in central Indiana to experience a boon from those looking to move out of Indianapolis, Martin said NineStar is excited to embrace the opportunity that is heading east from the Circle City.

“We want to help the county grow smarter,” he said. “Obviously there are those with generational ties to the community who are naturally resistant to change, but this growth is going to be a big benefit for us all.”

New apartment complex opens


Welcome to the neighborhood, Korbyn Creek Apartments! Step inside the new 48-unit apartment complex at 401 E. Osage St. in Greenfield. Keller Development developed the complex, which is made up of 2-bedroom, 1 1/2-bathroom units.

@hancockeconomicWelcome to the neighborhood, Korbyn Creek Apartments!♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Photon Automation, Inc. Expands Operations with New Laser Applications Laboratory in Farmington Hills, Michigan


Greenfield, Indiana – June 19, 2023 – Photon Automation, Inc., a leading provider of automated laser technology solutions since 2000, is pleased to announce the opening of their state-of-the-art laser applications laboratory in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The 7,400-square-foot facility will be led by renowned laser physicist, Dr. Najah George, Ph.D., who brings over 35 years of extensive experience in laser technology.

The new laboratory will serve as a hub for cutting-edge research, development, and testing of laser applications. Equipped with advanced laser systems and best-in-class technology, the facility will offer a wide range of services to cater to the needs of various industries.

Activities at the Farmington Hills laboratory include:

  1. Laser Applications Testing: Photon Automation’s team of experts, under the leadership of Dr. Najah George, will conduct comprehensive laser applications testing to assess feasibility and performance of their clients’ applications.
  2. Prototype Manufacturing and Testing: The facility will provide a dedicated space for the creation and testing of customer prototypes, enabling clients to validate their designs and accelerate their product development process.
  3. Laser Job Shop Services: Photon Automation will offer laser job shop services to meet the manufacturing needs of industries seeking short-run laser processing solutions.
  4. Testing and Diagnostic Services: The laboratory will provide testing and diagnostic services to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of laser processes including metallurgical analysis, and CT scanning.
  5. Laser Education: Dr. Najah George, renowned for his expertise in laser applications, will lead educational initiatives aimed at promoting knowledge sharing and fostering innovation in the field of lasers. A list of classes and schedules will be posted at www.photonautomation.com.

Dr. George’s impressive background includes a Bachelor of Science in Physics, a Master of Science degree in Laser Technology, and a Ph.D. in Solid State Physics. He began his laser journey in 1987 at the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC)/Laser Development and has since gained extensive experience across numerous sectors, including education, research, and industry. Dr. George has extensive global experience working with a laser optics company and was instrumental in developing battery technology for electric vehicles and grid storage projects.

“We are thrilled to open our new laser applications laboratory in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and welcome Dr. Najah George as the leader of this exciting venture,” said William Huffman, CEO of Photon Automation, Inc. “Dr. George’s wealth of experience and international recognition as a laser expert will undoubtedly enhance our capabilities and allow us to better serve our clients across multiple industries.”

Photon Automation’s expansion into Farmington Hills reinforces their commitment to delivering cutting-edge laser solutions and supporting the evolving needs of their customers. The laboratory’s proximity to major industrial hubs, including laser manufacturers, will facilitate collaboration with a diverse range of industries.

About Photon Automation, Inc.: Photon Automation is a leading provider of custom machinery, featuring automated industrial laser solutions specializing in laser welding, cutting, cleaning and marking applications. With a focus on innovation and customer satisfaction, Photon serves a diverse range of industries, including energy storage, medical device, consumer products, communication, automotive, aerospace, and powertrain. Their team of experts combines technical expertise with state-of-the-art equipment to deliver high-quality automated equipment that meet the evolving needs of their clients.

Photon’s operations include a total of 250,000 square feet of space, including applications development laboratories, engineering offices, machine shop and manufacturing space. Photon’s services include design and development of custom automated machines, but also includes application development services, prototype manufacturing and testing, and DFM consulting. The range of systems that Photon produces includes semi-automated stand-alone machines or fixtures to fully automated production lines.

For further information about Photon Automation, Inc. and their laser applications laboratory, please visit www.photonautomation.com or contact: Bill Fletcher, Director of Sales and Marketing, Phone: +1 317-649-0923 Email: bfletcher@photonautomation.com.