The city of Knox and the Starke County Economic Development Foundation hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 2 for Wakal Machining.
The machine shop has equipment and supplies for machining. They cut, fabricate and finish products. They also create new parts and repair existing equipment and parts for local and regional clients. Wakal Machining serves the manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, farming and construction industries.
“Our client base is farmers and any business that has a maintenance department,” said owner Bill Wakal, in a press release. “We hope to be able to serve Valparaiso, La Porte, Walkerton, Plymouth, Culver, Winamac and surrounding areas initially, and branch out further into Northern Indiana and beyond as we grow. The nearest machining shop that can provide the service we will offer is an hour and a half away.”
Wakal Machining is a family-owned business. Wakal has worked as a tool and die maker for over 25 years. His wife, Sherry, has a business background. Their son plans to join the business after he graduates from college. They hope to work with the North Central Careers and Technical Education Cooperative through vocational programs at local schools and hire graduates of Ivy Tech’s precision machine program.
“Their long-term plans will also create career opportunities for local students and encourage them to remain in Starke County after they graduate,” said Lisa Dan, executive director of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation. “That is so important to our county as we continue to strengthen our niche as a best-of-both-worlds destination in proximity to Chicago, South Bend and Indianapolis with an affordable cost of living, unmatched natural resources, and friendly and welcoming communities.”
The foundation sold the Wakals the land to build their business. The foundation’s mission is to provide economic development opportunities in Starke County. The SCEDF has helped to develop industrial parks in Knox, Hamlet and North Judson. They also assist in extending infrastructure to the industrial parts and in training the local workforce.
The shop at 205 Kloeckner Drive in the Knox Industrial Park is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.