The footprint of Cummins engine company in downtown Columbus is about to expand once more. A Tuesday announcement promised 350 new jobs within 18 months.
Cummins will purchase the First Financial Bank branch across Jackson Street from its headquarters to make room for the new employees. In turn, First Financial CEO Claude Davis says his company will build a new eco-friendly branch elsewhere downtown, with employees from both companies sharing the space until First Financial can move. Governor Mitch Daniels attended the announcement, touting the engine manufacturer for keeping an eye towards advancement.
“Today is a day when I can see Indiana’s future as clearly as on any day I’ve experienced,” Daniels said. “The continued strength of traditional companies like this which are not afraid of the world, don’t shrink from the world, don’t whine and ask to be protected from the world, but know that they can compete successfully with anybody anywhere and prove it.”
Columbus City Councilman George Dutro thanked Cummins, which also has facilities in towns such as Seymour and Jamestown, New York, for keeping its investment close to the company’s Bartholomew County headquarters.
“We value our partnership, we thank you for your commitment to Columbus, we thank you for your investment in Columbus and we thank you for believing in Columbus,” he said.
Cummins is still filling the last office building it constructed in Columbus, but expects to outgrow that facility in the first quarter of next year — about the same time the First Financial space becomes available. At the height of the recession in early 2009, Cummins had laid off as many as 1,000 workers and has slowly grown its employment ever since.