By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – The city of Warsaw took another step in supporting the expansion of Wishbone Medical, an orthopedic company specializing in devices for children that is having corporate growing pains.
Council gave final approval to plans for establishing a revolving loan fund for businesses and the appropriation of $150,000 into that will be used to assist Wishbone Medical as it plans to expand and revamp property along US 30 formerly used by SYM Financial and Wright Medical.
“While we have certainly outgrown our main office, it’s a problem we’re glad to have. In our search for more space, we were committed to keeping our corporate headquarters in Warsaw where there is such a diverse pool of industry professionals to draw from,” said Nick Deeter, founder and CEO of Wishbone Medical.
The SYM building provides a central location for the company’s operations, he said.
Deeter introduced some of his corporate team at the council’s meeting, including President and COO Mary Wetzel, Chief Revenue Officer Kevin Blue and President of Spine Division Jodie Heggelund.
“We cannot wait to make the property WishBone’s new home as we begin a new chapter,” Deeter said.
The company plans to hire up to 50 more workers over the next two years.
In addition to local support, which was requested by Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCo), the Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered tax incentives to WishBone.
Wishbone designs, develops and manufactures pediatric implants and instruments. The company is expanding its manufacturing sterile packaging operations with subsidiaries, Red Star Contract Manufacturing in Larwill and Red Star Medical Solutions in Plymouth. The company also has Response Ortho in Instanbul, Turkey, according to a news release issued by the state.
“Indiana’s reputation as the Orthopedic Capital of the World continues to grow, thanks to companies like Wishbone Medical,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger in a prepared statement. “We’re grateful that WishBone Medical is choosing to fuel its growth in Indiana.”
WishBone has worked to establish a niche market for orthopedics for children.
Deeter told the council that while there are 70 companies worldwide that make adult total hips and four companies that manufacture hips for dogs, there is nobody doing so for children.
Deeter said his company is focused on changing that by working with experts on the east coast and west coast.
Wishbone will put the $150,000 in an escrow account and use it to leverage a private loan that will be used to purchase and renovate the old Sym Financial building. The money would be repaid after two years.
The city is making the money available through the Economic Development Income Tax fund and approved a template form for future agreements with other companies.
City Council also amended paperwork for a TIF district to assist Nextremity Solutions, which is constructing its new headquarters in the Warsaw Technology Park along US 30 on the city’s west side.
Nextremity is finishing construction of a shell building that was arranged through a private development firm, West Hill Development, and comes with financial support from the city.
City council joined the redevelopment commission and the plan commission in supporting revisions to the Northern Tax Increment Financing district plan that will allow the city to provide $250,000 to purchase equipment that will be used by Nextremity in its new facility.
The final step in the process will be a final approval in October by the redevelopment commission, according to paperwork made available by the planning department.
Nextremity Solutions will be the newest orthopedic company to join the tech park, which has been anchored by Medtronic for years. Banner Medical opened operations in the park nearly four years ago. City officials are already thinking about supporting another shell building that will be made available to the private sector.
City Plan Director Jeremy Skinner, addressing the Nextremity proposal, pointed to the fact that longterm plans are coming to fruition while relying on money generated through TIF districts.
“Having (Nextremity Solutions) in our technology park is pretty extraordinary because that’s why we created the technology park – specifically (for) companies like Nextremity and especially companies that are in production and patenting of new products,” Skinner said.
The city has invested about $5 million in infrastructure for the park and that’s helped spur about $50 million in assessed valuation in recent years.
The amount of investment compared to the growth the park is seeing “is pretty gratifying,” Skinner said.