A new program is open to the state’s manufacturers.

Indiana Chamber of Commerce announced its new Indiana’s Best Places to Work in Manufacturing early this month.

Hoosier companies have until late July to enroll in the program.

All participating employers will receive a feedback report that includes the results of an employee survey. It is intended to identify strengths and weaknesses.

The highest performing companies will be named to the “best places to work” list, which is intended to be used as a recruitment tool.

“With Indiana being the most manufacturing intensive state in the country, we want to focus on that industry and honor those employers who are going above and beyond to support their workers, which helps build strong communities,” said Indiana Chamber president and CEO Kevin Brinegar in a press release.

Geesaman joins

Emily Geesaman, a Portland native, has been hired as associate product engineer for Chore-Time.

Geesaman, who now lives in Warsaw, will focus on product design and development for the company, which is a provider of complete end-to-end systems for poultry and egg production. She will be responsible for helping identify market needs and attending product installations, meetings and trade shows.

She recently graduated from the University of Toledo with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

OVG makes hew hire

Ohio Valley Gas recently announced the hiring of Gregory Roach as its new chief financial officer.

Roach joins OVG after spending more than a decade in various senior management roles with American Water. He previously worked in financial planning and analysis leadership in both the natural gas distribution and power generation utility spaces.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and a master’s degree from Butler University.

“We are thrilled to welcome Greg to the Ohio Valley Gas leadership team,” said OVG CEO Scott Williams in a press release. “For nearly 80 years, our company has strived to provide excellence in safety, operating efficiency and customer service. Greg brings significant industry experience that will help OVG achieve our goals.”

Smith Bros. ranked

Smith Brothers of Berne was one of nine Indiana firms to make the top 100 in the 2022 FDMC 300 List, which ranks the largest cabinet, furniture, millwork, store fixture, office/contract, and component producers in North America.

The company appeared at No. 88 on the list with annual sales estimated at about $100 million. It has more than 500 employees.

“Indiana is proud to be ranked as a top producer for so many wood products and to supply a large number of Hoosiers with good paying hardwood manufacturing jobs,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch in a press release. “Wood is a renewable resource and provides a stability and quality to furniture like no other.”

Jasper’s MasterBrand Cabinets was the top Indiana firm on the list at No. 3.

Drive launched

First Financial Bank is holding a local book drive and financial literacy campaign through April 30.

The bank is celebrating National Financial Literacy Month with the events at its Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois locations. They will collect books of any type to donate to local schools, libraries and churches.

“Financial literacy is the foundation for a thriving community and economic stability,” said First Financial chief corporate responsibility officer Roddell McCullough in a press release. “Education is so important that we established it as a key pillar in our ALIVE strategy to help support the needs of low- to moderate-income communities. That’s why we are so proud to work with local organizations in each of our communities to promote literacy, and specifically financial literacy, for everyone.”

I&M partnering

Indiana Michigan Power on Friday announced that it is partnering with Red-tail Land Conservancy to continue the environmental restoration of Reber Woods.

The organizations will work together to restore a former farm field that separates two strips of forest at the site, located at 4800 N. Morrison Road, Muncie. The goal is to plant a blend of native grasses and wildflowers to create a natural corridor for wildlife that also supports local and migratory animals with food, water and shelter.

“When Red-tail reached out to see how we could help bridge the gap of these two forests, we were happy to help support a seed mix for the field that allowed for the continued safe operation of the power infrastructure and continued restoration of the habitat,” said Jennifer Walker, environmental specialist consultant with I&M, in a press release.