Hastings is a vibrant, prosperous community which has a strong, diversified economy and dedicated workforce. Although Adams County has primarily an agricultural economic base, Hastings hosts one of the strongest manufacturing economic sectors found in any county in the State of Nebraska. Approximately 20% of the Adams County workforce is employed by our 83 different manufacturers including satellite operations of four Fortune 500 Companies. In addition to the Adams County workforce, over 2,000 people commute from surrounding counties to work in the Hastings/Adams County area.
In 1973, business executives organized the Hastings Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) to stimulate growth in local industry, new industry, agri-business and retail. In the past 33 years HEDC has been involved in the creation of over 3,500 new jobs with a combined capital investment of over $550 million. Along with the support of the City of Hastings, Adams County, Hastings Utilities, Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and the State of Nebraska, Hastings economy has experienced excellent growth.
The term Gasohol (a 10% blend of ethanol and gasoline) was coined by University of Nebraska professor William Scheller in 1971. Ethanol has recently become the strongest contender for an alternative fuel for the free world. Hastings built the first commercial ethanol plant in Nebraska, and now with two ethanol production plants, Hastings/Adams County produces over 120 million gallons, leading the State in ethanol production and further strengthening our agricultural base.
Hastings Industrial Park West was developed by HEDC in 1976 and is home to 14 manufacturing and related businesses employing over 1,350 people. Hastings Utilities serves Park West with all their utility needs and offers some of the lowest cost electrical energy in the nation. A 70-megawatt coal fired generating facility came on line in 1981. Hastings Utilities, managed by staff and a board of public works and serving at the direction of the Hastings Mayor and City Council, has been selected to construct and then manage a new 220-megawatt plant adjacent to the existing plant for a consortium of Nebraska communities and electrical companies.
The list of well-known manufacturers who have located in Hastings turns heads: Thermo King, Armour Eckrich, Dutton Lainson (world's largest winch manufacturer), Gibraltar Packaging and Eaton Corporation. Hastings supports 83 manufacturers throughout the community and in three industrial parks that surround the city. Many of the sites on Industrial Park East's 8,000 acres are available, making this a great value for companies seeking railroad transportation service for their heavy industrial needs. Industrial Park West, located where U.S. highways 6, 34 and 281 intersect, currently has only 5.5 acres remaining, but the adjacent 179 acres have been made available for development. HEDC and private investors have constructed seven speculative buildings ranging from 10,000 to 155,000 square feet. Industrial Park North offer direct access to Interstate 80, 13 miles north of Hastings.
Nebraska is a right-to-work state and offers a number of distinct advantages for business and industry to prosper: central location, major road systems, extremely low electric rates, unmatched educational opportunities in Hastings College and Central Community College, and the work ethic of its people.
Charles Hermes, President of Dutton-Lainson Company, doing business in Hastings for the past 120 years, exclaims, "Hastings has always been a positive, progressive city, with an exceptional labor force. Our dedicated, productive employees have been the primary reason for the success of our company. We firmly believe that Hastings is an ideal location for any expanding business. We see a bright future ahead for our company and know that the basic ingredients for success are here in Hastings for other firms as well."
Tim Singley, Thermo King, says, "Thermo King has been a part of Hastings since 1981 and one key difference between our Hastings operation and others around the county is simple-the people. Our employees are ready to work, highly motivated and always willing to learn new skills. The attitude of the Hastings community has contributed to Thermo King's success in this city. We go to work every day with an outstanding industrial-community bond that helps people and businesses grow and prosper."
Jason Smith, Eaton Corporation, (our newest Fortune 500 Company), says, "It is not uncommon for some employees to travel over 40 miles to work every day. Our employees have brought us to a high level of production and quality, while responding to change and time constraints. Hastings has done everything it could to help us succeed. When you have the strong support of a community with these resources, success is virtually guaranteed."
Gale Beirow, a 50-year Hastings employer says, "The bottom line is, the work force in Hastings is fantastic. Our process has improved, in large part, by people doing their jobs and taking a look around to see what we could do better. Their suggestions have taken our business in new directions and opened new areas for us. Our products are shipped all over the world, and our employees take great pride in that. If "Made in USA" means something, "Made in Hastings" means even more. I've seen it over and over -the work ethic and corresponding quality are one of a kind."
And finally, Dick Hinrichs, president of Gibraltar Packaging says, "We feel it's the superior work ethic of Gibraltar Packaging Group's people that allows us to be successful. You will not find people more dedicated to their jobs than those in the Hastings area. It is the collective efforts of Gibraltar Packaging Group's team members that have enabled us to maintain ISO 9001 Certified status since 1996, and to achieve an American Institute of Banking Superior Rating since 2002. This commitment is demonstrated time and again, as our customers often comment on the enthusiasm and dedication they witness when visiting our facilities."