Saturday, August 29 2009
City of Evansville
One N.W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Evansville, Indiana 47708
Office of the Mayor
August 28, 2009 Contact: Audra Levy
For Immediate Release Communications Director
City of Evansville Forms Rapid Response Team
To Address Whirlpool Announcement
(EVANSVILLE, IN) – The City of Evansville, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana and the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, have formed a rapid response team to assist employees who will be effected by the closure of Whirlpool Corporation’s Evansville, IN manufacturing facility. The team will also work to retain the Product Development Center currently located in Evansville, which serves as the North American center for all refrigeration technology within Whirlpool.
“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the hard-working men and women who have to cope with what this decision will mean to their lives and the lives of their families. This is devastating news for them,” said Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “I want to assure the workers and their families that our team will be working with Whirlpool, the State and the Federal Government over the coming months to help them through this difficult transition.”
The rapid response team will immediately assemble all of the resources at its disposal to support employees as they work through the closure process. The team will also put together a competitive proposal to keep the Product Development Center and its jobs here in Evansville, and identify reuse opportunities and potential partners for redevelopment of the Whirlpool facility.
“Whirlpool Corporation has been a valued partner in our community for more than 50 years,” said Matt Meadors, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana. “Even though the Company has assured us that there was nothing that the City or the State could have done to prevent this morning’s announcement, we need to do whatever is possible to retain the remaining pieces of Whirlpool’s footprint in our City.”
The Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, which acts as the umbrella economic development organization for Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties, will take the lead on crafting a competitive proposal to keep Whirlpool’s Product Development Center in Evansville. “As difficult as the impact of the closure of Whirlpool’s manufacturing facility will be, we must also focus on how to retain the 300 technical jobs associated with the Product Development Center,” said Greg Wathen, President and CEO of the Coalition. “In spite of this morning’s announcement, the Evansville economy is still strong. We are confident that, with the State’s help, we’ll be able to keep the Product Development Center here and continue to attract new business and industry to the area.”
# # #