Photo provided - Pictured is a rendering of what the new building for TekModo’s Three Rivers campus will look like once it’s completed later this year. The new building will be used to manufacture new composites for the transportation industry.

TekModo to expand Three Rivers manufacturing site

Second building expected to be constructed this year

THREE RIVERS — One of the newest manufacturers in Three Rivers will be expanding its operations in Three Rivers in a big way this year.

TekModo, which produces design-engineered composite materials for the transportation industry, will be building a second manufacturing building at its 72-acre Three Rivers campus, with groundbreaking beginning in late February or early March. The new building will be approximately double the size of its current building at the Enterprise Industrial Park south of Three Rivers, which was built a couple of years ago.

“We will be making design-engineered composites for the transportation industry. It's a proprietary composite we will be making that we're not quite ready to share with the public, but it will forever change the transportation industry,” TekModo president and founder Marc LaCounte said.

“It’ll bring advanced manufacturing to Three Rivers and it will offer an opportunity for people to have a clean, safe, comfortable, and very uplifting work environment.”

The new product produced in the new building will be included in the company’s line of composite materials, which include materials for travel trailer floors and sidewalls, bus floors and sidewalls, FedEx and UPS truck roofs, pontoon floors, and more broad-based transportation markets. LaCounte said the new building will be an over $50 million total investment in the city, and is expected to create between 60 and 80 new jobs for the community.

LaCounte said the new building will be part of the growth of the Elkhart-based company’s Three Rivers operations, which could grow to a few more buildings when all is said and done.

“We hope to have somewhere between five to seven buildings within the next five years in Three Rivers,” LaCounte said. “We have our first building done, and our second one, we’re breaking ground in a few short weeks.”

He added the building will be “medically clean” on the inside and “highly automated” with a myriad of robots assisting in production.

The premise for getting a second building to make the new material came because of a recent partnership TekModo made.

“We partnered with a publicly-traded, world class blue-chip company that asked us to develop a very specific new material science that can be used in their product. We did, and they loved it, and so we set up a long-term supply agreement,” LaCounte said. “That’s what we’re catalyzing that business off of.”

The process for getting the new building approved and ready to go took six months, culminating in a site plan approval with the Three Rivers Planning Commission during their Dec. 27, 2021 meeting. LaCounte said he intends to be in the building and fully producing product by January 2023, adding that it will allow the business to do a lot more collaboration with other companies.

“We’re looking forward to increasing our footprint and our ability to create change and an inflection point in the global composites industry,” LaCounte said. “This will allow us to create new relationships with global blue-chip companies, as we can add them to our customer list. It’ll also help us to gain more of a foothold in the automotive industry to be an automotive-tier supplier.”

LaCounte said TekModo is planning on holding interviews for positions in the new building beginning in April. He said equipment will be moving in sometime in August or September, with training begining around that time, as well as helping install the production lines.

“We’d like to bring people in early so that they can be trained properly and they can be part of the installation of the lines so that they’ll be familiar with the equipment that they’re working on and they’ll be familiar with the install.”

Overall, LaCounte said he’s looking forward to the expansion and what it will bring to the community and the industry, and thanked the city for welcoming them in and helping get their Three Rivers operations off the ground.

“We’re really proud to call Three Rivers our home and we are interested in being able to expand our operations,” LaCounte said.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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