LAFAYETTE, Ind (WLFI) - Eli Lilly is known for supporting various communityorganizations and events, but what about the company that isacquiring the Tippecanoe Labs?
WLFI-TV traveled to Mobile, Alabama to learn more aboutEvonik.
Greater Lafayette Commerce ranks Eli Lilly as the area's seventhlargest manufacturer. About 700 people work there, and willcontinue to be employed when a new company takes the reins by theend of the year.
Evonik employs a similar number of people in the Mobile area.Troy Wayman is the Vice President of Economic Development with theMobile Area Chamber of Commerce.
"Mobile has had a long history of ship building and aerospaceand the chemical industry. That is because of our location with theport on the water," said Wayman.
According to Evonik, its annual payroll is $45 million. Thecompany paid $5.7 million in local and state taxes over the lastthree years.
"Evonik is a major employer, not just number of jobs, but a highwage employer and a major contributor to our economy," said StevePerry, Executive Director of the FORUM. The FORUM is anorganization of the major industries located in southwestAlabama.
The Mobile Area Chamber ranks Evonik as its the fifth largestmanufacturer.
Mayor Sam Jones said the company is also responsible forbringing in other companies to this area.
"We just recruited Thyseen Krupp is the largest economicdevelopment project in the United States," said Jones. "Some peoplefrom Evonik and Degussa were instrumental in communicating withThyseen Krupp."
Jones said the company has received tax breaks in the past.
"They have lived up to their promises, and then some," saidJones.
Tom Bates is the President of Evonik Degussa Corporation andSite Manager in Mobile. He said Evonik wants to be a good communitypartner, as Lilly has been.
In Mobile, Evonik supports a number of schools. At Hollinger'sIsland elementary, the company provided grants for a butterflygarden, playground, and supplies.
"There's never enough public funding to do all we need to do,"said Principal Shirley Thompson. "We rely heavily on our partnersin education."
The school has about 400 students. Evonik has been Hollinger'sIsland Schools
"Partner in Education School" since 1984. "Their support extendsbeyond financial support. Employees donate their time to read tothe kindergarten students under the Rolling Readers Program," saidThompson.
Evonik's financial support for education in the Mobile area isaround $45,000 each year.
Evonik helps sponsor the local BEST robotics competition.
"This is an investment by industry to ensure they have aworkforce and to ensure these students get excited about scienceand technology," said Director Robin Fenton.
Since 2007, Evonik has donated $10,000 to BEST in Mobile.
Evonik was a founding member of the Exploreum, a hands onscience education center. A wing of the building is named after thecompany. The Exploreum has more than 150 interactive exhibitsand an IMAX theatre.
"Each year we have 200,000 to 250,000 school kids come in here,"said Assistant Director Caroline Etherton. "Of that, 50,000 areschool children and they come from a three state area."
Evonik donates approximately $44,000 annually to support civicactivities like the Exploreum.
United Way director Angelo Miller said Evonik employees areimportant contributors to the organization's $5 million dollarcampaign.
"Average corporate employee giving is $140,000 a year, you cancount on them for that."
In 2008, Evonik Degussa Corporation donated $5,000 to the MobileSymphony. It also donated $5,000 to the Mobile Opera last year tohelp fund educational programs for students.
Tom Bates said decisions on what community projects will besupported will be made at the local level. For now, the priorityfor this new facility will be supplying Lilly and marketing theexcess capacity to other companies.
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