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Manhattan Mechanical Services' new facility in East Chicago

New facility puts Manhattan Mechanical on the map in East Chicago

Contributed By:The 411 News

Builder of piping products for heavy industrial operations will bring new job opportunities

On June 5, Mike Uremovich, President of Manhattan Mechanical Services and East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland stood on vacant land at 3450 Michigan Avenue to break ground for Manhattan's new facility.

Fast forward exactly five months later to November 5, Uremovich and Copeland were cutting the ribbon for the grand opening. The 20,000 sq.ft. facility will hold a fabrication shop, training center and corporate offices.

Manhattan Mechanical, based in Manhattan, IL, builds and maintains piping products for heavy industrial operations in oil refineries, chemical plants, steel and paper mills. They employ welders and pipefitters to manufacture, install, and maintain piping systems for their customers in East Chicago, BP and Citgo.

Uremovich said he made the move to Indiana because of its business friendly environment. "It's tough to be a businessman in Illinois. They're pushing people out of Illinois; you're welcoming us to Indiana. Taxes are low. Mayor Copeland hooked us up with the economic development people and Indiana offered us incentives. We will be a good corporate citizen; we plan to create jobs here. "

"These are not low paying jobs. For entry level we'll start them off at $16 an hour," Uremovich said. "In 90 days they'll earn $19 an hour." After going through Manhattan's apprentice training program for 4 years, they'll make over $100,000 a year.

Mayor Copeland likes the promise of jobs for East Chicago and region residents. "I couldn't have asked for a better person to partner with." For the mayor, those good paying jobs are part of the city's vision to increase incomes for its residents and “marry” them with the city’s housing program that provides incentives to become a homeowner. "The City of East Chicago can't just be the biggest employer in the area," the mayor said.

The city has a workforce ready to take those jobs. Mayor Copeland said East Chicago has a farm system like the baseball clubs with work, driving and substance use records already vetted. "They come in part-time and then they move to full-time jobs when there are openings. I asked Mike to take as many as he could."

Manhattan Mechanical's Training Manager Mike Lazone led a pipefitting demonstration for the grand opening. Pipes come into the fabrication shop as raw materials that have to be cut to the desired length and proper beveling for joints and other fittings. Lazone said pipefitters and welders work together as a team.

Some Manhattan Mechanical's employees are embedded in the oil refineries. Lazone said a group of 40 of their people go to work every day at the BP or Citgo oil refineries.

With Lazone were two mechanics, Whitney Wardlow and Elizabeth Hutchings. Wardlow got her welding training at Joliet Community College. "I started at community college not knowing what I wanted to do. I bounced from major to major and landed in welding. It was something I always wanted to try and I'm glad I did."

Hutchings is a steam mechanic. "I gravitated toward this because my family is in home construction. I've been around this since I was a child."

Manhattan Mechanical opens for business Monday.

Mike Lazone, (l-r) Elizabeth Hutchings, and Whitney Wardlow

Story Posted:11/06/2020

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