Neapco Expansion Is a Win for Economic Development In Nebraska

neapco-detroit-plantIt’s been a big year for automotive manufacturer and supplier Neapco: We profiled them on our blog in March, they changed leadership with a new CEO appointment in April, and this month, they cut the ribbon on their newest expansion in Beatrice. Just last week they celebrated an addition of 13,000 square feet in the northeast corner of their factory in Industrial Park, an addition that means the company will now be able to accommodate 65 people.

The new space will primarily be used as office space to smooth operations for the manufacturing company. “Neapco has expanded manufacturing five times in our 34-year history in Beatrice,” general manager JC Stiles told the Beatrice Daily Sun. “This is our first major expansion in support of the office. We’ve continued to add more discipline, resulting in our offices being scattered about in five different areas, with the longest point being ¼ mile between offices.”

This expansion comes on the heels of a new CEO appointment in April 2015, when Ken Hopkins was appointed to bring new leadership to one of the fastest-growing automotive suppliers in the world. In September 2012, Neapco was named 16th fastest growing private U.S. manufacturer by Inc. Magazine, and was recognized for a growth rate of more than 400% during 2008-2011. (Yes, when the entire country was experiencing an economic recession, Neapco continued to grow.)

Even if you haven’t heard of Neapco until now, chances are high that you’re more familiar with their work than you might think. They originally began operations in the 1930s, when World War II increased the Navy’s demand for projectiles and pin & block universal joints.

Neapco became one of the first companies to receive the Navy “E” award for excellence, and has been expanding their product line ever since. The company provides prop shafts, half shafts, and more for dozens of award-winning vehicles, including the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Colorado, and UK Car of the Year, the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Although the corporate headquarters are based in Michigan, the company began expanding internationally in 2008, with operations in Poland, Germany, and Shanghai.

So, when Neapco opened their doors for a celebration that included a tour of the building, a tour of the factory, and a barbecue for employees and visitors, it was an exciting day for many reasons. Neapco was the first business to locate in the Beatrice Industrial Park in 1981, and their growth has been extraordinary ever since, thanks to outstanding leadership and Nebraskans’ phenomenal work ethic.

Neapco has also been supported in this expansion by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, Nebraska DED director, told the Beatrice Sun that the “Nebraska Department of Economic Development has been able to play a role in helping Neapco achieve its growth and development goals since 1981 when the company first expanded here in the state. We were pleased to be able to award the city of Beatrice $300,000 from our site and building development fund.”

To learn more about how the Nebraska Department of Economic Development is helping local manufacturers grow, read more here.

Photo credit: Neapco