CLARK COUNTY —
Pence was among a number of state and local officials, including Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, that were on-hand as Amazon.com Inc. formally announced the grand opening and already planned expansion of its Jeffersonville fulfillment center.
The 1-million-square-foot center opened in mid-October and Amazon is preparing to fill out the remaining third of the space that it has not yet utilized. The expansion will also bring with it “hundreds” of more jobs, said Greg Walsh, general manager of the Jeffersonville fulfillment center.
Mike Roth, vice president of Amazon North American operations, put the size of the fulfillment center in perspective. He said it is the size of more than 25 football fields. Once the expansion is complete, which is expected some time this summer, more employees will be hired.
When the facility opened 900 people were hired at the site and currently there are more than 1,100 employees working at the fulfillment center.
The growth in jobs is what Pence pointed to as the main goal during his term as governor.
“Our administration is focused on making job creation job one,” he said.
He credited local leadership for their role in transitioning the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant into the River Ridge Commerce Center.
“I think we are just on the very beginning of an exciting period of growth at River Ridge,” Pence said. “And our administration and the people of Indiana are ready to continue to partner with this community to grow south central Indiana.”
“What you see Amazon saying here is that they’re willing to invest an enormous amount of money in this area because they believe that the men and women of this area are going to meet the needs,” he said after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
River Ridge Executive Director Jerry Acy echoed the sentiment and said Amazon will help spur future development at River Ridge.
“To date, this is the most significant, signature development here at the commerce center,” he said. “We are developing 6,000 acres of a industrial, commercial dynamo of job creation for, not only Clark County and the region, but also for the state of Indiana.”
Acy added that of that 6,000 acres only 6 percent of the property has been developed. Even with the minimal percentage of development in the commerce center, 5,000 people are employed there.
“This is just the beginning and we’ll have many more days like today,” he said.
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore pointed to the impact River Ridge has had on the city.
“Jeffersonville has become the destination point for business,” he said. “In the community, state, nationally, it’s all going on right here. The tip of the ice berg has been touched. There’s so much more to come.”
For a more in-depth story about the fulfillment center and a peek inside the facility, check out the Friday, Jan. 31 edition of the News and Tribune.