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How the "trademark of trust" earned Jefferson County $54 million in investments

By Sneha Choudhary
-    Feb 29, 2024
Credit : GMI Post

Jefferson County in Illinois has outperformed several counties in Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee in terms of attracting investments.

In June 2023, Jefferson County secured a commitment from Manner Polymers, a leading U.S. PVC manufacturer, for a $54 million state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, the company’s first investment in southern Illinois.

Jefferson County Development Corp. Executive Director Tony Iriti

In an interview with GMI POST, Jefferson County Development Corp. Executive Director Tony Iriti explained the county’s winning formula.

“In my experience, when companies decide to invest in a region, they consider comfort, trust, and accessibility, so that whenever they need anything, the right person to contact is just a phone call away. This is what Jefferson County provides to its partners,” said Iriti.

Drawing from his previous experience as a former mayor of Findlay in Ohio and later the head of its economic development organization, Iriti advocates a “trademark of trust” approach. As mayor, he led trade missions to Japan to strengthen the city’s network and secure new business.

“When a foreign company is interested in our region, our first instinct is to invite them in person and make them meet our experts who will understand the company’s requirements and help formulate the best solutions to fulfill them. That is also when we answer all their questions. This approach goes a long way in establishing trust and confidence from both sides,” Iriti explained.

However, for Iriti, economic development is not just about shaking hands and sealing deals. He ensures that Jefferson County understands the significance of aligning with industry trends, particularly in the area of clean energy.

“Developing the region’s infrastructure to suit the investor’s needs is equally important,” he said.

In line with Illinois’ priority to develop opportunities in clean energy, Jefferson County is building its renewable energy infrastructure. A testament to that commitment, Manner Polymers’ facility will be completely powered by the local 15-acre solar field.

“Our objective is to build the lowest cost, highest quality, and the most environmentally sustainable flexible PVC compounding plant in the world,” Manner Polymers CEO Raj Bhargava said.

By fostering trust, embracing sustainability, and developing the right infrastructure, Jefferson County has become an attractive location for prospective investors who want to secure their success in the heart of America.

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