WAPAKONETA — The year 2019 has been good for Wapakoneta: Pratt Industries recently opened its papermill, the first of two manufacturing facilities the Australian company is building in Wapakoneta that are expected to create 300 jobs in a town of 10,000.
President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a historic visit to Wapakoneta in September to commemorate the papermill’s grand opening.
And the town marked the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, a tribute to Wapakoneta native Neil Armstrong which drew thousands of tourists.
The Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council met Wednesday to celebrate these milestones during the non-profit group’s annual meeting.
There’s a “sense that things are going well,” said Greg Myers, executive director of WAEDC. “Our downtown is thriving. Our retail sector around the community is expanding. We’ve got great schools. We’ve got great public services. We’re just well positioned for the time and the economy.”
Myers, who is retiring from WAEDC in 2020, hopes Wapakoneta will continue to attract foreign companies now that Auglaize County is a member of the Transatlantic Business Investment Council.
That type of certification, Myers said, signals to European companies that the city is an ideal location for foreign investment.
But as Wapakoneta experiences job growth, the city now faces a housing shortage that may be pushing prospective residents to live elsewhere. And employers are looking for creative ways to attract or retain top talent.
Wapakoneta’s FlexArm recently moved into a new 55,000 square foot campus designed to keep workers engaged, with office and shop staff located in the same building as well as onsite workout and recreational areas.
FlexArm President Nick Kennedy spoke Wednesday, highlighting the company’s new facility and the growth he anticipates within the next several years.
“I wanted to be something you want to show your family members and say, I’m proud of this.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.