PLAINFIELD, Ind. — Some of the biggest names in football may soon be wearing helmets made in Indiana. Major equipment manufacturer Certor Sports is moving production to the Indy area.
“Great sports town where you would want to be. You got the NCAA here. You got pro teams here,” detailed Certor Sports CEO Jim Heidenreich. “We want to be where there is a vibrant labor market, and obviously Indy fits that bill.”
Certor Sports makes roughly 300,000 football helmets a year. Players like Russell Wilson and Derek Carr wear their models in the NFL. The company has numerous brands including household helmet names like Schutt and Vicis. Heidenreich says their helmet designs rank one, two, and three in the NFL’s safety testing protocols.
“Materials have come a long way. The design has come a long way, and it’s all about how you can reduce concussions,” said Heidenreich. “We are hiring right now. If you want to see what you do all day on Friday Night Lights or the NFL on Sunday, then this is the place to come.”
The company is opening a manufacturing facility in Plainfield that will employ about 300 workers. They expect more than 250 of those positions to be new hires. They are looking for production workers, painters, and customer service staff. Numerous sectors of Indiana’s economy have been struggling with hiring woes, but an economics expert we spoke with says manufacturing jobs should be easier to fill.
“Manufacturing should do well on this. Indiana is still down about 43,000 factory jobs from its peak in winter of 2019,” explained Ball State economics professor Mike Hicks. “There are anywhere between 5.6 and 6 million Americans who aren’t working today that would be working if we did not have COVID. The bulk of those are women, so a consequence of child challenges that have to do with COVID. [That may be] finding daycare or potential school closings.”
The company makes equipment for other sports as well. This includes all of the bases used in Major League games, including the World Series that is going on right now.