Chester Inc Teams with Southlake Automation Groundbreaking on 5,800-Square-Foot Expansion in Merrillville

To meet increasing product demand, Southlake Automation, Inc. proudly teaming with Chester Inc Architectural & Construction Services, broke ground on a 5,800-square-foot expansion to its facility in Merrillville on April 29. This expansion, once completed, will comprise just over a third of the overall size of the building.

Purdue Federal Credit Union partnered with Southlake Automation to bring the necessary financing to project fruition. Southlake Automation President Terence Miller is a Purdue University alumnus, making Purdue Federal an obvious choice as a financial supporter for this project.

“We had a relationship with them already, so we are building that relationship and pursuing their projects,” Purdue Federal Credit Union Assistant Sales Manager Sean Lavelle. “We do a lot of financing with our lower rates, so I think we’re competitive compared to other institutions. Southlake Automation has a lot of Purdue alumni, so having a relationship with Purdue Federal and Purdue alumni built that relationship.”

Miller then looked to find a general contractor for the project that was all-inclusive, leading him to Chester. Tony Hart, a sales engineer at Chester, said Chester was able to quickly conceptualize a vision for Southlake Automation’s expansion and pitch it to Miller. Once Miller approved the plans, Chester got to work.

“We’re putting in a nearly 6,000-square-foot addition on the back,” said Rich Shields, Chester Inc. director of marketing and business development. “We’re excited about the project. It’s going to promote more automation for the company and help them run more sustainably and efficiently.”

Hart explained that this expansion will allow Southlake Automation to hire more workers, benefiting the community, and to turn out more products, benefiting the customers.

“The expansion allows them to implement at least three to four new automating lines, doubling their capability, which allows them to then hire more people and bring in new business,” Hart said. “I’m excited to see them grow as a company and grow their business. It’s been a great project, and I’m happy to see so many people out here in support of Southlake Automation.”

Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce President Deann Patena was happy to be one of the individuals present for the groundbreaking as Southlake Automation, Chester, and Purdue Federal are all members of the chamber.

“I love when our members come together and build something new for the community, which helps everyone,” Patena said.

This expansion will be dedicated primarily to housing Southlake Automation’s robots, freeing up the existing space to serve as a control panel building. The front of the existing building will maintain its purpose of housing engineering and programming.

“I’m excited to see that we can take on more projects than we have been able to in the past,” Miller said. “The demand in the market right now is very high, and we needed additional capacity to meet the incoming requests for projects. The expansion is supposed to be completed come the first of July, and we look like we’re poised to move right in and fill that space up.”

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