South Bend – Elkhart Business Innovation Series


The Feature Series

This new feature series highlights companies in the South Bend – Elkhart region representing a variety of industries that have experienced growth, emerged stronger and are doing well despite COVID-19. A showcase of resiliency, exploring how nine companies prevailed through the pandemic adapting an innovative approach ensuring future success.

Follow the stories as they unfold on our social media platforms, website, and more!


When the pandemic hit in 2020, C&S Machine Products was on a steady path of growth, with established plans for increasing technology and advanced equipment, relying upon a strong, highly trained team of dedicated individuals to get the job done. COVID-19 introduced unpredictable production schedules and a decline in orders from key commercial customers, not to mention all the other challenges of dealing with a pandemic.

C&S Machine not only met these challenges but thrived and grew during this year of unprecedented global challenge. The company finished 2020 in a profitable position, with a machinist staff that has increased by 20%, and increases in sales today are trending even higher than would have been anticipated based on pre-pandemic conditions. Vice President of Sales Brandon Slisher credits this success to the people, their commitment and intentions, and the company’s emphasis on building a great team. Deliberate investments in innovation and in training opportunities—investments in people and processes—are the drivers that helped C&S successfully navigate the pandemic. Read the full article.


Pre-pandemic, 2020 was off to a strong start for Chase Plastics. In fact, the first quarter of 2020 was the best quarter ever, since the company’s founding in 1992. However, for Chase Plastics, as for many other businesses, the second quarter was a different story. It was a tough quarter, and for only the second time in company history, some layoffs were necessary. Despite the challenges of 2020, by year end Chase Plastics was thriving and growing.

Ranked among the top 10 engineering plastics distributors in North America, Chase Plastics has its home office in southeastern Michigan, and maintains a strong local presence with a primary warehouse and distribution center in South Bend. During the pandemic, as Chase Plastics saw increasing product demand, the South Bend warehouse played a key role in the company’s success. Read the full article.


Bamar Plastics, located in South Bend, is a family-owned custom injection molding company with a reputation for quality. Founded by Barry Lee in 1978, Lee’s daughter, Heather Meixel, has been leading Bamar as its CEO and President since 2016. With a passionate and dedicated staff, including many who have been with the company for decades, Bamar Plastics entered 2020 with a successful production process in place, and strong customer relationships across multiple industries. As Covid entered the picture, Meixel and her team faced the pandemic as just another new problem to be solved together.

As a supplier of medical components, with a customer base of roughly 70% automotive and 20% medical, Bamar was considered an essential business and was able to remain in operation. Read the full article.


ITAMCO is widely known as a premier advanced manufacturing and technology firm serving a range of industries from oil, gas, and heavy construction to military and defense organizations, offering capabilities in robotics, additive manufacturing, blockchain, and other areas. With facilities in Plymouth and Argos, the company’s core business is centered on the precision manufacturing of gears of all sizes, up to more than 12 feet in diameter.

The Engineering Services branch of ITAMCO works collaboratively with universities and other groups on projects that advance manufacturing across the board, and over the years, the company has created multiple startups including Atlas 3D and SIMBA Chain. Read the full article.


If you’ve attended a music festival, outdoor wedding or large-scale event, you may have personal experience using a mobile handwashing station or luxury restroom trailer made by Ameri-Can Engineering of Argos. Versions of these trailers can be found on TV and movie production sets, a variety of construction sites, and in disaster relief situations.

Ameri-Can also makes emergency shower units and decontamination trailers for special purposes. Read the full article.