Here you will find news, press releases and announcements in the business community.
MASON COUNTY GROWTH ALLIANCE OPENS UNCOMMON SPACES PLACEMAKING GRANT – Link to Grant Application
MASON COUNTY, MI. —The Mason County Growth Alliance, with support from the local business community, announced on Monday that it will be accepting proposals for the spring round of funding for the Uncommon Spaces Placemaking Grant Program. The Growth Alliance will award up to $5,000 to support community-driven placemaking projects in Mason County. This grant is intended to support projects which capitalized on Mason County’s assets, inspiration, and potential, contributing to the area’s unique “sense of place” for residents, businesses, and visitors.
Last years’ grant was awarded to the City of Ludington to support the West End Revitalization Project, which will transform the west end of Ludington Avenue into a pedestrian plaza with access to Lake Michigan. Unlike last year, this years’ program will be divided into two funding rounds: one in the spring and one in the fall. Each round will award up to $5,000 to support placemaking projects.
The Uncommon Spaces Placemaking Grant aims to keep creativity, culture, and community ever-present in the public realm, and aims to support community and economic development strategies as outlined by the Mason County Growth Alliance. “Economic development is inherently linked to community development” says Spence Riggs, Executive Director of the Growth Alliance. “The quality of life and vibrancy of our community directly impacts the ability of our industry to attract and retain talent. We were happy to support Ludington’s West End Project, and look forward to participating in other exciting projects in the years to come.”
The Growth Alliance will be accepting grant proposals through Friday, April 6. The grant is open to all municipalities, businesses, and community organizations in Mason County. Click here to download the application or call 231-845-6646.
ProAct Services to Invest $18.6 Million, Create 30 Jobs in Pere Marquette Charter Township
LANSING, Mich. – ProAct Services Corporation is expanding in Pere Marquette Charter Township (Ludington) with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The expansion is expected to generate $18.6 million in investment and create 30 jobs.
“ProAct Services’ expansion here rather than another state means good jobs for Michigan residents and underscores the strength of the state’s manufacturing talent,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF. “This investment in Michigan offers further evidence our commitment to helping companies grow and generate new jobs for our residents.”
ProAct Services Corporation with offices across the United States, specializes in providing innovative air and water treatment solutions customized to meet specific environmental issues. The company has authorized West Michigan contractor a.j. Veneklasen, Inc. to begin construction of its new national headquarters in Pere Marquette Charter Township, investing a total of approximately $18.6 million and creating 30 jobs over the next three years.
As a result, ProAct has been awarded a $225,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The Ludington-area site was recently chosen over a competing location in Houston. Pere Marquette Charter Township has offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatement. Michigan Works! Central is assisting the company with talent recruitment.
“ProAct Services Corporation was started in 1994 in downtown Ludington. We started as ‘two men and a phone’ and have always felt the warm support of the Ludington community. Now we have grown to 170 people with operations across the United States. In our new expansion, we are building a headquarters and manufacturing facility in the 1st Street Industrial Park and with the help of MEDC we continue to remain in Ludington, Michigan,” said ProAct Founder and CEO Frank Smiddy. “Thanks to the community and all the ProAct employees for making this possible! We look forward to several more years of success in the Ludington community.”
The Mason County Growth Alliance is providing staff time and resources in support of the project. Individuals interested in careers with ProAct should visit https://proact-usa.com/careers/.
“ProAct is a great company that offers quality jobs, and we are excited that they decided to locate their headquarters in Pere Marquette Township,” said Mason County Growth Alliance Executive Director Spence Riggs. “We are pleased with the support offered by the MEDC and the township, which played a critical role in bringing this investment to our community.”
On Nov. 16, MEDC announced MSF support for the House of Flavors, Inc. expansion project in Ludington. The popular downtown landmark is upgrading its equipment and expanding its facility. The project is expected to create 30 jobs, resulting in a $240,000 MBDP performance-based grant.
House of Flavors Expanding in Ludington, Creating 30 Jobs
LANSING, Mich. – House of Flavors is expanding in Ludington with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The expansion is expected to create 30 jobs.
“House of Flavors plays a vital role in Michigan’s agriculture market, providing jobs and supporting local agriculture businesses,” said Jeff Mason CEO of MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF.
“We’re pleased to support this longstanding Michigan company as it expands in Ludington and continues to elevate the profile and profitability of our state’s dairy industry,” Mason said.
House of Flavors, Inc. has been a popular landmark in downtown Ludington for nearly a century. Since starting in the early 1900s as a full-service dairy operation, the company has evolved into one of the largest private label packaged ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers in the country and the largest in the state of Michigan.
The company has invested $30 million in its manufacturing facility to keep up with customer demand, product trends and neighborhood changes; however, new pollution laws have been put in place and the company needs to contribute $1.5 million toward an upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment plant in order to continue to operate at its current capacity. The project is expected to create 30 jobs. As a result, the company has been awarded a $240,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
“We’re thankful for the support and encouragement from MEDC, MDARD, MCGA and the local community. Investment decisions often come down to an either-or choice, saying yes to one investment may mean saying no to another,” said House of Flavors President Whit Gallagher. “With this outpouring of support, we can continue to make investments that grow our capabilities to meet new value added customer opportunities while at the same time contribute to upgrades to the city’s waste water treatment plant that have a direct impact on the environment. Ludington is a great place to make ice cream and we can’t think of a better place to grow our business.”
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is supporting the project with a $100,000 Food and Agriculture Investment Program performance-based grant. This grant will help House of Flavors make critical upgrades in equipment, which will expand production capacity and meet consumer demand. HOF’s plan is to remove a single-serve hardening system and replace it with a spiral hardening system that can handle a variety of packages that are higher in demand by consumers.
“This is the first project to move forward through our new Food and Agriculture Investment Fund, and it’s the perfect example of why this fund was created,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams. “House of Flavors is a significant employer in that area, and this project will not only help them keep up with industry trends and maintain those jobs, but also bring in new customers and create even more full-time employment opportunities for residents. I’m very proud of the work MDARD’s Agriculture Development team did on this project, and we’re looking forward to supporting more projects like this.”
Mason County Growth Alliance has offered staff time and resources in support of the project. For information on careers with House of Flavors, visit http://www.houseofflavors.com/in-use-careers/.
“House of Flavors plays a significant role in the Ludington area,” said Spence Riggs, executive director with the Mason County Growth Alliance. “Not only are they one of the area’s largest employers, but they are also an active participant in many community development initiatives, not to mention the countless tourist they draw to the community every year. The Growth Alliance is happy to support the continued success of House of Flavors in Ludington.”
According to MDARD and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Michigan ranked sixth in milk production in the U.S. in 2016. Dairy cows in Michigan produced 10.9 billion pounds of milk. Michigan’s nearly 1,700 dairy farms, with more than 427,000 cows, produce more than enough milk to supply the entire state. Surplus milk is exported to help meet demand in other states.
PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — Whitehall Industries will receive a tax break on the costs of expanding its current factory in the Pere Marquette Township Industrial Park and for building a new factory there — and the township will still receive about $1.33 million in new tax revenue from the improvements over the next 12 years.
The tax abatement unanimously granted to Whitehall by the Pere Marquette Township Board of Trustees Tuesday night will also save the company a matching $1.33 million over 12 years.
“We’re really excited to have this abatement to continue our business in this area,” Mike Wegener, director of manufacturing and engineering, said following Tuesday’s 6-0 vote.
Ken Rocco, who currently serves as a business advisor to Whitehall, said the tax break is playing a major role in keeping the company’s headquarters and most of its jobs in Mason County.
Lansing, MI- UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries Inc., established in 1974 as Whitehall Industries, is a leadingmanufacturer of extruded aluminum components for automotive structural, sunroof and other newdesign applications including electric vehicles. The company is a subsidiary of UAJC Group, a globalaluminum group based in Tokyo. Due to increased demand, Whitehall is in need of additional extrusionand fabrication capacity. The company plans to expand its existing facility and construct a new, 110,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Pere Marquette Charter Township (Mason County). The project isexpected to generate total private investment of more than $28.8 million and create 128 jobs withinthree years. As a result, the company has been awarded a $640,000 Michigan Business DevelopmentProgram performance-based grant that will help offset recruiting and training costs. Michigan waschosen over a competing site in Kentucky. Pere Marquette Charter Township has offered support to theproject in the form of potential property tax abatements. Michigan Works! West Central is alsosupporting the project with $140,000 in training funds. Individuals interested in working for UACJWhitehall should send their resumes to HR@uwh.uacjgroup.com.“Although we have expanded to Mexico and Kentucky in recent years, Ludington remains ourheadquarters and where the majority of our technical resources are based,” said UACJ AutomotiveWhitehall President and Chief Operating Officer David Cooper. “The Ludington workforce is veryexperienced and highly productive. This, coupled with the generous incentives offered by the State ofMichigan and Pere Marquette Township, made Ludington the best option for our expansion.”
Mason County, MI –Connect Michigan applauds the efforts of Mason County, Michigan, for achieving
certification under Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program. Today, ConnectMichigan presented Mason County’s certification and its Technology Action Plan before the MasonCounty Growth Alliance. The release of this plan follows months of extensive analysis of thecommunity’s broadband and technology standing and understanding its technology goals. TheTechnology Action Plan gives step-by-step action items to ensure Mason County reaches thosetechnology goals.