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Alcoa

Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

Advanced manufacturing providing optimized solutions for improved performance, efficiency and value

Eagle Alloy

Eagle Alloy, Inc. – Part of the Eagle Group of companies - Muskegon, Michigan

Serving a diverse customer base and utilizing lean manufacturing practices; one of the premier steel foundries in the country

Alcoa

Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

A commitment to environmental sustainability; keeping the health and safety of their employees, customers and communities a top priority

Culinary Institute

Muskegon Area First: Helping Local Businesses Flourish

The Culinary Institute of Michigan - Baker College's world-class caliber culinary learning environment

Alcoa

Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan since 1951

Leading producer of complex investment-cast turbine components for the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industries

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Webb Chemical plans job-creating expansion; Muskegon Heights creates rehab district

 

Webb Chemical plans job-creating expansion; Muskegon Heights creates rehab district
Published: Sunday, May 06, 2012, 2:54 PM
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MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI – Webb Chemical, an industrial chemical-mixing and resale business, is expanding its operations and Muskegon Heights city officials are ready to help make it happen.

Webb Chemical, 2708 Jarman, is planning a $4 million expansion over the next four years. Company officials are kicking off that larger goal with a $750,000 phase-one development, featuring a tank farm and other equipment.

Muskegon Heights recently established a new development district that may help spur that large expansion project. City Council members approved a Plant Rehabilitation Industrial Development District, a designation that allows Webb Chemical to seek a tax break for the expansion.

Brad Hilleary, CEO and owner of Webb Chemical, said the expansion project will create additional jobs. The company currently has 68 employees, plus 14 temporary workers. Hilleary said employment has grown by 23 over the last 18 months and he expects employment to grow by 10-15 with the expansion.

Muskegon Area First CEO/President Ed Garner called the expansion project a “good endeavor” and said the company is looking at potentially incentives from local and state government.

The tank farm, part of the first phase, is used to store the large quantities of chemicals that are brought in by rail or tanker truck.

Webb Chemical is a full-service chemical distributor in the Great Lakes area.

Webb Chemical has storage capacity of over 120,000 gallons of organic and inorganic chemicals. Its facility features more than 80,000 square feet of warehouse storage for liquid and dry chemicals.

Eric Gaertner covers government, politics and the outdoors. He can be reached via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Follow him on Twitter @EricGaertner1.

   

Aero Foil International receives city of Muskegon tax abatements for expansion

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 8:25 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 8:27 PM

Dave Alexander | 
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MUSKEGON, MI – A home-grown machine shop continues growing with the industrial property tax abatement support of the city of Muskegon.

AFILogo.jpg

Air Foil International Inc. Tuesday received two separate tax abatements for equipment purchases for its AFI Machining and AFI Hole Drill operations at 1929 Port City Blvd.

The $1.7 million investment will create four jobs but the company has plans to expand its current workforce of 34 to 75 or 80 in the next three to five years, according to Jim Kutches – son of AFI President Steve Kutches.

The company was founded in 2004 to serve the machining needs of the makers of jet engines and land-based gas turbines. The company was before the Muskegon City Commission in 2009 at the height of the Great Recession for tax abatements on a $1.8 million investment that created six jobs.

The current request, approved unanimously by commissioners Tuesday, was for a six-year, 50 percent tax abatement on $1.1 million in personal property for AFI Machining. AFI Hole Drill received a six-year, 50 percent tax abatement for personal property valued at $599,800.

The company will realize annual tax savings over the course of the year estimated at $19,260. The local taxing units will still receive an estimated $14,260 annually in new taxes, according to city officials. The four jobs will generate another $640 in new city income taxes, they said.

The company has historically done work for Alcoa Howmet Castings in Whitehall, makers of turbine blades and vanes for jet engines for the aerospace industry. AFI also has had contracts with turbine engine makers General Electric, Rolls Royce, Siemens and Pratt & Whitney, company officials have said.

AFI has been a member of the state tool and die low-tax “renaissance zone,” receiving assistance that has led to its expansions, Steve Kutches has said. The Muskegon Tooling Alliance of Western Michigan is a group of seven area industrial companies which have banded together to support each other’s business and gain the low-tax benefits of the state RenZone.

   

College student job-seekers check out Muskegon and Grand Haven

Published: Friday, April 13, 2012, 4:48 PM Updated: Friday, April 13, 2012, 4:52 PM

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MUSKEGON, MI – Western Michigan University master of business administration students Jerry Juergens and Joanna Randazzo are intrigued by West Michigan’s Lakeshore communities.Both were on the state of Michigan’s “college student tour” of Muskegon and Grand Haven on Friday, as more than 30 Lakeshore employers had a job fair for young, skilled workers looking for jobs.


The idea for the students and job seekers was to find a company and a position that was a good fit in a community from which they could launch their careers. Student participants were recruited from Michigan universities.


For economic developers and community promoters in Grand Haven and Muskegon, the Pure Michigan Talent Connect event allowed local companies to find new, skilled talent to fill current and future job openings.


“It’s all about talent,” said Ed Garner, president of Muskegon Area First – the local economic development agency. “These folks here are the bright minds of our future. We want them to know about the opportunities in their own back yard.”


The event through the Michigan Economic Development Corp. that brought nearly 100 job seekers to town was not all about filling jobs but exciting young talent workers of the future about Muskegon and Grand Haven.


The tourism promotion agencies in Muskegon and Grand Haven gave a tour of downtown Muskegon, Pere Marquette Beach and downtown Grand Haven. The community familiarization tour began with lunch at the Lake House in Muskegon and ended with a reception at the Kirby Grill in Grand Haven.


“The live and play component of this event is important,” said Nancy Manglos, training services manager for The Chamber in Grand Haven. “We want to show what we have along the Lakeshore. We need to show the whole package to these folks – live, work and play.”


Many of the out-of-town students visiting Muskegon and Grand Haven Friday left with an initial favorable impression of the Lakeshore communities.


“It’s very pretty here,” Juergens said of the Muskegon Lake setting of the Grand Valley State University energy center where the companies and the job seekers mingled.


Juergens is from Elmore, Ohio, and has a business degree from Bowling Green University. After his master’s in business administration degree is completed next spring, he said he is looking for a job as a change management consultant.


The job will eventually dictate where he starts his career, Juergens said. But if given a choice, he said he is looking for a medium-sized community somewhere in between his rural Ohio home and a large metro area. A town like Muskegon or Kalamazoo would be a comfortable place to begin his business career, he said.


Randazzo said when looking for a community in which to settle, activities, events and people her age would be important factors. From Atlanta, she has a business management degree from the University of Georgia and after receiving her MBA from Western Michigan University next year she’d like to pursue a career in small business development or non-profit agency management.


“I think I’d like this location,” Randazzo said. “Living near the beach would be good.”


The companies that participated in the Pure Michigan Talent Connect included Light Corp. and Media One of Grand Haven; Mercy Health, and ADAC Plastics of Muskegon; and MasterTag and Alcoa Howmet of Whitehall. All participating companies had immediate openings or specific new hires in the next six months, Gardner said.


ADAC Plastics has a major manufacturing operation in Muskegon, making painting and assembling parts for the automotive industry. The Grand Rapids-based company has a major paint line expansion with a need from 50 to 130 new employees through 2013, according to company Vice President Peter Hungerford.


“We sometimes have a difficult time finding the right talent and with our expansion we need to get our name out there,” Hungerford said of needing everything from production workers to engineers and business managers. “A university degree is not always necessary but certified technical skills are. We need people with math, statistics and problem-solving skills.”


The job fair was set up with specific rooms for initial job interviews as several companies were sitting down and talking to the job seekers. Gardner said one highly-sought applicant was offered two jobs before the afternoon session was concluded.


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The Port City Group to expand in Muskegon as auto parts manufacturer continues to grow

Published: Friday, April 13, 2012, 1:12 PM Updated: Friday, April 13, 2012, 1:17 PM

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MUSKEGON, MI – The Port City Group has quietly been an economic development engine helping bring the Muskegon area back from the depths of the recession.

6059883595_c4f45f5a41_b.jpgMelter operator Carl Welburn works in the Port City Group's foundry operations in its Port City Casting Corporation division.

The predominantly auto parts manufacturer with operations in the cities of Muskegon and Norton Shores is in the expansion mode. The Muskegon Planning Commission this week unanimously approved a site plan for a nearly $500,000 warehouse expansion at 2325 Sheridan in the city’s Port City Industrial Park.

The addition of 13,849-square-feet will lead to 15 new jobs and support the company’s new work producing engine parts for the Subaru Motors assembly plant in Lafayette, Ind., according to plant manager Shawn Norwood. The expansion is to the company’s Muskegon Casting Corporation division.

The new industrial addition to the Port City Group operations will be constructed by Hughes Builders of Muskegon. The new building will connect two existing industrial buildings of 35,300 and 12,500 square feet respectively, city planning officials said.

“We have been seeing a strong comeback in the industrial sector over the past year,” said Ed Garner, president of Muskegon Area First – the local economic development agency. “That growth is continuing this year.”

The Port City Group is one of those Muskegon-area manufacturers which was stung by the Great Recession but held on through the lean years of 2008 and 2009 to come back strong. The company received federal loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural development division during a time when traditional financing was not available.

The company joins the likes of Eagle Alloy, GE Aviation and Anderson Global among others leading the Muskegon County industrial economy today.

“They are doing extremely well right now,” Garner said. “They are back to full employment from before the recession and they are in the hiring mode.”

Garner said that Port City Group’s resurgence testifies to the turnaround in the domestic auto industry, not only in the Detroit Three but also in the foreign automakers’ operations in North America such as Subaru.

6059875669_f55e09938b_b.jpgThis is an automated precision robotic machining operation at Port City Group's Port City Castings Corporation that manufactures high-pressure aluminum die-castings, mostly for the automotive industry.

The Port City Group has other expansion plans in the works, Garner said. The company is in line to share in the new $100 million economic and community development fund set up by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. under Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, Garner said.

An expected grant or loan award to Port City Group is pending before the state’s Strategic Fund Board to support ongoing training and equipment upgrades, Garner said. The state assistance would go toward a new company initiative outside of its core automobile business, Garner said.

Port City Group President John Essex was unavailable to speak about his company’s future developments.

Garner said that the Port City Group is expected to seek industrial tax abatements for its expansion plans but have not applied for those property tax incentives with the city yet.

The Port City Group is historically an aluminum die cast manufacturer, but has grown to include seven separate companies in the Muskegon area. The group also has capabilities in zinc die casting, mechanical assemblies, machining, plastic injection molding, tooling and prototyping. The company also has the ability to produce stainless steel and titanium parts for the medical device industry, according to the company’s website.

The most recent employment statistics from Muskegon Area First showed the Port City Group had nearly 500 workers, making it the fifth largest manufacturer in Muskegon County and the 10th largest employer overall.

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Whitehall wins chance to be featured on TV program of best places to live

 

Whitehall wins chance to be featured on TV program of best places to live

 

Published: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 1:05 PM Updated: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 1:18 PM    
Megan Hart | 
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 </script> By Megan Hart | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it The Muskegon Chronicle
M0521COLBYSTREET.JPG    Kendra Stanley-Mills | MLive.comWhitehall is one of the best places in America to live, work and play, at least according to one TV program. This file photo shows downtown Whitehall on Colby Street in 2011.

 

Whitehall was chosen for a TV program highlighting the best places to live, work and play, City Manager Scott Huebler confirmed Thursday afternoon.Kendra Stanley-Mills | MLive.comWhitehall is one of the best places in America to live, work and play, at least according to one TV program. This file photo shows downtown Whitehall on Colby Street in 2011.

Huebler said he hadn't received details about when a film crew might arrive, and the city attorney will still have to look over a contract before the city commits to the project.

Whitehall was named as a
finalist for a "discover America" segment on Viewpoints, a program hosted by sports announcer and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw.

If the contract is in order, Bradshaw and a film crew will come to put together a five-minute segment to air once on the Discovery Channel and be shown at least in part 19 times on CNN, Huebler said.

A producer who interviewed Whitehall Mayor Mac Hatch earlier this week estimated $19,800 in costs to the city, to prove it is committed to working with the film crew, Huebler said. He said he expects that money would be offset by increased tourism from people who see the segment.


 

 
   

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