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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 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 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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Another ADAC Auto expansion shows the strength of Muskegon County's industrial sector


MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon community leaders and economic developers are starting to repeat themselves: Muskegon County’s manufacturing sector is alive and well.

That message was driven home again Wednesday, Sept. 18 as the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced a $7.9 million expansion at ADAC Automotive in the city of Muskegon’s Port City Industrial Park that will create an estimated 97 new jobs.

The Grand Rapids-based auto parts supplier already opened an $18 million new paint line at its Muskegon facilities in July, creating an additional 130 jobs over two years. ADAC will become Muskegon County’s second-largest industrial employer, already having 766 working in two city of Muskegon facilities today.

“I am thrilled to be able to support another expansion at ADAC and having it come on the heels of the $18 million paint line that opened earlier this summer,” said Muskegon Mayor Steve Gawron, who shared a ceremonial podium with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at an ADAC event in July. “This is a real win for the city and its citizens. This is a premiere manufacturer and this expansion solidifies our positive relationships with ADAC and the business community as a whole.”

Just in the city’s Port City Industrial Park, GE Aviation, Aero Foil International, Fleet Engineers, SAF Holland, and the Port City Group are in expansion and hiring modes, Garner said. Muskegon Area First is working with Tower Laboratories in Montague, the newly created American Glass Co. in Norton Shores and Erdman Machine in Whitehall on future expansion projects, he said.

“There are a good core of industrial players in this community,” Garner said, pointing to the county’s manufacturing leader Alcoa Howmet with approximately 2,000 employees in its Whitehall operations that serve the aerospace industry. The Eagle Alloy group headquartered in Egelston Township also has helped lift Muskegon out the economic decline.

RELATED: ADAC Automotive continues expansion in Muskegon with new $7.9 milllion investment and 97 new jobs

Muskegon County has fought through the Great Recession of 2008 as the recovery has brought the community to the same level of industrial employment as there was before the economic downturn.

The county currently has 13,000 manufacturing jobs as of July, up 400 compared to July 2012. Muskegon County had 12,800 manufacturing jobs in 2007, but dipped to a recession-low of 10,000 workers in 2009, according to Michigan labor statistics.

ADAC Auto has done its part bringing the local economy out of the depths of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of 1929. The company’s Muskegon operations mainly make door handle assemblies for the Detroit Three – Ford, Chrysler and General Motors – along with Honda and Nissan, according to company General Counsel John Shape.

The latest expansion announced through the MEDC will create another 50,000 square feet of industrial space and upgrade older paint lines in Muskegon, Shape said.  The MEDC granted the company a $650,000 Michigan Business Development Program incentive grant, state officials said.

Specifically, ADAC has received a long-term contract to make a particular part for a popular line of trucks, Shape said, unable to discuss the specific manufacturer or truck line. The new building planned by ADAC in Muskegon will house that work with the molding, assembly and painting of the parts, he said.

ADAC had looked at producing the new line of parts – the company’s single-largest contract in history – outside of the United States, but the Michigan incentive package was a key factor keeping the work in Muskegon, Shape said. The city of Muskegon will be asked to give the company an industrial property tax abatement, state officials said.

“We had a decision to make to look at other sites near our customers,” Shape said of what state officials indicate were potential locations in Mexico. “The incentive tipped the balance for us to stay in Michigan. We like Muskegon.”

In the end, the company decided to supply its out-of-country automotive plant customers from its Muskegon facilities, Garner said.

“ADAC continues to be a leader in their market segment,” Garner said. “They are a dominating force. This expansion helps the company position itself for current and future needs.”

ADAC is like many other currently successful manufacturing companies in Muskegon: It was able to ride out the recession and, in ADAC’s case, survived the complete overhaul of the North American automotive sector.

“Right now in automotive, there are still plenty of challenges but we are meeting them,” Shape said of ADAC.

Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen said that citizens in the Muskegon area longer see huge industrial companies of past generations such as Sealed Power, Brunswick, S.D. Warren and Campbell, Wyant and Cannon but the current crop of leading industrial companies are no less important.

“Too many people in town do not understand that manufacturing is alive and well along the Muskegon Lakeshore,” Larsen said in pushing the current theme. “Our manufacturers employ thousands of area residents with family-sustaining jobs.”

Dave Alexander covers business and local government for MLive/The Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


Port of Muskegon gaining attention throughout Michigan

Muskegon officials considering port expansion

From: Michigan Radio  

The Muskegon port could be expanded to accommodate for larger cargo. The port is one of the only naturally occurring deep water ports, which makes it ideal for bigger ships.

The port could be used to transport agricultural fertilizers and other goods like wind turbines, scrap metals and coal.

Credit user BigMikeSndTech / Flickr
The port on Muskegon Lake could be expanded to accommodate for bigger ships.

Jonathon Seyferth  is with Muskegon Area First. He says expanding the Muskegon port could help transport goods across the country.

"The port can make West Michigan and Muskegon an attractive option for all kinds of economic industrial manufacturing development," he said.

Jim Byrum with the Michigan Agribusiness Association says water transport is cost effective for businesses. He says job creation is a priority for the port expansion.

"It's all about jobs," he said. "There would be the opportunities for folks to engage in trade. It's a whole different opportunity that we haven't really seen in the lakes and in Muskegon for some time."

Byrum says there's no official cost estimate for the project yet. He says Muskegon area businesses interested in developing the port would help foot the bill.

-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Agriculture group looks at Muskegon barge terminal idea

From: Associated Press & The Detroit News

An aerial view of Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan beyond taken in the summer of 2008. An agriculture association official says the West Michigan city of Muskegon is a prime location for a possible barge terminal that would connect the state's farm communities to Gulf Coast exporters through Chicago and the Mississippi River barge system. (Marge Beaver / The Chronicle)

Muskegon — The West Michigan city of Muskegon is a prime location for a possible barge terminal that would connect the state’s farm communities to Gulf Coast exporters through Chicago and the Mississippi River barge system, an agriculture association official said.

Michigan Agri-Business Association President Jim Byrum said some of his group’s members have been exploring the possibility of a river barge terminal on the east end of Muskegon Lake. Existing interest in boosting the Port of Muskegon also is a factor, he said.

“Muskegon has railroad and highway connections that are key and so much is happening here,” he said. “There is so much energy with the people and development.”

Water-based transportation could be a “game-changing switch,” he said. Much of Michigan’s exported grain, for example, is sent via rail. The group also is looking at sites on the east side of Michigan at the Saginaw River and Port Huron, The Muskegon Chronicle reported.

“In the last 50 years, interest in moving agricultural products in our state by water has been missing,” Byrum said.

Muskegon officials working on port development also are investigating the idea. The proposal could be more economical if outbound barges could return to Muskegon or other Michigan ports with farm products such as fertilizer, seed or equipment.

Such a barge terminal development would need the OK from the U.S. Coast Guard and others.

“If we can get past the federal issues, I think this is low-hanging fruit for us in developing the port,” said Ed Garner, president of Muskegon Area First, an economic development agency.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130829/BIZ/308290081#ixzz2dSR3am00


Potential Development Option at the Port of Muskegon

Muskegon port development could mean a river barge terminal linking farmers to Gulf Coast

From: MLive/The Muskegon Chronicle

The east end of Muskegon Lake has been designated for port development and related industries by the city of Muskegon. Agricultural interests what to explore a river barge terminal in the Port of Muskegon. (Marge Beaver | Muskegon Chronicle)

MUSKEGON, MI – Development of the Port of Muskegon has been all the rage as a West Michigan economic development tool, promoted by public officials, community leaders and business owners.

But until Michigan Agri-Business Association President Jim Byrum stepped forward, all of that talk had been well ... just talk.

Byrum puts some meat on the port development bones with a specific idea for Muskegon.

The head of what he calls the “chamber of commerce of Michigan agriculture” says that Muskegon is a perfect location for a river barge terminal, connecting Michigan farm communities to Gulf Coast export opportunities through Chicago and the Mississippi River barge system.

JimByrum.jpgJim Byrum

“Muskegon on the west side of Michigan is the only deep-water port,” said Byrum, who has headed the Lansing-based trade association for the past 17 years. “In every other port, there are issues with depths and drafts. Muskegon has railroad and highway connections that are key and so much is happening here. There is so much energy with the people and development.”

Byrum said that some of his 500 members – everyone from large agricultural corporations such as Monsanto to local grain elevator operators – have been exploring a river barge terminal operation on the east end of Muskegon Lake. Muskegon officials working on port development are investigating the idea through organizations such as the Muskegon County Port Committee.

How often the Michigan farm industry would use river barges out of Muskegon to ship corn, soybeans and wheat to the Gulf Coast for export is not known, Byrum said.

“In the last 50 years, interest in moving agricultural products in our state by water has been missing,” he said, but added that the economics of water transport might provide plenty of business for a Muskegon-based river barge terminal. Right now, much of the grain shipped out of the state for export goes by rail, he said.

“That could be a game-changing switch,” Byrum said of water-based transportation. “Moving it that way might all of a sudden allow us to better compete.”

MABA also is looking at potential barge terminals on the east side of Michigan in ports such as the Saginaw River and Port Huron, Byrum said. The proposals become even more economical if outbound barges full of grain could return to Muskegon or other Michigan ports with farm products such as fertilizer, seed or equipment, he added.

Byrum and MABA were introduced to Muskegon through Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, which hosted a renewable energy seminar sponsored by MABA in late July.

Byrum said besides exploring water-based transportation, his members are interested in alternative energy and global climate change – the later which could add an additional 400,000 acres of productive farmland in Michigan in the next decades as temperatures rise.

But it is the river barge terminal concept that has Muskegon and West Michigan economic developers the most excited. Another long-discussed port development would be a container shipment terminal where cargo containers on rail or the highways would be shipped in bulk from Muskegon to Milwaukee, eliminating the need to pass through congested Chicago on the south end of Lake Michigan.

The river barge development has some Lake Michigan shipping regulatory issues through the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping.

EdGarner.jpgEd Garner

“If we can get past the federal issues, I think this is low-hanging fruit for us in developing the port,” said Ed Garner, president of Muskegon Area First, the local economic development agency. “This serves some current needs right now. The container development is probably more long term.”

GVSU energy center Director Arn Boezaart said that Muskegon and West Michigan officials are taking note of the MABA interest in Muskegon’s port.

“People see this as a highly desirable activity for port development that should be pursued,” Boezaart said. “I’d love to see a trial run using assets that are already in Muskegon.”

One company that could help move the project forward is Andrie Inc., the Muskegon-based marine transportation company, Boezaart said. Andrie Specialized President Phil Andrie said his company would be interested in exploring a limited test of the river barge connection in Muskegon.

How to exploit the agricultural and food processing industries in West Michigan for job creation and economic development is on the minds of those who have created the West Michigan Economic Partnership between Muskegon and Kent counties.

The partnership recently had a day-long seminar on developing a regional agricultural and food processing “cluster” that would be interested in Muskegon’s port, according to The Right Place’s Rick Chapla. Grand Rapids-based Right Place has joined with Muskegon Area First, Muskegon County, city of Muskegon and local governments in Kent County to form the partnership to move regional economic development projects forward.

Muskegon’s main asset in the partnership is providing water-based transportation options.

“The logistics opportunities that could result in an active port operation in Muskegon could save millions of dollars for the farmers and food processors in West Michigan,” Chapla said.

The city of Muskegon has established a port development zone on the east end of Muskegon Lake and with the likely closure of the B.C. Cobb plant in 2015 or beyond, a major Muskegon dock used to bring coal to the plant might be available, local officials have pointed out.

BrubakerClarke.jpgCathy Brubaker-Clarke

“This barge operation could be more port activity as we move forward on redeveloping the east end of the lake from the current Verplank (Trucking Co.) docks to B.C. Cobb,” said Cathy Brubaker-Clarke, the city’s planning and economic development director. “This area of the lake is privately owned but the port operators have been working together on such ideas.”

Muskegon County Commissioner Terry Sabo – who heads the county’s port development committee – said that a river barge terminal development being suggested by MABA is going to have to be a regional effort to succeed.

“Our goal all along is economic development,” Sabo said. “We have to use the natural resources that we have and this port is unique in West Michigan. We need to do anything we can to create West Michigan jobs.

“But this is going to take time; it won’t happen overnight,” Sabo continued. “We have to keep getting this message out.”

Next: A look at the federal maritime regulations for river barge traffic on Lake Michigan.

Dave Alexander covers business and local government for MLive/The Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


Muskegon's Smart Vision Lights continues to see growth

Lighting company continues growth thanks to strength of manufacturing industry

Written by 
Muskegon-based Smart Vision Lights makes lighting systems used in a variety of industrial equipment and processes. As the manufacturing sector has rebounded, the company has grown from five employees to 15 in the last two years, said Dave Spaulding, the company’s president. Smart Vision’s products incorporate a great deal of customer feedback, which Spaulding says has helped it succeed in a niche market. COURTESY PHOTO

Given the ongoing recovery of the manufacturing sector, one Muskegon-based company that makes lighting for industrial equipment believes its future is particularly bright.  

The six-year-old Smart Vision Lights LLC makes specialized industrial lighting systems used to illuminate products for automated inspection processes in manufacturing plants, as well as a range of other uses.

In the last two years, the company grew from five employees to 15, and Dave Spaulding, the company’s president, says there’s no expectation of slowing down that growth trajectory for the foreseeable future.

Smart Vision has come a long way from its early days in the founder’s basement and its three-year stint as a tenant of the incubator space at the Grand Valley State University Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, he said.

While working at the incubator helped the company gain traction, Spaulding said graduating from MAREC in 2010 and moving into the company’s own 12,000-square-foot facility at 2359 Holton Road north of Muskegon helped open new growth options for Smart Vision.

“It’s been great for business,” he said of the move. “It’s allowed us to really expand our business and increase our production activities. We were limited at the end of our stay in the amount we could manufacture and the number of people.”

When a company has a widget it needs to test for size or color or defects, it can use a specialized high-speed camera trained to identify deviations from product standards. Smart Vision makes the lights that help those cameras scan the products, sometimes as they go by at a rate of more than a thousand parts per minute, Spaulding said.

Smart Vision’s lighting systems are put to work in a variety of manufacturing plants, whether for automotive components, electronics or pharmaceuticals, he said. The company also worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop a lighting system that works with a railcar scanner used to determine the origin, destination and route of the given car, he said.

“For us, automotive is huge and so are all of the tiers that go there, whether it’s plastics or metals — anything you can think of that needs inspection,” he said. “We’re in a niche market.”

Thanks to a stronger manufacturing industry and a focused effort on exports, Smart Vision expects to grow sales by 30 percent in 2013. Spaulding declined to share 2012 annual revenues for this report, but a previous MiBiz story noted the company had sales of $1.7 million in 2010.

The company also plans to launch six to 10 new products this year.

“There’s a standard set of lighting our competitors have, but we’re innovative,” Spaulding said. “We’ll listen and meet with customers and send them samples and products to try out so they can help us identify what needs to be changed.”

The company also expanded into global markets by taking advantage of programs aimed at helping grow American-made exports. Spaulding said Smart Vision works through about 70 distributorships all over the world and has been “making great strides in Europe” after help from the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP) and after working with groups such as the Van Andel Global Trade Center.  

About 10 percent of Smart Vision’s sales now come from exports, Spaulding said.

“We want to build on that over the next couple of years,” he said.

Another opportunity the company wants to market is its recent investment in laboratory equipment it purchased to test for compliance with eye and skin safety requirements that are already in place for LED systems in the European Union and “coming to the States as well,” Spaulding said.

The EU’s photobiological safety standards require product manufacturers to evaluate the side effects of exposure to industrial equipment with LED systems over an eight-hour workday.

Smart Vision plans to open up its test lab for a fee to other manufacturers working with LED systems, Spaulding said.

That specialized gear and other laboratory equipment led to the company reconnecting with another former MAREC tenant, Logical Lighting LLC, which works with energy efficient lighting and automated controls.

Because the two companies share some synergies and do not compete, Spaulding said it made sense to offer Logical Lighting the ability to use some of its equipment during off times.

- See more at: http://mibiz.com/news/energy/item/20859-lighting-company-continues-growth-thanks-to-strength-of-manufacturing-industry#sthash.I9XSXd0l.dpuf

SAF-Holland Aluminum fifth wheels available

FROM: Truck News 

DAILY NEWS Aug 7, 2013 12:02 PM - 0 comments

Aluminum fifth wheel now available from all Class 8 OEMs

TEXT SIZE bigger text smaller text


MUSKEGON, Mich. -- SAF-Holland has announced its FWAL aluminum fifth wheel is now available for factory installation with all Class 8 OEMs.

The fifth wheel is approved for on-highway applications and is touted as the world’s lightest weight and only aluminum standard-duty fifth wheel.

The FWAL reduces weight by up to 100 lbs, according to the company. It features LowLube technology, including a grease-free top plate surface.

Link to Original Article 


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