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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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WZZM 13 Made in Michigan -Muskegon Manufacturer Smart Vision Lights

 http://www.wzzm13.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=2829607884001

DALTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Muskegon-area business is an example of how a successful company can grow in Michigan. 

Smart Vision Lights started in the basement of a house, then grew to a business incubator space at the MAREC Center. Now the company has a large space to call it's own on M-120.

Smart Vision Lights designs, engineers, and manufactures LED lights that are used on assembly lines across the U.S. and in Europe and China. 

The LEDs work with cameras placed on fast-moving assembly lines, providing consistent light so the cameras can inspect auto parts, make sure the cap on your pill bottle is sealed, and the package shipped at the post office is routed to the correct destination.

Larger and faster shipping and assembly lines open everyday around the globe and Smart Vision Lights is keeping up with new products every year. "Four or five, up to 10 new products a year," said Dave Spaulding, president Smart Vision Lights.  

He says the growth of bar code readers at Fed Ex, Amazon, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service is a market his company will need to be a part of to keep growing. "All of them are going almost 100 percent reading codes on boxes as they are going through the warehouse. That is a big area of focus for us," said Spaulding. 

The lights include several parts made in Michigan; Spaulding says Smart Vision Lights' success is impacting families and other business in West Michigan. "We live here, we work here, we want to stay here. It means that jobs are here in Michigan, they stay in Michigan, and people have jobs that they can come to everyday."

Seven years ago Smart Vision Lights only had two employees, now the company employs 13 full time workers.

   

Watch from four angles the former Sappi paper mill power plant come down by explosions

 

http://video-embed.mlive.com/services/player/bcpid1949044325001?bctid=2774955116001&bckey=AQ~~,AAAAPmbRIZE~,6UTdU61JMhfaTN8QiC2tKp1vnMmD8Jgc

 

 

By Ken Stevens | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
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on October 26, 2013 at 1:04 PM, updated October 27, 2013 at 1:25 PM

 

MLive Muskegon Chronicle photographers were positioned at four different locations along the southern Muskegon Lake shoreline, Sunday morning Oct. 27 to record the demolition of the former Sappi paper mill power plant. 

This video shows each of those views as the 200-foot section of the building was brought down by several closely timed explosions. The public was kept at least 1,000 feet away from the blast site and was not allowed on the 119-acre site. In addition, Lakeshore Drive was closed to prepare for the explosions.

This particular section of the plant was constructed in the late 1980s and was the last major addition to the mill, which began operation producing paper on the site at 2400 Lakeshore in 1900 as Central Paper Company. 

The S.D Warren Company purchased Central Paper in 1953 and operated by that name until Sappi Ltd. of South Africa purchased the mill in 1994. The plant closed in 2009 and the site was sold in 2011 to Melching Inc., a demolition company based in Nunica. 

At its peak in 1975, employment at the mill reached approximately 1,200 employees.

   

New hybrid CNC/CAD programs at Muskegon Community College churning out highly-skilled workers

           

Lynn Moore | 
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 </script>By Lynn Moore | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
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on October 23, 2013 at 9:46 AM, updated October 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM

 

MUSKEGON, MI --  The bulletin board in the CNC training room at Muskegon Community College is covered with help-wanted notices put there by Instructor Tom Groner.

They are from Muskegon manufacturers looking for  highly-skilled workers, the kind that Groner and his colleague Tom Martin are training through new CAD/CNC hybrid programs at the college.

The bulletin board is proof that manufacturing is alive and well in Muskegon, even if there are fewer people working in the industry, said Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, dean of workforce and talent development at MCC.

And that's exactly why the new programs that combine Computer Aided Design – CAD – with Computer Numerical Control – CNC – are so needed, Rinsema-Sybenga said. As workforces decline, the "silos" created by CAD designers and those who program computers to create the designs need to be torn down, he said.

"What industry wants is a guy who can do both," Martin said. "The guys who can do both have the most opportunity."

With the help of federal funding designed to help displaced workers, the college developed an "accelerated" eight-week program that fast tracks students into skilled manufacturing careers. The CAD/CNC Accelerated Academy allows students to bypass general education classes and get entry level training in both CAD and CNC – earning three college credits in CAD and three in machine technology. Previously, the courses took 15 weeks to complete.

It's enough for some to get their foot in the door at local manufacturing plants. But college officials are encouraging Accelerated Academy students to continue on to the college's new CAD/CNC certificate program, which requires one year of training, or an associate's degree in CAD/CNC.

Valarie Shelby, grant coordinator for the CAD/CNC program, said the instruction is very technical. Standing outside an MCC computer lab used by CAD students, she said the training students receive is far above any she witnessed when she worked in manufacturing.

"These are skilled labor jobs they're preparing for," she said. "They have to be really committed to be in this program."

Martin, who is chairman of MCC's Applied Technologies Department, said he is working with employers to encourage their workers to continue their education beyond the Accelerated Academy.

"It's in the best interest of both the worker and the employer," he said.

Bob Becklin, the apprenticeship coordinator at Anderson Global in Muskegon Heights, said completing the Accelerated Academy would be a big help to someone hoping to get on the company's apprenticeship list. It's from that list that Anderson Global hires new employees, who serve as apprentices for five years before they become journeymen earning $26.18 per hour.

"The need is great," Becklin said. "The manufacturing jobs we have here at Anderson are so high-tech and so high-paced, it's really cool to have people to have those skills .. To come not at ground zero, but up a few steps... it might put them in a better situation of getting on our list."

Anderson Global manufactures foundry tooling at its local plant that has about 165 employees. That's up from 120 workers just two years ago, Becklin said.

Among the requirements of Anderson Global apprentices is that they complete 10 classes at MCC, Becklin said. The CAD/CNC classes fit perfectly into the type of training apprentices need in the factory where employees thrive if they have multiple skills, said Becklin, who also serves as the plant's bench room supervisor and safety director.

Phillip Daneff was a cook in the U.S. Army, but knew when he was discharged that he wanted a career in a high-demand, high-wage area. After doing some research, and building on CAD instruction he had while in high school, he chose CAD and CNC.

"I've always been interested in CNC and auto CAD," Daneff said. "I knew that's where the big money was made."

He didn't know how to get started in the career until he learned about the CAD/CNC Accelerated Academy at MCC. He enrolled and now is in his second week with seven other students.

"I absolutely love it," Daneff said. "It's definitely a good starting point. ... It's not something for everybody. It's certainly challenging."

To help move students quickly through the program, and to receive more intensive training, the college spent about $85,000 in federal funding on new equipment. The equipment includes 13 new CNC simulators, which are essentially the computer portion of a mill that is used to program the tool path the mill will use to produce a part.

The college also bought several mini mills as well as a coordinate measuring machine that was a special request of Alcoa Howmet, which needs workers trained in the highly precise measuring.

Groner, the machining instructor, said he emphasizes students having fun while learning skills that are coveted by manufacturers. Students, he said, are amazed by the molds they can create in just a short while – and of the job openings posted on his bulletin board.

"We've opened the world to these guys," he said.

Lynn Moore covers education for MLive/Muskegon Chronicle. Email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and follow her on Twitter and Google+.

   

State of Michigan approves $710,000 investment for new downtown Muskegon Farmers Market

          

MUSKEGON, MI – The state of Michigan has said “yes” to Muskegon and its new downtown farmers market to the tune of $710,000.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board Wednesday, Oct. 16 approved a Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant to help the non-profit Downtown Muskegon Development Corp. build the new Muskegon Farmers Market. The $3.8 million market is currently under construction at West Western Avenue and Terrace Street, on schedule to open May 1, 2014.

The development corporation – a combination of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County and the Paul C. Johnson Foundation – is privately raising the funds to build the new market. The land and new facility will be donated to the city of Muskegon, which has agreed to relocate its longtime farmers market operation from Yuba Street to the downtown.

The DMDC is the group that obtained the 23 acres that was once the Muskegon Mall, demolished the old retail center and has begun the redevelopment of the community’s central business district.

"We are elated that the state found it a viable project for economic development in downtown Muskegon," said Steve Olsen, co-chairman of the market's fundraising committee. The DMDC has raised about $3.3 million of the $3.8 needed, which includes the state grant, he said.

The Muskegon Farmers Market grant was among four – one a business development program grant -- approved by the strategic fund board, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Those projects are expected to generate $41.7 million in investment and create 70 new jobs.

The other Community Revitalization Program grants were $445,000 to Hotel Sterling II LLC in the city of Wyandotte for a 21-room boutique hotel and $1 million to Harbortown Riverside LLC for a five-story residential building in the Harbortown complex on the Detroit River in the city of Detroit.

The business development grant was a $250,000 award to Triumph Gear Systems-Macomb, Inc. in Macomb Township for a manufacturing company in the aerospace industry undergoing a $15.2 million expansion with 60 new jobs.

“From manufacturing to local vendors and residential property, these four projects will further revitalize our state and bring new jobs to our communities,” MEDC President Michael Finney said in a prepared statement. “These new investments show Michigan’s highly competitive business climate and talented work force mean real opportunities for growing companies.”

The Muskegon Farmers Market project is creating an upscale, modern facility with 136 outdoor vendor stalls, 16 indoor/year-round stalls, 229 on-site parking spaces, a 3,500-square-foot building with a community kitchen and two sets of public restrooms.

State economic development officials expect four new jobs to be created with the market development and offer improved retail opportunities for local farmers and vendors. The DMDC expects the market to be a catalyst for other downtown retail, restaurant and residential development.

   

MiBiz 2013 M&A Deals & Dealmaker Awards Real Estate Winner: Parkland Properties

MiBiz

Friday, 04 October 2013 11:26

Written by  

Jon Rooks of Parkland Properties likes the idea of participating in Muskegon’s rebirth. The developer has amassed quite the portfolio of properties in the city, including two of its major downtown hotel properties, over the last few years. His company is also planning a range of residential offerings, including apartments and single-family units.Jon Rooks of Parkland Properties likes the idea of participating in Muskegon’s rebirth. The developer has amassed quite the portfolio of properties in the city, including two of its major downtown hotel properties, over the last few years. His company is also planning a range of residential offerings, including apartments and single-family units.PHOTO: REX LARSEN

One of Muskegon’s biggest cheerleaders happens to be a developer who owns one of the largest portfolios of property being redeveloped in the city’s downtown.

In the last few years, Parkland Properties’ founder Jon Rooks has amassed a bevy of properties in the lakeshore city, culminating earlier this year with the acquisition of the Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor.

Parkland Properties used the tax benefits of a 1031 exchange to purchase the hotel, the owners of which had recently completed a $2 million renovation. Rooks agreed to spend another $1.5 million over two years to update the hotel’s mechanical systems, roof and windows.

The acquisition was Parkland’s second foray into the hospitality industry in Muskegon, the company having purchased the struggling Shoreline Inn & Conference Center from the brink of foreclosure in 2009.

“In the sense of the synergies we had in terms of management and cross utilization of the people I hired to turnaround the Shoreline Inn, it was just natural for us to buy the Holiday Inn,” he said.

In part, Rooks said the successful turnaround of the Shoreline Inn led to the owners of the Holiday Inn approaching him about buying the property. They talked once a year after Rooks purchased the Shoreline Inn and were able to come to a deal very quickly this year.

“Why not do it again? Why not take the same approach we took with the Shoreline Inn and use it on the Holiday Inn?” he said of his company’s thinking in approaching the deal.

That latest acquisition follows a string of transactions for Rooks in Muskegon, deals that started with Parkland’s acquisition of the former Comerica Bank building in downtown Muskegon in 2008. Rooks is now planning to redevelop the site into HighPoint Flats, a 72-unit, two-phase residential apartment development.

Last year, he also added to his portfolio a former Muskegon fire station that he plans to use as a sales, leasing and construction office for HighPoint Flats and the new Terrace Point Landing, a $14 million development with up to 70 lots for single-family units on Muskegon Lake adjacent to Shoreline Inn.

But Parkland Properties and Rooks weren’t always so keen on projects in Muskegon.

Rooks cut his teeth in the 2000s developing condo properties in the Grand Rapids market, where he made use of Renaissance Zone designations to spur buyer interest. Since 2003, Rooks has developed more than 500 condos and 53 offices spaces, all of which maintain above a 97-percent occupancy rate, he said.

With that track record behind him, Rooks’ reasons for heading to Muskegon stem back to 2007 when three of his friends convinced him to come to the city and get a firsthand look at the opportunities for development. That ultimately led to his purchase of the HighPoint Flats site.

The other acquisitions just came together because of his connections in the market, he said. All of a sudden, Rooks said his company was much further embedded in Muskegon than he ever intended.

“Once I was there, it was like I drank the Kool-Aid,” he said. “I became more impressed by their commitment and enthusiasm and the masterminding of the turnaround of Muskegon.”

Another reason for coming to Muskegon: The city was very supportive of development proposals. Rooks had just walked away from a frustrating residential proposal to redevelop the former Sligh Furniture factory on Grand Rapids’ south side after failing to win approval for a Renaissance Zone designation after other developers objected.

“I was frustrated and the timing from Muskegon’s city leaders was perfect,” Rooks said. “They said, ‘We have (the former Comerica Bank building) and we want to give you a Renaissance Zone extension here.

It got me excited about the resurgence and the enthusiasm of the people who have a focused mission of turning around downtown Muskegon.”

It wasn’t just city leaders that kept selling him on investing in Muskegon, either.

He said the community raised roughly $15 million in private funding in one year, funding that went to build the new farmers market, endow the arts museum and help fund an expansion of Grand Valley State University’s new Annis Water Research Institute.

“It’s shocking,” he said. “The city has a lot of quiet money, smart people and effective planning in place, and we just want to be a part of that.”

Despite the risk involved in being part of Muskegon’s turnaround, Rooks said he prides himself on being the first to put a flag in the ground.

“It’s a tough deal in the beginning, but we always like to be at the front end of the emerging markets,” he said. “We were the first to offer condos in Grand Rapids under $200,000, and at a time, we were selling a condo a day. We felt like we were a market maker then offering smaller, less expensive condos with more amenities than others had done in the past.”

With that confidence, Rooks said he wants to do the same thing in Muskegon. While it may not be strictly condos, he is bringing a mix of what he thinks are complementary property types to the market.

A good project should be able to stand on its own and make money, but another thing a good project can also do is become a catalyst for further development in a community, he said.

“We want to be the catalysts and we want our project to be what appraisers look at to see whether it’s prudent to lend money to new projects,” he said. “That’s ultimately the best compliment we can get when appraisers call and use our project as a comp.”

  • Company: Parkland Properties of West Michigan
  • Top executive: Jonathan Rooks
  • Annual sales: $15 million in rental revenues (sales ranged from $5 million to $50 million annually over the last five years)
  • Total full-time West Michigan employees: 220
  • Brief business description: Property development firm in West Michigan with a focus on urban renewal of historic buildings by adaptive re-use as well as an interest in improving West Michigan’s use of waterfront property on or connected to Lake Michigan.
  • Best practices for effective dealmaking: 1) Identify undervalued and underdeveloped properties ahead of the curve, work with government entities and incentive programs to create exceptional market-rate projects in turnaround communities, either from scratch or as turnaround projects; 2) Travel and explore the world to get fresh ideas to use in West Michigan, to keep us ahead of the curve, and then constantly manage cost and risk by analyzing: real and potential competition, interest rate risk, tenant loss risk, sales risk, loan renewal risk. This helps us reduce and effectively manage and then eliminate debt; 3) Work with trusted vendors and advisers to help us reduce our cost, leverage our knowledge and passion, and then pursue the business in structured phases; 4) Investigate thoroughly, invest in due diligence, buy low, sell value and sell fast, and maintain an appropriate mix of cash flow-producing assets and speculative appreciating assets — and where possible, buy, develop and sell off a portion to pay off debt, and retain the balance of the property to help finance the next project.

- See more at: http://mibiz.com/item/20974-mibiz-2013-ma-deals-dealmaker-awards-real-estate-winner-parkland-properties?acm=10069_1061#sthash.FopFz64l.PogBHtrB.dpuf

   

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