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Hankerd Sportswear Expanding Into and Renovating Historic Downtown Owosso Building, Receives Support from Owosso City Council   

HankerdHankerd Sportswear, an Owosso-based screen printed clothing maker, has acquired an historic downtown building and is planning a substantial new investment in renovating the property into a mixed-use development, with support from the Owosso City Council.

The business, which sells products for both retail and wholesale (and does much of its sales out of state), purchased the building at 116 W Exchange St (picture to the right) last year, with a goal of utilizing the main floor and basement for its operation, and restoring the two upper floors into residential living.

The Owosso City Council recently authorized an 8-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA) tax exemption, which essentially freezes the taxable value on the building for that time period. This in turn will allow the company to save funds and invest more in upgrading the facility. The estimated value of capital improvements is $30,000, with the potential of five new jobs (including part-time assistance).

"We have been very pleased with our move to this new site (its former location was on Main St in the downtown), which has allowed us to expand our business, restore a historic building and help improve the local economy," said company principal John Hankerd. "The support we have received from many parties has been tremendous, and we are very thankful and happy to be here." Hankerd Sportswear also recently just added another location, in downtown Swartz Creek, at 8040 Miller Rd.

"Hankerd's is a continuing Owosso success story," said Owosso Mayor Ben Frederick. "The Hankerd's are extremely involved in our community and I wish them every success."

"Hankerd Sportswear has not only been a tremendous asset in supporting downtown Owosso, but the entire Shiawassee County economy. A significant portion of their business is out of state, which brings in money, jobs and investment to the area. We are very thankful to have this firm headquartered in our community," said Justin Horvath, President/CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, which provided project assistance.

SEDP Sponsoring and Exhibiting at the UM/ULI Real Estate Forum in November 

SEDP UMThe SEDP is having an active Fall in marketing Shiawassee County as a business destination. We will be a corporate sponsor and exhibit at the 25th Annual University of Michigan and Urban Land Institute (UM/ULI) Real Estate Forum in November at Cobo Hall in Detroit.

The event offers us the opportunity to network with hundreds of professionals in the commercial and industrial real estate world in Michigan, showcasing development opportunities in our county.  

In addition, we were a silver sponsor of Back to Business 2011 in October, a program presented by the Michigan Commercial Board of Realtors and Ford Land. The event, which featured Governor Rick Snyder as the keynote speaker, provided connections with many key real estate development contacts from throughout the state. We were also able to distribute marketing flyers to all of the attendees.

October CEO Roundtable Focused on Customer Cultivation, Planning for 2012 Series Underway

The SEDP, in collaboration with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC), is now offering CEO Roundtable, a monthly event where Shiawassee County business executives can network, discuss issues critical to management of their organizations, and learn from speakers who can provide professional guidance on these topics. 

At our October event, Keith Helfrich of the MMTC presented on customer cultivation, offering useful ways to help maintain and grow your existing customer base.

The overall program has been very successful since inception in April, with nearly 100 attendees over six events, including nearly 30 unique Shiawassee County companies. 

We will be taking a hiatus in November and December, with plans to begin again in January 2012. If you have ideas for upcoming programming, please reply directly to this email.

 2011 Shiawassee County Wage & Benefit Survey Now in Progress   

Would you like to know what similar local businesses offer in wages and benefits?  A significant number of area companies have asked for such data. Unfortunately, there is no governmental survey research available to provide this information.

As a result, the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP) is partnering with the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce to take on the challenge of collecting this data with the Shiawassee County Wage & Benefit Survey. Our last similar survey was conducted in 2009, with 47 companies participating.

To get valuable, reliable data, this survey is very comprehensive and will require a significant commitment of time by your human resources personnel to complete it (at least an hour or more depending on the size and complexity of your business). We realize it will take some effort, but we are hoping you will see the benefit of having this comparative data for Shiawassee County. Responses will be aggregated, so that all individual company information will be held strictly confidential.

As an added bonus, those companies who participate will receive the survey results free, while those who do not will be required to pay an $80 fee for them.
  
The survey has been distributed via email, with responses requested by November 4. If you would like more information, or have any questions, please contact SEDP Project Specialist Brent Jones at (989) 725-9241 or bjones@sedpweb.org.

Baker College of Owosso to Construct New Building for Auto/Diesel Institute  

Baker Auto DieselBaker College of Owosso is very pleased to announce that it has begun construction on a new Auto/Diesel Institute facility. Planning for the new building had been underway since last February and the College's Board of Regents gave formal approval for the construction project on September 8, 2011. The new $6,000,000 building will be located on a recently acquired 11 acre site along S. M-52 directly across from the Baker College Welcome Center.  The building will be completed and open for classes starting in Fall 2012.     

The new 43,000 square foot building will house the certificate and associate degree programs in both Automotive Services Technology and Diesel Services Technology. The ADI - Auto/Diesel Institute of Michigan - is a division of Baker College of Owosso and the only college in the State of Michigan to offer a certificate or degree in diesel technology. Opened in 2007, the ADI facility on Krouse Rd. has quickly outgrown its current 20,000 sq. ft. capacity. The Diesel Service program enrolled over 270 students this past year. The Auto Service Technology program is currently housed on campus and offers top notch training and education to over 120 students. In addition, high school students from the RESD's career technology program annually utilize the auto labs and classrooms for a dual enrollment program.    
  
The College has engaged the services of TMP Architecture to design a new facility for both the Auto and Diesel programs. TMP Architecture - located in Bloomfield Hills, MI - brings award winning design excellence to the project with a long history of project experience in the higher education field. A competitive bidding process was performed in order to select a Construction Manager for the project. Construction firms from Shiawassee, Genesee, Ingham, and Saginaw County were invited to participate in the process. This past August, Morgan Construction was selected as the Construction Manager for the new building project. In addition to providing the most competitive pricing, Morgan Construction brings considerable higher education experience and knowledge of Baker College's expectations to the project's construction services.
 
"This new ADI Building, in combination with the existing Baker College of Owosso Welcome Center, are positioned on S. M-52 to provide an attractive gateway to the campus and the Owosso area. The new Auto/Diesel facility continues Baker College's long history of developing and expanding career programs in employment fields that are in high demand. This state of the art building will have the functional elements, space capacity, and design quality that will allow these programs to be marketed throughout Michigan and in surrounding states," per Pete Karsten, Campus President.

"Baker College of Owosso consulted with the SEDP throughout the planning process to ensure that design, development, and construction options were all fully explored," Karsten added.  

"Baker College of Owosso is a major economic driver in our local economy, and benefits the Shiawassee County community in so many positive ways. This project shows their continued dedication to our region and we are very grateful for that," said SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath. 

Machine Tool & Gear Continues Significant Business Growth at Corunna & Owosso Facilities, Receives Support from Both City Councils 

Machine Tool & Gear, Inc, a supplier of both precision machined and precision manufactured products and assemblies for the transportation industry, is expanding its Corunna and Owosso operations as a result of new automotive supply business.

The company is making a $1,521,000 capital investment and has hired 39 new workers (in addition to directly retaining 10 employees) in Corunna as part of the effort. The $1,327,000 Owosso project created nine new jobs that have been filled.  

Machine Tool & Gear is Shiawassee County's largest manufacturing employer, with 325 people (approximately 250 in Corunna and 75 in Owosso). Between the two plants, the company has nearly 200,000 sq ft of building space.

"This new business helps keep Machine Tool & Gear, Inc. competitive in the marketplace and create and retain jobs in our Corunna and Owosso facilities. We are excited about the positive economic gains these investments will generate for all parties concerned," said John Aldrich, Group General Manager.

Both Corunna and Owosso City Councils recently awarded a 12-year, 50% property tax abatement on the respective investments in support of the company's initiative. The Owosso City Council also authorized four additional tax abatement transfers of existing machinery & equipment from the Corunna plant. "This will enable the Corunna building to have additional capacity and opportunity for growth," Aldrich added.

"Machine Tool & Gear continues to be a model of success in the rebounding automotive supply market in Michigan, and we are thankful for their commitment to growing operations in Corunna, Owosso and Shiawassee County," said Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership President/CEO Justin Horvath, who spoke in support of the company's abatement requests at the council meetings where they were approved.  

SEDP Sponsoring Michigan Commercial Board of Realtors "Back to Business 2011" Conference 

The Commercial Board of REALTORS® (CBOR) and Ford Land are presenting Back to Business 2011, a chance to talk about real estate, network and learn. Kicking off this first annual event will be Governor Rick Snyder as keynote speaker.

Back to Business 2011 is set for October 17 at the Dearborn Inn in Dearborn.

This three-hour event will include networking beginning at 11:00 AM, a presentation by Gov. Snyder at noon, a "Pure Michigan Luncheon" (featuring Michigan products only), a CBOR "State of the Association" meeting, and CBOR's first annual "Leader of the Pack" awards honoring outstanding CBOR members.

The "Leader of the Pack" awards will be given for the following categories: Realtor of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Economic Development Deal of the Year, and Deal of the Year specifically for largest office lease, largest industrial lease, largest retail lease, and largest investment deal. All awards are based on nominations and nominees must be CBOR members.

This must-attend event of the year is presented by the Commercial Board of REALTORS® in partnership with Ford Land. CBOR Industry Partners include CCIM Michigan Chapter, CREW Detroit, UM/ULI Forum, CoreNet Global Michigan Chapter, NAIOP Michigan Chapter, SIOR Michigan Chapter, Michigan Association of REALTORS®, Detroit Regional Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, ICSC Michigan Chapter, IREM Michigan Chapter, GreeningDetroit.com, and BOMA Detroit.

Back to Business 2011 Silver sponsors include Signature Associates - a Cushman & Wakefield Alliance, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, L. Mason Capitani /Corfac International, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., and Seaver/Greco Title Agencies.

Back to Business Bronze sponsors include Cooper Commercial, MAVDevelopment Company, Applied EcoSystems-Great Lakes, Inc., Insite Commercial, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

Partnership and sponsorship opportunities are still available. Media passes are also available.

For more information about the first annual "Back to Business" or to register for this event, please contact CBOR at 810-603-0676 or nmckellar@cbor.net.

September CEO Roundtable Focuses on Cyber Research to Enter New Business Markets; October Topic to Cover Customer Cultivation 

The SEDP, in collaboration with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC), is now offering CEO Roundtable, a monthly event where Shiawassee County business executives can network, discuss issues critical to management of their organizations, and learn from speakers who can provide professional guidance on these topics.

At our September event, Edith Wiarda of the MMTC presented on using the web to gather market intelligence to generate new business by identifying new markets, customers, etc.

Our October event will continue this theme, focusing on ways to cultivate potential new customers once you have found them. 

It will be held on October 27th from 12:00-1:30 pm at the Comstock Inn & Conference Center in downtown Owosso (300 E Main St). For more information, or to RSVP, email Justin Horvath at jhorvath@sedpweb.org

S Group Automotive Expanding Business Operation at Owosso Charter Township Facility

S Group Automotive, a Webberville-based automotive parts supplier, is growing its business at their second facility located at 751 S Delaney Rd in Owosso Charter Township.

The company is making a $486,000 capital investment in a new heat oven to support the manufacturing of automotive interior components. They currently employ 58, with this project directly creating 15 jobs.

"This commitment from Shiawassee County in conjunction with the strong local workforce reinforces our decision to locate here and grow the Owosso operations," said Tom Jozwiak of S Group Automotive. 

The Owosso Charter Township Board recently approved a 12-year, 50% property tax abatement on the new equipment to encourage the business' continued investment in the township.

Danny Miller, Supervisor of Owosso Charter Township, commented, "In the words of Hubert Humphrey, Owosso Township is 'pleased as punch' to have S Group as a partner in our industrial park. We are excited that they are expanding and most importantly adding jobs in Shiawassee County. Kudos to S Group for their investment, kudos to the SEDP for their dedication, and kudos to the Owosso Charter Township Board for their forward looking thinking in granting the tax abatement also known as the IFT."

"We continue to see significant business and job growth across our automotive supply companies in Shiawassee County, demonstrating that this is a great place to locate a business," said Justin Horvath, President/CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, which provided project assistance. "Thanks to the team at S Group Automotive for their investment and job creation in our community," Horvath added.

Midwest Bus Acquires Second Facility, Expands in Owosso 

Midwest BusMidwest Bus Corporation, an Owosso-based provider of bus repair, replacement parts, used bus sales, bus leasing, and field services to the transit industry, recently acquired a second facility at 1070 Aiken Rd in the Owosso SE Industrial Park (photo to the right).

The 20,000 sq ft building, which had been vacant for approximately one year, will be utilized in the immediate future for warehousing, with a goal having manufacturing when new contract work arises. Their current headquarters, which has the primary manufacturing operation, is located at 1940 W Stewart St.

"We were pleased to find another building, nearby our current site, which can service our needs and help us to grow in the future," said company President Dan Morrill. "Our hope is to not only invest in upgrading the facility, but add jobs in the future as well," Morrill added.

The company is in the process of applying to the City of Owosso for an incentive which would freeze the existing property taxes on the facility for a number of years. In turn, this would encourage the business to make additional investment in the facility.

"There is an extensive amount of work that needs to be done on the site, resulting both from vandalism and from the age of the building. This incentive will help us to really restore it to a high-quality condition," Morrill said.

"I applaud the SEDP for once again sheparding through a local job provider seeking to expand in our area.  This project means more jobs and opportunities for our residents.  I appreciate Midwest Bus and their commitment to our city," said Owosso Mayor Ben Frederick.

"This effort once again demonstrates Midwest Bus' long-standing (30+ years) commitment to providing jobs and investing in this community, and we are thankful that Owosso is their home," said Justin Horvath, President/CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP), which provided project assistance. "It is also important to note that in the past couple of years, over 700,000 sq ft of vacant building space in Shiawassee County has been reutilized by new and expanding companies," Horvath added.

Shiawassee County Businesses Making Significant Progress in Filling Vacant Industrial Buildings, Putting People Back to Work 

Below is a copy of a "letter to the editor" that was released to our local newspapers recently:
   
The Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership's primary mission is to improve the Shiawassee County economy through a program of business attraction, retention and expansion. Part of our duties is to work with companies to find suitable land and building sites to meet their needs, allowing them to start or grow their business, invest money, hire workers, etc.

I am pleased to report that over the past few years, we have seen significant progress in tackling the challenge of vacant industrial (typically manufacturing, warehousing & distribution, etc) buildings throughout the county. We are overcoming the loss of industry by helping to attract new companies to these facilities, and assisting existing businesses in securing additional space to expand their operations.

Some of the significant recent successes in getting buildings filled include:

  • Rugged Liner acquiring the former AO Smith property in Owosso, filling 196,000 sq ft
  • American Recycling Center purchasing the 111,000 sq ft, former Strawsine factory in Corunna
  • Crest Marine starting operations in 110,000 sq ft of building space in Owosso Charter Township (at the former Maurell Products site)
  • Sycamore House redeveloping the former Durand High/Middle School in downtown Durand (75,000 sq ft)
  • Machine Tool & Gear buying the former Becker building on Chestnut St in Owosso (71,000 sq ft) for a second facility
  • VT's Continental Windows starting a new business in a 50,000 sq ft vacant factory in Lennon

In fact, since 2009, our clients have acquired, expanded or constructed 724,000 sq ft of building space in Shiawassee County.

What is most surprising? As these facilities have come off the market, we have been left with very little inventory to offer other businesses. In fact, there is only one mostly vacant industrial building over 35,000 sq ft currently available in Shiawassee County.  This represents a significant challenge as most companies today are looking to fill existing buildings versus new construction.

So when you hear from someone that we have a lot of vacant industrial properties, let them know they are being filled and people are being put back to work by the businesses that are occupying them.

September CEO Roundtable to Focus on Market Analysis and Customer Development 

The SEDP, in collaboration with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC), is  
now offering CEO Roundtable, a monthly event where Shiawassee County business executives can network, discuss issues critical to management of their organizations, and learn from speakers who can provide professional guidance on these topics.

At our September event, MMTC representatives will be presenting on ways to help your business generate new sales through market analysis and customer development.    

It will be held on September 21st from 12:00-1:30 pm, location TBD. For more information, or to RSVP, email Justin Horvath at  jhorvath@sedpweb.org

SEDP Hosts New Dealmaking Event for Top Shiawassee County Property Development Opportunities

SEDPThe SEDP recently hosted a new networking event designed to promote the key available land and building development properties in the county to interested parties.

The gathering, which was held at the Baker College Welcome Center in Owosso, brought together prospective developers and other real estate professionals with local property representatives, government officials, and others who are integral to making potential projects succeed. Over 40 people attended the event.

Stations were setup around the room, where individuals could discuss specific sites, and also review documentation (including maps and drawings).

"This event builds on our traditional Site Selector Excursion, which promotes Shiawassee County as a business destination," said SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath. "We wanted to take it a step further by focusing on specific land and building parcels and trying to generate interest from those who could acquire and develop them into businesses and jobs, and this was a very successful first attempt," Horvath added.

SEDP Hosting Early Warning Network Banker Forum for Financing Professionals

The SEDP is hosting an Early Warning Network Banker Forum on Thursday, August 11th, from 12:00 - 1:30 pm at our offices (215 N Water St in downtown Owosso). There is no cost to attend, and lunch will be provided.

The purpose of this event is to make financing professionals aware of additional resources available for businesses that are either financially struggling (or in workout) or with the potential to reach this stage. Specifically, how would you like it if the company in need could receive turnaround management assistance, and get grant funds to help pay for it?

The presenter, EDSI Consulting, has significant experience in this arena, and has successfully worked with several communities elsewhere in Michigan to provide this support.

If you would like to attend, or have any questions, you may rsvp to this email or contact Kevin Watson of EDSI at kwatson@edsisolutions.com

MEDC Launches One-Stop Talent Portal for Skilled Job Seekers, Employers

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recently announced it has launched a new talent portal on its website designed to help skilled professionals connect with employers.

"Creating more opportunities for employers to find the employees and resources they need to support business growth leads to economic growth," MEDC President and CEO Mike Finney said. "Our new Job Portal is designed to support all Michigan companies, big and small, with their goals of efficiently finding topnotch talent."

Through the MEDC Job Portal, located at hiremi.org, employers can register to post openings and work closely with the MEDC's Talent Acquisition team to devise strategies to meet their talent needs.

Companies posting on the Job Portal will also have access to the MEDC's other talent acquisition services, including targeted marketing and social media outreach, career events, assistance with identifying relocation services, and a triage approach to addressing hard-to-fill positions and hiring challenges.

The portal also allows job seekers to search for positions around the state, create profiles and add their resumes to the talent database.

The MEDC Job Portal is currently being used in concert with the Michigan Talent Bank. Both systems are working together to effectively connect Michigan's businesses and job-seekers. The goal for the future includes designing one job portal system that combines the strengths of both of the state's current operating systems, to create a world-class, efficient jobs resource.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a public-private partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on the MEDC's initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at MichiganAdvantage.org.

SEDP Sponsoring Employer Internship Training Seminar This Week 

The SEDP would like to invite you to attend an upcoming seminar on employer internship training, with a focus on gaining insight, knowledge and tools required to assist you with quickly developing an internship program.

The program, presented by Prima Civitas, will cover the following five steps for developing a quality internship program:

1) Setting goals and policies for the internship program
2) Writing a plan for the internship opportunity
3) Recruiting qualified interns
4) Managing the interns
5) Conducting exit interviews

The event will be held this Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 from 8:30 - 10:00 am at the Baker College Welcome Center, 1309 S M-52, Owosso, MI 48867.

You may register by replying to this email or emailing e.meissnest@primacivitas.org. Seating is limited.

Comstock Inn & Conference Center Upgrading Facility, Investing in Downtown Owosso 

Comstock InnThe Comstock Inn & Conference Center, located at 300 E Main St in Owosso, recently announced it is making substantial building and grounds improvements to enhance their guests' experiences.

The operation, which has served as downtown Owosso's only hotel and conference center since 1997, is making many positive modifications, including building exterior upgrades, new signage, new parking lot asphalt, new computer system, and guest room renovations (new mattresses, bed linens and towels, and fresh paint). In addition, the restaurant is returning to its original name of the Tanglewood Lounge and will soon feature seafood on the menu.

"We are excited to offer these new amenities to our guests, including business travelers, tourists, conference visitors and local residents, and hope everyone will stop by and see all of the exciting things happening," said Bob Nelson, who is serving in a leadership role as the organization transitions to ownership management of the facility.

"The Comstock Inn continues to be a prime location for our visitors from out of town," said Owosso Mayor Ben Frederick."I am appreciative that the board saw fit to improve the facility so that it can offer an even better experience to guests."

"The Comstock Inn & Conference Center provides a major positive economic impact not only for downtown Owosso, but Shiawassee County as a whole, and we are excited to see the owners' commitment to investing in this great establishment," said Justin Horvath, President/CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, which offered assistance in the commercial loan refinancing process (which was completed by United Bank & Trust in Tecumseh, MI) to help provide capital to make the improvements.

For more information on the Comstock Inn & Conference Center, please visit http://thecomstockinn.com.

June CEO Roundtable Focuses on Talent Retention & Engagement; July to Cover Talent Attraction 

The SEDP, in collaboration with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC), is now offering CEO Roundtable, a monthly event where Shiawassee County business executives can network, discuss issues critical to management of their organizations, and learn from speakers who can provide professional guidance on these topics.

At our June event, Dr. James Kotterman of the MMTC led an active discussion on the importance of leadership and its direct correlation to employee engagement and performance.  

The next CEO Roundtable will be held on July 20th from 12:00-1:30 pm, location TBD. The event will cover brand new talent enhancement programs available from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. We will also discuss a new SEDP marketing initiative called Growing Hometown Futures, which is focused on bringing former residents of Shiawassee County back home to live and work, thereby improving the quality of our local labor pool.    

For more information, or to RSVP, email Justin Horvath at  jhorvath@sedpweb.org.

SEDP President/CEO Attends International Economic Development Council Spring Conference

SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath recently attended the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 2011 Spring Conference in Indianapolis, IN.

The event focus was "Understanding Tomorrow's Industries Today: The Landscape of the Future," which offered keen insight into how we need to position Shiawassee County to attract companies in future growth sectors and retain existing firms that have products or services in these areas.  

Horvath also had the opportunity to serve as a grader for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) examination held prior to the conference. The CEcD is a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth. Horvath received his certification in December 2010. 

SEDP Hosts Informational Meeting on NextMichigan (Aerotropolis) Concept for Shiawassee County 

Over the past few months, SEDP staff has been working with regional partners on a new program offered through the state known as NextMichigan, which is essentially an Aerotropolis designation. We believe that this endeavor has great potential in utilizing our key transportation assets (Bishop International Airport, I-69, three rail providers) to help us retain and attract logistics and manufacturing-related businesses and jobs.

We have been engaging with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Prima Civitas, Bishop International Airport, Genesee County, Lapeer County, St. Clair County and Oakland County to identify opportunities for collaboration in moving this endeavor forward. A notice of interest (NOI) has been submitted to the state, and we are now beginning work on the application process. This requires identifying local public and private sector partners who want to actively participate in making this a reality for Shiawassee County and the greater region.

The SEDP recently held an informational meeting for a group of about 30 participants, led by Jim Smiertka and David Hollister, representatives from Prima Civitas, who have been informally heading up the group effort.

It offered an opportunity to gain an overall understanding of the concept, ask questions, and basically learn about what it would mean for local communities and businesses. Additional informational sessions are now being held in the other partner counties. 

If you are interested in learning more, or would like to get a copy of the presentation and materials from the meeting, email Justin Horvath at jhorvath@sedpweb.org.

Machine Tool & Gear Awarded Incentive by City of Owosso to Continue Business, Job Growth at Chestnut St Facility 

MTGThe Owosso City Council recently awarded a 12-year, 50% property tax abatement to Corunna-based Machine Tool & Gear, Inc, a supplier of both precision machined and precision manufactured products and assemblies for the transportation industry. This approval supports the company's new capital investment at their second facility located at 401 S Chestnut St.

Machine Tool & Gear's owner acquired the 70,960 sq ft building last fall to support additional capacity necessary from growth in the automotive supply industry. The business' main property is at 1021 N Shiawassee St in the Corunna Industrial Park, and is approximately 114,000 sq ft.

The incentive was authorized for a $540,000 investment in machinery & equipment, which is part of a proposed overall $4.5 million investment in the plant. Machine Tool & Gear currently has 52 people working in Owosso, with 329 people overall (making them the largest manufacturer in Shiawassee County). This particular project will directly retain 15 jobs and create six new jobs.

"The addition of a second facility in Owosso has worked out very well so far, and we are very appreciative of the City Council's approval of our incentive request which encourages us to invest more in this plant, including new hires," said Machine Tool & Gear Group General Manager John Aldrich.

"It is also important to note that the move is helping to free up additional space in our Corunna location, which enables us to add more work and jobs there as well," Aldrich added.

"Machine Tool and Gear remains an outstanding job creator for the entire mid-county," said Owosso Mayor Ben Frederick.  "We welcome their expansion into Owosso and the additional jobs that are coming for our people."

"This company is thriving in a strengthening automotive market, and we are very excited about their continued growth potential in Shiawassee County. Thanks to John (Aldrich) and his team for once again showing their dedication to providing jobs to support our local economy," said Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership President/CEO Justin Horvath, whose organization provided project assistance.

Sycamore House, 2009 SEDP Project of the Year Winner, Receives 2011 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation 

Sycamore HouseA recipient of the 2009 SEDP Project of the Year recently garnered another honor - the 2011 Governor's Award for Historic Preservation.
   
The Woda Group, LLC, PCI Design Group, Inc. and Cornerstone Architects, were recognized for their rehabilitation of the former Durand High School into Sycamore House, a 40-unit senior residential facility.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) initiated the award program in 2003 to recognize outstanding historic preservation achievements reflecting a commitment to the preservation of Michigan's unique character and the many cultural resources that document Michigan's past.  

Previous recipients include private property owners who used historic preservation tax credits to rehabilitate their homes; Michigan State University for the Saint's Rest Archaeological Project; the City of Kalamazoo and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network for their Window Rehabilitation Workshops; the Fort Shelby Hotel in Detroit; the City of Calumet for its facade rehabilitation program; and the Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort.  

Meeting on NextMichigan (Aerotropolis) Concept for Shiawassee County 

Over the past few months, SEDP staff has been working with regional partners on a new program offered through the state known as NextMichigan, which is essentially an Aerotropolis designation. We believe that this endeavor has great potential in utilizing our key transportation assets (Bishop International Airport, I-69, three rail providers) to help us retain and attract logistics and manufacturing-related businesses and jobs.

We have been engaging with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Prima Civitas, Bishop International Airport, Genesee County, Lapeer County, St. Clair County and Oakland County to identify opportunities for collaboration in moving this endeavor forward. A notice of interest (NOI) has been submitted to the state, and we are now beginning work on the application process. This requires identifying local public and private sector partners who want to actively participate in making this a reality for Shiawassee County and the greater region.

To that end, we would like to invite you to a NextMichigan (Aerotropolis) informational meeting led by Jim Smiertka and David Hollister, representatives from Prima Civitas, who have been informally leading the group effort.

This will be your opportunity to gain an overall understanding of the concept, ask questions, and basically learn about what it would mean for your local community or business.

The event will be held on June 10th, from 8:30 am to 10:00 am at the Baker College Welcome Center Conference Room E, 1309 S M-52, Owosso.

If you would like to come and/or send a representative, please email Justin Horvath at jhorvath@sedpweb.org.

SEDP Hosts Successful CEO Roundtable in May; June Event to Continue Focus on Talent Retention & Recruitment 

The SEDP, in collaboration with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC), is now offering CEO Roundtable, a monthly event where Shiawassee County business executives can network, discuss issues critical to management of their organizations, and learn from speakers who can provide professional guidance on these topics.

Our May event focused on Workforce Engagement, with Dr. James Kotterman of the MMTC leading an active discussion of about 25 participants on how companies can not only keep people but also motivate them to achieve greater success.  

The next event, which will be focused on organizational leadership and how it relates to your workforce, will be held on June 23 from 12:00-1:30 pm at Eddie O'Flynn's, located at 2280 W M-21, Owosso. The July event, date TBD, will target how to recruit talent in a challenging labor climate.    

For more information, or to RSVP, email Justin Horvath at jhorvath@sedpweb.org.

SEDP Hosting Energy Savings Seminar - June 8th 

The SEDP is hosting an Energy Savings Seminar on Wednesday, June 8th from 12:00 - 1:00 pm at our offices, 215 N Water St in downtown Owosso. Our presenter will be Christina Gipson of Consumers Energy, who will offer information on their various programs, including available rebates, incentives, and how to get the best rate for your business.

Cost is $10, payable in advance or at the door. Lunch will be provided.

To register, contact Brent Jones at 989-725-9241 or bjones@sedpweb.org by June 6th.

Rail Solutions Provider to Locate New Facility in Owosso 

SEDPHolland LP's M-Bar-D Division, which provides the rail and industrial markets with services that range from railcar cleaning, repair and inspection, locomotive service, derailment material recovery, as well as bulk material transfer and building of specialized equipment, is establishing a new operation in Owosso, to be housed at the Washington Business Center (510 S Washington St). The move is expected to create 3-4 new jobs. 

M-BAR-D currently has 19 locations throughout the United States. Major customers include all major Class 1 railroads, regionals, short lines, private car owners and industrial processing plants.

They currently have multiple customers in Michigan, and selected Owosso due to its central location to them and potential new clients.

"Owosso welcomes Holland LP to our city," said Mayor Ben Frederick. "I am very pleased that they see the value of this location for their operations and applaud them for seeking to expand into our area and provide jobs."

SEDP provided site location assistance in collaboration with the Small Business and Technology Development Center, Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Re/MAX of Owosso.

"We are excited to welcome this company to Owosso and Shiawassee County, and believe it is a natural fit given our central location in the state, proximity to potential markets, and longstanding railroad heritage in the community," said SEDP Project Specialist Brent Jones.

Holland LP, headquartered in Crete, Illinois, is a pioneer in the railway supply industry for car components and is the acknowledged leader in the world market for electric flash butt welding systems and track testing using efficient road rail vehicles. Holland LP has been engineering rail solutions since 1935. For more information, visit www.hollandco.com.

SEDP Sponsoring New CEO Roundtable; May Event to Focus on Talent Retention & Recruitment 

The Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP), in collaboration with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, is now offering CEO Roundtable, a monthly event where Shiawassee County business executives can network, discuss issues critical to management of their organizations, and learn from speakers who can provide professional guidance on these topics.

The next event will be held on May 24th from 12:00-1:30 pm at Eddie O'Flynn's, located at 2280 W M-21, Owosso. The topic of discussion will be Talent Retention and Recruitment. Learn what your peers and others around the state are doing to find and keep good workers in a challenging labor climate. It is estimated that this will be the topic for the next few events.

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Justin Horvath at 989-725-9241 or jhorvath@sedpweb.org.

Unlocking Business Financing Seminar: Find the Keys to Utilizing Local, State and Federal Equity and Loan Programs

Shiawassee County businesses, both startups and existing companies, are encouraged to attend a seminar entitled "Unlocking Business Financing," on Thursday, May 19th from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Shiawassee Regional Education Service District office located at 114 W North St, Owosso, MI 48867.

This free event will provide you with a wealth of information on various funding programs available through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Small Business Administration, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, and Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce Revolving Loan Fund.

Learn how to access money to start, maintain and/or grow your business through debt and equity capital by taking advantage of these resources.

Anyone associated with lending is also encouraged to attend, including bank and credit union representatives, angel and venture capital investors, CPAs, financial planners, attorneys, and commercial real estate professionals.

The event is co-sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, and the Small Business & Technology Development Center.

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Lori Bailey at 989-723-5149 or lbailey@shiawasseechamber.org.  The seminar is offered at no charge, but preregistration is essential.  The deadline for registration is Monday, May 16.

SEDP Staff Leads Successful Industrial Division of Shiawassee United Way Fundraising Campaign  

SEDP staff had the opportunity to serve in a new leadership role for the 2010 Shiawassee United Way Fundraising Campaign, with a focus on working with companies in the industrial division. 

We recently received word on the final tallies from United Way staff, and are excited to report a massive increase in donations in the industrial sector from 2009 to 2010. The total was $15,699 in 2009, and $43,241 in 2010!

Congratulations to Executive Director Retta Parsons and staff, campaign leadership (Pete Karsten, Eric Davis and Cathy Stevenson), all the other volunteers who participated, and most importantly, those businesses, governments and individuals who financially donated to make the overall campaign a success in exceeding its total target of $230,000.

Strauss Tool Growing Manufacturing Business, Expands into Second Facility in Corunna

SEDPThe Corunna City Council recently authorized a 12-year, 50% property tax abatement to encourage an expansion by long-time local manufacturer Strauss Tool. The company does custom tooling & automation, precision machining, milling, finishing, tool & die repair, welding, and duplication of hard to find spare parts.

Strauss Tool is making a $50,000 equipment acquisition, and is leasing new space in the former Strawsine building located at 503 S. Shiawassee St. (see photo above), which is across the street from their current operation. These actions will increase the company's capacity and capabilities, and create two new jobs on top of eight existing jobs. 

The equipment being procured is a Bystronic 2800 Watt Laser Cutter, which features a 4'x8' cutting table and is able to handle steel up to ¾" thick.The machine's large capacity will allow the company to begin pursuing military contracts, according to owner Joe Strauss. The CNC operated laser cutter will compliment the company's existing CNC machining and turning centers.

"This is a great opportunity for Strauss Tool to expand our capabilities, and I am thankful for the support from the city," said Strauss. 

"Strauss Tool has been a strong member of Corunna's industrial business community for many years, and we are excited to see their efforts to grow and diversify," said SEDP Project Specialist Brent Jones, who spoke in support of the project at the council meeting where the abatement was approved.

SEDP Receives Another Clean Audit Opinion

Vogl & Meder, CPA's of Owosso recently completed the 2010 audit of the SEDP's finances, issuing a clean opinion. The organization has now received clean opinions in its first two years of existence.

"The SEDP board and staff continue to ensure that investor dollars are being used effectively and transparently," said Randy Meder of Vogl & Meder.
"Accountability is critical to our organizational success, and this audit further demonstrates our commitment to being good stewards of our investors' financial contributions," said SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath.

Editorial - City of Corunna's Infrastructure Projects Demonstrate Continued Success of Mid-County Governments Working Together to Support Local Jobs 

On the heels of historic water sharing agreements between the City of Owosso and Caledonia and (more recently) Owosso Charter Townships, the City of Corunna has taken another major step in securing the mid-county's economic future through inter-governmental collaboration.

Through forward thinking leadership from council and staff, the city is planning a major investment to upgrade and expand its water and sewer infrastructure to not only better serve its current residents and businesses, but to also support the development of a new industrial park in the city's southeast corner.

Corunna has been awarded grants and low-interest loan money from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development to make this endeavor possible. However, it could only move forward if the three surrounding jurisdictions authorized certain utility agreement modifications as required by the USDA. After hearing City Manager Joe Sawyer's presentation on the projects at their respective board/council meetings, each community voiced their support and approved the necessary changes.

This effort not only shows that the City of Corunna is being pro-active in supporting the economic development of its community, but that all four mid-county governmental units (two cities, two townships) are continuing to work together to support the number one need this entire county and state has - more jobs.

Port Lansing/Foreign Trade Zone No. 275 Seminar

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ's) help importers and exporters reduce expenses. In 2009 more than 2,500 US businesses participated in the FTZ program and processed $430 billion in imports and $28 billion in exports.

Port Lansing recently expanded FTZ No. 275 to include Shiawassee County and seven other mid-Michigan Counties. Attend this seminar to learn how your company can avoid delays and improve efficiencies by utilizing Port Lansing and FTZ No. 275. Hear from experienced FTZ Operators on how other businesses benefit from this federal program that was created 76 years ago to help US businesses compete globally.

Event Date:
April 26, 2011
      
Objectives of seminar:
Educate businesses on what having a port-of-entry at their disposal means, benefits of using a local port, history of port development, future plans, what is an FTZ and who should consider an FTZ - what's involved, various options, application process, activation, operators, and how to finance all these efforts.

Tentative Agenda is:

    * 9:30 Registration
    * 10:00 Welcome and Introductions - Port Lansing Overview
    * 10:15 FTZ Options and Operations
    * 11:15 Financing International Efforts
          o Sub-topics will include:
          o Establishing a business relationship overseas
          o Understanding the types of risk involved in international trade
          o How to mitigate financial risks, for Importers and for Exporters-Sources of financial assistance (for exporters)
    * 11:45 Q & A
    * 12:00 Networking luncheon

Registration Fee:
$25.00

Registration Contact:
Brent Jones, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership Project Specialist, 989-725-9241 or bjones@sedpweb.org

RSVP by April 19th

Venue: Baker College Welcome Center, 1309 S M-52, Owosso, MI 48867

 

215 N. Water St., Owosso, Michigan 48867 - (989) 725-9241 - Fax (989) 723-8353

Last updated:

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