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Eovations Continues Bay City's Historic Role As Innovator of Wood Products

Wooden Products Were Produced in Dozens of Local Industries

November 1, 2010       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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EoTek is not wood, it is polymer based building material to be produced by a new Bay City company, Eovations LLC.

But it is an innovation that is a worthy successor to several developments in wooden construction techniques that have historically evolved in Bay City and have impacted markets.

Starting with the turn of the last century, Bay City spawned the Aladdin Company that produced more than 75,000 ready-cut homes, the Defoe and Eddy shipbuilding companies that were among firms here producing knock-down boat kits for home assembly, Woodcraft Corp and Wieland Furniture that molded wood, and in the past 30 years Gougeon Brothers whose WEST System epoxy has revolutionized the assembly of wood products, mainly for marine use.

Defoe, of course, built magnificent wooden yachts, including the former Sewell Avery yacht from 1931 that became the Presidential yacht Honey Fitz. It is still afloat today near Palm Beach, Florida.

Dozens of companies here made hoops and barrels, lath and shingles, wooden pails and buckets, furniture, architectural mill work. The barrel used by Annie Edson Taylor to go over Niagara Falls in 1901 was built in Salzburg. The W. D. Young hardwood flooring plant in Salzburg was at one time considered the largest such firm in the world.

Veneer and plywood was produced by firms including the Hanson-Ward Veneer Works and the Wilson Body Company, later a branch of the Murray Body Company of Detroit, made hardwood automobile bodies until steel came into use in 1930.

One of many wooden shipbuilders, Capt. James Davidson continued use of oak, tamarack and other readily available woods long after other builders had switched to steel.

That the newest company, Eovations LLC, a spin-off from The Dow Chemical Company, is locating here is a tribute to the long local heritage of innovation in building materials.

Eovations LLC -- The new-to-Michigan venture will commercialize a new, next-generation composite building material called EoTek. The company plans to invest $16 million to establish an R&D and production center in Bay City. The project is expected to create up to 64 direct jobs at the company within the next five years. Based on the MEDC's recommendation, the MEGA board approved a state tax credit valued at $1.3 million over seven years to convince the company to expand in Michigan over a competing site in Ohio.

"From new-to-Michigan companies to automotive leaders who have called Michigan home for decades, our innovative economic development toolbox is providing a framework that makes a strong business case for future investments," said MEDC President and CEO Greg Main.

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority, the state's response to interstate competition for company expansions and relocations, may provide a refundable tax credit against the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) to companies expanding or relocating their operations in Michigan. Since January 2010, nearly 294,000 new and retained jobs have been announced as a result of the MEGA program.

Michigan brownfield programs provide incentives to invest in property that has been used for industrial, commercial or residential purposes and to keep that property in productive use or return it to productive use. Brownfield incentives can be used for functionally obsolete, blighted or contaminated property.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a 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 website at www.MichiganAdvantage.org. For updates on MEDC programs, events, success stories and more, follow them on Twitter (www.twitter.com/MIAdvantage), become a fan on Facebook (www.Facebook.com), read their blog at http://blog.michiganadvantage.organd subscribe to the MEDC YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/michiganupperhand).

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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