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LOCAL INDUSTRY RISING!: 6 Companies Project Multi-Million Dollar Expansions

New World of Opportunity in Manufacturing Cited by Johnston, Mazzeo, Hansen

October 7, 2012       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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To the Moon!!!

Or at least Jupiter, in the case of one high tech local industry, Emcor.

Bay Area on the Go, a Bay Area Chamber of Commerce economic development extravaganza, got the wheels turning on "Manufacturing: A New World of Opportunity" on Thursday.

Robert D. Hansen
President & CEO
Dow Corning Corp.
Several speakers at the DoubleTree Hotel - Bay City Riverfront, sketched a portrait of local economic growth and vitality unthinkable even a few years ago.

Joe Mazzeo, manager of Bay City PowerTrain, gave a profile of "The New General Motors" and Robert D. Hansen, president and CEO of Dow Corning Corporation fleshed out the mushrooming field of power electronics and its potential for growth here.

The expansion of silicon carbide wafers into new vistas will make hybrid and electric vehicles go farther on a single charge and will drive all-electric warships now under construction -- indicating only the tip of the market potential, said Mr. Hansen.

The packed crowd of chamber attendees responded with alacrity to each positive report in the three-hour pep rally orchestrated by the incomparable Mike Seward, chamber president/CEO.

Michigan was wrapped in the mantle of positivity as Michael D. Johnston, vice president of the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) gushed about 498,000 highly paid manufacturing jobs (average pay $74,000 per year) in Michigan, spurred by tax reforms especially elimination of the Michigan Business Tax (MBT).

Demand for new autos is one of the main drivers of the Michigan economy, said Mr. Johnston, with 14 million vehicle sales in 2012 projected to rise to 16 million in 2014.

The only stickler remains the personal property tax (PPT) that manufacturers hope will be eliminated, resulting in an additional 20,000 to 45,000 jobs, said Mr. Johnston.

Local governments that have depended on the PPT will likely be funded by a new form of revenue sharing coming from the state general fund, he said. The PPT will probably be phased out over a decade, expiring in 2022.

Chamber's Mike Seward
Mr. Seward handed out awards to six manufacturers that are the lifeblood of the local economy and are expanding with massive investments:

  • General Motors Bay City PowerTrain, $145 million investment creating or retaining 174 jobs; (the local plant employment now stands at 410)

  • Emcor, providing nine parts for the U.S. military's Predator drone and whose ball screws are headed toward Jupiter aboard the Juno spacecraft, according to president Pat O'Brien, chair elect of the chamber;

  • Consumers Energy, pouring $425 million into the Karn-Weadock electrical generating plant at the mouth of the Saginaw River, rising to 200 plus employees;

  • Mersen USA, investing $13.2 million since 2006 in Bay City and relocating its Midland facility to Williams Township, Bay County;

  • Bay Cast, with a vast array of new investments in plant and equipment, expansion of customer base with products into automotive and furnishing huge pumps for New Orleans that controlled flooding produced by the latest hurricanes.

  • Dow Corning, recently announced a $117 million investment at a new site with 400 employees at Uptown at RiversEdge and investing $20 million in its Auburn site that has grown from 40 employees at its opening in 1987 to 270 employees;


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    Dave Rogers

    Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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