#441. Michigan Manufacturing Coming Back Strong

Posted on | The Agurban

Michigan Manufacturing Coming Back Strong

Last week Dean Bingham, President of Agracel, and I attended the Grand Opening Celebration for Janesville Acoustics’ newest plant in Battle Creek, MI.  It was a project that we did for them, converting a 300,000 sf distribution center into Janesville’s largest plant.  Their parent company, Jason, Inc. and subsidiaries, own another 33 plants in North and South America, Europe and Asia.

This plant will have over 200 employees in the first quarter of 2014 and is another example of the resurgence of manufacturing in Michigan.  In last week’s Agurban we reported that the state topped the list for the number of new manufacturing jobs created from 2009 through March 2013 at 88,100.  Second place Texas trailed it with 57,500 jobs.

David Westgate, CEO of Jason, complimented the state’s Michigan Economic Development Corporation for “going the extra mile” in bringing this plant to the state.  The steps that MI has taken in the last couple of years to make itself more business friendly, especially with Right to Work, were key reasons given by Westgate on why they choose MI over other states.

Jason started in 1985 when Vince Martin and Mark Train left comfortable positions with their Canadian manufacturing conglomerate AMCA, risked their life savings and purchased three subsidiaries that AMCA needed to sell.  I got a chance to meet Mr. Martin at the event.  It is always a thrill to meet entrepreneurs like him who risk all and achieve such wonderful success.

One of the four Jason subsidiaries, Milsco, started as the Milwaukee Saddlery Company making leather harnesses, collars, and accessories for farm horses.  In 1934, Harley Davidson approached the company about making upholstered seats for their motorcycles when their original seat supplier refused to add any padding to their steel seats.  Since then they’ve been Harley’s sole seat supplier, also making most of their saddlebags.  I’m going to talk with them about adding some extra padding to my Harley.

It’s great to see the transformation a state like Michigan has made in their approach to creating new jobs and opportunities.  And, what positive things can happen when you make that change.

You can’t be pro-labor by being anti-business!