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By Jim Harger | email@example.com | Posted November 21, 2013
HOLLAND, MI – LG Chem Michigan Inc. celebrated the first shipment of lithium ion batteries for the Chevrolet Volt made at its controversial Holland factory on Thursday, Nov. 21.
About 50 company employees and guests applauded as a forklift eased the last of 50 crates, each containing nine batteries, onto a semi-truck bound for a Chevrolet assembly plant in Brownston, Mi.
Randy Thelen, president of Lakeshore Advantage economic development agency that recruited LG Chem to Holland, said the ceremony marks the next chapter for an employer that earlier was criticized for accepting state, federal and local tax breaks and then, not producing any batteries as demand for the Volt failed to build.
“From my vantage point, it’s time to turn the page,” said Thelen. “This is now a business and the politics are behind us.”
By Joe Boomgaard | MiBiz.com | Posted Oct 27, 2013
A new Brookings Institution report on the future of Tennessee’s automotive industry might make for some interesting reading for West Michigan supplier companies.
At the very least, it will make them feel wanted.
After luring auto assembly jobs south over the past couple of decades, the Volunteer State is discovering that cheap labor, attractive incentives and a business-friendly environment won’t be enough to stay competitive long term, the report noted. Assembly jobs have continued to move south, specifically to Mexico where there’s been more than $3.5 billion invested in automotive plants in recent years.
So Tennessee and its southern neighbors have looked north again and are setting their sights on the automotive supply chain, according to the report.
“They want to get what we have,” said economic developer Randy Thelen, president of Zeeland-based Lakeshore Advantage. In particular, southern states are eyeing the engineering, technology and design assets that Michigan-based automotive supplier companies have built up over the past century.
By Jim Harger | MLive | Posted Oct 24, 2013
Holland — The Stow Company is creating about 40 new jobs at its newly expanded facility at 3311 Windquest Drive as it closes a manufacturing plant in Pine Brook, New Jersey, the company announced on Thursday, October 24.
The Stow Company, which currently employs about 200 workers in three shifts at its Holland plant, makes custom storage and organization systems for all areas of the home, including closets, garage, pantry, laundry and mudrooms, as well as entertainment centers and wall-beds.
“The Stow Company is on a strong path of double digit growth for all of our brands, and expanding the capacity of our Holland manufacturing operation allows us to meet growing customer demand and maximize efficiencies while keeping pricing competitive and maintaining market leadership,” said Executive Vice President Randy Tallman in a press release.
By Lisa Ermak | The Holland Sentinel | Posted Oct 23, 2013
Holland — The Holland-Grand Haven area is the most secure mid-size city in America, according to a recent study by Farmers Insurance. Quality-of-life expert and researcher Bert Sperling conducted the study and looked at a number of factors, including economic stability, crime statistics, extreme weather, housing depreciation and employment rates to determine the top 20 list of secure cities, which were broken down by population size.
Holland-Grand Haven landed on the top of the list for mid-size cities followed by Green Bay, Wis.
Keith VanBeek, assistant Ottawa County administrator, said the county works toward having solid services and a fantastic community that is a place people want to live.
"It's outside recognition that we have a fantastic community," he said. "It's one of those outside indicators" that what the county is doing is working.
By Jim Harger | MLive
ZEELAND, MI – Gentex Corp. beat analyst estimates by reporting a 33 percent increase in third quarter profits on the strength of an 8 percent increase in third quarter sales on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Gentex, which makes automatic-dimming rearview mirrors for automobiles, dimmable aircraft windows and fire protection products, said the improvements were due mainly to purchasing cost reductions and an improved product mix.
In an earnings announcement released Tuesday, Oct. 22, Gentex said its net sales were $288.6 million, compared to last year’s third quarter sales of $268.2 million.
Net earnings were $55.5 million, compared with net income of $41.9 million in the third quarter of 2012. Profits were up 7 percent from $52.1 million in the second quarter of 2013.
The results beat consensus estimates of analysts, who expected 32 cents per share of profit on revenue of $277.24 million.
"We're very pleased to report continued strong revenue and earnings growth despite year-to-date reduced light vehicle production in Europe and the Japan/Korea regions," said Gentex Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Fred Bauer in a statement issued prior to the market opening.
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