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3/28/2017 // Coopersville, Michigan –Continental Dairy Facilities, LLC and Fairlife LLC, announced a collaborative project to add additional onsite wastewater treatment capacity at their 100-acre dairy processing plant in the City of Coopersville.

Support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and City of Coopersville helped pave the way for the $3.7 million upgrade to move forward.  This upgrade will result in $173 million in capital investment and the creation of 52 new jobs.

"Fairlife continues to achieve an astonishing rate of growth,” said Hawk Dobbins, plant engineer at Fairlife, LLC in Coopersville. “This collaborative project will allow our growth to continue unabated and paves the way for long term investment and job creation in West Michigan."

Both companies are expanding operations to include new products and product lines. The increased water treatment capacity will allow Fairlife to add additional capacity to produce fairlife, Core Power and Yup branded products.

“Continental Dairy Facilities is very pleased to partner with the State of Michigan and the Michigan Strategic Fund to identify investment opportunities that recognize growth potential in the state’s dairy industry while working to protect the environment that we all share and cherish,” said Steve Cooper, Chief Operating Officer & General Manager, Continental Dairy.

The increased water treatment capacity will allow Continental Dairy to expand operations to produce butter and buttermilk powder.

“We continue to work with state and local partners to develop solutions to help our world-class employers overcome barriers and grow in the region,” said Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage. “These partnerships and resources, and continued focus on what our companies need to grow here are necessary to ensure growth and good jobs for our companies and employees.”

Continental Dairy and Fairlife jointly received a Michigan Business Development Program grant, administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in the amount of up to $2,407,000 to be utilized for onsite wastewater treatment upgrades.

“Food and agriculture businesses are one of Michigan’s major economic drivers, and as they continue to diversify and grow, it’s imperative that we invest in improved infrastructure and processing capabilities,” said Michigan Economic Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Steve Arwood.

The companies and the City of Coopersville evaluated various options to determine the most economic and fastest way to add wastewater treatment capacity. The City of Coopersville has offered local support of this project through a $1.1 million upgrade to its own wastewater treatment plant.

“Fairlife and Continental Dairy have been a significant economic development success story here and in West Michigan,” said Steven Patrick, City Manager, City of Coopersville. “The continued support from the MEDC through the Michigan Business Development Program grant and the City of Coopersville’s on-going investment in its own wastewater treatment plant will provide the means to allow further investment in growth and job creation. We are very appreciative of the collaboration taking place between the State of Michigan, Continental Dairy and Fairlife, and the City of Coopersville.” 

A long-term regional wastewater solution is the next step for positioning the region for additional food processing company growth. In October, the West Michigan Regional Prosperity Initiative, an organization made up of economic development partners in the region, supported a $104,600 preliminary engineering design study helping to create an action plan for a proposed implementation of a 20-mile pipeline connecting Coopersville’s wastewater treatment system to the underutilized system in Muskegon County. The West Michigan Regional Prosperity Initiative and Fairlife are collaborating on funding the study.

“Wastewater infrastructure capacity is a multi-step, intricate, ongoing project, with multiple state and local partners working with business leaders to support business growth for our current and future food processing companies in West Michigan,” said Al Vanderberg, Ottawa County Administrator. “We are taking the right steps to evaluate and investigate the best long term solution for our region.”

About Continental Dairy Facilities, LLC
In operation since 2008, Continental Dairy Facilities, LLC produces cream condensed milk and over 300,000 pounds of non-fat dried milk each day. The company is on its fourth expansion, with 93 employees in the state and is a regional dairy ingredient facility that receives milk from four other dairy cooperatives with member dairy farms in 35 Michigan counties.

About Fairlife, LLC
Fairlife LLC was established in 2013 and is a partnership between Select Milk Producers and the Coca-Cola Company, with a goal to produce exceptional quality milk. Fairlife’s patented cold filtration process filters natural milk to increase protein and calcium and decrease lactose and sugars. Current products include fairlife, Core Power and Yup. Fairlife also produces Dunkin’ Donuts ready-to-serve iced coffee. The company has 196 employees in Michigan.










View full Consumers Energy "Energy Ready" assessment here

March 14, 2017 // Ottawa County, Michigan – Two hundred acres of industrially zoned, vacant land near the I-96 and new M-231 bypass in Crockery Township are one step closer to being ready for development, thanks to a completed “Energy Ready” assessment conducted by Consumers Energy. This site, the Crockery Township Industrial Development Park, is the first in Ottawa County to be assessed for the “Energy Ready” program.

“Ottawa County is a burgeoning leader in championing West Michigan’s growing business community,” said Jeff Mayes, Consumers Energy’s director of economic development. “We’re pleased to work with Lakeshore Advantage, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and other agencies to meet the long-term energy needs of new and expanding businesses at this Crockery Township location.”

The Consumers Energy team reached out to Lakeshore Advantage to help identify an Ottawa County site that would be an ideal candidate for the program.

Lakeshore Advantage worked with local experts Ken Brandsen and Cheryl Scales at Progressive AE, Dave Ash at Lakewood Construction and Kris DePree, Colliers International Holland, to review potential sites. The team worked together to identify Ottawa County locations and then selected the Crockery Township site as one that could highly benefit from the “Energy Ready” utility readiness assessment to move it forward as an attractive industrial business location.

“The partnership between utilities, business services and industry in West Michigan is outstanding,” said Kris DePree, President, Colliers International Holland and Lakeshore Advantage Board Treasurer. “The team worked fluidly together to encourage business and economic growth in West Michigan.”

Through the “Energy Ready” program, Consumers Energy assesses and determines the site’s energy use potential, including its existing energy infrastructure and estimated costs to adjust the site’s features, based on how an incoming business plans to use the site. Crockery Township Industrial Development Park advantages include: low and high voltage distribution availability, ideally up to 100 MW; competitive electric rate options; next to municipal water and wastewater; and availability of energy efficiency and construction incentives.

“With this additional assessment and marketing assistance, and its prime location, we feel we are in a great position to attract the right business here,” said Leon Stille, Crockery Township Supervisor. “We are pleased that Consumers Energy spent their time and initiative to facilitate this opportunity for development in Crockery Township.”

Consumers Energy’s statewide electric and natural gas service areas cover 68 counties in Michigan. The Crockery Township Industrial Development Park is the 13th “Energy Ready” site in Michigan.


February 15, 2017 HOLLAND, Mich. — LG Chem Michigan Inc. (LGCMI) said today it will build a 100,000 square-foot addition at the company’s Holland battery cell manufacturing facility. LGCMI plans to break ground on the new addition in March and occupy the space by August of 2017.

The new building will expand upon the company’s recent growth into battery pack assembly with multiple assembly lines.  The addition is expected to create as many as 150 new jobs in Holland over the years ahead.

“The demand for our battery packs and cells continues to grow with the electrification of vehicles,” said Nick Kassanos, president of LG Chem Michigan. “We’re excited to keep expanding our facility and our team to maintain our leadership in this thriving industry.”

LGCMI manufactures battery cells and packs for electric vehicles including the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid and the 2017 Chevy Volt.  LG Chem is expanding the facility to meet growing production demand of lithium-ion polymer battery cells and battery packs.

“We have been working side-by-side with LG Chem Michigan since the beginning of their presence in Holland,” said Jennifer Owens, president, Lakeshore Advantage. "We are pleased to assist them with their continued, significant growth and value LG Chem MI as a primary employer and employer of choice in our region.”

About LG Chem Michigan
LG Chem Michigan Inc. (LGCMI) manufactures large lithium-ion polymer battery cells and packs for electric vehicle (EV) and energy storage applications. LGCMI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of LG Chem, a South Korean company that has global operations focused on petrochemical products, information/electronic materials, and energy solutions. LG Chem is part of the LG Group.
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1/31/2017 - Zeeland, Michigan – Lakeshore Advantage, the non-profit economic development organization for Ottawa and northern Allegan counties, released the region’s year-end economic successes to a gathering of over 100 business and community leaders at a private investor gathering this month. The meeting featured special guest Steve Arwood, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“There’s a long list of projects that happen in this community, and that’s not by accident,” said Steve Arwood. “West Michigan is setting the example through your local economic development efforts for the rest of the state.”

2016 Regional economic successes include:
• Twenty-six business expansion projects, resulting in $205 million in private investment and 1,052 jobs.
• Nearly eleven million dollars in government funding leveraged for area businesses, employees and the community.

An example of this funding includes the 34 companies that attained $1.37 million in Skilled Trades Training Fund grants to upgrade the skills of new and existing employees, with support of West Michigan Works!.

• Launching and supporting 102 human resource professionals through round table and educational sessions.
• Supporting 225 entrepreneurs through programming and education, and mentoring 29 entrepreneurs to navigate their next business milestones.
• Officially achieving Holland SmartZone status to dedicate resources to entrepreneurial efforts.
• Meeting with 375 local business leaders to listen to successes and challenges, and create valuable connections for growth.
A digital version of the full report is available online at:

Addressing the investors at the event, Mike Ramirez, chair of the Lakeshore Advantage Board of Directors said, “Because of your work and investment, the Lakeshore Advantage accomplishments of 2016 are also yours to celebrate.”

Among the major business expansions announced in 2016, the Kent Quality Foods’ new facility in Jamestown Township represents the largest single project investment at $34.8 million. JR Automation’s expansion in Holland Township is on track to create 250 jobs, the most jobs created for a single project in 2016.

“Having the supporting structure of Lakeshore Advantage, MEDC, Michigan Works! and Holland Charter Township allows JR to focus on our operational business growth in Michigan,” said Bryan Jones, CEO, JR Automation. “West Michigan and the talented people who choose to work at JR are huge contributors to our continued success and expansion.  We are excited to offer hundreds of new job opportunities to both experienced engineers and new grads.”

Lakeshore Advantage reports a return on investment of $170 for every one dollar invested in the organization in 2016. 

About Lakeshore Advantage
Lakeshore Advantage is a non-profit economic development organization that catalyzes resources to drive economic growth in West Michigan. Lakeshore Advantage works to maintain a robust primary business base at all stages of development, from startups to large world-class corporations. Lakeshore Advantage is the administrator of the Holland SmartZone.

Lakeshore Advantage links area companies with the tools and resources needed for continued growth. In 2016, Lakeshore Advantage assisted with 26 growth projects resulting in over $205 million dollars in new private sector investment and 1,052 new jobs. 

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