Wolverine World Wide Defense Contract to Bring New Business and New Jobs to Big Rapids

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Company wins bid to supply combat boots for U.S. Marine Corps

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that Wolverine World Wide Inc. will produce combat boots for the U.S. Marine Corps at its facility in Big Rapids. The footwear manufacturer won the military contract in competition with companies in Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon. Over the next several years, Wolverine plans an expansion which is expected to create additional Michigan jobs, 115 direct employment at the company, and 97 additional job opportunities with material suppliers and service providers.

“Wolverine World Wide has continually adjusted its business plan to meet market demands, making it one of the state’s leading corporations for more than a hundred years,” Granholm said. “Traditional and innovative businesses like this one are critical to our efforts to diversify Michigan's economy in the 21st century.”

Based on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) recommendation, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority board today approved a defense contract state tax credit valued at $693,000 over seven years to support the project.In addition, the MEDC will provide $100,000 in Economic Development Job Training funds.   

Wolverine World Wide, headquartered in Rockford, was founded in 1883. It does businessin nearly 200 countries and has 1,432 employees in Michigan. Under the project announced, the company will manufacture and supply anywhere between 53,000 and 209,000 pairs of the United States Marine Corps hot and temperate weather combat boots each year over the next five years.

“This is the first defense contracting tax credit the MEDC has recommended since creation of the Defense Contract Coordination Center (DC3) to help more companies successfully bid for government business,” MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito said. “This is a milestone for the company and for Michigan.”  

An economic analysis conducted by the MEDC estimates that the project is expected to generate more than $53 million in personal income for Michigan workers over the life of the tax credit.

“Wolverine World Wide is committed to successful partnership with MEDC, and recognizes the importance of our work through the Bates Brand to the US Military,” Mike McBreen, president of Wolverine World Wide’s Global Operations Group said. “In addition to this public-private partnership, we are pursuing several key strategies to improve our overall efficiency and effectiveness to ensure our long-term competitiveness in the marketplace.”

The Wolverine expansion is one of 20 economic development projects the governorannounced today. In all, they are expected to create a total of 9,495 Michigan jobs.    

In her 2008 State of the State address, Granholm emphasized the importance of creating opportunity in the changing world of the 21st century. Since January 2005, the Governor and the MEDC have announced the creation or retention of more than 257,000 jobs as a result of targeted assistance provided by the MEDC.


Wolverine World Wide Inc.

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About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.