Five companies expanding in Michigan, adding 218 jobs

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Projects will generate more than $24.3 million, create 218 jobs

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation today announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of three business expansion projects and two community development projects that will generate more than $24.3 million and create 218 jobs. 

“The commitment of these companies to grow and create jobs here demonstrates the significance of our greatly improved business climate and infrastructure,” said MEDC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Arwood. “Today’s projects will further revitalize our communities and bring new jobs to our residents.”

Michigan Business Development Program:

Irwin Seating Company, founded in 1933, is the world’s leading manufacturer of public seating for movie theaters, auditoriums, arenas, performing arts centers and convention centers. The company has two manufacturing facilities in North America, one in Walker, MI and the other in Altamont, IL. The company plans to repurpose part of its current facility in the City of Walker to allow for the manufacture of a new recliner product for the cinema market. In addition to investing in new machinery and equipment, the company will invest in a substantial amount of training for new employees due to the complex nature of the work and the specialized skills it requires. The company plans to invest $1.9 million and create 60 jobs, resulting in a $300,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Mississippi. The City of Walker has offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatement. Individuals interested in employment opportunities with Irwin Seating should visit

LOC Performance Products, Inc., established in 1971 and headquartered in Plymouth, is a manufacturer of driveline and suspension systems for military and commercial applications. The company was recently awarded a $161 million defense contract to restore lost mobility to the U.S. Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle. This contract provides for Engineering Change Proposal (ECP-1) vehicle modifications, through the installation of track kits, vehicle suspension support system kits, shock absorber kits, and heavy weight torsion bar kits. The company plans to make improvements at its facility in Plymouth Charter Township as well as acquire new equipment and machinery to accommodate the production work. The project will generate a total capital investment of more than $12.1 million and create 95 jobs, resulting in a $600,000 MBDP performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Texas. Plymouth Charter Township has offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatement. For employment opportunities with LOC Performance Products, visit

NHK International Corporation is a subsidiary of NHK Spring Co., Ltd., a global manufacturer of automotive suspension springs based in Japan. NHK International Corporation was established in 1976 and is located in the city of Wixom as the North American Headquarters and R&D center for the parent company. The company plans to acquire a new building and grow its headquarters/R&D center in the City of Novi, investing $9 million and creating 26 jobs related to automotive research and engineering. As a result, the company has been awarded a $150,000 MBDP performance-based grant. The City of Novi is offering support to the project by providing funds toward permit fees. For employment opportunities with NHK International Corporation, please send your resume at [email protected].

Community Development Block Grants:

The Township of Allouez has received $275,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for on-the-job training for the Neuvokas Corporation expansion project in the Township of Allouez (Keweenaw County). Neuvokas Corporation, a developer and manufacturer of Basalt Fiber Reinforced Polymer rebar, plans to lease the former Rensen Manufacturing building in Allouez Township, investing approximately $1.3 million in new equipment and machinery and creating 31 jobs over the next two years. The CDBG funds will be used to assist the company with the training of new employees. The site in Allouez Township was chosen over a competing site in Wisconsin.

Wexford County has received $210,000 in Community Development Block Grant working capital loan funds for the Harrietta Hills Trout Farm expansion project in Slagle Township, near the Village of Harrietta. The company specializes in the production of rainbow trout and has partnered with Superior Foods of Grand Rapids to process fish. The expansion project will include the creation of six jobs. The loan will be used to operating expenses such as inventory, receivables, equipment leases, licensing permits, marketing and costs associated with the addition of staff. The Traverse City Area Chamber Foundation will serve as the CDBG Revolving Loan Fund manager. 

The Michigan Business Development Program provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investments or create jobs in Michigan, with preference given to businesses that need additional assistance for deal-closing and for second stage gap financing. 

The MSF considers a number of factors in making these awards, including: out-of-state competition, private investment in the project, business diversification opportunities, near-term job creation, wage and benefit levels of the new jobs, and net-positive return to the state. Business retention and retail projects are not eligible for consideration of these incentives.

The Michigan Strategic Fund, in cooperation with MEDC, administers the economic and community development portions of the Community Development Block Grant program. CDBG is a federal grant program utilizing funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

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 For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.