Business expansions bring new investments to support economic growth in Michigan

Thursday, May 28, 2020

• Two business expansion projects expected to generate total investment of $13.2 million, create 213 jobs • eCommerce tech company expanding in Washtenaw County, creating 26 high paying jobs • Longstanding coatings company expanding existing facility in Fenton, adding 187 jobs

Photo courtesy of Niles Industrial Coating

LANSING, Mich. – Two projects expected to generate a total investment of $13.2 million and create 213 jobs in Michigan have received support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“These projects will support economic growth and resiliency in these communities while creating good-paying jobs for our residents. We’re pleased to work with our local partners and support these investments,” said Josh Hundt, Chief Business Development Officer and Executive Vice President at the MEDC. “Today’s MSF approvals demonstrate our focus on restoring economic prosperity for all Michiganders as they recover from the impact of the COVID-19 virus, while continuing to support the businesses and community projects that will secure the long-term economic health of our state.”

Human Element, Inc., headquartered in Ann Arbor, provides integrated eCommerce and web-based business solutions for corporate clients throughout the United States. The company specializes in complex web development and Enterprise Resource Planning integration for clients using the Magento eCommerce platform for Business to Customer and Business to Business experiences.

The company is growing due to increased demand and plans to purchase and renovate an existing building in Washtenaw County. The project is expected to generate a total private investment of nearly $11.7 million and create 26 high-paying jobs, further growing Michigan’s technology footprint. As a result, Human Element has been awarded a $260,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The company considered sites in Colorado, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, as well as the possibility of hiring remote workers, before choosing to expand and create jobs in Michigan. Ann Arbor SPARK has worked with the company and will provide staff time and resources in support of the project. For information on careers with Human Element, visit

“Ann Arbor SPARK has worked to support Human Element’s growth since 2014, providing help with securing incentives, promoting the jobs it has available, and being a trusted resource for information on programs that have benefitted the company. Our work to connect businesses to resources continues during this time of global crisis,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO, Ann Arbor SPARK. “Human Element’s latest expansion creates investment and jobs that will have a positive impact on our economy.”

Niles Industrial Coatings, LLC was founded in 1958 in Flint as the Genesee Decorating Company. Today the company offers a diversified group of services, including industrial painting, floor coatings, polyurea, plural component linings, fireproofing, and more. Niles is currently at capacity at its facility in the city of Fenton, which serves at its headquarters and primary warehouse. The company plans to expand the facility and completely redesign the existing structure inside and out. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of approximately $1.5 million and create 187 high-wage jobs, resulting in an $800,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The company fosters high-wage skill growth, creating jobs in categories such as journeymen painters and roofers, and expects that the expansion will allow for additional job growth beyond the project. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in California, Florida and Illinois for the project.

“Niles Industrial Coatings is grateful to the State of Michigan, Genesee County, and the City of Fenton for supporting us as we strive to unlock our potential. The Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant will allow us to expand our facility in Fenton to not only accommodate a larger team, but also continue to provide the high level of quality and service that our customers have come to expect. By working with the MEDC, we expect to be in a position to recruit talent to Fenton, increase our Michigan-based workforce, and become more competitive in the global industrial painting industry,” said Niles Industrial Coatings Vice President Scott Avendt. “We are proud to be a Michigan-based company and we are pleased to be able to work with state and local government to build a company who will continue to provide work for Michigan families.”

The city of Fenton has offered a 50-percent property tax abatement in support of the project. For information on careers with Niles, visit

“Niles Industrial Coatings has been an integral part of this community for more than 60 years. The list of industrial customers Niles has served over the past six decades is very impressive and a testament to the company’s outstanding reputation and capabilities,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “The $1.5 million investment in its Fenton operations, along with the addition of 187 jobs over the next four years is great news for Niles, and a great win for the city of Fenton and Genesee County. I’m proud our team was able to assist Niles on this expansion project.”

“We look forward to continuing our work with Niles Industrial Coatings and their quickly approaching expansion project in the Industrial Park,” said Fenton Assistant City Manager and Downtown Development Authority Director Michael Hart. “They have been part of the Fenton community for many years and appreciate their continued investment with a building expansion project and adding a number of new employees.”

These projects are providing key opportunities to support businesses that serve as a foundation to create high wage growth and regional impact across the state and are part of overall economic recovery efforts that include COVID-19 relief programs as well as long-term economic resiliency in the state.

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.