©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Duncan Aviation to Grow in Battle Creek, Create 726 New Jobs

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Michael Shore, MEDC
(517) 335-4590

Aircraft Services Provider Chooses Michigan over Nebraska for $19.5 Million Investment

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced today that Duncan Aviation Inc. will invest $19.5 million to expand its operations in Battle Creek instead of at the company headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. The project will create 726 jobs, including 380 directly by the company. Assistance offered through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) helped convince the company to choose Michigan.

"Duncan's expansion is great news for Battle Creek," Granholm said. "This investment cements the company's long-term presence in our state and ensures good-paying jobs for Michigan workers far into the future."

The MEDC approved a Single Business Tax credit valued at more than $2.2 million over six years to win the project. The city of Battle Creek has proposed an additional incentive through the city's Tax Increment Finance Authority, offering to construct 142,000 square feet of aircraft ramp, additional paving and rerouting of the road to service the expansion. The value of the city's contribution is estimated at more than $1.3 million.

"We have been discussing and planning this expansion for a few years, and the timing is now right to begin," Aaron Hilkemann, president of Duncan Aviation said. "In 2006, Duncan Aviation will celebrate its 50th year in business. We can't think of a better way to celebrate than to unveil a new facility at the end of that year. The additional capacity in Michigan will give us room to grow and will contribute to the overall growth of Duncan Aviation. We are proud to expand in Battle Creek and we hope that our growth will have a positive impact on the local economy."

The Duncan Aviation expansion is one of 10 economic development projects the Governor announced today. In all, they are expected to create and retain a total of 5,006 Michigan jobs, including 2,630 directly by company expansions and redevelopments.

A University of Michigan economic analysis estimates that 346 indirect Michigan jobs will be created as a result of increased economic activity associated with the expansion, in addition to the 380 jobs created directly by the company. The project is expected to generate more than $154 million in personal income for Michigan workers over the life of the tax credit.

"Duncan Aviation is consistently known as one of America's best places to work," Battle Creek Unlimited President and CEO Jim Hettinger said. "We are pleased and honored that the company has decided to expand in Michigan. It shows that the state's incredible transportation expertise is not confined to the automobile. This expansion also shows the growing strength of aviation in the Battle Creek SmartZone."

Duncan's expansion will be located in the Battle Creek Aviation & e-Learning Smartzone, one of eleven SmartZones in the State of Michigan. The 380 new direct jobs represent the largest job creation total for a single company within a Michigan SmartZone since the inception of the program in 2001.

Established in 1956, Duncan Aviation has grown into the largest family-owned aircraft support services provider in North America. The company maintains and inspects all major aircraft brands including Cessna, Learjet, Falcon, Challenger and Gulfstream. Duncan employs 1,800 nationwide including 467 at its facilities in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo.

"We worked with Battle Creek to make a smart business case to win Duncan's continued investment," MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway said. "This is the kind of high-tech, company that we need to win and keep as part of our effort to diversify and reshape Michigan's economy."

In her 2005 State of the State address, Granholm emphasized the importance of making Michigan a global economic powerhouse in the 21st century. Since January 2005 the Governor and the MEDC have announced the creation or retention of more than 41,350 jobs as a result of targeted assistance provided by the MEDC.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.

Duncan Aviation Inc.
Economic Analysis
Summary Estimates
(All estimates in 2005 dollars)

Revenue Foregone$2,250,000
Revenue Gain$11,902,000
Average Wage$516/week
Personal Income Generated Over
Life of the Tax Credit Agreement