VERNON TWP. — Great Lakes Fusion’s plan to expand its business and add new equipment is getting a financial helping hand from the state of Michigan.
The company’s project — manufacturing a new hard fusion-welded product — is expected to generate a capital investment of $2.65 million and create 40 jobs. That move has resulted in a performance-based grant of $250,000 from the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Michigan Business Development Program, as announced by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
“Our family of companies has called Shiawassee County home since its inception,” said Joe Libby, business development manager for the Great Lakes Family of Companies, of which Great Lakes Fusion is a part. “We are thrilled to provide high-quality jobs to our team and, through the assistance of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, we will continue our growth through innovation and hard work.”
Opening in 1998, Great Lakes Fusion, 7505 M-71, serves the landfill market through the fusion welding and installation of high-density polyethylene pipe, a news release states. The company excavates and builds new cells at landfills, drills collection wells for the collection of landfill gas and installs the pipe systems for collection. The company has also developed proprietary products for the landfill market.
Great Lakes Fusion is in the process of hiring employees to fill the open positions. For details, visit greatlakesfusion.com. The Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP), based in Owosso, has offered to help Great Lakes Fusion find job candidates.
“The Great Lakes team is making a major investment in their business and property in Vernon Township, and we are grateful for their commitment to our community. We continue to be impressed by and thankful for the entrepreneurial spirit of the Great Lakes Family of Companies,” Justin Horvath, president/CEO of SEDP, said. “We are also very thankful for the support received from MEDC, which will help to accelerate their job growth here in Shiawassee County.”
In addition, a brownfield plan to clean up property located at the Great Lakes Family of Companies site on M-71 has been approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund. The project will redevelop land that is currently strewn with large concrete culverts left behind by the property’s previous owner.
After the cleanup is completed, the company hopes to construct buildings on the land for its own growing group of businesses, or attract outside companies to build manufacturing facilities.
“It will be either an industrial park or an expansion of our own businesses, but we definitely have long-term plans of building out the property,” Great Lakes owner Bryan Marks said.
Great Lakes will make the initial financial outlay of about $1 million to conduct the cleanup. After the property is redeveloped, the company will be able to recoup part of its investment by capturing $988,500 in local and school taxes through tax increment financing.
A tax increment financing plan allows a company to capture the amount of taxes generated by the increased value of the property after it is redeveloped. The original amount of taxes set by the property value before redevelopment continues to go where it did before, typically to school districts and local governments.
Tax increment financing plans are designed to incentivize development, especially on brownfields, which otherwise might remain undeveloped because of the high cost of cleaning them up.
“These projects will lead to new business growth, revitalized communities and more and better jobs for our residents. We’re pleased to work with our local partners and support these investments,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC.
The MEDC is the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm, administering programs and performing due diligence on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund.
“The SEDP, the MEDC and State Rep. Ben Frederick, all played an integral role in this,” Marks said. “I want to express gratitude and thanks for all of their hard work.”