By Andy Hayes NLEA President
It’s tough doing business in a rural area far from the marketplace; keeping jobs in our area is a big part of what the NLEA’s economic development program is all about. Think about it… for every job lost, we have to attract 2 new jobs to show growth.
The NLEA board and staff know that the fundamental building block of an economic development program is solid tax base and jobs for residents. Companies create the tax base that fuels government operations and services for area residents. Employees make our communities the vibrant places we all want by creating economic spinoff from wages, sending their kids to local schools, volunteering in our community organizations, etc.
Two recent successes came in Emmet County. Manthei Veneer, Inc. recently announced they have chosen to rebuild the plant that burned to the ground last year right here in Resort Township rather than building a plant in Wisconsin.
It was a team effort involving MEDC, Resort Township board and others. The NLEA staff quarterbacked the entire process, which included technical expertise along with other assistance often done out of the spotlight. At the end of the day, 40 full-time jobs remained in our area.
“From hours after the fire igniting, to the end of the tax abatement process, to now, it has been a pleasure working with NLEA.” Jeremy Manthei, Manthei Veneer, Inc.
Lanzen Corporation (formally Demmer Corporation) out-grew their current location in Petoskey and recently purchased property and made the decision to build a new plant within Emmet County (specific location to be announced at a later date), rather than doing an expansion to one of their other plants in downstate Michigan. Lanzen Corporation will double their current workforce of 20 jobs to 40 full-time jobs.
NLEA staff worked diligently with the company helping to identify a suitable site in our area, and what the gaps were that needed to be overcome for the company to make the decision to stay. As with every project, many were involved including the local township.
“It has been great working with NLEA as we find our new home in Emmet County. They’ve been helpful from site searches, site consulting, to explaining and pursuing various business development incentives.” -Casey McKinney, Lanzen Corporation
Working to keep good, family supporting jobs and a stable tax base in the area is paramount to a successful economic development program. Having staff available with relationships, expertise and contacts to recognize and assist with opportunities such as this is critical, and is our area’s “competitive advantage” over other areas.
Congratulations and thank you to Manthei Veneer, Inc. and Lanzen Corporation for making the decision to stay and grow in our area!