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Alcoa

Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

Advanced manufacturing providing optimized solutions for improved performance, efficiency and value

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Eagle Alloy, Inc. – Part of the Eagle Group of companies - Muskegon, Michigan

Serving a diverse customer base and utilizing lean manufacturing practices; one of the premier steel foundries in the country

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Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

A commitment to environmental sustainability; keeping the health and safety of their employees, customers and communities a top priority

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Muskegon Area First: Helping Local Businesses Flourish

The Culinary Institute of Michigan - Baker College's world-class caliber culinary learning environment

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Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan since 1951

Leading producer of complex investment-cast turbine components for the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industries

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Brunswick Bowling Sold

Brunswick Bowling Products in Muskegon sold to Atlanta-based investment firm 

By Brandon Champion | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it The Muskegon Chronicle 
on June 04, 2015 at 2:11 PM, updated June 04, 2015 at 8:42 PM

MUSKEGON, MI -- Brunswick Corp. has sold its remaining ties to the bowling industry, a field with which it has been synonymous for more than a century.

The Lake Forest, Illinois-headquartered corporation announced last week Brunswick Bowling Products, which is headquartered in Muskegon, has been sold to BlueArc Capital Management LLC. 

According to Brunswick Chairman and CEO Dustan McCoy, the Atlanta-based BlueArc is a long-term investor that plans to keep the company's bowling products headquarters in Muskegon with manufacturing operations in Szekesfehervar, Hungary and Reynosa, Mexico.

"The Brunswick name and all that it stands for will carry on and continue to set the standard in the bowling industry," McCoy said in a news release.

The sale comes about a year after the corporation agreed to sell its bowling center business to Bowlmor AMF for $270 million. At that time, the company announced its intention to divest its bowling products business, which it now has completed.

BlueArc completed the acquisition of Brunswick Bowling Products with investments from Gladstone Investment Corp., a publicly traded business development company in McLean, Virginia, and Capitala Finance Corp., a business development company in Charlotte, North Carolina. A sale price was not disclosed.

"Brunswick is a great fit for us," Michael Roher, managing partner of BlueArc's private equity business, said in a news release. "We focus in investing in well-established, market-leading companies and helping them innovate and grow over time. The brand, the products and the management team all demonstrate the high performance attributes we seek within our portfolio companies."

Officer of Brunswick Bowling Products Brent Perrier told MLive Muskegon Chronicle in July 2014 that Brunswick Corp. derives less than 10 percent of its overall business from bowling and billiards.

While it has financial interests in a wide variety of fields including boating and recreational equipment, bowling is what it has been most closely associated with for many in the general population.

The company's partnership with BlueArc would seem to indicate that association will continue for the time being, but in name only. The long-term future of Brunswick's Muskegon bowling operation also is completely up to BlueArc and its partners. 

The prospect of new ownership might be a bit an unsettling for some of its 200 employees in Muskegon, but Perrier seems content with the transaction.

"Brunswick Bowling Products has been known for quality products and innovation for 125 years," he said. "We're excited to be associated with BlueArc. Throughout the sale process, BlueArc was the obvious choice for our management team. Their commitment to our business is a very positive sign to the entire industry."

Brunswick brought its bowling and billiards operations to Muskegon in 1906. The Brunswick Bowling Products equipment manufacturing plant at Seaway Drive and Laketon Avenue was demolished in May 2013.

It had sat vacant since 2006 after an unsuccessful sale offer and the decision to move bowling ball manufacturing to a plant in Mexico.

Brandon Champion covers arts and entertainment, business, sports and weather for MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and follow him on Twitter @BrandonThaChamp.

 

   

Donations to Muskegon Community College

 

Donations allow Muskegon Community College to expand entrepreneurial program downtown

Written by  , Staff Writer, MiBiz
Muskegon's Masonic Temple
Muskegon's Masonic TemplePHOTO: Nick Manes

Muskegon Community College continues to grow its presence in the lakeshore city’s downtown.

Entrepreneurs Jon Rooks and Nick Sarnicola, as well as his wife Ashley, have donated the former Masonic Temple building at 396 West Clay Avenue in addition to a $200,000 permanent endowment for the college to use for its Entrepreneurial Studies program. Rooks, associate broker and owner at Muskegon-based development firm Parkland Properties of West Michigan LLC donated the 23,790-square-foot building. The Sarnicolas donated the endowment, which will fund a $10,000 annual entrepreneurship award for students. Nick Sarnicola is a founder of Troy-based multilevel weight-loss marketing firm ViSalus Inc.

The college’s entrepreneurship program has been active for four years, said program chair Dave Stradal in an announcement made this morning at the Masonic Temple building, which will be renamed the Rooks-Sarnicola Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Classes could begin in the building as soon as next year, MCC President Dale Nesbary said.

The building is adjacent to the former Muskegon Chronicle building, which as MiBiz has previously reported, is being re-developed by MCC to house the college’s applied technology programs, such as engineering, manufacturing and welding.

According to Nesbary, the estimated investment for the Chronicle building is $13 million and very preliminary estimates for the Masonic Temple are around $2.4 million but that has not yet been approved by the college’s board. Nesbary also said the Masonic Temple building, upon completion, will have a Barnes & Noble Inc. bookstore with an onsite Starbucks.

While the building is a gift to the college, Rooks told MiBiz he believes the redevelopment is a boon for his other investments in the downtown area, which include two hotels, office space a marina, as well as housing and apartment developments.

“I feel like Muskegon is on the rise and this gift not only helps other people, I think it is going to help me, too,” Rooks said. “It makes for a larger investment by MCC and all told it will be the biggest investment in 20 years in one place in downtown Muskegon.”

Both Rooks and Sarnicola in prepared statements cited their early years as upstart entrepreneurs as top reasons for the gifts.

“I’d never heard of a community college that offered an (entrepreneurship) program like this,” Sarnicola said during his remarks. “(Entrepreneurs) learn it from a mentor or someone else who has started a business.”

Rooks, on the other hand, noted that he started his first business at 12 years old and got into real estate after college. He was an early investor in the downtown housing market, particularly in the Monroe North and west side neighborhoods.

“I believe my investments have all been ahead of the curve and I like to invest that way,” Rooks said.

The MCC board later convened for a private session to discuss a land acquisition. No further details were available concerning those discussions.

   

Alcoa investing $22 million

Alcoa investing $22 million into aerospace technology at Whitehall facility

June 02, 2015

WHITEHALL, MI – Alcoa Power and Propulsion's momentum in the aerospace industry took another giant leap on Tuesday, June 2.

Fewer than seven months after Alcoa announced a $16.7 million expansion to its facility in Whitehall, the lightweight, high-performance metals leader announced a $22 million investment in Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) technology at the location.

The Whitehall facility already serves as the global headquarters for Alcoa Power and Propulsion.

The investment will enable Alcoa to capture the growing demand for advanced titanium, nickel and 3D-printed parts for jet engines. The investment is expected to create approximately five new jobs at the Whitehall facility.

"As aerospace growth soars, Alcoa continues to invest in the latest technologies, creating added capacity to capture fast-growing demand," said Olivier Jarrault, executive VP and Alcoa Group president, engineered products and solutions, in a news release.

"Combined with our expansions in LaPorte, Indiana and Hampton, Virginia and our growing 3D printing capabilities, this investment will give Alcoa the broadest capabilities to deliver high-quality titanium, nickel and 3D-printed parts for the world's bestselling jet engines."

According to the news release, steep ramp-up rates for narrow-and-wide body aircraft engines, the top-selling jet engines in the world, are increasing Alcoa's need for such capabilities.

HIP involves the simultaneous application of high pressure and temperatures to significantly improve the mechanical properties and quality of cast products, such as blades and structures for jet engines. All titanium, 3D-printed and some nickel parts used for jet engines must be treated using the HIP process.

Alcoa already owns and operates one of the world's largest HIP technology complexes for aerospace thanks in large part to its Whitehall facility. The company's eight HIP production systems are already located in Whitehall; the first of which was installed in 1975 shortly after Alcoa pioneered the technology in the aviation industry in 1973.

Alcoa expects the new technology to be ready for product qualification in 2016. The Company expects a global aerospace sales growth of 9 to 10 percent in 2015 driven by strong deliveries across the large commercial aircraft, regional jet and business jet segment.

Alcoa Power and Propulsion is expected to generate $2.2 billion in revenues by 2016 as a result of its organic growth expansions, according to the news release. 

Brandon Champion covers arts and entertainment, business, sports and weather for MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and follow him on Twitter @BrandonThaChamp.

   

Muskegon, Newaygo county unemployment rates lowest since 2001

Stephen Kloosterman | 
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 </script>By Stephen Kloosterman | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
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on December 14, 2014 at 10:31 AM, updated December 14, 2014 at 10:32 AM

LANSING, MI – The last time unemployment was this low, a gallon of gas cost $1.50, and Britney Spears and 'N Sync were burning up the radio waves.

The latest batch of unemployment numbers from Michigan's Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives shows the Muskegon County unemployment rate hit 5.5 percent in October 2014. According to the state's database, that's the lowest it was since October 2001, when the jobless rate touched 5.4 percent.

While the rate itself might be influenced by holiday-season hiring, it's a milestone of improvement for the local economy.

"The rate is as low as it's been in some time," said Muskegon Area First President Ed Garner. "It really does speak volumes that our economy is back on track."

October's unemployment rate of 5.5 percent is down half a percentage point from 6.1 percent in September and 8.6 percent 12 months ago, in October 2013.

Not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, Muskegon County's jobless rate of 5.5 percent is dead even with the nationally non-adjusted rate of 5.5 percent, and significantly below a statewide rate of 6.4 percent.

Among Muskegon's 83,700 workforce, 79,100 are employed and 4,600 are jobless while actively seeking employment.

"More people are finding employment opportunities," Garner said. Like other economic developers, in Michigan, he worries about a shortage of skilled labor needed by firms.

The bureau keeps record of jobs data for the Muskegon-Norton Shores statistical area, which encompasses Muskegon County. Local jobless rates come from surveys of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and don't reflect the percentage of people applying for jobless benefits.

Newaygo County

October 2014 was similarly favorable for Newaygo County, where unemployment bottomed out at 5 percent – again, the lowest for 13 years. In October 2001, the rate was 4.7 percent.

"I don't know exactly when the recession ended," said Andy Lofgren, Executive Director of the Newaygo County Economic Development Office. But he remembers 2010 was a low point, with 12.5 percent unemployment.

"Now we're four years into this recovery, and we're starting to see its effects on the labor market," Lofgren said.

Lofgren gave credit to Newaygo County businesses for sticking with the community through the recession. Over the last 14 years, businesses have invested more than $308 million in the local economy by way of improvements to plants and equipment, he said.

The county's industrial powerhouses are Magna Mirrors in Newaygo and the Nestle-owned Gerber Products in Fremont, Lofgren said. The 2008 tax exemption creating an Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zone for Gerber helped the company stay in the area, he said.

Oceana County

In Oceana County, the October 2014 labor rate was 6.2 percent, the lowest it's been since 6 percent in 2006, according to state data.

   

Muskegon-area butcher's ranked among nation's best

By Lynn Moore | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
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on July 15, 2014 at 8:14 AM, updated July 15, 2014 at 8:50 AM

EGELSTON TOWNSHIP, MI -- Bacon or sausage? It's that old breakfast conundrum that John Drummond just may have found an answer for.

Michigan's bacon king has invented bacon sausage, which is just one of his wildly popular specialties.

"I can't keep it in my case," said Drummond, owner of John Drummond's Butcher Shop in Egelston Township. "It's like having bacon and sausage at the same time."

Other Drummond specialties such as asparagus cheddar brats, bacon cheese brats, jerky dip and beef sticks have won over loyal customers at his shop on Apple Avenue west of Maple Island Road. He's also a regular at the Muskegon Farmer's Market on Saturdays and the Grand Haven farmer's market on Wednesdays, saving meat lovers from having to make the trip to Egelston.

But it's his bacon that has put Drummond on the map. Bacon Scouts, whose mission is to find the best bacon in the country, has ranked Drummond 11th in the nation -- the only Michigan butcher shop in the list of the country's top 13 bacon producers. Five each are from Wisconsin and Minnesota, while Iowa and South Dakota each have one producer on the list.

Bacon Scouts has bacon ranking down to a science. It grades bacon on a scale of one to five stars in four separate categories: robust flavor, shrinkage, fat-to-meat ratio and saltiness. Drummond's bacon earned four stars for fat-to-meat ratio and three stars in the other categories.

Bacon Scouts, in its online report, likes that Drummond will slice slab bacon into customers' preferred thickness.

"We recommend this bacon as a solid alternative to big box bacon," Bacon Scouts concluded.

Drummond said the bacon is his granddad's recipe. Part of the secret to its goodness is that after the pork bellies are cured, they're smoked twice. Another  important factor is that the hogs are local, from Coopersville, and are grain-fed and hormone-free.

"We sell a lot of it," Drummond said of his bacon. "Doctors, lawyers -- they love it."

Drummond is a fourth-generation meat cutter, and worked in various meat markets. He had worked for Dana Corp. for 10 years before he decided to open his own butcher shop in 2006.

He may be a good butcher, but he's also a smart business man. He brings a frying pan with him to the new Muskegon Farmer's Market, where the smell of cooking bacon is hard to resist.

"Boy, do we sell a lot of bacon down there," Drummond said.

   

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