Reading time ( words)
The Right Place Inc., in collaboration with The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and the City of Grand Rapids recently announced the approval of a $200,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for Grand Rapids-based Firstronic LLC. The grant will enable the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider to add 50 new jobs to its facility at 1655 Michigan Street in Grand Rapids and invest up to $1.85 million in new equipment.
This latest growth investment by Firstronic follows on the heels of an expansion in 2013 facilitated by The Right Place and regional partners. That project included a $2.45 million investment and the creation of 110 new jobs.
The $200,000 grant will support Firstonic’s investment in automation technology and employee training efforts, and therefore increase capacity and efficiency at its Grand Rapids location. The decision to expand locally and not abroad was intentional, company leaders say. And they hope customers will see the value in this move compared to the industry’s trend of offshoring manufacturing.
“The demand for our superior quality manufacturing services is increasing at a very fast pace,” said John Sammut, CEO, Firstronic. “However, with that demand comes increased pressure to locate manufacturing abroad, specifically in China and Mexico. With assistance from The Right Place and their partners, we are able to ensure that we will also continue to increase our investment and job creation here in West Michigan. And, since manufacturing jobs can be transformative, we aren’t simply creating jobs. We are also helping the employees we hire add additional skills over time.”
“The trend to locate manufacturing operations near your customer is moving further up the supply chain,” said Bill Small, Vice President of Technical Services, The Right Place, Inc., and Regional Director for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center – West. “With no expected slowdown in this trend, it is critical for us to ensure that our companies, like Firstronic, can continue growing and investing in West Michigan.”
The Right Place has provided connections and guidance to Firstronic for over a decade. As the company has grown from less than 50 employees to over 200, the organization has walked alongside Firstronic, ensuring they have the resources they need to continue succeeding in West Michigan.
On this latest collaboration, The Right Place brought in the support of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and assisted with the application for a performance-based grant that will close the competitive gap, ensuring that Firstronic’s investment and jobs remain in Grand Rapids.