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Governor Granholm Tours Energetx Composites; Company Creating Jobs in New Michigan Economy

February 5, 2010

Foundation is in place to diversify, create jobs, educate and protect citizens

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today visited Energetx Composites, LLC in Holland, one of nearly three dozen companies she highlighted in her State of the State address this week that are diversifying and creating jobs in a new Michigan economy.  In her annual address, Governor Granholm said her administration has set the foundation for a new Michigan economy by diversifying and creating jobs, educating people to fill and create jobs, and helping people transition from the old economy to the new.  Energetx has diversified its product line, expanded into clean- energy manufacturing, is creating hundreds of new jobs, and serves as an example of what that strategy can mean for Michigan.

"Step by step, we have been making it happen," Granholm said.  "We have purposefully laid the foundation for Michigan's new economy, steadily building each of six new sectors.

"Where the old Michigan economy was all about autos and manufacturing, the new Michigan economy is much broader:  clean energy, life sciences, homeland security and defense, advanced-manufacturing, film, and tourism.  We have steadily focused on the unique attributes that give us a competitive advantage.  No state has the skilled workforce we do.  Nobody has the capacity and the manufacturing know-how we have.  Nobody has the natural resources we have.  Combine that with our great universities and colleges, and we're using these unique assets to attract new companies and whole new industries."

The Slikker family launched Energetx in 2008, expanding on their successful luxury boat-building business, Tiara Yachts, to develop and manufacture wind-energy components.

"Energetx is a proud Michigan company with a solid foundation that instead of resting on its laurels, decided to build on its strengths and expand into clean-energy manufacturing," said Granholm.  "Its effort takes us one step closer to our goal of making Michigan the center of the nation's new energy economy." 

In her State of the State address, Governor Granholm said her long-term plan to transition Michigan to a new economy is based, in part, on growing new, green industries to make Michigan an international hub of the clean-energy economy.  Michigan is currently home to more than 109,000 green jobs and is projected to add another 80,000 green jobs in coming years.

In 2010, the Granholm administration will focus on a targeted strategy to increase jobs in the wind-energy sector of the new energy economy.  The U.S. Department of Energy reports that Michigan is in the top five states for wind power generation potential and in the top four states for wind manufacturing jobs potential, with the ability to create over 30,000 jobs in that sector alone by 2030.

In June 2009, the state of Michigan supported the Energetx expansion by awarding the company a $27.3 million, 15-year tax credit through the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA).  The MEGA tax credits are designed to help companies successfully transition into clean- energy manufacturing.  And last fall, the governor announced that Energetx would receive $3.5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).  This Recovery Act-funded clean energy manufacturing grant targets small companies looking to diversify and create jobs in renewable energy. 

Energetx currently employs 18 people and is in the process of hiring another five to ten individuals to perform engineering, design, and set-up of the new manufacturing operations.  The company expects to employ more than 160 by the end of 2010, and by 2016, they expect to create 1,000 new jobs at Energetx and add more than 1,500 additional spin-off jobs to the regional economy.

"In creating Energetx, we are leveraging our heritage, history, competency and skills to strengthen and diversify our company, while remaining fully committed to our core business in the marine industry," said Energetx CEO David Slikkers.  "We are excited about the opportunities ahead and grateful for the state's investment in our future." 

In addition to their manufacturing capacity, Energetx also will provide engineering, design, tooling, process development, and assembly for various wind turbine components.

In her Wednesday night address Governor Granholm outlined an agenda to help businesses thrive and create jobs, which includes fighting for Michigan's fair share of federal funding so that the state can invest in jobs and education; the Michigan Small Business Financing Alliance to make more than $40 million available for business start-ups under a program between her administration and the Michigan Credit Union League;  improved access to capital for small businesses through a new income tax credit for investment in small businesses; a federal program to give small- and medium-sized auto suppliers greater access to capital so they can diversify; and training for 1,000 prospective entrepreneurs in 12 small business assistance centers across the state through a nationally recognized training program. 

"For me, it comes down to this," Granholm said, "to fight every day for the jobs the people of Michigan want and need," Granholm said.  "And help them make the difficult, often painful transition from an old economy that's disappearing, to a new economy that's only just beginning to emerge."

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