Skip to main content

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Announces 319 New Jobs in Key Industries in Grand Rapids area


August 25, 2021                                                        

Contact: Kathleen Achtenberg, 


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Announces 319 New Jobs in Key Industries in Grand Rapids area   

  • Gen3 Defense and Aerospace investing $8.7 million to expand in Kent County, creating up to 269 high-wage jobs 
  • Leading pump manufacturer Blackmer expanding in Grand Rapids, investing $7.3 million 


LANSING, Mich.?- Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today to announce 319 new good-paying jobs in Kent County as a result of two new company expansions supported by the Michigan Strategic Fund, further signaling continued economic recovery in West Michigan. 


"As we jumpstart Michigan's economy, these projects demonstrate our continued focus on laying a path for economic growth and recovery in all regions of our state," said Governor Whitmer. "Today's actions will lead to economic opportunity for Michiganders in West Michigan, by creating jobs, building on our rich manufacturing heritage in key industries, and supporting business growth here in our state." 


Gen3 Defense and Aerospace expanding into new location in Kent County, further boosting Michigan as a defense hub  


Founded in 2020, Gen3 Defense and Aerospace, LLC is an engineering, manufacturing and supply chain solution provider, headquartered in Grand Rapids with a primary focus on newly developed autonomous military and aerospace programs.  


Gen3 recently secured a large five-year contract and needs to grow its West Michigan team to maintain and expand its capabilities in robotics systems development. The company is expanding into a larger facility in Kent County that will allow for increased manufacturing capacity and additional team members. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $8.7 million and create up to 269 high-wage jobs, resulting in a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over a competing site in Florida. 


The project will continue to grow Michigan's advanced manufacturing sector and will further boost the state as a hub for defense-related manufacturing and R&D. Gen3 promotes from within and offers on-the-job training to its employees, and will bring a large number of pathway jobs to the region as a result of the expansion. 


"Our team is excited to begin taking on new opportunities as we continue growing in west Michigan." said Gen3 Defense and Aerospace General Manager Mark Wells. "We plan to continue in the high-tech robotics space and we'll need a strong, talented team to achieve that. We're thankful for all of the support The Right Place and their partners at the MEDC provided to make this expansion a reality here in West Michigan." 


The Right Place has offered staff time and resources in support of the project. For information on careers with Gen3, visit


Global pump manufacturer Blackmer constructing new facility in Grand Rapids, creating 50 jobs 


Blackmer®part of PSG®, a Dover company, designs, manufactures and distributes rotary pumps, gas compressors and centrifugal pumps for a variety of industries including chemical, energy, transportation, military, marine and oil and gas. The company employs nearly 250 full-time people at its Grand Rapids location.  


Blackmer plans to construct a new manufacturing facility in Grand Rapids where it will house assembly, paint, and shipping functions. Parent company PSG expects to invest more than $7 million in the project which will create up to 50 high-wage jobs with the support of a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in other states. 


Blackmer has been creating jobs in Grand Rapids since 1925, paying its employees strong wages and benefits. The jobs that will be created through this expansion include engineering, customer service, purchasing and planning, and operations management as well as skilled trades positions. Blackmer participates in and supports city and neighborhood revitalization efforts, and actively recruits disadvantaged and underrepresented populations through its current staffing strategies. The company is committed to utilizing Michigan suppliers and has a strong desire to expand further in Michigan in the future. 


"Our team is incredibly excited to continue growing and evolving our operations in the West Michigan region," said Blackmer General Manager Bob Lauson. "We've called the Grand Rapids community home for nearly a century, and it continues to be an ideal location for us to expand our footprint. We're thankful to the team at The Right Place and their partners at the MEDC for the support they have provided get this project over the finish line. In addition, the city of Grand Rapids has been a pleasure to deal with and has been very supportive of the project." 


The Right Place has offered staff, time, and resources in support of the project. For information on careers with Blackmer, visit  


"These projects reflect our commitment to taking a holistic, people-first approach to economic development while securing Michigan's leadership in the industries that will drive our economy into the future," said?Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. ""We're proud to join The Right Place and our local partners as we send the message that we are working to build a championship economy here in West Michigan." 


"Greater Grand Rapids has served as a community where companies like Gen3 and Blackmer are able to embrace growth opportunities that bolster continued success and prosperity," said Senior Business Development Manager for The Right Place, Inc., Jennifer Wangler, "We are thrilled that these two companies are continuing to grow here in the Grand Rapids community and look forward to the increased economic opportunity these projects will bring to our residents." 


About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) 

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state's marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan's economy.?For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit? Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at?www.michigan.orgJoin the conversation on:?Facebook,?Instagram,?LinkedInand?Twitter. 


# # #