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Gov. Whitmer Announces 200 New Jobs Resulting from Expansion of Boat Manufacturer BRP, Inc. in Watertown Township

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today to announce that boat manufacturer Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. plans to expand its Manitou Boats facility in Watertown Township, where it will create close to 200 jobs for Michigan workers.

“Michigan’s business climate and highly skilled manufacturing workforce provide an environment where businesses like BRP can thrive and create good-paying jobs for Michiganders in the Lansing area,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “In partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, we will continue attracting millions in private investment and hundreds of jobs to every region of Michigan, as we stay focused on growing our economy. Together, we will keep getting things done.”

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $11.9 million. Michigan was chosen for the project over other locations where the company currently operates.

Quebec-based BRP acquired Manitou Pontoon Boats in 2018 and added the Manitou marine products to its long list of recreation vehicles, including well-known brands such as Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo, Lynx, Can-Am, Alumacraft and others. BRP’s products are manufactured across the globe in Canada, Mexico, Finland, Austria, Australia and the United States, including at the Manitou Pontoon Boats facility in Watertown Township. The company is an industry leader in the manufacture of leisure, luxury and performance pontoon boats.

BRP has experienced continuous growth due to increased demand for its pontoon boats and plans to renovate its existing facility in Watertown Township as well as expand into an adjacent property. The project is being supported by a $689,500 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. 

“The strong, sustained demand we have seen for our products is a testament to their durability and quality. BRP has continued to grow its marine portfolio with strategic acquisitions of world class brands like Manitou, Alumacraft, and Quintrex, and expanding their production capacity,” said Marine Group BRP Senior Vice President Karim Donnez. “As with all our products, we are committed to gaining market share in this sector and we rely on Michigan’s highly skilled and experienced workforce to continue helping us in achieving our goals.”

The project builds on Michigan’s manufacturing leadership and will bring a large number of immediate jobs to residents in the area. Manitou has teamed up with Lansing Community College to design a specific welding program for the company; classes began in fall 2021 and are paid for by the company. Manitou also promotes from within, offers on-the-job training and provides a full suite of benefits.

“BRP’s continued investment in Michigan underscores our state’s manufacturing leadership, the strength of our business climate and talented workforce,” said Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO of the MEDC and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund. “This project is a win for the Lansing region and for the entire state. We are grateful to the Governor and legislative leadership for their continued support of the Michigan Business Development Program that makes these projects possible. We appreciate the efforts of LEAP and our other local partners.  We look forward to working with BRP as it grows and provides greater opportunity for our friends and neighbors statewide.”

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) assisted BRP in accessing potential programs to retain the company’s investment in the region. BRP received a support package of around $1.5 million, including workforce development credits and grants from Lansing Community College’s Business and Community Institute and Capital Area Michigan Works! and job creation incentives from the Michigan Strategic Fund.

“When fast-growing, worldwide companies, like BRP, choose to expand in the Lansing region, it speaks volumes about our region’s ability to compete internationally,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). “Our robust business support system, world-class engineering talent pipeline and culturally rich communities are winning the day once again. Of course, projects like this are possible because of great partners, including the MEDC, LCC, CAMW!, Watertown Township, and city of St. Johns. Congratulations to all!”

As warmer weather approaches, the project also highlights Michigan’s travel and tourism industries. Michigan is the third-largest marine market in the country and ranks No. 2 in boat registrations. Boating has a $7.8 billion economic impact on Michigan’s economy each year, supporting more than 40,000 jobs and 1,500 businesses (source: Michigan Boating Industries Association).

“Michigan offers a natural beauty that is unrivaled by any other state, and one of the best ways to experience Michigan’s natural wonders is by spending time on the water that surrounds our pleasant peninsulas,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of MEDC. “We’re pleased to celebrate Manitou’s expansion in Pure Michigan, and we look forward to partnering with them as we get more Michiganders into boating and experiencing all that boating has to offer.”

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