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Whitmer Announces 500 New Jobs as High-Tech Auto Electronics Manufacturer Gentex Expands in Zeeland
July 26, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2022
Gov. Whitmer Announces 500 New Jobs as High-Tech Auto Electronics Manufacturer Gentex Expands in Zeeland
LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to announce that Gentex, a manufacturer of high-tech electronics for the auto, aerospace, and fire safety industries, is investing $300 million to expand in Zeeland with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, creating 500 good-paying jobs.
“Gentex’s $300 million investment creating 500 good-paying jobs will grow Michigan’s economy and help us continue leading the future of mobility and electrification,” said Governor Whitmer. “We can attract bold investments from cutting-edge firms like Gentex because of our bipartisan collaboration on economic development legislation last year, which has already led to billions of dollars in investment in Michigan and thousands of jobs. Gentex is a longstanding Michigan company, and we are grateful to them for expanding their presence in Michigan. Let's keep working together to grow our economy, build on our rich automotive legacy, and create good-paying, high-skill jobs for Michiganders.”
Gentex Corporation, headquartered in Zeeland, is a high-tech supplier for the global automotive, aerospace, and commercial fire protection industries. Gentex ships its products to automakers worldwide and currently employees over 5,000 Michigan residents.
Gentex plans to construct a new high-tech manufacturing facility and distribution center in Zeeland Charter Township, and also expand its existing manufacturing facility in the City of Zeeland. The project will provide the company with increased capacity for glass processing, the manufacture of auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, displays and electronics for automotive and aerospace applications, and the development of new technologies for the fire protection industry. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
“We’re excited to announce that after two years of analyzing our manufacturing and R&D footprint, we’ve reached an agreement with the State of Michigan that supports our long-standing commitment to the state and provides the incentives necessary to facilitate our future growth initiatives in Michigan,” said President and CEO Gentex Corporation Steve Downing. “Gentex has been a technology leader in the automotive, aerospace and fire protection industries for many years and employs over 5,000 people in West Michigan currently. Today, we are announcing that we will continue that commitment as we look to add over 500 new jobs and spend at least $300 million in new buildings and equipment over the next three years in support of our growth initiatives.”
The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved the following in support of the project:
- A $5.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant
- A $1.89 million Jobs Ready Michigan grant
- A 15-year, 100-percent State Essential Services Assessment exemption valued at $3.8 million.
“Congratulations to the entire Gentex team on your continued success here in Michigan. We appreciate your vote of confidence in West Michigan’s talented workforce and the Zeeland community as you grow your company,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “We are grateful to the Governor, legislators and local officials for their continued support of critical tools that make projects like this possible. We’re pleased to work with local partners like Lakeshore Advantage, the city of Zeeland, and Zeeland Charter Township to ensure Gentex remains a key partner in our work to grow this critical high tech, advanced industry in West Michigan.”
The project contributes to the MEDC’s ongoing efforts to strengthen Michigan’s leadership in automotive manufacturing and builds on the state’s work to position itself as the epicenter of autonomous and electric vehicle manufacturing in the U.S.
Gentex also offers a variety of training opportunities and partners with Michigan Works! and Lakeshore Advantage to reach local talent. The project will also bring immediate job growth with a large and growing auto supplier and further cements the company’s manufacturing presence and future growth in Michigan.
“Gentex is our region’s largest employer and is an excellent example of a future-focused company expanding and providing high-skilled jobs in West Michigan,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage President. “We are honored to support the growth of this local turned global company and we celebrate their continued success.”
Both Zeeland Charter Township and the city of Zeeland anticipate approval of property tax abatements in support of the project, and MEDC also authorized a State Education Tax abatement to be used in conjunction with the local abatement. Individuals interested in careers with Gentex should visit https://www.gentex.com/careers/search-jobs/.
“The city of Zeeland congratulates Gentex once again on their growth, and we especially thank them for choosing to expand their operations in the Zeeland area,” said Zeeland City Manager Tim Klunder. “We are blessed and fortunate to have a corporate partner such as Gentex that desires to be in our community. Their ability to offer excellent jobs to people in our area is exciting and further solidifies what makes them such a tremendous asset for our community!”
“The growth occurring at Gentex and their continued investment in Zeeland Township and the City of Zeeland is exciting,” said Zeeland Charter Township Supervisor Tom Oonk. “Zeeland Charter Township is pleased to support this expansion and the benefits it will provide to our community.”
Today’s announcement builds on other recent news of mobility-related investments in the state, including:
- Automaker Ford Motor Company investing $2 billion, creating more than 3,200 jobs in plants across Michigan to support EV manufacturing growth and secure internal combustion engine operations in the state
- Automotive manufacturer General Motors investing $7 billion, creating 4,000 and retaining 1,000 jobs, to convert Orion Township assembly plant to build full-size EV pickups and build Ultium’s third U.S. battery cell plant in Lansing
- Canadian EV charging network operator and smart charging solutions provider FLO investing $3 million and creating 133 jobs at its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills
- ATESTEO North America, global provider of testing services for EV drivetrains and components, establishing its North American headquarters in East Lansing, investing $27.8 million and creating 46 well-paying jobs
“Time and time again, Team Michigan continues to demonstrate its commitment to winning the future of mobility and EV manufacturing here in Michigan,” Messer said. “We recognize the landscape is fiercely competitive for these projects, and trust and believe, Michigan is clearly up to the challenge – and together, we will win, with our rich manufacturing legacy, highly skilled workforce, and globally connected location.”