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News & Press: FOCUS

2017 Celebration of Regional Growth: Investments Reshaping Greater Lansing

Wednesday, November 1, 2017  
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As the title of the event suggests, the Celebration of Regional Growth (CORG) has become an opportunity for the community to celebrate and recognize organizations that are making an enormous commitment in our region through their investments and job creation. Since CORG was created in 2006, 65 organizations have been honored that have combined to invest more than $2.3 billion in the region. The organizations being honored this year include: Eaton Rapids Medical Center, Gillespie Company, LorAnn Oils, Pratt & Whitney Auto Air and Spartan Motors.

“This year’s CORG recipients have made enormous contributions to our entire region through their decisions to innovate and grow in the Greater Lansing region,” said Tim Daman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. “These outstanding organizations are a reflection of the entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to excellence and economic diversity that is becoming the trademark of the entire region.”

The five CORG recipients will be recognized during the Economic Club Luncheon, which takes place on Thursday, November 16. A sellout crowd is expected for the annual celebration at the Michigan State University Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

Eaton Rapids Medical Center: Expanding Its Footprint

Eaton Rapids Medical Center’s (ERMC) $6 million expansion reflects its critical role as the leading healthcare provider and third largest employer in the city of Eaton Rapids. ERMC is receiving a Celebration of Regional Growth (CORG) award in recognition of its continued investment in the community, including the most recent 25,000 square foot addition. The expansion will house the Eaton Rapids Medical Center Family Practice, Redicare, Physical Therapy, Sleep Center and Behavioral Health departments. Expected completion is early 2018.

“We have been most fortunate to have experienced a lot of growth in recent years, and as a result, we have been bursting at the seams,” said Tim Johnson, ERMC president and chief executive officer. “Patients will really enjoy the experience of larger exam rooms, waiting rooms and work space for our staff.”

ERMC is the first hospital in the Greater Lansing region to be ISO 9001:2008 certified. Patients experience outstanding healthcare provided by highly skilled medical professionals in exceptional facilities. Twenty licensed beds provide inpatient and surgical patients the privacy needed to recover while allowing experienced staff the privilege of delivering compassionate, personalized care. The medical/surgical unit is also home to the Swing Bed Program, which provides comprehensive, hospital-based care and rehabilitation for patients transitioning from surgery, injury or illness to home.

ERMC offers laboratory, diagnostic imaging and 24-hour emergency services. The emergency department features ten rooms including trauma, decontamination and isolation rooms that are designed for privacy, comfort and personal attention. A sleep center, nuclear medicine services, wide-bore MRI and CT are among the many diagnostic tools also available for patients.

Physicians come from the Lansing and Jackson areas to hold a variety of specialty clinics including cardiology, gastroenterology, gynecology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics and urology. General and plastic surgery, total joint replacements and pain management surgeries are also performed on site. 

“Having additional medical space will help us recruit new physicians to the area,” said Johnson. “This is a huge benefit for the hospital, the community and especially for our patients."

The entire community will experience benefits from the hospital’s continued commitment to serving the region.

Gillespie Company: The Venue in East Town

Lansing’s east side has a proud history that reflects the traditional roots of its hard-working residents and business owners. It is also an area that is in the midst of a transformation that is at the heart of the revitalization of the Michigan Avenue corridor. The transition from the memories of the past and the hopes of the future is a difficult balancing act to navigate. No one understands that better than developer Scott Gillespie, a native of the area whose company has and continues to build several groundbreaking projects that are reshaping the character of the neighborhood.

“This is where I grew up,” said Gillespie. “I lived in the neighborhood, attended Resurrection and Lansing Catholic Central. It has special meaning to me. The neighborhood is strong. It is a proud, hard-working community.”

The Gillespie Company is being recognized with a CORG award for The Venue in East Town, a $6 million, four-story mixed-use property housing residential apartments and commercial space. The Venue is home to Strange Matters Coffee, emPOWer Lansing, Beikoku Shidokan Karate, Wild Strawberry and Local Tattoo and Laser.

Gillespie is given very high marks by neighbors and housing activists for his willingness to listen to their thoughts about the project which replaced several long-time business establishments on the 2000 block of E. Michigan including the iconic Emil’s restaurant. In addition to the 15,000-square-feet of commercial space, The Venue also features 42 apartments which helps provide much needed housing for seniors and young professionals. Gillespie feels the transformation of Michigan Avenue is critical to this region’s ability to convince the next generation of employees that Lansing is a great place to work and live.

“It allows us the opportunity to provide the community vibrant spaces and vibrant places,” said Gillespie. “This is going to help us attract and retain great talent in our region.”

LoAnn Oils: International Trade Award

A family owned and operated business for 55 years, LorAnn Oils originally bottled and distributed about 8 to 10 core essential oils such as peppermint and clove. Distribution was originally limited to pharmacies. Over the years, the business has expanded its product offerings and they now sell to a wide variety of retailers, manufacturers, health practitioners and home consumers. Today, the company services over 30,000 customers in 45 countries. LorAnn Oils is being recognized with CORG’s International Trade Award.

“It is an honor to be recognized. Although we don’t seek the attention, we do appreciate it very much,” said LorAnn Oils CEO John Grettenberger, whose grandfather O.K Grettenberger founded the company from his Okemos pharmacy in 1962. “Our success is truly a team effort. We have loyal employees and very loyal customers who have helped us grow and expand our markets around the world.”

LorAnn moved to its current location at 4518 Aurelius Road in 1972. LorAnn Oils’ continued success necessitated a $1.5 million expansion in 2017 to expand its office and production space. The expansion consists of two, single-story additions to the existing building. LorAnn oils, which currently employs 45 people, is expected to add several new full-time jobs as a result of the expansion.

“We expect this expansion to allow us to continue to grow for the next 5-10 years,” said Grettenberger. ““The new addition of 7,000 square feet included adding additional parking for employees, offices for future employees and more space for inventory and production.”

LorAnn is known for concentrated, professional strength flavorings and essential oils, but the LorAnn product line encompasses a variety of candy making and baking supplies in addition to the many flavoring options: SuperStrength Flavors, Premium Vanilla Extracts, Vanilla Bean Paste, Bakery Emulsions and the Flavor Fountain line of flavorings for frozen yogurt and ice cream. Nearly all food products are certified kosher, without added sugar, and gluten-free, and are available in retail and bulk sizes. LorAnn also carries an extensive selection of spa and soap crafting products for both the professional and home crafter.

“We are proud of the legacy that we have carried on for 55 years,” said Grettenberger. “We have unique products and production capabilities that position us well for continued success.”

Pratt & Whitney Autoair, Inc.: Innovation in the Aerospace Industry

Greater Lansing is proud of its heritage as a leader in advanced manufacturing. Much of our region’s success is tied to the automobile industry, however, the presence and growth of companies like Pratt & Whitney AutoAir, Inc. demonstrates that innovation and growth in manufacturing goes well beyond the automotive industry.

Pratt & Whitney’s development of its geared turbofan (GTF) engine is revolutionary in the aerospace industry. The new technology has advanced a 14 percent fuel burn savings and is 79 percent quieter. An integral part of the geared turbo fans are the fan blades produced in Lansing. With the need for more of these fan blades, Pratt and Whitney is expanding its south Lansing operation, meaning even more jobs. The Company is being recognized with a CORG award for its $97 million investment in a 93,000-square-foot facility adding to its existing GTF fan blade production line.

“We are pleased to be a part of this successful engine program,” said Conor Tracy, General Manager, Pratt & Whitney AutoAir, Inc. “The expansion of the Lansing plant is an opportunity for our employees to contribute to the future of the company, but it is also an exciting opportunity for Lansing to continue to participate in the advanced manufacturing sector and the economic growth of the region.”

In addition to GTF fan blade production, the Pratt & Whitney AutoAir, Inc. facility is a center of excellence for test nacelle composite repairs. It has a long history of providing reliable overhaul and repair services for a broad range of composite parts and has earned quality and environmental stewardship awards.

The Lansing Site has grown from 200 to nearly 900 employees. “We have a highly skilled and professional work force with a lot of pride in the Michigan campus, and pride in the GTF product,” said Tracy.

Spartan Motors: Expanded Alliance Leads to Investment and Jobs

The latest expansion at Spartan Motors mirrors the company’s 42-year history of innovation and quality. The company got its start in 1975 in Charlotte when a small group of automotive engineers who lost their jobs due to a bankruptcy decided to draw on their collective expertise and launch their own company.

Through the years, Spartan has expanded its product portfolio to include emergency and military vehicles and specialty vehicles. In June of this year, Spartan Specialty Vehicles, a division of Spartan Motors, celebrated the grand opening of its new, flexible manufacturing facility. The 85,000-square-foot assembly plant represents a $6.5 million investment and is producing the allnew 2018 Isuzu FTR Class 6 medium-duty truck. The F-Series truck represents an expanded alliance with Isuzu, as Spartan has been manufacturing the smaller Isuzu N-Series truck from a facility in Charlotte since 2011.

“Our manufacturing team and the team at Isuzu put a lot of thought in the design and construction of this facility,” said Daryl Adams, President and Chief Executive Officer of Spartan Motors. “It is a highly flexible design, so we can not only build our Isuzu products, but also build fire truck and motor home chassis as well.”

Spartan Motors employs approximately 2,200 at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Indiana, Mexico, and Peru. The new expansion is expected to bring nearly 100 jobs to the region.

“The reason we have been successful in the Charlotte area is because of our people,” said Adams. “We were able to secure new business from Isuzu because of our team’s track record of building world-class quality products.”

From its very beginning, Spartan Motors has been driven by a spirit of determination to overcome the odds and a commitment to being the best. The company’s formula for success should continue to pay dividends for its customers, shareholders, employees and the region.

Click here to download the November issue of FOCUS.


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