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Published in Economic Development

Gen3 Defense & Aerospace, Blackmer receive state support for manufacturing expansions

BY Wednesday, August 25, 2021 02:51pm

Two Grand Rapids area manufacturers have secured state grants to support expansion plans.

Gen3 Defense & Aerospace LLC in Comstock Park received a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to expand into a much larger facility in Kent County. 

A provider of manufacturing, engineering and supply chain solutions that was founded in 2020, Gen3 Defense & Aerospace plans to invest nearly $8.7 million in an expansion that will create 269 jobs — more than 10 times its present workforce.

“Our team is excited to begin taking on new opportunities as we continue growing in West Michigan,” Gen3 Defense and Aerospace General Manager Mark Wells said in a statement. “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 (Michigan Economic Development Corp.) provided to make this expansion a reality here in West Michigan.”

Meanwhile, Grand Rapids-based Blackmer — a part of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based PSG that’s owned by Dover Corp. — plans to demolish an obsolete foundry and build a new 60,000-square-foot facility to house assembly, paint and shipping operations. The expansion will create 50 new jobs. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. supported the more than $7 million project with a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

Blackmer, with an existing workforce of 250 employees, produces pumps and other fluid and gas technologies for the chemical, energy, transportation, military, marine, and oil and gas industries.

“Our team is incredibly excited to continue growing and evolving our operations in the West Michigan region,” Blackmer General Manager Bob Lauson said in an announcement on the expansions. “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.”

The Right Place Inc. worked with both companies on their expansions.

“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,” Right Place President and CEO Randy Thelen said in today’s announcement. “We are thrilled these two companies are continuing to grow here in the community and look forward to the increased economic opportunity these projects will bring to our residents.”

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