Smiths Expands To Cascade

May 29, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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CASCADE TOWNSHIP — Smiths Aerospace announced yesterday that it has chosen Cascade Township for a major homeland security expansion project.

The company will create an integrated laboratory for avionics development, primarily for future military aircraft, a project that will generate approximately 214 new jobs over the next three years, including 120 directly by the company.

“The expansion of Smiths Aerospace will further propel Michigan’s Technology Tri-Corridor forward,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm. “With this and other new developments, Michigan is quickly becoming a leader in the fast-growing homeland security industry.”

While it maintains a U.S. headquarters in Grand Rapids, Smiths Aerospace is a British-owned company that designs and produces integrated avionics equipment for the military and civilian aviation industry. The company’s products are integrated into virtually every American and British military aircraft.

Smiths Aerospace weighed the advantages of expanding in nearby Cascade Township or a competing site in Maryland. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. offered a high tech Single Business Tax credit worth $2.1 million over the next nine years to help convince the company to grow in Michigan.

“We are pleased to grow our business as a result of our strong integration capabilities and advanced technology for military and civil aircraft,” said Dave Miller, general manager of Smiths Aerospace in Grand Rapids. “We are also very appreciative of the incentives offered by Cascade Township and the state of Michigan.”

The company’s new offices and laboratory will take up 44,000 square feet in an existing facility on 36th Street in Cascade Township. The laboratory will design, develop and test avionics systems and components.

The MEDC worked closely with The Right Place Inc. to make a solid business case for the company’s expansion in Kent County.

“The Right Place is delighted that Smiths Aerospace, one of our fastest growing high-tech companies, is expanding into Cascade Township,” said Birgit Klohs, The Right Place president. “This expansion further solidifies the company’s presence in our area for many years to come.”

According to an economic analysis conducted by the University of Michigan, it is estimated that the Smiths Aerospace project will create an additional 94 Michigan jobs as a result of increased economic activity due to the expansion, in addition to the 120 jobs created directly by the company. The company’s increased operations will result in a net state revenue gain of more than $4.6 million over the life of the Single Business Tax credits.

The expansion and new jobs are welcome additions to the community, according to Cascade Township Supervisor Michael Julien.

“I am very pleased that Smiths Aerospace is growing in Cascade Township,” Julien said. “I think it reflects well not only on Cascade, but on the entire Grand Rapids area. The 120 jobs Smiths Aerospace’s expansion will create are very good news, indeed.”

For more information on the MEDC’s initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at www.michigan.org    

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