Holland Manufacturer Seeks Job Fund Backing

July 13, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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HOLLAND — Peerless Waste Solutions, a new niche manufacturing company serving the life sciences industry, has submitted one of the 112 proposals under consideration for some of the $30 million in loans available from the state of Michigan in the 21st Century Jobs Fund this year.

Two other Holland companies are in the running for funding in the advanced automotive/advanced manufacturing/advanced materials category, and just one Grand Rapids company — Cascade Engineering — is in contention for funding, in the alternative energy category.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced last week that Peerless Waste Solutions, organized in January by International Material Controls Systems Inc., submitted one of the 51 proposals in the life sciences category.

Don Pellegrini, president of Peerless, said the new company now employs seven but would increase that number by about 20 fairly quickly if it receives the requested funding. According to the MEDC announcement, Peerless requested $7.2 million in financing but Pellegrini said the application he filled out only asks for about $2 million.

Peerless is being set up to manufacture machines for use by hospitals and clinics to safely sanitize and destroy hazardous medical waste. International Material Controls Systems, the parent company, has been in business for 37 years, designing, manufacturing and installing machinery for handling materials ranging from traditional bulk solids to regulated medical waste.

Pellegrini said handling hazardous medical waste is "a big market." About half of the waste is picked up by specialized waste service companies, but the other half is still being incinerated by hospitals. However, the Environmental Protection Agency will be banning hospital incineration of medical waste in about two years, he said.

The new Peerless machinery allows hospitals and clinics to safely and effectively destroy their own waste, according to government regulations.

"What we have done is miniaturize" the large specialized machinery used by the service companies that are licensed to collect and transport hazardous medical waste, said Pellegrini. The machinery uses a combination of heat and shredding to safely reduce the medical waste to inert matter that can be safely disposed of.

Peerless was the only company from the Grand Rapids/Muskegon/Holland region to make the list of 51 applications in the life sciences category.

In addition to the life sciences proposals, 28 were in advanced automotive, manufacturing and materials, 19 in homeland security/defense and 14 in alternative energy. Total funding requested by the companies would amount to more than $475.7 million. A list of the applicants is available at www.themedc.org/21CBizPlan/

The two Holland companies in the advanced automotive/manufacturing/materials category are AlSentis LLC, which requested $1.8 million, and Crayon Interface Inc., which requested $1 million.

Cascade Engineering's Renewable Energy Division has requested $600,000 in the alternative energy category, according to the MEDC announcement.

The Ann Arbor-based National Center for Manufacturing Sciences will conduct an independent peer review of the applications and make recommendations for funding. Winners will be selected by the Strategic Economic Investment and Commercialization board and announced in October. Awards will be in the form of loans or convertible loans at the discretion of the board.

The 21st Century Jobs Fund is a $2 billion, 10-year initiative proposed by Granholm and approved by the Michigan Legislature to accelerate the diversification of Michigan's economy.

According to the MEDC, proposals are accepted only from for-profit companies that demonstrate a viable and sustainable business opportunity in life sciences, alternative energy, advanced automotive materials and manufacturing, and homeland security and defense.

Proposals will be scored and ranked based on commercialization merit, scientific and technical merit, management team strengths, and the ability to leverage additional funding.

Michael J. Jandernoa, chairman of the SEIC board and principal of Bridge Street Partners LLC in Grand Rapids, said last spring that the competition and funding is aimed at "the most promising commercialization opportunities to help grow Michigan's high-tech economy.

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