Electronic engineering firm gets city approval

August 21, 2009
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A local firm that develops embedded software systems and provides engineering services to the aerospace, medical, automotive, consumer electronics and legal industries has received the city’s approval to expand.

City commissioners granted DornerWorks Ltd. an industrial tax exemption last week that will help the company grow and give it the chance to market its services nationwide.

“DornerWorks plans to double its size — both in sales dollars and in staff — over the next five years. Launching this project in Grand Rapids will involve a capital investment of over $1.5 million and would create up to 20 new high-tech, high-paying jobs in the areas of embedded software and electronic hardware engineering in two years,” said Kara Wood, city economic development director.

DornerWorks plans to purchase the property adjacent to its headquarters at 3445 Lake Eastbrook Blvd. for its expansion and create a company campus.

Company President and CEO David Dorner, who started the firm in 2000, estimated the expansion would double annual sales from $5 million to $10 million and bring high-tech aerospace design work to the city.

The firm plans to spend about $700,000 on the expansion project with the rest of the investment going to expand its national presence.

The commission’s action will cut the company’s real and personal property taxes in half for a dozen years, saving the firm roughly $7,000 each year, or $84,000 for 12 years.

DornerWorks has 46 employees and plans to add another 20 full-time positions over the next five years. The new jobs will pay an average of $23 per hour. The city will receive about $9,600 a year in new income-tax revenue, or approximately $115,000 over 12 years, from the jobs that DornerWorks creates.

The city’s share of the abated property taxes has been estimated at $1,966 a year, or $23,597 for the length of the abatement.

Wood said the state has already approved the incentives that DornerWorks requested.

“This is a great company,” she said, “and a good investment for the city.”

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