Manufacturer elects to stay in Grand Rapids
A local RFID manufacturer is investing $4.3 million and creating 50 new jobs in the region via an expansion.
Grand Rapids-based eAgile Inc., which develops Radio Frequency Identification technology, is planning to expand its plant south of downtown, 1100 Hynes Ave., Ste. C2. Rising demand for eAgile’s product line has necessitated adding new talent to its staff to accommodate continued growth and the $4.3 million investment will occur over the next three years.
As well as increased staff, the expansion includes the purchase of additional machinery and equipment.
“eAgile continues to run at full speed in Grand Rapids, so we are excited to expand here and continue to provide world-class products from our city,” said Bob Vorpagel, eAgile chief financial officer.
Grand Rapids-based economic development agency The Right Place and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. worked to ensure that eAgile chose to expand in West Michigan rather than at an out-of-state site. According to a briefing memo from the MEDC, eAgile has had difficulty recruiting talent in Michigan and with its current lease expiring, had been exploring other locations for expansion.
eAgile’s expansion is supported via a $300,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant approved by the MEDC. The grant will help eAgile offset training costs of new employees, which the company identified as about $7,500 per employee.
The grant marks the first time eAgile has received an incentive from the Michigan Strategic Fund.
“The decision by eAgile to expand in Grand Rapids rather than other states demonstrates Michigan’s business-friendly environment and talented workforce,” MEDC CEO Jeff Mason said. “This investment will provide good employment opportunities for Michigan residents and will create a long-term positive impact on the local economy.”
Right Place senior business development manager Eric Icard said the MEDC grant, along with the region’s “strong technology and manufacturing base,” eased eAgile’s decision.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss also voiced her approval of the expansion.
“The city has rapidly become a technology hub, and we are thrilled that eAgile is joining the mix and growing its Grand Rapids roots,” Bliss said.