GNS America is West Michigan’s World Trader of the Year
The West Michigan World Trade Association will present GNS America of Holland Township with its 2013 World Trader of the Year on Wednesday at the WMWTA annual conference at Watermark Country Club.
GNS America is a division of GNS Automotive in Korea. The company opened its facility at 13341 Quincy St. in 2009 after purchasing the assets of a financially troubled West Michigan manufacturing company that specialized in metal stamping, weld assembly, and tool and die design, construction and repair.
The World Trader of the Year Award recognizes a business, organization, or an individual that has demonstrated a commitment to international trade in this region. It is presented during the annual World Trade Week, the first week in May.
According to the WMWTA, GNS America “is a success story of a local businessman drawing foreign investment to West Michigan, partnering with GNS Korea, to bring capital investment, manufacturing, technology and jobs to the area.” Total employment at GNS America now exceeds 100.
Mark Bleckley, president of WMWTA, said the “local businessman” is Thomas Palumbo, an executive at SoundOff Signal in Hudsonville and a member of the WMWTA board. SoundOff began doing business in Korea a few years ago.
Suk-Je Lee, who heads GNS America, said the plant is largely automated. It is now making parts for auto companies operating in the U.S.
WMWTA said that since the initial investment of about $2.5 million in 2009, GNS America further invested in implementing its globally patented “shuttle press” technology, developed an innovative industry leading hot stamp process used for the automotive industry, and invested in a building and land.
In 2012, GNS America was recognized as the General Motors Supplier of the Year in its product class specialty. The company also expanded last year, bringing its total investments in Holland to more than $15 million, according to WMWTA.
To encourage the expansion last year, GNS America was granted a PA 198 tax exemption by the township. Expansion of the building cost $1.8 million and the investment in new machinery and equipment was planned to be $2,018,000, for a total investment of more than $3.8 million.
New contracts for GNS America indicates the business will continue to grow and its exports of design services, tooling and production parts will expand into Europe, Mexico, Korea and Australia, according to WMWTA.