Two Grand Rapids area companies to expand, add 319 jobs

Grand Rapids

A group photo of Gen3 Defense and Aerospace. (courtesy)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two Grand Rapids area companies are expanding, bringing hundreds of jobs to the area.

Gen3 Defense & Aerospace plans to invest $8.69 million to keep up with demand and expand its capabilities in robotics systems development.

The company, located just north of US-131 and West River Drive NE in Comstock Park, plans to expand into a larger facility in Kent County and grow its team more then ten-fold, from 26 employees to 295 workers.

Founded last year, Gen3 provides engineering, manufacturing and supply chain solutions primarily for new autonomous military and aerospace programs.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is backing Gen3’s expansion with a $1 million performance-based grant. The Right Place has also connected the company with resources to grow its workforce.

A company that’s called Grand Rapids home for 96 years is also growing, with the help of a $350,000 grant from the MEDC.

Blackmer, which provides tools and technology to safely transfer liquids and gases, plans to invest more than $7 million in expanding its operations at 1809 Century Ave. SW.

The Right Place says the company intends to demolish a shuttered foundry on site and build a 60,000 square-foot manufacturing facility for assembly, painting and shipping.

“Blackmer’s decision to continue its growth in the City of Grand Rapids is a testament to the economic strength of our region,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss stated in a Wednesday news release. “Our city continues to be a location where innovative businesses are able to grow and thrive.”

The Right Place says Blackmer plans to add 50 jobs to its team of 250 workers as part of the expansion.

“We are thrilled these two companies are continuing to grow here in the community and look forward to the increased economic opportunity these projects will bring to our residents,” The Right Place, Inc. President and CEO Randy Thelen stated in the news release.

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