By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Steel on the skyline is a beautiful site to Bowling Green officials.
“If you drive around, you can see steel going up in a number of places,” said Sue Clark, executive director of Bowling Green Economic Development. “That’s exciting for those of us in economic development.”
Clark gave her annual report during last week’s meeting of city and business leaders.
Bowling Green added new acreage to Wood Bridge Business Park, plus will be adding a much needed second entrance and exit to the park, this one on Bowling Green Road East.
The 100-plus acres added to the business park was the result of teamwork by the city, Wood County, Wood County Port Authority, JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Bowling Green City Schools.
“These entities pulled together to get things going in record time,” Clark said.
In 2017, the city saw its manufacturers invest $48 million in new equipment, and $8 million in construction.
“This is a signal to us that our economy here is strong,” Clark said.
The city’s manufacturers employ 4,125 full-time workers, and another 75 part-time employees. And half of the 40 companies that responded to a city survey said they have plans to add employees in 2018.
However, with many companies hiring, the pool of employees to choose from is a problem, Clark said.
“Workforce continues to be a pressing issue,” she said.
“We must continue to be innovative in attracting new businesses and persistent in keeping them.”
Some of Bowling Green’s economic development highlights last year included:
- Apio Inc., formerly Greenline, purchased eight acres in Innovative Tech Park to build a 20,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse. This will free-up production space at their current facility on South Dixie Highway, plus add another 30 jobs.
- The city and BG Economic Development entered into an agreement with Dick Carpenter for 60 acres adjacent to Wood Bridge Business Park, with the goal of expanding the park. A 200,000-square-foot warehouse is being built by Mosser Construction for Ohio Logistics, which is planning 40 acres of new warehousing. A road is being added in the business park to allow entrance and exits on Bowling Green Road East.
- Penta Career Center purchased two acres in Bellard Business Park and is building a school-to-work training center for high school students.
- The British company MICC moved into 45,000 square feet in an existing building on Van Camp Road.
- The largest solar field in Ohio started operation north of the city last year.
- The first “Manufacturers’ Day” was hosted at Bowling Green Middle School.
- Absorbent Products Co. was purchased by Principle Business Enterprises. This will allow PBE to increase production, add additional products to the line, and strengthen its position in the marketplace.
- TH Plastics, an injection molding company that produces items for Whirlpool, added 100,000 square feet of space for more warehousing and production.
- Environmental Recycling, now known as ERG, has purchased the former Sandusky Electric building in Wood Bridge Business Park.
Clark also noted the closing of two long-time Bowling Green businesses last year. Milligan Workshops ceased operations due to the retirement of the owner. And Ironhead, a tire retreading operation, shut down due to the change in direction from the corporate office.
Bowling Green manufacturers made an investment of nearly $48 million last year in new equipment. They also added a total of 134,000 square feet, costing another $8.3 million.
Following is a list of Bowling Green companies that made investments in their businesses last year. Most were investments in equipment.
- Absorbent Products, $100,000.
- Apio Inc., $1 million.
- Betco Corporation, $4.5 million.
- Biofit, $437,994.
- CMC Group (Century & Daymark), $900,000.
- Cooper seal plant, $1.4 million.
- Copy Shop, $250,000.
- The Electric Quilt, $5,000.
- Environmental Recycling, 15,000 square footage in new facility, $350,000.
- GKN Driveline, $8 million.
- Jim Palmer Excavating, $100,000, plus 10,000 square footage in new facility costing $750,000.
- Lubrizol, $1.5 million.
- Regal (Marathon Special Products), $600,000.
- Mid-Wood Inc., $66,000.
- Novavision, $1 million.
- Phoenix Technologies, $137,000.
- Pinnacle Plastic Products, $1.2 million.
- Pioneer Packing Co., $100,000.
- Poggemeyer Design Group, $100,000.
- Rosenboom Machine and Tool, $610,000.
- Southeastern Container, $4.2 million.
- TH Plastics, $6.5 million, with 94,000 square footage in new facility costing $6.5 million.
- Vehtek, $15 million.
- Xorb, $163,000 with 134,000 square footage in new facility costing $750,000.
Also during the annual meeting, the Economic Development Recognition Award was presented to Jackie Dubler, administrative assistant to Mayor Dick Edwards.
For 27 years, Dubler has been the “behind the scenes” person keeping track of all the business agreements and incentives. She survived five mayors and four administrators, Clark said, and for her “dogged nagging, I will forever be grateful.”
“You have been a dependable, loyal friend of economic development,” Clark said to Dubler, who is retiring in September.
The keynote speaker, BGSU President Rodney Rogers, talked about the community created by the city and campus.