Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO, Contract Extension

  • Friday, December 15, 2017
    For Immediate Release

    Effective Immediately

                                                                Continuity to Continue at BCU

    Battle Creek, Mich. – December 14, 2017 – The Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the contract extension of Joe Sobieralski as President & CEO.  Sobieralski joined BCU in December of 2015, as Vice President and was quickly appointed Interim President & CEO.  In October of 2016, the Interim title was removed and Sobieralski has been at the helm ever since.

    According to John Gallagher, BCU Board Chair, “Battle Creek Unlimited has finally turned the corner with Joe’s leadership.  He has succeeded in accomplishing the initial goals he and the board established, which resulted in a very good performance evaluation.  With his talented team, BCU is poised to bring greater economic growth and prosperity to Battle Creek.  We look forward to some exciting wins in this next year.”

    “I have enjoyed working with Joe over the past year and am impressed with his energy, knowledge and relationship building” stated Rebecca Fleury, City Manager for the City of Battle Creek.  “He has put together a great team at BCU and his contract extension will allow them to broaden the success of the Fort Custer Industrial Park and continue to transform economic development in the City of Battle Creek.”

    “I am excited to continue playing a vital role in shaping the future of Battle Creek” said Joe Sobieralski, BCU President & CEO.  “We have seen great success this past year with a new company breaking ground in the Fort Custer Industrial Park for the first time in almost 8 years.  Working closely with community partners, we look forward to this being the first of many successes.  Over the last year, I have seen the BCU staff grow and expand into a cohesive and dedicated team leading the charge while cultivating a climate of economic development.  While no one can predict the future, I would say the best is yet to come!”

    Sobieralski’s contract has been extended until June, 2021.

    About Battle Creek Unlimited
    Battle Creek Unlimited is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as an economic development organization for the City of Battle Creek.  Battle Creek Unlimited is focused on building a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation.

    Media Contacts:
    John Gallagher, BCU Board Chair

Request for Proposals on Downtown Buildings

Friday, December 15, 2017

Battle Creek Unlimited seeks request for proposals from reputable, experienced developers who have the interest and capacity to revitalize downtown properties at: 15 Carlyle Street, 64 W. Michigan Avenue, and 119 W. Michigan Avenue.

Interested parties should click on the links below for the request for proposal information for each property:

Proposals will be accepted through Friday, March 2, 2018.

Battle Creek’s National Guard 110th Attack Wing receives prestigious unit award

Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Battle Creek’s National Guard 110th Attack Wing receives prestigious unit award


The 110th Attack Wing of the National Guard in Battle Creek received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. 

For it’s work with remotely piloted aircraft and cyber defense operations, the 110th Attack Wing of the National Guard, at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, received an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

“The 110th Attack Wing is honored to have received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, which clearly demonstrates the outstanding accomplishments of our incredible team of Airmen,” Col. Bryan Teff, commander of the 110th, said in a written announcement on the award.

“They’re performing more relevant work than ever,” Teff said.

The award was authorized by Department of the Air Force General Order 1, Jan. 6, 1954, and is given to units that perform exceptionally meritorious service. The Secretary of the Air Force selected the 110th for the honor, for the work the unit performed from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2016. It’s the seventh time the 110th has received the honor in its 70-year history. The last award came in 2005 to recognize the Wing’s participation in homeland security missions following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as well as contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The last time we received this type of recognition was over fifteen years ago,” Teff said. “There have been many ups and downs for our organization since then, but the Airmen of the 110th have always proven able to capitalize on our existing missions with elite performance. Receiving this award is just another sign that the future is bright for the 110th Attack Wing.”
Teff also said the award affirms the unit’s new, high-tech missions after a period of uncertainty. The base was projected to close in 2005 as a part of the Base Realignment and Closer commission (BRAC).

The 110th Attack Wing’s citation specifically mentions the organization’s superior performance in its two new mission sets – control of MQ-9 “Reaper” remotely-piloted aircraft, and cyber defense operations – despite fiscal adversity and manpower shortages. During this period of mission transition, the 110th Attack Wing continued to increase its operations tempo, flying more than 5,000 hours in the MQ-9 and more than 1,700 sorties. The Wing also prepared and deployed Airmen in various contingency operations supporting over 500 total deployment events, while maintaining high standards in Medical Readiness, Agile Combat Support, and multi-domain Command and Control.

Jackpot! KCC gets $2.15M for Regional Manufacturing Technology Center

Jackpot! KCC gets $2.15M for Regional Manufacturing Technology Center

Thursday, November 02, 2017
Noe Hernandez, Battle Creek EnquirerPublished 12:04 p.m. ET Nov. 2, 2017 | Updated 1:14 p.m. ET Nov. 2, 2017

Kellogg Community College’s will get $2.15 million from the state to renovate its Regional Manufacturing Technology Center in Battle Creek.

The Legislature’s Joint Capital Outlay Subcommittee approved a grant for the renovations on Wednesday, nearly 18 months after Gov. Rick Snyder signed a capital outlay bill into law.

“We are grateful for Governor Snyder, members of the Michigan Legislature and representatives of several local organizations, including the city of Battle Creek and the Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority, for their continued support of the RMTC,” KCC President Mark O’Connell said Wednesday in a press release.

“The RMTC is a vital component of KCC and the ongoing BC Vision job training initiative in Battle Creek.

“The facility exists to teach people advanced skills that will help them discover fulfilling skilled trades careers in the Battle Creek area,” he added.

As part of the deal, KCC had to match half, or $2.15 million, of the $4.3 million needed for the project.

KCC is expected to begin renovating the older 40,000-square-foot section of the facility next spring.

The planned renovations include security, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, flooring and wall upgrades, and a new roof.

The college also plans to reprogram laboratories and classrooms to better meet the training needs of manufacturers.

“This is a tremendous thing and hugely important for our community,” said Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited, which manages the industrial park.

“This goes a long way toward supporting the needs for skilled trades,” he added.

The Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority, or TIFA, contributed at least $1.075 million at KCC’s request this summer, while the college committed to the remaining amount.

“We’re very happy that the grant has been finalized by the state of Michigan and now the RMTC can proceed with their expansion and remodeling,” TIFA Chairman Al Bobrofsky said Wednesday.

TIFA also contributed $1.6 million to build an 8,400-square-foot addition to the RMTC. That $2.59 million project was completed last year.

The RMTC was built in 1989 with financial support from the Kellogg Foundation, Denso, state of Michigan, city of Battle Creek and private groups to train students for careers in business and manufacturing.

The RMTC also provides customized training for employers in the Fort Custer Industrial Park.

More than 620 students enrolled in RMTC programs this fall. KCC students can earn certificates in electronics, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, machining technology, pipefitting, renewable energy, industrial technology, industrial trades, welding and other fields.

Contact Battle Creek Enquirer education reporter Noe Hernandez at 269-966-0684 or

Duncan Aviation expanding in Battle Creek, will create 50 jobs

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Natasha Blakely, Battle Creek Enquirer Oct. 11, 2017

(Photo: Al Lassen/For the Enquirer)

The airplane maintenance and repair company is moving forward with its plans to lease a hangar at Battle Creek Airport. The company expects the expansion to create 50 new jobs over the next three years.

Duncan Aviation is the world’s largest privately owned business jet support facility. It was founded in 1956 and opened up a facility in Battle Creek in 1998.

The company did a major expansion in Battle Creek in 2005, but is now at capacity and has even had to turn away some projects, according to a press release from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Leasing the Battle Creek Airport hanger will allow Duncan Aviation to increase the capacity of its Battle Creek operations. It’s possible that the company will purchase the hangar in the future, according to Battle Creek Unlimited president Joe Sobieralski.

The expansion is expected to bring an investment of more than $2.9 million alongside the new jobs.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is providing Duncan Aviation with a $150,000 grant through the Michigan Business Development Program.

The company’s successful expansion “reflects Michigan’s growing economy and expanding job opportunities for our state’s talented and abundant workforce,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in a press release, adding that the project “will mean more jobs and greater economic opportunities for people in the state.”
Battle Creek Unlimited also is supporting the project with a $250,000 Battle Creek Tax Increment Financing Authority grant. The money is going toward making improvements to the hanger, Sobieralski said.
Hiring is expected to begin this year.

“Aviation jobs are kind of more technical in nature,” Sobieralski said. “It’s helping us grow our aerospace industry while providing some better paying jobs.”

Duncan Aviation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Contact Natasha Blakely at (269) 223-0114 or
Follow her on Twitter at @blakelynat.

Shabaka Gibson Joins Battle Creek Unlimited as New Vice President

Friday, September 22, 2017

Battle Creek, Mich. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is pleased to announce the addition of Shabaka Gibson as its newest Vice President.  Gibson’s work will encompass Retention, Expansion and Workforce.  He will work along with the rest of the BCU team as they continue with innovative solutions to generate jobs and investment in Battle Creek.

A former Southwest Michigan native and retired Army reservist, Gibson returns with over a decade of vast experience in business, policy and economic development from overseeing operations abroad to local municipal government as the Village Manager of Stevensville. Gibson has experience with strategy development for workforce development, STEM programs, small businesses development and investment management. Most recently, he served as the Senior Vice President at Ady Advantage.  During his tenure there, Gibson managed projects across the United States focused on research, strategy and marketing. He also worked with stakeholders, site selectors and businesses.  Prior to his experience with Ady, Gibson worked in Corporate Affairs with Exxon Mobil Corporation. This experience combined with his familiarity with our region and state makes the Bronze Star recipient an ideal addition to the team at BCU.

Gibson graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and the University of Chicago with a Master of Public Policy.  Gibson also has an Associates of Arts in Russian Language from the Defense Language Institute.

BCU is also delighted to announce Bridgette Jones will be transitioning into the role of Vice President of Operations. Please join us in welcoming Shabaka Gibson to Battle Creek and Battle Creek Unlimited and congratulating Bridgette Jones on her new role with Battle Creek Unlimited.

About Battle Creek Unlimited
Battle Creek Unlimited is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development organization for the City of Battle Creek.  Battle Creek Unlimited facilitates the generation of investment and job creation in our community.

Media Contacts:
Joe Sobieralski, BCU President & CEO

Metal finisher may bring 94 jobs to Battle Creek

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Metal finisher may bring 94 jobs to Battle Creek

Noe Hernandez, Battle Creek EnquirerPublished 11:06 a.m. ET Aug. 17, 2017 | Updated 3:06 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2017

A metal finishing company planning to build a factory in Battle Creek may bring 94 jobs to the area.

City commissioners on Tuesday approved a resolution for a Sept. 5 public hearing on a 12-year property tax abatement for Bowers Aluminum Company, which hopes to build a 68,850-square-foot facility on a 27-acre site in the Fort Custer Industrial Park.

The plant, which would have an address of 1401 Shiga Drive, would be built on one of three shovel-ready sites near Hill Brady Road and Skyline Drive. Shiga Drive is still under construction.

“I’m excited that our shovel-ready strategy is paying off,” said Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited. “We are excited to see 94 jobs come to the fort and we look forward to watching this company grow.”

Company President Jon Bowerson Thursday said his company would anodize, or coat with a protective layer by electrical process, aluminum products it receives from manufacturers.

According to city records, Bowers Aluminum would pay nearly $960,000 without the tax abatement. It would pay about $523,000 with the tax break.

Sobieralski said the company would employ 50 workers in the first two years of operation and add 44 more workers in its third year.

Bowers would spend $2.4 million to build the plant and invest a total of $7.5 million in phase one, and more in a possible second phase.

Construction could begin in mid-September and end in September 2018.

“We thought it was a very strategic move by Battle Creek Unlimited to prepare several shovel-ready sites, and it’s already paying off with this new company,” said Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing.

Bowers Aluminum is leasing the land for 20 years from Full Circle Partners, which, according to Sobieralski, has already signed a purchase agreement for the 27 acres. Bowers is also a managing partner of Full Circle Partners.

Contact Battle Creek Enquirer reporter Noe Hernandez at 269-966-0684 or

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