BCU Congratulates Ford for Choosing Calhoun County for its New Battery Plant

February 13, 2023

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) applauds the Ford Motor Co.’s decision to build its next battery manufacturing facility on the Marshall Mega Site, located in Calhoun County, Michigan. Ford and its partner Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) are expected to invest approximately $3.5 billion in the new facility, which will manufacture lithium iron phosphate batteries for electric vehicles. Ford anticipates the facility will create 2,500 new jobs.

BCU commends the Michigan Economic Development Corp (MEDC), the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance (MEDA), Choose Marshall, the City of Marshall, Marshall Township, Calhoun County, the City of Battle Creek, and the many other organizations that have worked tirelessly for the last several years to market this property.

The Marshall Mega Site is located 10 miles from Battle Creek, between Detroit and Chicago. BCU serves as the lead economic development organization for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The park is home to nearly 90 companies, including automotive suppliers like DENSO, Magna, and Adient. It is also home to battery companies like BASF Toda America, which manufactures cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries, and Camel Energy, a lead acid battery manufacturer.

BCU President & CEO Joe Sobieralski said, “This investment has the potential to attract thousands of new residents and ancillary investments to the region, which would increase property tax revenues and income tax revenues. The increased revenue will support public safety, schools, and other high priority local initiatives. We applaud the leadership of Governor Whitmer, the state legislature, and the MEDC for establishing the SOAR fund, a bipartisan game-changing fund for economic development and the state of Michigan. BCU will continue to advocate to the state of Michigan and the MEDC to continue to evolve the SOAR fund to be utilized by regions for community development needs where these mega projects land throughout the state.”

In recent years, BCU has accelerated its community development efforts, especially in downtown. Since 2018, BCU has attracted $287 million in capital investment to Battle Creek and created over 800 new high-paying jobs. BCU has facilitated the opening of two new breweries and has led efforts to revitalize hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial property, supporting numerous small businesses and housing opportunities. Most recently, BCU has acquired a 247-room hotel in downtown and is in the process of converting it to a DoubleTree by Hilton, a full-service hotel with over 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The hotel, expected to be open in mid-2024, will significantly increase the vibrancy of downtown Battle Creek. BCU is also working with local partners to add additional housing to the region in anticipation of future growth.

The Fort Custer Industrial Park is the largest industrial park in the state and has hundreds of acres available for development. The park is fully built out with utilities and well-positioned for any growth which the Ford announcement might bring.

Looking ahead, BCU will accelerate its community development efforts to support this project and position Battle Creek for future prosperity. BCU looks forward to working with local partners including the MEDC, MAEDA, the City of Marshall, Calhoun County, Michigan Works! Southwest, and Kellogg Community College and many others to support these efforts. BCU is also committed to supporting local employers in Battle Creek and will work to ensure that their needs are equally supported.

 ###

 ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to almost 90 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation. Visit BCUnlimited.org for more info.

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO
Battle Creek Unlimited
269-962-7526
sobieralski@bcunlimited.org

 

Heather Ignash joins BCU Team

February 8, 2023

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is pleased to welcome Heather Ignash to its team. Heather will serve as an Economic Development Specialist and will further BCU’s efforts in business retention, expansion, and workforce development.

Heather brings a wealth of experience in Workforce Development and Human Resources to BCU. Most recently, Heather served as the Business Services Coordinator for Michigan Works! Southwest, based at the W.E. Upjohn Institute. While at Michigan Works, Heather worked with employers on issues related to staffing and training, and was responsible for administering training grant programs from roll-out through completion. During her tenure there, she became a Certified Labor Market Information User with Michigan’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. She previously served as an Account Manager at WSI, a staffing agency, as well the HR Manager at Freedom Motors, a manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles.

BCU President & CEO Joe Sobieralski said, “We are excited to have Heather join the growing BCU team. Her existing connections with our local employers and workforce partners are a tremendous asset and will allow her to hit the ground running.”

Heather is passionate about Battle Creek and is dedicated to making it an excellent place to live, work, and play. She was recognized as an “Outstanding Woman in Business” by the Battle Creek Area Chamber in 2022. Heather has an associate’s degree in Business Management from Kellogg Community College and is furthering her education.

Heather Ignash joins BCU as its new Economic Development Specialist.

###

ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation. Visit BCUnlimited.org for more info.

MEDIA CONTACT

Joe Sobieralski
President & CEO
Battle Creek Unlimited
269-962-7526

Joe Sobieralski Recognized with 40 Under 40 Award in Economic Development by DCI

January 31, 2023

BATTLE CREEK, MICH – Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU), has been announced as a recipient of the 2023 Economic Development 40 Under 40 Award, the biennial award recognizing rising stars under 40 years old in the economic development industry.

The awards program is hosted by Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York-based integrated marketing firm that works with economic development and travel organizations around the globe, and Jorgenson Consulting, a leading national executive search firm serving organizations in non-profit, economic, and community development industries. An independent selection committee of six economic development leaders and site selection consultants evaluated nominations based on demonstration of strong leadership, commitment, and innovation every day in the workplace.

“The purpose-driven work of economic development plays a vital role in communities around the world, and much of it is led by young professionals,” said Julie Curtin, president of DCI’s economic development practice. “These 40 rising stars are contributing their creativity, dedication and leadership to make a tremendous impact in their communities and our industry as a whole, and I so look forward to what lies ahead in their careers.”

Sobieralski remarked, “I am honored to receive this award. It is a testament to everyone on the BCU team, our Board of Directors, and our community partners near and far who support our efforts. We have accomplished a great deal in the past few years and even bigger things are on the horizon.”

“The economic development industry continues to evolve and these rising leaders are stepping up to the challenge,” said Todd Jorgenson, managing director and principal of Jorgenson Consulting, Inc. “Congratulations to these 40 winners – and to the communities that are lucky to benefit from their expertise.”

Erick Stewart, Chair of the BCU Board of Directors, said, “On behalf of the BCU Board and its affiliated entities, we would like to convey our sincere gratitude and appreciation to DCI and Jorgenson Consulting for honoring Joe. Battle Creek is fortunate to have such a dynamic and forward-thinking economic development leader. This award is well deserved and speaks to Joe’s commitment to make everything that he is involved in ‘world-class.’ Joe always comes to the table with solutions that create meaningful outcomes and growth for our region. As we celebrate this achievement, we are grateful that under his leadership, Battle Creek is positioned for continued prosperity and growth well into the future.”

Sobieralski joined BCU as a Vice President in December 2015 and was named President & CEO in November 2016. He oversees all aspects of BCU’s operations including domestic and international economic development and its strategic plan for positioning Battle Creek as the premier location for businesses to develop, expand, and relocate utilizing the unique asset of the Fort Custer Industrial Park. Focusing on generating investment and job growth, Sobieralski works closely with the City of Battle Creek, Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, local community stakeholders, and business owners to achieve these goals. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University and a Master of Public Administration from Western Michigan University.

Award winners were announced last night at a reception hosted by DCI and Jorgenson at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 2023 Leadership Summit, the only conference held exclusively for Certified Economic Developers and senior managers in the profession.

For more information on the 40 Under 40 awards program and this year’s winners, visit econdev40under40.com.

BCU President & CEO Joe Sobieralski poses with his 40 Under 40 Award.

###

ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation. Visit BCUnlimited.org for more info.

ABOUT DCI

Development Counsellors International (DCI) is the leader in travel, economic development and talent attraction marketing. Since 1960, DCI has worked with more than 500 cities, regions, states and countries, helping them attract business investors, visitors and workers. DCI has offices in New York and Denver. For more information, visit aboutdci.com or follow @aboutDCI on Twitter.

ABOUT JORGENSON CONSULTING

Founded in 1992, Jorgenson Consulting has worked diligently over the past 29 years to establish itself as a premier national executive search firm. With a focus on the fields of non-profit, economic and community development, we partner with our clients to help them identify and secure the highest caliber of executive talent. Our goal is to develop a thorough understanding of our clients and leverage that knowledge with our own expertise and resources to source executive talent that can truly serve the organization by yielding economic benefits while also contributing to a community’s competitive advantage. www.jci-inc.net

MEDIA CONTACTS

Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO

Battle Creek Unlimited

TEL 269-962-7526

sobieralski@bcunlimited.org

Julie Curtin, President, Economic Development

DCI

TEL 303-627-0272

julie.curtin@aboutdci.com

 

 

Battle Creek Unlimited Receives Gold and Silver Awards from International Economic Development Council

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. – In Fall 2022, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) recognized Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) with two awards for excellence for the McCamly Hotel renovation project. The IEDC recognizes outstanding and innovative development projects that significantly enhance revitalizations of communities, states, or regions. At the IEDC Annual Conference in Oklahoma City, BCU received the Gold award for Innovative Project Financing as well as the Silver award for Public-Private Partnerships.

Applicants were selected by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world. In 2022, the IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries.

“These awards are a testament to Battle Creek’s ability to come together as a community and deliver on a transformative project that will reshape the greater downtown area,” said Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of BCU. “We’re grateful for the recognition by IEDC, the national and international standard. These nods are a reminder that our community is turning a corner and on a path to resurgence.”

“Communities need our profession now more than ever,” said IEDC President and CEO Nathan Ohle. “This year’s awardees exemplify the ingenuity, leadership, and determination needed to meet the challenges of today and the future. The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and demonstrate the level of leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said Ohle.

When the project is complete, the hotel will reopen as a DoubleTree by Hilton. Renovations have been underway for more than a year and are expected to total more than $59 million. The renovated facility will include a reconfigured plaza and greenspace between the hotel and Kellogg Arena. More than 10 local and state partners have helped finance the project.

The new hotel will feature 239 guest rooms; a new restaurant, beer garden, and kitchen; and a new ballroom and conference facilities. During the first phase of renovations, the building got a new roof and energy-efficient windows; new mechanical systems were installed, including HVAC, boilers, and elevators; and the exterior brick was refreshed. Phase 2 includes rebuilding the atrium and the Kellogg Arena ticket office. It also includes all the interior work, including finishing the guest rooms, lobby, ballroom, meeting rooms and kitchen.

Sobieralski remarked, “We experienced some delays that have become typical with large construction projects over the last two years (costs, supply chain constraints, etc.) Phase 2 of the project has been awarded and will begin in February 2023. We now anticipate the hotel opening in mid-2024.”

When complete, the hotel is expected to have 165 full time employees. As a part of the project, BCU will work with local education partners to create a restaurant and hospitality career program.  This program would be the first of its kind in the region and provide on-the-job training to enable students to build meaningful careers in the hospitality sector.

The hotel is adjacent to the Kellogg Arena, a 6,000-seat multi-use space. The renovated facility is expected to contribute significantly to the economic vitality of downtown and help make Battle Creek a destination for business events, conventions, and concerts.

To see a video of the plan for the hotel, visit https://streamable.com/ndijyi.

 

###

 ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.

CONTACT

Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO

Battle Creek Unlimited

TEL 269-962-7526

sobieralski@bcunlimited.org

 

BCU’s Fall 2022 Newsletter

BCU is pleased to share its Fall 2022 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

  •     IEDC Honors BCU with Gold and Silver Medals;
  •     Duncan Aviation Breaks Ground;
  •     Going PRO Talent Fund Accepting Applications;
  •     BCU Participates in CEO Action Summit;
  •     Farewell Adam Reid;

….plus other news and information. The newsletter is available to view as a PDF here.

Our goal is to provide useful information to people who live and/or work in Battle Creek. We welcome your feedback and story ideas. Email your comments to BCUNewsletter@bcunlimited.org. You can also follow BCU on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 

BCU’s Summer 2022 Newsletter

BCU is pleased to share its Summer 2022 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

  •     John Gallagher Passes the Gavel to Erick Stewart 
  •     Critical Financing Secured for McCamly Renovation
  •     Battle Creek TIFA Extended
  •     BCU Acquires WMU’s Kendall Center
  •     KCC Dedicates New Mobile Trainer

….plus other news and information. The newsletter is available to view as a PDF here.

Our goal is to provide useful information to people who live and/or work in Battle Creek. We welcome your feedback and story ideas. Email your comments to BCUNewsletter@bcunlimited.org. You can also follow BCU on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 

BCU’s Fall 2021 Newsletter

BCU is pleased to share its Fall 2021 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

    Viking-Cives Purchases 40 Acres

    WMU Dedicates Expanded College of Aviation

    BCU Competes in 2021 Kickball Classic

    John Hughes Joins BCU Team

    Aviation Director Larry Bowron Retires

….plus other news and information.  The newsletter is available to view as a PDF here

Our goal is to provide useful information to people who live and/or work in Battle Creek.  We welcome your feedback and story ideas. Email your comments to BCUNewsletter@bcunlimited.org. You can also follow Battle Creek Unlimited on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Contact Us

  • Email Sign up

Our Partners