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.

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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.

 

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 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. 

Invitation for Bid – Southwest Michigan Accelerator Kitchen

Battle Creek Unlimited, St. Philip Parish, and Driven Design Studio are pleased to share an invitation for bid for the Southwest Michigan Accelerator Kitchen.

The invitation for bid can be found here as a PDF.

Submittals, inquires, and any other communication must be sent to smak@bcunlimited.org.

Key Dates:

Request for proposals issued – 12:00 p.m., August 30, 2022
Mandatory pre-bid meetings/site tours – 12:00 p.m., September 6, 2022 and 12:00 p.m., September 9, 2022
Contractor inquiries due – 12:00 p.m., September 16, 2022
Responses to inquiries posted – 5:00 p.m., September 22, 2022
Bids due – 5:00 p.m., September 29, 2022
Bids opened – 8:00 a.m., September 30, 2022
Anticipated bid awarded – October 7-14, 2022

Battle Creek Unlimited Secures Critical Financing for McCamly Hotel Renovation

Battle Creek Unlimited Secures Critical Financing for McCamly Hotel Renovation

The MEDC will provide a $7.5 million loan from the Michigan Community Revitalization Program

BATTLE CREEK, Mich.—Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) has secured a critical piece of financing for its renovation of the former McCamly Plaza Hotel. On Tuesday, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced that the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved $7.5 million in assistance from the Michigan Community Revitalization Program (MCRP).

The program promotes community revitalization and provides gap funding for projects that are either contaminated (facility), blighted, functionally obsolete, or historic resources. The MCRP award for the McCamly Hotel renovation is in the form of a performance-based loan, to be repaid at 1 percent interest.

The property originally opened in 1982 as the Stouffer Hotel. The hotel is in the heart of downtown Battle Creek, one block from the global headquarters of the Kellogg Company. It is adjacent to the Kellogg Arena, a 6,200-seat multi-purpose venue.

The facility is being converted into a DoubleTree by Hilton. When complete, it will feature 239 guest rooms; a new restaurant, beer garden, and kitchen; and a new ballroom and conference facilities. The exterior of the building is being refreshed and will have a new entrance, new windows, and an updated façade. All the hotel mechanical systems are being replaced, including the HVAC, boilers, and elevators. The project is expected to cost $59 million and will create 165 new jobs.

Along with the MCRP award, local partners have pledged nearly $30 million to the hotel project and adjacent development. Commitments include:

·      Battle Creek Unlimited Cash & Other Grants $1,000,000+
·      Bronson Battle Creek Hospital $200,000
·      Calhoun County (American Rescue Plan Act funds) $2,000,000
·      Calhoun County Visitor Bureau $400,000
·      City of Battle Creek (American Rescue Plan Act funds) $2,500,000
·      Consumers Energy Foundation $250,000
·      Kellogg Company $300,000
·      Miller Foundation $1,000,000
·      State of Michigan (General Fund Appropriation) $2,000,000
·      W.K. Kellogg Foundation $20,000,000

In addition, the Battle Creek City Commission approved an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act tax abatement valued at $3.23 million.

As a part of the project, BCU is working with Grand Valley State University and Kellogg Community College to create a restaurant and hospitality career program. The program will provide on-the-job training and enable students to build meaningful careers in the hospitality sector.

Erick Stewart, Chair of BCU’s Board of Directors, said, “The McCamly Hotel has played a vital role in Battle Creek for 40 years. The facility has hosted countless weddings, proms, conferences, and business meetings. With these sweeping renovations, it will once again be the premiere hotel and conference facility in the region. When the hotel reopens next year, it will be something that everyone in Battle Creek will be proud of.”

BCU President & CEO Joe Sobieralski said, “This is the latest piece in BCU’s ongoing effort to revitalize downtown. This project will have a transformative impact on Battle Creek and will bring new opportunities to our community. We are grateful to our community partners, the State of Michigan, and the MEDC for supporting our vision for Battle Creek.”

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

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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.

MEDIA CONTACT

Joe Sobieralski

President & CEO

Battle Creek Unlimited

TEL 269-962-7526

BCU’s Spring 2022 Newsletter

BCU is pleased to share its Spring 2022 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

    BCU Unveils Plan for McCamly Hotel

    Bleistahl, Duncan Aviation Announce Expansions

    BASF Toda America CEO Recognized

    The Milton Honored for Historic Preservation

    Watkins Road Upgrades Continue

….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 Unveils Plan for Former McCamly Plaza Hotel and McCamly Place

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) and its affiliate, 50 Capital Ave Development Corp., have unveiled plans and a timeline for renovation of the former McCamly Plaza Hotel and adjacent McCamly Place.

“We are so excited to return this historic property to productive use,” said Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of BCU. “Having a hotel of this size and magnitude will significantly contribute to the economic vitality of downtown Battle Creek and the entire city. We cannot thank our partners and contributors enough for their continued support and generosity. This multi-faceted project will be a showpiece for our great city and will once again make Battle Creek a destination for entertainment and events.”

Plans call for a $59 million overhaul of the 265,000-square foot complex. The renovations will include complete upgrades to the mechanical and HVAC systems, and five new elevators. The guest rooms will be all brand new, as will be the lobby, ballroom, and meeting spaces. The hotel will have a new restaurant with a farm-to-table menu, a new bar and beer garden, and new kitchen. The buildings will also receive new roofs, high efficiency windows, and a refreshed exterior. The facility will offer over 24,000 square feet of modern meeting space of various sizes and configurations. The hotel’s sixteenth floor will feature a cocktail lounge with panoramic views of the city, complemented by three meeting spaces that can be configured for one large event.

When done, the hotel will have 180,000 square feet of space and 239 guest rooms. The renovated hotel will operate as a DoubleTree by Hilton and be managed by 6PM Hospitality Partners. The hotel is expected to reopen in the third quarter of 2023.

The hotel will include a workforce training/educational component for the anticipated 165 operational jobs. This will be the first teaching hotel of its kind in the region. BCU will work closely with its local/regional workforce and educational partners to create meaningful training and career opportunities for local residents and youth.

“We are excited to engage with our workforce and educational partners in the coming months, as we begin laying the foundations for the workforce/educational components of the project,” Sobieralski said.

The 85,000-square foot McCamly Place, which is separate from the hotel, will be demolished. Plans call for building approximately 19,745 square feet of new space. Demolition will not include Festival Market Square. The new space will include a ticket office for the Kellogg Arena, pre-function/exhibitor space, bathrooms, a new restaurant, and extension of the hotel lobby. It will also add outdoor green space to complement the existing Festival Market Square structure, located in the heart of downtown Battle Creek. Demolition is scheduled to begin in April 2022.

A video illustrating the proposed plans can be found here: https://streamable.com/ndijyi

BCU is in the final stages of financing the project. This includes working with senior lenders and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Nearly $30 million in grants have already been secured. Generous contributions have been made from the following organizations: W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Miller Foundation; State of Michigan; City of Battle Creek American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA); Calhoun County ARPA; Kellogg Company; Calhoun County Visitors and Convention Bureau; Consumers Energy Foundation; Bronson Battle Creek Community Hospital-Community Partners; and BCU.

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ABOUT BATTLE CREEK UNLIMITED

Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, nonprofit corporation that 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.

Duncan Aviation Announces Expansion Plans in Battle Creek

LINCOLN, Neb. — Duncan Aviation today announced plans to build additional hangar space at its existing MRO locations in Battle Creek, Michigan (BTL), and Lincoln, Nebraska (LNK).

“The demand for the safety and flexibility that business aviation travel provides has continued to increase, as has the average size of business aircraft,” says Jeff Lake, President of Duncan Aviation. “This results in increased demand for the hangar space required to complete requested airframe, engine, interior, paint and avionics modifications for the business aircraft fleet. Looking to the future, we know that in order to meet current customer requests and needs, Duncan Aviation will need more hangar facilities.”

The company is working with long-time partner Tectonic Management Group and is using the latest in green construction technologies to build at both locations a 46,000-square-foot hangar with 32-foot-high hangar doors and an additional 62,000-square-foot, two-floor wing for storage and backshops. The total expected investment for both LNK and BTL is approximately $66 million.

“Duncan Aviation has consistently reinvested at least 80 percent of its profits back into the company and its team members in the form of facility expansions and capital improvements,” Lake says.

Sustainability features for the new hangars and buildings include light harvesting, radiant floor heating with energy-efficient boilers, LED lighting fixtures with sensors and automatic dimming, and more. Frank Jacobsen, Vice President with Tectonic, says the buildings and systems will perform more than 25% better than standard energy codes.

Site preparation will be started this spring in both Battle Creek and Lincoln with completion in Michigan expected in the summer of 2023 and in Nebraska in the fall of 2023, just a few months later.

When construction is complete, Duncan Aviation will have 769,000 square feet of hangar space and shop, office, and storage areas in Lincoln. The Battle Creek location will have 443,000 square feet of hangar, office, shop, and storage space.

The increased footprint for aircraft projects will require the addition of 65 to 75 team members at each location over a five-year period, Lake says. Those jobs will include airframe technicians as well as positions in interior, installations, engine, paint, and the support shops.

Mike Minchow, Chief Operating Officer of Duncan Aviation’s Lincoln location, says the new hangars will be the largest Duncan Aviation has built to-date. “We are excited not only to be building additional hangars to give us more room and greater flexibility in the near term but to continue to grow with where the market is headed both in aircraft size and the number of inspections expected in the future. In addition, we are excited to create up to 75 career opportunities for new team members in Lincoln and Battle Creek, and we have already started to recruit team members to fill the additional positions.”

Andy Richards, Chief Operating Officer of Duncan Aviation’s Battle Creek location, says the expansion is a direct result of the excellent service and support operators have received.

“Over the past 66 years, Duncan Aviation has grown an increasingly loyal and diverse customer base that depends on the quality service and friendly customer experience provided by our teams,” Richards says. “The expansion will increase our ability to attract even more customers to the Duncan Aviation family.”

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ABOUT DUNCAN AVIATION

Duncan Aviation is an aircraft service provider supporting the aviation needs of business aircraft operators, government agencies, and other aircraft service providers. Services include major and minor airframe inspections, engine maintenance, major retrofits for cabin and cockpit avionics systems, full paint and interior services, engineering and certification services, fabrication and manufacturing services, and preowned aircraft sales and acquisitions. Duncan Aviation also has international aircraft components solutions experts available 24/7/365 at +1 402.475.4125 who can handle any aircraft system problem with immediate exchanges, rotables, loaners or avionics/instrument/accessory repairs and overhauls. Complete service facilities are located in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Provo, Utah. Duncan Aviation also has dozens of other facilities strategically located throughout the United States to provide customers with scheduled regional support and the quickest response possible to avionics, engine and airframe Aircraft On Ground (AOG) situations.

BCU’s Winter 2022 Newsletter

BCU is pleased to share its Winter 2022 Quarterly Newsletter 

This edition includes:

    Torti Taco Opens Downtown

    Washington Heights Entrepreneurial Fund Awards $2M in Grants

    New Tool Connects Manufacturers and Suppliers

    Major Construction Projects Coming Soon

    Michigan, Ontario Partner on UAS

….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.

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