PROLIME CEO Bob Rogers was formally honored on Thursday, June 21 during the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership’s (SEDP) annual meeting with the SEDP Project of the Year award for bringing the state’s first pellitized lime and gypsum processing facility to Shiawassee County. Kathryn Burkholder of Consumer’s Energy, the award sponsor, presented Rogers with the award at Fortitude Outdoor Fitness in Bennington Township, which hosted the SEDP’s first outdoor annual meeting in its 16-year history.
Prolime, an agribusiness that was formed by Rogers nearly 40 years ago, is investing $5.7 million to construct a 38,000-square-foot facility near Laingsburg in Woodhull Township, which should create up to 20 new jobs. Rogers reports that the facility should be operational by September of this year.
SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath also spoke during the meeting, providing an update on the state of the Shiawassee County economy, highlighting some of the county’s biggest recent economic investors and detailing the SEDP’s plans for the future. Among the highlights of the annual report were that Shiawassee County’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.5 percent, which is below the state average; incomes rose 3.2 percent in 2017; total property value increased 3.7 percent; and the number of homes for sale countywide dropped to approximately 150.
As for the future, Horvath laid out the SEDP’s five-point plan to continue the county’s economic recovery. He shared that approximately 70 percent of Shiawassee County residents work outside the county, so the SEDP will continue to market available employment opportunities in Shiawassee County.
The SEDP is focused on offering educational opportunities and identifying funding programs to support skills growth for existing county employees; and promoting organizations and programs that help tackle challenges to full-time employment, including lack of skills, access to childcare, access to transportation and drug use.
The SEDP will also continue to serve as a connection point in strengthening collaboration between the county’s eight school districts, the Shiawassee RESD, Baker College and the business community. And lastly, the SEDP will continue to work on increasing the county’s population by developing additional housing options and by revitalizing downtown areas.
For more information about the SEDP’s plans for 2018 and beyond, visit www.sedpweb.org.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)