GWINN, Mich. (WJMN) – A $20.4 million expansion to a local aluminum products provider is expected to create 44 new jobs in Marquette County.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined officials from Superior Extrusion, Inc. along with state and local officials Thursday to celebrate the groundbreaking for the expansion in Forsyth Township.

“Superior Extrusion’s continued expansion in Michigan demonstrates the strength of our business climate and underscores the importance of our state’s talented workforce,” Whitmer said. “As we jumpstart Michigan’s economy, today’s groundbreaking is helping to build the path for economic growth and recovery right here in the Upper Peninsula.”

Whitmer is in the Upper Peninsula this week on a three-day ‘UP Jobs Tour’ across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to showcase Michigan’s Economic Jumpstart plan and how her administration is preparing and training the 21st Century workforce. The Governor’s plan includes $1 billion to jumpstart Michigan’s economy by investing in businesses, workers, and organizations across our state.

Superior Extrusion, Inc., a national leader in extruded aluminum products, announced its plans for the facility in May following Michigan Strategic Fund approval of an amendment increasing the company’s existing Michigan Business Development Program grant to $422,000. The amendment helped secure an additional $20.4 million in investment by SEI in Michigan over competing sites on Iowa and Ohio.

SEI produces and ships more than 3,200 custom and standard profiles from its location in the Upper Peninsula. The company uses multiple hydraulic presses to create the aluminum shapes needed to make vehicle parts, docks, trailers, boats, and many other products. In 2020, SEI shipped more than 35 million pounds of extruded aluminum to customers across the county and currently has 160 employees on the site.

Due to increased business demands, the company needed to expand its operations and is constructing a new facility on land currently occupied by 11th Street, the main route into the airport.

“This is the largest expansion project in the 23 years that we’ve been in business at Superior Extrusion, Inc.,” SEI Chairman of the Board George LaBlonde III said. “We are so grateful for the partners that continue to support and help us to stay in Gwinn and grow. We would not be here today without our dedicated employees providing quality products to our customers in Michigan and the Midwest.”

According to officials, the project will provide competitive wages and will support continued manufacturing industry growth in the state. The project represents one of the largest manufacturing expansions in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in years.

The Michigan Department of Transportation awarded the project a state Transportation Economic Development grant in the amount of $660,000 to help fund infrastructure improvements associated with the expansion.

MDOT’s TEDF grant will help support work performed by the Marquette County Road Commission including relocating 11th Street, building a new roundabout and road from the existing 11th Street south to 10th Street, resurfacing and adding turn lanes on Kelly Johnson Memorial Drive and 10th Street, and other associated road improvements. The new road going into the Superior Extrusion Facility at K.I. Sawyer will be called Gerry Corkin Drive, after longtime public servant and chair of the Marquette County Board, Gerry Corkin.

“This is another example of how this important economic development program fills gaps in road funding and helps road agencies across the state respond before an important regional business moves assets and jobs out of Michigan,” MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba said. “These investments by MDOT and the Marquette County Road Commission will not only allow Superior Extrusion to expand at its current location, they will improve the overall flow of traffic for both the company and the general public accessing the airport.”

You can apply for a job with SEI here.

Following Thursday’s groundbreaking, Gov. Whitmer announced that the city of Manistique has received $358,717 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the Multi Family Rehab at 107 River Street project in downtown Manistique.

The project will create new residential space throughout the historic building in the heart of downtown. When completed, the building will include four new residential units, with three of the apartments to be occupied by low- to moderate-income households. The CDBG funds will be used for architecture and engineering, partial interior demolition, construction of new interior walls, and plumbing and mechanical upgrades. Installation of new fixtures, energy efficient appliances, cabinetry, drywall, flooring and painting will also be completed.

The project is expected to generate a total private investment of $123,817 and will revitalize an underutilized historic building into much-needed housing in downtown Manistique. The city of Manistique has committed to supporting the project by funding snow removal and park improvements.

“By revitalizing this historic building, this project will bring new opportunities for economic growth and vibrancy to downtown Manistique,” Whitmer said. “This project is an example of our commitment to creating the places where people want to live, work, visit, and play, and where businesses want to invest and grow.”

“The city of Manistique is proud to support the owners of the project on River St.,” Manistique City Manager and Finance Officer Sheila Aldrich said. “We appreciate that they are making such a big investment in our community and are providing a much-needed housing need.”