Today The Right Place, Inc., in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the City of Grand Rapids, announced that Lansing-based insurer Auto-Owners Insurance will expand its technology center operations at 3949 Sparks Drive in Grand Rapids.

The company, which opened the Grand Rapids technology center in August 2016, will invest $897,900 to recruit and train 60 new information technology employees as well as expand its footprint at the Sparks Drive center. Currently, Auto-Owners occupies 5,952 square feet of space at the Southeast Grand Rapids location.

The MEDC is supporting the expansion effort with the approval of a $315,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

“Auto-Owners Insurance has grown tremendously in the past year and we expect that upward trend to continue for several years, so it’s imperative that our Grand Rapids technology center grow with the demand,” said Jim Schumacher, Senior Vice President, Information Technology, Auto-Owners Insurance. “Our partnership with The Right Place is a key component of our ability to expand our footprint at our Grand Rapids location and draw on the area’s tech talent.”

The Right Place worked with the company in collaboration with the MEDC to assist the insurer’s local growth versus out of state possibilities.

“Auto-Owners operates in 25 other states, but proximity to the company’s Lansing headquarters as well as strong local technology talent convinced them that expanding its current technology center would be most effective,” said Jennifer Wangler, senior business development manager, The Right Place.

Open for just one year, the Grand Rapids technology center has already experienced rapid growth, and company officials believe that trend will continue over the next three years. The company has stated that it intends to invest significant resources in recruiting, training and retaining professionals to staff the tech center. “We’ve outgrown the space already,” added Mr. Schumacher. “We knew there would be a time to explore growing our tech center operations, so we’re appreciative of The Right Place assisting us in pursuing the most effective option.”