December 21st, 2023

The Right Place assists Navico Group with Lowell expansion

Marine products company to add 80 jobs, invest $32.7 million to expand location in Lowell

Advanced Manufacturing West Michigan Greater Grand Rapids Business Development Projects

Today, The Right Place, Inc., in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), announced that Navico Group, a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE:BC) and the world’s leading supplier of integrated systems and products for the marine and RV industries, is investing in its Lowell operations, where it will create two Centers of Excellence in metal fabrication and electrification. The investment will increase quality, capacity, and efficiency, as well as improve product manufacturing capabilities.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $32.7 million and create 80 jobs with the support of a $480,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites throughout the U.S. and around the world due to the company’s presence and strong employee base in the state.

“We are excited about this investment, which is a significant step in our commitment to being a leader in metal fabrication and electrification for the industries we serve,” said Brett Dibkey, Navico Group President. “The new manufacturing capabilities that we are implementing in the Lowell facility will enhance product development agility and speed-to-market. We appreciate MEDC’s support and look forward to the positive impact this project will have on both our business and the Michigan economy.”

The metal fabrication Center of Excellence will be equipped with the latest laser and robotic fabrication technology to aid in the development and production of high-quality products for the marine industry. Most of these products will come to market under the Attwood brand.

The new state-of-the-art battery lab and assembly capability will aid in the design and development of custom power solutions for the nearly 20 end-markets that Navico Group serves with brands like Mastervolt and RELiON Battery.

The lab will enable engineers to develop and test end-to-end battery technologies, from bespoke battery management systems to emergent cell chemistries. The establishment of this battery facility will bolster the global expansion of Navico Group’s electrification efforts and become the second electrification Center of Excellence in addition to the company’s Amsterdam facility.

“The decision by Navico to expand its manufacturing capabilities to enhance its Attwood product line in Michigan underscores our state’s leadership in future mobility and electrification, and demonstrates our commitment to continue prioritizing the development of sustainable, accessible mobility solutions for air, land, and water,” said Michigan’s Chief Mobility Officer Justine Johnson. “We’re pleased to join our local partners in supporting this expansion, and look forward to working with the company as it helps play a key role in Michigan’s comprehensive approach to mobility solutions development.”

The project will bring immediate, well-paying jobs to the region with a large and expanding recreational marine supplier and will help secure the company’s continued presence and future investment in Michigan.

“The Right Place is thrilled to have been a partner in Navico Group’s Attwood expansion,” said Olivia Lanctot, business development manager at The Right Place and project lead. “This expansion is going to allow them to bolster their R&D efforts, paving the way for new innovations in marine mobility. Their commitment to staying and growing in our region proves that Greater Grand Rapids is the place to be for advanced manufacturing & technology companies. We’re excited to see what comes next for them.”

In addition to supporting the state’s work to position itself as the global leader in future mobility and electrification, the project also boosts the state’s sustainability efforts, as green efforts are also a large focus at the Lowell facility. It is the first Navico Group site to reach zero-waste-to-landfill status, meaning 90 percent of its waste materials are being recycled, reused, or otherwise eliminated.

The city of Lowell anticipates approval of a 12-year, 50-percent tax abatement in support of the project. Information on careers with Navico Group/Attwood can be found here.

“The city of Lowell is looking forward to continue supporting Navico Group with their Attwood expansion,” said Lowell City Manager Mike Burns. “The city council always wants to find ways to see businesses come into our city, continue to grow and stay. We are pleased that a long-time corporation in our community wants to continue investing their business in our community.”

The project also highlights Michigan’s travel and tourism industries. Michigan is the third-largest marine market in the country and ranks No. 3 in boat registrations. Boating has a $11.7 billion economic impact on Michigan’s economy each year, supporting more than 45,000 jobs and 1,500 businesses (source: Michigan Boating Industries Association).

“Michigan’s outdoor recreation economy is tied to our beautiful outdoor places and also to our industry-leading capabilities in technology and product innovation,” said Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Executive Director Brad Garmon. “We’re excited to celebrate Navico Group’s expansion in Lowell as they build on the state’s deep heritage of marine manufacturing, and we look forward to partnering with them to drive the global recreational boating industry.”

According to new federal data on the outdoor recreation economy, Michigan is gaining momentum in outdoor recreation-based manufacturing like boat building. The state saw a 35 percent growth in value added to GDP from outdoor recreation manufacturing from 2019 to 2022, and ranked fourth nationally in outdoor manufacturing employment growth (7 percent) and outdoor manufacturing compensation growth (12 percent) from 2021-2022.