SPRINGFIELD – As a part of his historic, regional plan to spur economic growth and create jobs throughout the West Central region known as Opportunity Returns, Governor Rod Blagojevich announced that groundbreaking will commence today on a major plant expansion of a prominent Macomb manufacturer, NTN-Bower. The 290,000 square foot expansion, which will double the company’s workforce, is being made possible by over $7.7 million in state funding. The groundbreaking is scheduled for 11:00 am at the NTN-Bower facility at 711 North Bower Road.
“Today represents the dawn of a new era for NTN-Bower and manufacturing in the West Central region. Through this expansion, the company is gaining new manufacturing space that is critical to its ability to increase its efficiency and ultimately become more competitive in the global markets it serves. Gaining a stronghold in these markets reflects the new model for success in the global economy we now live in. NTN’s groundbreaking today is proof positive that by working together, we can not only adapt to the challenges of the evolving manufacturing climate, we can thrive in it,” Governor Blagojevich said.
NTN-Bower manufactures bearings for the automotive, agricultural, construction, and mining industries. Major customers of the Macomb plant are Caterpillar, Deere and Company, Dana Corporation, and Federal Mogul. The company, whose corporate office is also located in Macomb, has nearly 400 employees working in Macomb. The 290,00 square foot expansion will add to an existing plant space of 460,000 square feet. The expansion is expected to be completed in December of 2004.
“A primary goal of the Governor’s Opportunity Returns plan is to expand opportunities for businesses to grow and thrive. I’m very pleased to take part in this groundbreaking today because it shows that by taking a pro-active approach to the challenges of the 21st Century economy, we are accomplishing that goal. A fortified manufacturing industry means more jobs and job security for workers in the region and a more robust local economy,” State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said.
The assistance package of grants and financing will come from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). DCEO Director Jack Lavin will be representing Governor Blagojevich at the ceremony.
“NTN-Bower has been in Macomb for nearly forty years, employs almost 400 people and is a well-respected stalwart of the manufacturing industry in this region. We are extremely pleased to see this company expand its facility. The Governor’s vision was to redefine the role of the state’s economic development agency so that it would act as a better catalyst of business growth; and, in turn, help create more jobs and a more tangible, positive impact for the local economy. The financing the state is providing to NTN-Bower will help this company compete on a new level and is a fine example of that vision at work,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.
DCEO will make available approximately $3.5 million through Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits over the next ten years based on the company doubling its workforce within the next two years; up to $500,000 in Large Business Development Program (LBDP) funds; Business Development Public Infrastructure Program (BDPIP) funding in the amount of $500,000 to the city of Macomb for infrastructure improvements; $210,500 in Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce; and over $3 million in additional financial benefits, such as sales tax exemptions and tax credits for job creation resulting from the company’s location within an Enterprise Zone.
“I am especially thankful for the help from Governor Blagojevich’s office, Senator John Sullivan, Representative Rich Myers, the City of Macomb and MAEDCO for their help ensuring these new projects, the expansion, and future jobs will be in the Macomb facility. This expansion is the result of business, government, community, and our employees working together in a team effort,” said Yasunori Terada, President/C.E.O. of NTN-Bower Corporation.
Bower began business in 1904, producing bearings for horse drawn carts. With the introduction of the automobile, Bower moved to Detroit, Michigan and grew with the auto industry. In 1955, Federal Mogul Corporation merged with Bower, and, in 1965, the Macomb, Illinois plant was built. In 1985, NTN of Osaka, Japan formed a joint venture with Federal Mogul Corporation to create NTN-Bower Corporation. Two years later, NTN purchased all of Federal Mogul’s interest in the new corporation.
Governor Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region. This grassroots effort is a product of significant outreach over several months throughout each region, with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials. The 45 specific projects that the Governor announced in January for the West Central region are tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.