The biggest economic development win in Northern Michigan’s history.

That line was buzzing through a room packed with economic development professionals, Big Rapids boosters and press as Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced the deal that will bring Gotion, Inc. to the state.

By 2031, the battery manufacturer is expected to generate 2,350 new jobs at two 550,000 square foot production plants along with other supporting facilities near Big Rapids. The opportunity to have that many jobs coming to Mecosta County, along with all of the support a manufacturing facility of that size needs, is an exciting prospect to Dr. Bill Pink, president of Ferris State University.

“Not everyday does a company come into town like Gotion to say, we want to invest in your community. We want to invest in your people. We want to invest in what the future is,” said Dr. Pink.

One of the beneficiaries of Gotion’s investment will be Ferris State University students, as they are expected to be a partner in sourcing talent to fill a variety of roles at the plants. Another beneficiary will be the community at large, as Consumers Energy and ITC plans upgrades needed to support the electricity needs unique to a battery manufacturer.

Those upgrades include:

  • Extending a high-voltage line to the project line
  • Upgrading low-voltage lines and replacing poles
  • Building a new substation specifically for Gotion’s manufacturing plants

“This project would not be feasible without infrastructure that ensure high reliability, not only for Gotion but for the Big Rapids area,” said Garrick Rochow, president and CEO of Consumers Energy.

In addition to these upgrades, Gotion also has a commitment to source 100 percent of their energy from renewable resources, a commitment that Rochow says accelerates the Clean Energy Plan Consumers Energy released in 2021 that calls for the company to be carbon neutral by 2040 among other industry-leading milestones.

While the potential economic benefits of Gotion’s move are large, the opportunity for Big Rapids and Mecosta County as a whole are even bigger. For Mecosta County Administrator Paul Bullock, it represents a chance for his county to keep generations of residents who might otherwise leave a reason to stay, grow and thrive in his community.

“Words like ‘transformational’ and ‘generational’ are often used for projects that are probably neither,” said Bullock. “Make no mistake, this project will be transformational to our regional economy and certainly generational in scope.”