Posted in News on July 26, 2022

This expansion adds 650k of facility space and will create up to 500 new jobs.


07/26/2022 // ZEELAND, MICH – Gentex Corporation, a high-tech supplier of electro-optical products for the automotive, aerospace, and commercial fire protection industries, is investing $300 million to expand its operations in the City of Zeeland and Zeeland Charter Township. Lakeshore Advantage, the economic development organization that assists employers with growth opportunities in Ottawa and Allegan counties, connected the company with local and state resources to support this project. 
“Gentex is our region’s largest employer and is an excellent example of a future-focused company expanding and providing high-skilled jobs in West Michigan,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage President. “We are honored to support the growth of this local turned global company and we celebrate their continued success.”
Gentex’s expansion includes a new 250,000 square-foot manufacturing facility, a 60,000 square-foot expansion of its existing facility, and a new 350,000 square-foot distribution center. The project will create 500 new jobs here in West Michigan. 
“We’re excited to announce that after two years of analyzing our manufacturing and R&D footprint, we’ve reached an agreement with the State of Michigan that supports our long-standing commitment to the state and provides the incentives necessary to facilitate our future growth initiatives in Michigan,” said Steve Downing, President and CEO of Gentex Corporation.
Other instrumental partners are the City of Zeeland, West Michigan Works!, Zeeland Charter Township, Grand Rapids Community College, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is supporting this project with $11.1M in state incentives. 
“Congratulations to the entire Gentex team on your continued success here in Michigan. We appreciate your vote of confidence in West Michigan’s talented workforce and the Zeeland community as you grow your company,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “We are grateful to the Governor, legislators and local officials for their continued support of critical tools that make projects like this possible. We’re pleased to work with local partners like Lakeshore Advantage, the City of Zeeland, and Zeeland Charter Township to ensure Gentex remains a key partner in our work to grow this critical high tech, advanced industry in West Michigan.”
The City of Zeeland is supporting this project in the form of a 12-year Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption anticipated for approval. 
“The City of Zeeland congratulates Gentex once again on their growth, and we especially thank them for choosing to expand their operations in the Zeeland area,” said Tim Klunder, City of Zeeland Manager. “We are blessed and fortunate to have a corporate partner such as Gentex that desires to be in our community. Their ability to offer excellent jobs to people in our area is exciting and further solidifies what makes them such a tremendous asset for our community!”   
Zeeland Charter Township is supporting this project in the form of a 12-year Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption anticipated for approval. 
“The growth occurring at Gentex and their continued investment in Zeeland Township and the City of Zeeland is exciting,” said Tom Oonk, Zeeland Charter Township Supervisor. “Zeeland Charter Township is pleased to support this expansion and the benefits it will provide to our community.”
West Michigan Works! is supporting this project in the form of a Workforce Training & Hiring Plan which includes funding for on-the-job training and incumbent worker training.
“We are thrilled to support efforts leading to improved economic growth for a local employer and viable jobs to our community,” said Amy Lebednick, West Michigan Works! Business Solutions Director. 
Grand Rapids Community College is supporting this project in the form of a Michigan New Jobs Training Program.
"GRCC and our GRCC Lakeshore Campus location support upskilling and building the future workforce for Ottawa County," said Julie Parks, GRCC's Interim Dean of Workforce Development. "We are proud to partner with Lakeshore Advantage, West Michigan Works! and the MEDC to help Gentex continue to advance its work."
Michigan was chosen for this project over competing sites in Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
“Gentex has been a technology leader in the automotive, aerospace and fire protection industries for many years and employs over 5,000 people in West Michigan currently. Today, we are announcing that we will continue that commitment as we look to add over 500 new jobs and spend at least $300 million in new buildings and equipment over the next three years in support of our growth initiatives,” concluded Downing.