Megan Manning is the Investment Relations and Marketing Manager for Bay Future, Inc. which has been leading economic development efforts throughout Bay County since 2004. Through that time, Bay Future has worked closely with many of our community’s large industrial and commercial industries and employers helping to solve their barriers for growth, their need for expansion, or their desire to create quality jobs. In 2020 and 2021, businesses in the area faced unique challenges. Bay Future, the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, and Bay County Growth Alliance partnered to help businesses weather the storm.
2021 was an absolute whirlwind for each of us and our local business community was no stranger to that. In the last year, businesses have continued to operate – sometimes under restrictions, almost always while working through supply chain issues – and figure out how to function while keeping employees safe.
We know the future in Bay County is bright and businesses are seeing opportunities to grow here. Our friends at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
have shared that they have the largest membership in over a decade. In terms of economic development, it’s been a banner year for our team at Bay Future
and for economic growth efforts in Bay County. In fact, it’s been the best year on record, in terms of capital investment announcements, since the founding of our organization in 2004.
We have witnessed three of the single largest investment announcements in Bay County, ever. These investments resulted in nearly a half billion dollars, during a year where we are still working through the effects of a global pandemic.
In August 2021, Michigan Sugar announced a $65 million investment in a desugarization facility.
- Wilkinson Minerals is investing over $150 million in a 20+acre parcel along the Bay City riverfront. This is one of the few places in America where Wilkinson can access the Sylvania sandstone formation, providing them with access to brine which they can process into downstream products. They will become the second largest producer in North America and will be building a workforce that will have community impact for multiple generations.
- Michigan Sugar Company shared plans to invest over $65 million which will create a multi-generational impact for the grower-owner cooperative. This investment will allow for them to produce an additional 80 million pounds of sugar annually, without any additional beats being planted. As one of the largest employers in Bay County, this investment solidifies the 100-year-old company’s future here. Read more about this project in Route Bay City.
- SK Siltron CSS made a landmark investment announcement, over $302 million, to build a new wafer manufacturing and R&D operation to help meet the demand for electric vehicle components. They could have chosen to invest anywhere in the world but chose Bay County, putting a spotlight on the opportunities for this emerging industry’s growth potential in both Bay County and the State of Michigan.
We’re thankful for the investments by these companies and all of our local businesses. We’re thankful for the support and collaboration of so many partners and organizations who make projects and progress possible. Given all of this excitement and the potential it provides for our community, we know that businesses are facing major challenges, workforce being one them. But we’re hopeful that the work we’re doing, with our partners, makes an impact on these challenges.
Looking into 2022, collaboration between organizations such as Bay Future and the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, working hand in hand, will continue to bring great partnerships and outcomes.
As our President & CEO, Trevor Keyes said, “We’re going to see some shovels in the ground in 2022 for these big projects. We’re looking forward to that and hopefully making some additional announcements.”
We’re looking forward to a bright future in Bay County in 2022.