Canadian-based Universal Handling Equipment, a manufacturer of functional, environmentally responsible, quality products for the waste and recycling industry, is the recipient of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP)’s 2012 Project of the Year award, sponsored by Consumers Energy.
The company had an Owosso plant which closed in October 2011, and subsequently restarted production and started serving customers again in 2012. The firm originally began in the community in 1994 and has historically employed approximately 60 workers. The corporate headquarters are located in Hamilton, Ontario and there is also a company in Red Deer, Alberta. In total the organization has approximately 300 people corporate-wide.
“We are very excited to be in business in Owosso again, and look forward to putting a lot of people back to work,” said David Gerrard, President.
“I am proud that these jobs have been preserved after it looked as if the company had closed for good,” said Owosso Mayor Ben Frederick. “Owosso will continue to fight for jobs for our people and has a terrific partner in the SEDP.”
“This is great news for the Owosso and Shiawassee County economy. Normally when factories close, all hope is lost. However, we have been fortunate to work with a corporate management team in Canada that was committed to reopening the plant, and are very pleased to see their efforts come to fruition,” said Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP) President/CEO Justin Horvath, whose organization, along with the City of Owosso, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Baker College, and Bank of America, provided key support in moving the project forward.
The Project of the Year serves to recognize a new or expanding business in Shiawassee County that creates a significant positive impact on the local economy. Representatives from Consumers Energy and the SEDP made the selection from multiple candidates. Universal Handling Equipment was also honored during a presentation at the SEDP Annual Meeting in February.