Category Archives: Economy

Alabama pipeline leak not expected to impact Michigan gas prices

file000298506336Experts say Michigan gas prices should not be impacted by a gas pipeline leak in Alabama.

At least 6,000 barrels of gasoline spilled from the pipeline — causing supply issues across the southeastern United States.

Patrick DeHaan is a Senior Petroleum Analyst with

“Michigan gas prices will be likely unaffected completely by what’s taking place in the southeast. Price movements will likely continue but they will not be reflective of the situation in the southeast.”

DeHaan says Michigan, along with much of the Midwest, generally gets most of its gas from refineries in Ohio, Indiana, and in the Chicago area.

He says Michigan gas prices have been falling since an unrelated price spike last week.

Northern Michigan builders are seeing a shortage of construction workers


Builders in Grand Traverse County are seeing a shortage of skilled laborers. Experts say it’s affecting the economy of the area as well.

The Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area says after the great recession many builders left the area. Continue reading

Flint awarded $12.8 million to replace buses

PUBLIC BUS$12.8 million was awarded to Flint to replace some of the city buses.

Edgar Benning is the General Manager CEO of the Mass Transportation Authority in Flint.

“We are replacing vehicles that are over 20 years old, that have been refurbished and rehabbed to keep them on the road and so we’re replacing vehicles that operated on diesel with compressed natural gas transit coaches.”

Benning says the grant will allow for 23 transit coaches to be replaced.

He says the Mass Transportation Authority in Flint is moving to a 100 percent alternative fuel fleet, and this grant brings them a step closer to that goal.

“On the Map” visits Alma to explore Padnos, a manufacturer in the recycling industry

Padnos signThe family owned business has been recycling materials for four generations.

Padnos settled/ opening in Holland, Michigan in 1905. The family originally went to farms and sawmills trading goods for iron. Then they shipped the iron to large cities for manufacturers to use.

The company has grown. In the last century expanded to 20 locations throughout Michigan. It employs 500 people statewide.
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Bay County, Michigan recognized as logistics leader

6fd362441e6d6c96fc8a48c52604e26bBay County was ranked ninth nationally when it came to logistics — that’s the industry responsible for transporting goods, either by air, road, train or sea.

Trevor Keyes is the Vice President of Economic Development for Bay Future.

He said things like MBS International Airport and the Saginaw River helped Bay County land on the list.

“I think we’ve always known locally that we have shipping channels and logistics channels that work well with business but to be recognized nationally is one of those really special things. We’re so glad that these facilities made the designation for us.”

Keyes said the county hopes to dredge the Saginaw River in the near future, so large ocean-going ships can traverse the waterway, further increasing its logistics capacity.

The rankings come from Business Facilities magazine. It also named Memphis, Tennessee and Houston, Texas as leaders in logistics.

Michigan Manufacturing Koegel’s

Koegel’s has been around since Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States. A time where you could enjoy a hotdog at a baseball game, but not a cold beer, liquor was illegal. 100 years later Koegel’s is still making hotdogs, and thriving. Desiree Jordan visits the company for our On the Map tour this week, on Michigan manufacturing.

“machines going”

Koegel’s is a meat manufacturing company that produces 45,000 pounds of product everyday.

“We do ring bologna, we do polish sausage, brockwurst, we have a summer sausage,
John Koegel is company President and grandson to the founder Albert Koegel.
we do some braunschweiger, we do slice lunch and meat, sliced bologna, olive loaf, a pickled loaf, macaroni and cheese loaf, so we have about 64 different items that can be in a store. And it’s all processed right here in this facility. ”

If you believe the old adage, you don’t want to see how the sausage is made, but for John Koegel it was a way of life. He said he’s worked at the family business since he was 12-years old.

“I have been head of our company since probably 1993. Idk I would have to look it’s been so long. We are celebrating our 100th anniversary this year, I’m third generation. Our official day is September 14th, that’s the official day my grandfather incorporated here in Flint.”

Even though Koegel’s is a small company over the years it has expanded, in part, by partnering with Meijer.

“We have about approximately 100 workers that’s including management and sales, sanitation, and crew. If they make it a year, and once all the benefits kick in they usually stay with us for quite some time. We are mainly just in Michigan. We service Michigan off of our own trucks, so we have 12 trucks on the road on a daily basis. We are in Ohio but on with Meijer, Indiana, Kentucky and that’s about it. ”

Serving four states doesn’t leave room for slack. The production line is fully up and running when most of us are just wiping the sleep from our eyes.

“We are up and running 100 percent by 6:30. Back in our kitchen we kind of stagger start because we have to start grinding and chopping so those people start at 5:15.”

Koegel’s has a logical layout to it’s production line.

“So the plant is a true east to west flow. So Bishop airport is right there and it’s just a straight line. So all the raw materials come in here at the east end of our building. Just make their way through the kitchen, cooking, cooling, packaging, shipping, right out the other end. So right on the west end, straight through.”

It all starts with purchasing…

“Our meat we buy everything fresh. We buy of course beef and pork, we check it here for weight, temperature, smell, look, and then we bring it in.”

While on the subject of buying cows, bulls, and pork jaws, Koegel told me the secret to making one of America’s most famous recipes, next to apple pie.

“Now the trick to making a good hot dog is to take the lean meat, so here we’ve taken the bull and the cow and blended it together. We’ve added salt, cure, and water. And we’re extracting the protein from this. So we take the fat and capsulate the fat in a nice protein bond, the people bite the nice texture through the protein, but then we all know the flavor is in the fat, so you get the nice release of flavor in the fat. And that the secret to making a hot dog.”

After the various products are made they are sent to the smokehouses to be cooked and cooled.

“Once we get the product smoked, the coloration like we like it, and the temperature where we want it, we then come down and put it into steam boxes. We steam the product, what it does because we just went through the cooking process we took a lot of moisture of the outside, so we’re pumping the moisture back in. And the steam tenderizes the natural casing, so it tenderizes it. This is the critical control point. So have to check every temperature, and next we start the cooling process.”

The hotdogs are then sent to packaging and shipped out. After the tour of the facility, I talked to Koegel about how it felt to take over the reins at the company. He said not a lot of companies have lasted as long as this one.

“It’s an honor to be guiding a company that has been around that long. To have a product that is still the same as it was a hundred years ago, we’re still making the exact same way my grandfather you know developed it, when he built the business and started the business. So to me not a lot of companies can do that. So I feel really fortunate they allowed to come in and take over.”

Koegel said he hopes the company continues to thrive for the next hundred years and remains in the family.

“I think we are just proud of the whole bundle that we’ve made 100 years, and still going strong, and maybe the chance to go another 25 to 30 or 100 years. Ultimately if I can pass it on to the fourth generation that would be success for me.”

Koegel said it will be interesting to see where his company will go in the coming years. Koegel’s opened its doors in 1916 and doesn’t plan on shutting them any time soon. With 100 employees making hotdogs for four states, Koegel’s has put Flint Michigan on the map.

Traverse City farmer says cherry dumping gives market to imports

IMG_5515A small cherry farmer in Northern Michigan is at odds with market regulations because he says they force him to dump as much as 40-thousand pounds of tart cherries and allow for international cherry producers to slowly take over the market.

But regulators say the rules are an important part of keeping cherry prices stable – and allowing growers to earn a livable income.

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Cryogenics puts Mt. Pleasant manufacturer ‘On The Map’

IMG_3003 (1)
When you hear cryogenics you may think of being frozen in time. One Mount Pleasant company is looking to expand the life not of people, but of metals. Desiree Jordan visits the company for our On the Map tour this week, on Michigan manufacturing.

If you don’t like to keep buying parts for your lawn mowers, drills, chainsaws, gun barrels or any machinery you may use, you may be interested in Industrial Cryogenics Engineering.

“It’s very typical to established a 3 times life value. Gary Moegenberg is President and CEO of Industrial Cryogenics Engineering. So let’s say you have a motor blade that is good for one summer, we’ll get you through the third summer. So it’s really a good return on your investment.”

Moegenberg has 40 years experience in construction. Now he’s interested in figuring out a way to extend the life of parts.

“I had heard about it. I researched it, I actually researched it for a couple of years, and it really just took my interest, and as time progress I got more involved.”

Moegenberg created what he calls a vessel, sort of like a giant deep freezer he uses to change the molecular structure of metal.

“There are some things that we have done that were told to me cannot be done. But apparently it’s not true because we have created the vessel and it does what it is supposed to do at a superior level.”

Moegenberg said it does a superior job on potentially a lot of metal.

“It has a capacity of 20,000 pounds, 54 inches wide, 54 inches tall, 13 ft long in the interior.So we can put some pretty major parts in that unit, and we have the ability to blend. We can take a 1280 pound big loader by Cat and we can put it in there with quarter inch by 4 inch drill bits with a gun barrel with brakes…so it makes us more efficient.”

The vessel uses liquid nitrogen. The nitrogen reaches 329 below zero 3 times in full cycle. Moegenberg said the process takes 48 hours. Just one step for the operator and the vessel takes care of the rest.

“So it’s all really self regulating, once you put it in there you close the lid and really just walk away. You don’t do anything to it because there’s nothing to do but wait.”

After Moegenberg showed me the vessel I asked how was it for him to start his business. He said he ran into some trouble and Central Michigan University Research Corporation helped him out.

“Initially I started working on my own, struggled a little bit there. It was a lot to deal with.Then I was made aware that the CMURC existed, and I did make connection with CMURC.”

CMURC has been around since 2000.

“The organization was created in partnership between the community and university to really hold the intellectual talent of this community right here in Michigan.”

Erin Strang is President and CEO of CMURC. She said CMURC offers programs for entrepreneurs who have just started their business, and for business owners looking to increase sales and efficiency.

“CMURC we have accelerator programs which include different services that we provide that brings a program from an idea into the marketplace, so all the way into sales. And then we have our incubator program which is for companies that need physical space. We have the smartzone development, and we’re sitting within 300 acres which is set aside for commercial development.”

Gary Moegenberg has good things to say about his experience with CMURC and how they helped him grow his business.

“They have been very instrumental. A wealth of knowledge. If I get into a position I don’t know what to do or how to do, they have the answer. And they have repeatedly helped me move forward. So i really appreciate that particular entity. I have a very close relationship with them.”

Moegenberg established his business four years ago. He has already expanded once and is looking to expand again.

“We are finally on the brink if you will. And it’s so nice to be here, and we have some things that are going to happen here shortly that will substantiate that we exist. We also have a vessel in Plover, Wisconsin and we’re hoping by the end of the year to expand put another one into Dubuque, Iowa.”

Moegenberg said he loves what he does.

“Number one, It’s fun. It is absolutely fun. I wish I could of started it 20 years ago. It’s exciting, the people you get to meet, the intent of the company to be able to apply your beliefs. To me it’s the best thing that ever happened.”

With all the success that Gary Moegenberg has had in such a short amount of time, Industrial Cryogenics Engineering has put Mount Pleasant manufacturing on the map.

For the first time, bottled water is expected to outsell soft drinks this year

An increase in buyer awareness, and concerns of water contamination – most notably in Flint – are said to have contributed to an uptick in bottled water sales.

For the first time, bottled water is expected to outsell soft drinks this year. Continue reading