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Published: Thursday, 6/28/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

German auto parts company finds right fit

MITEC celebrates 1st U.S. site with grand opening in Findlay

BY SOPHIE BROACH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Andreas Nikisch, director of North American operations for MITEC, shares a light moment with Rob Dutkiewicz of Southfield, Mich. Andreas Nikisch, director of North American operations for MITEC, shares a light moment with Rob Dutkiewicz of Southfield, Mich.
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FINDLAY -- A German auto parts company has been operating at its new factory for a month, but it held a grand-opening celebration Wednesday when Gov. John Kasich came to town.

MITEC Powertrain Inc. said it has invested $24 million to lease, renovate, and buy equipment for the building at 4000 Fostoria Ave. The 100,000-square-foot facility was formerly occupied by Findlay Industries Inc., an automotive supplier that ceased manufacturing in 2009.

The Findlay plant began operations in May and is producing 1,500 powertrain parts a day for General Motors plants in New York and Tennessee. Factory officials hope to produce 4,500 parts a day for a range of major auto companies.

MITEC said it would employ 88 workers this year. "This is 88 families we're talking about. This affects all these families and helps this community," Mr. Kasich said.

The company plans to hire 135 workers by 2017.

PHOTO GALLERY: Gov. Kasich visits northwest Ohio

"The plant looks empty now, but all our plants grow and grow," said Michael Militzer, the founder and chief executive officer of MITEC.

Mr. Militzer explained that the company was drawn to Findlay for its proximity to its customers, its good infrastructure and access to major highways, and the assistance provided by the county, city, and state.

"Also, it's a small town. I don't like big cities," he said.

MITEC surveyed 140 locations across the United States before deciding on Findlay as the site for its first American factory. The company's final decision came down to a choice between Findlay and a city in Kentucky.

"They looked at a lot of places in North America," said Mr. Kasich, "and they chose us because we're within 600 miles of 60 percent of the country, plus our politics are stable and conservative."

"This project and the jobs it will bring to northwest Ohio is proof positive that our state and our communities are doing all the right things to promote business growth and economic development in this still-fragile economy," said Jack Partridge, president of Columbia Gas of Ohio. He presented a $75,000 check to MITEC from his company's job growth fund.

The governor cited the new factory as one example of growing foreign investment in Ohio. "Offshore investment means more jobs, it means more money, and it means help for all the residents in this part of Ohio," he said. The area also has seen investment from Danish and Japanese companies in recent years.

Mr. Kasich predicted MITEC would spread the word to other German companies about Ohio's business-friendly practices and hospitality to foreign companies.

Last year, the privately held company was approved for nearly $8.8 million in loans from the Ohio Controlling Board and a 45 percent, six-year tax credit from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority. MITEC also received $203,355 in job creation tax credits and $7.2 million in Ohio Enterprise Bond Fund financing for machinery and equipment.

Contact Sophie Broach at: sbroach@theblade.com or 419-724-6210.



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