By Sue Moore
Having been given a 50 percent tax break for 12 years in the Industrial Development District being created in Vicksburg’s Leja Park, MLC Technologies will be building a manufacturing plant in Leja Park.
“Vicksburg’s village officials have been very accommodating,” said Lowell Seyburn, attorney for MLC. “They are good to work with and have gone out of their way to make this happen. We looked throughout southwest Michigan for a location, as far east as Battle Creek, west to exit 52 along I-94, and northern Kalamazoo County before settling on Vicksburg.”
Vicksburg has the right mix of roads, utilities, property availability and access to rail, Seyburn said.
The company has purchased 6.2 acres in Leja Park and plans to erect a 50 foot tall building. If the weather holds, construction will begin in early November with grading, footings and concrete flooring being poured before Thanksgiving. Steel for the frame has been ordered and it is hoped the building can be enclosed by mid-winter, Seyburn said.
“If super successful, four or more plants could be built on the property while we learn how much equipment and product storage will be needed,” Seyburn said. “In a ten year period, the property should be completely filled and also have other locations that are close to sources of materials to save on transportation costs. Still, all the research and development work would be done in Vicksburg with approximately 10 to 12 jobs created.”
However, what the company will be making is top secret, said Seyburn. MLC is cautious about letting competitors know anything about what they are doing in the near term so he wouldn’t reveal what the product would be, but they will use new technology that competitors have great interest in.
The president of MLC is Portage resident Terry Mleczewski, a veteran of manufacturing with JJ Rettenmaier in Schoolcraft and Portage. “He knows manufacturing and fibers especially,” Seyburn said. “Mleczewski became interested in equipment that the Pulver Dryer Company in Galesburg has perfected. Because of his work with their application, he has been renting facilities in Western Michigan University’s Research and Technology Park to perfect the processes he is creating. Now he will be building a prototype plant in Vicksburg, while establishing an entirely new industry.”
If the pilot plan is a success, Mleczewski recently told the village council, additional land could be purchased in Leja Park to expand several times over. He also said that no heat or incineration is used with what goes into his machine in powder form. When pressure is applied, the machine implodes the substance and dries it at the speed of sound.
For example, he cited the use of Pulver Dryer machinery in a test product at the Battle Creek waste treatment plant that should be operational by January, 2015. This system for sewage and wood scraps shreds them and extracts two thirds of the water, making the output into small pellets that is expected to co-generate power to run their sewage treatment plant.
The Kellogg Company has also put money into this process as part of their green investment potential. Mleczewski added that his application has nothing to do with sewage treatment.