Page 3 - Upper Peninsula Business Today -- December 2017
P. 3

Superior Extrusion Has Staying Power
MARQUETTE — Superior Extrusion Inc., one of the original businesses to set up shop at the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base is a com- pany that values its employees.
After almost 20 years, thousands of dies creat- ed and millions of pounds of products shipped to customers all over the country, SEI CEO Brad Couture attributes the success of the com- pany to the 130 employees who work every day to create it.
Couture said that is one of the many reasons, SEI executives would like to keep the company’s proposed $10 million expansion in the U.P.
“Without the employees, the company is real- ly nothing,” said Couture.
The company is committed to providing qual- ity extruded aluminum products including boat ramps, trailers, frames. light truck acces- sories, roof racks, commercial buildings, mili- tary utility van racks, bike racks, ladders, decks, stadium construction — just to name a few — for about 145 customers across Michigan and the Midwest, Couture said.
“Basically, if you can design it, we can extrude it,” Couture said.
SEI was incorporated in August 1996 by Randy and Myron DeBolt, and on Dec. 15, 1998, it extruded its first profile. Since then, SEI has continued to grow with an ever-increasing list of customers, Couture said.
Last year alone, the company shipped 28 mil- lion pounds of product, Couture said.
SEI Chairman of the board George Lablonde
III requested and received the support of the Marquette County Board of Commissioners at a July 5 meeting to keep the proposed expan- sion, which is expected to create at least 30 addi- tional jobs, in Forsyth Township.
LaBlonde told the board that SEI has been conducting a feasibility study in relation to its current customer base to consider possible options for the location of the proposed facilities based on its current location at K.I. Sawyer.
“Currently, 20 percent of our annual produc- tion is distributed in the state of Michigan, while the remaining 80 percent is outside of the state. Specifically, 39 percent of our production is shipped to Des Moines, Iowa, with the remain- ing 41 percent to other Midwestern states,” LaBlonde said.
Commissioner Bill Nordeen said it is impor- tant to recognize successful businesses on the former Air Force Base.
“We have had so many prospects, and we have all been to meetings with dozens and dozens and dozens of prospects that came through and did- n’t turn out,” Nordeen said. “Or some people that turned out and then left in the middle of the night after we gave them some money. I think that we need to support that when we have a good business that keeps growing. We want to help that. They had the opportunity to go to Iowa. I was aware of that conversation. It might have even been a better business decision because when they make the product they are shipping in all directions — but they chose to
stay here. They chose to stay the course.” LaBlonde said the company is still weighing its options regarding the location of the compa- ny’s proposed expansion, but the support of Marquette County, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Depart-
ment of Transportation is a good start.
“We were started here — we would like to stay here,” LaBlonde said. “What is happening is technically we are still working with Michigan and Marquette County,” LaBlonde said. “We are working on that — the final decision has not been made. It’s a process, and its moving for- ward. Once the building is actually designed
and the bids are there, we will know more.”
Couture said, for his part, he is seeing positive signs that SEI expansion efforts remain in Mar- quette County.
“I think with the way that the county is work- ing together I am optimistic,” Couture said. “But again, no definite decision has been made. We are still exploring all of our options.”With all the uncertainty currently surrounding the company’s future location, one thing remains clear to Couture.
“We extrude and sell a superior product,” Couture said, “And that’s all due to the hard working work force that Superior Extrusion has.”
Samples of the aluminum shapes produced by Superior Extrusion, Inc. sit on shelves at the company’s K.I. Sawyer plant. (Mining Journal file photo)

   1   2   3   4   5