February 24, 2010 We applaud Patricia Lucas, executive director of the Lapeer Economic Development Corporation for her quick work in securing a new location for Champion Bus production.
The longtime manufacturing company that employs about 300 people was hit hard earlier this month by a major fire. An entire manufacturing facility went up in smoke, 100,000 square feet of space where about half of Champion's employees put together the company's signature products.
The blow to Champion is also a blow to the local economy—which could become even more fragile and tenuous should 300 people lose their jobs with the Imlay Township manufacturing location's uncertain future.
Company executives noted their intention to rebuild in Imlay Township, and Lucas helped keep them up and running in the area by securing a temporary manufacturing facility in Imlay City. Now the company can keep pace with orders while it irons out future plans.
John Resnik, president of Champion Bus, says Lucas was instrumental in the process, noting that Champion signed the lease on the temporary facility "while the building was still smoking."
Patricia Lucas's experience with the Lapeer Economic Development Corp. and her longevity in the post and intimate familiarity with the business community is an obvious benefit in this unfortunate situation—one that could have been much worse if the temporary job loss became permanent.