Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson.
A proposed “Haverhill Fabrication Scale-up Challenge” to expand the city’s manufacturing base with businesses beyond the “start up” stage could be launched as early as May or June, according to City Council President John A. Michtison.
Several Haverhill city councilors voiced support Tuesday night for a “draft concept” by Michitson and Councilor Andy Vargas of competition among manufacturers for a $50,000 “first place” award, among other incentives, for making a minimum three-year commitment to doing business in the city. Michitson noted, so far, $15,000 is committed toward the award he said is an amount needed by business coming out of “start-up” stage. He called for more help, including sponsorships, from existing local businesses.
“One of our strategies is to seek manufacturers for sponsors. One big one to go after—and I’m sure everybody else is probably going to be doing the same thing—is (General Electric), because they want to be in the industrial Internet business. That’s why they’re moving to the innovation district in Boston,” Michitson said. “But there are Haverhill manufacturers that could also participate—Magellan Aerospace, Cabot Corporation and then various food manufacturing companies as well,” Michiston said.
“We’re going to be looking for marketing and sales folks to help make the pitch to sponsors. We’re going to need people to help run the contest and we need businesses to volunteer professional services for start-ups. We need mentors for start-ups and judges to select the winners,” he added.
Councilor Michael S. McGonagle, citing success in a previous “Haverhill Challenge” initiative, pledged support for the new effort.
“My real job during the day is finding manufacturing employees for manufacturing companies. This would be an awesome opportunity for many local people looking for a good entry-level or semi-skilled job. This is exactly what Haverhill would do well with,” McGonagle said.
In other council business, councilors approved a new “solid waste and host agreement” between the city and Covanta Haverhill Associates, operator of the trash-to-energy plant in Ward Hill. It passed unanimously without further discussion since a presentation by Mayor James J. Fiorentini two weeks ago. Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua, who participated by remote teleconference, told his colleagues he was able to vote on the measure since he disclosed to the city clerk that Covanta is a member of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce. Bevilacqua is also the chamber’s president.