This Model Works strives for GM

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this model works

Caption: Proudly displaying a This Model Works banner, MICA Gallery shows it off by hanging it on its wall. (Photo by Jasmin Rojo)

By Jasmin Rojo
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING- A new documentary, This Model Works, explores General Motors decision to leave Lansing and the city’s response that made the company stay.

The project

This Model Works began as a project to show the importance of keeping GM in Lansing. Teaming up with MessageMakers, a video production company, the project was to be released as an e-book, but later changed to become a documentary.  After raising $190,000, the film was able to start production, and tell a story that has been in the works for years.

“It took a number of years to convince GM to stay. The task was to create a strategy, create plant Delta, and build new facilities,” said former Lansing mayor, David Hollister.

“We had a billion dollars at stake, and that was a risk. The biggest downside was the state government, universities and manufacturing jobs; 13,000 employees indirect or direct with suppliers,” said mayor Hollister.

Making changes

After GM’s decision to stay, the company built new plants, including the Lansing Delta Assembly Plant, stabilized the company and created new jobs for Lansing’s residents.

“GM had been ready to leave Lansing when many weren’t,” said video producer of MessageMakers Tom Lietz.

Partnering up with Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art (MICA), Lietz emphasized how great this project came together.

“It’s interesting to me. It’s a positive story to get a chance to go a little deeper. It’s great to learn from first hand experienced people.”

Holly Ekwejunor-Etchie, the administrative manager at MICA, states how this project came to the gallery.

“It fit the mission of our organization and so the board agreed to take it on one of our programming pieces,” said Ekwejunor-Etchie.

When asked how she felt about the project, Ekwejunor-Etchine said, “I think it’s great. I’m not from the Lansing area, so it’s very cool to see this history and the passion that these people had to keep GM and keep jobs in Lansing that help our economy.”

The finished product

In the end, Lansing kept GM and GM invested with their new facilities.

“When I heard I was pleased,” said project manager Ray Tadgerson. “Working on this project was like a labor of love, demonstrating the model we use. You get the opportunity to tell the story only this time, I know the outcome.”

This Model Works is set to be released in April.  .

To contact reporter Jasmin Rojo call: (224) 595-2854 or email: rojojasm@msu.edu

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