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Start-up company defies the odds, defies COVID-19 and expands with no worker shortage

October 18, 2021

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — The ribbon was cut at American Battery Solutions this morning in Orion Township. Governor Gretchen Whitmer was there to help celebrate the expansion of the small company with 100 more skilled workers to design batteries for electric vehicles.

The company is defying the odds because of what the CEO has done and what he will do in the future.

Subhash Dhar started the company a couple of years ago with people he worked with in the auto industry.

He tells 7 Action News, “I put together a team of about 12 people in a hotel room.”

Dhar says their customer base is not the Detroit Big 3, “because our business model is not to go after passenger cars.”

GM, Ford, and Stellantis have established their own in-house and joint venture supply chain of batteries.

Dhar says they have a customer base that will grow and will include, “Busses, trucks, delivery vans, industrial vehicles, emerging markets.”

The CEO proudly walked the governor through their Orion Township facility that will be home to design engineers and their hardware. Manufacturing of the batteries is already underway in another facility in Ohio with a hundred employees. 100 are being added here.

Governor Whitmer said, “This is a great story. They’ve had exponential growth. This is an incredible opportunity for Michigan to take another step in this direction.”

Dhar says while other companies were scaling back during the start of COVID-19, he aggressively moved in.

“We made the investments, we had the foresight to go get people.”

The future is uncertain for all business sectors with not enough workers especially in retail, service, and the restaurant industry.

Governor Whitmer says, “If you are someone who was in an industry where you were paid minimum wage, now you have an opportunity to make 20, 25 dollars an hour in a warehouse, with a signing bonus. Now you understand why rational people are making different choices.”

Even at this highly skilled level, offering competitive wages and benefits are the key to not coming up short.

Dhar says, “We are competitive. We do ante the stake if there’s a need. And if I see the need, It’s basically we want to make sure our workforce is comfortable.”

Dhar says that means work, family, and a social life balance.