Mound Corridor, from Inception, has National Significance in the Winning of WWII
“We must be the great arsenal of democracy.” With these famous words delivered over the radio on December 29, 1940, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, America’s manufacturing complex heeded the president’s call and converted staff and facilities over to produce the supplies that would ultimately win World War II.
Automobile companies and their workforce turned their ingenuity and skills over to manufacturing supplies to support the war effort. William Knudson, president of the General Motors Corporation, led the government’s defense production effort. Capitalizing on the auto industry’s mass production capabilities, he called on Chrysler Corporation president K.T. Keller to build tanks.
In the winter of 1940, Chrysler answered the call and took a bold initiative to build the first tank manufacturing plant on a 113-acre farm field in Warren, Macomb County, Michigan. Today we know this area as the Mound Road Innovative Manufacturing Corridor.
National Leading Automotive Innovation is Located in Mound Road Corridor
In 1956, General Motors announced the creation of the company’s engineering center that was built In the Mound Road corridor. This facility is 710 acres, employs more than 21,000 people, and has been named a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service.
Manufacturing plants and research and development facilities were built, expanding the Mound Road corridor into the City of Sterling Heights. In 1941 General Motors announces the production of transmissions located at 23500 Mound Road. In 2006, the company spent $332 million to expand and in 2010 announced the addition of 100 jobs to the plant. In 2016 General Motors announced a joint venture with DTE Energy by unveiling a power solar array at the plant. This is the largest solar array on a GM site in the state.
Army Maintains Presence in Innovative Mound Corridor
Meanwhile, back on the Detroit Arsenal site, Chrysler decided to divest its tank production. In 1982, under the direction of Lee A. Iacocca, Chrysler sold the tank-making division to General Dynamics for $348.5 million in cash. General Dynamics continued to make tanks and various other military trucks at this facility through 1987.
At this point, General Dynamics turned the property over to the City of Warren who repurposed the site and brought in a variety of manufacturing firms to use the land. While the majority of the land was repurposed, acreage on the west side of the Detroit Arsenal property remained in U.S. Army Control. This would become the home to the Army’s Tank Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) . Later, it only made sense to locate the Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) — now called the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center — on this Army facility. Research and development was a collaborative effort between the military and automobile engineers and researchers in the Mound Road corridor.
The strong collaborative efforts in this corridor were made evident when General Dynamics announced that their main research and development would remain in the Innovative Mound Corridor.
Defense Firm Relocates and Grows the Footprint of the Mound Cooridor
General Dynamics announced the building of a 22,000-square-foot tech center just north of TACOM in the Mound Road corridor in the City of Sterling Heights. This further expanded the footprint and long-term impact of the Mound Road corridor. Here, the staff of General Dynamics would reunite with engineers from the automotive industry in the development of new concepts and designs.
Technology and Cyber Security Company Moves into the Corridor to Connect the Built World With the Virtual World
As business and manufacturing move into the computer age, protection and storage of data is a critical factor for the long-term success of business. SAIC moved into the Sterling Heights portion of the Mound Road corridor. SAIC provides government and enterprise with a wide range of risk mitigation, threat assessment and information assurance services.
Another major company in the protection and detection of cyber threats is BAE Systems. They recently built a new facility in the Sterling Heights portion of the Mound corridor. The company assists nations, governments, and businesses around the world and defend themselves against cybercrime, reduce their risk in the connected world, comply with regulation, and transform their operations.
Companies like KUKA located in the Mound corridor are offering their expertise and development of a range of industrial robots. These range from robots that can function and withstand dirt and excessive heat to those used in sterile environments. The robotic age and collaboration has been ushered into the corridor.