Melter operator Carl Welborn faces flames and intense heat to forklift foundry ingots into; and shovels slag out of a furnace crucible at Port City Group’s Port City Castings Corporation, manufacturer of high-pressure aluminum die-castings, mostly for the automotive industry, in Muskegon, MI, facility on Wednesday July 20, 2011. Port City Group boosted its employment by 12 percent over last year thanks to two Rural Business Guaranteed Loans totaling $9.6 million. In its 80,000 sq. ft. facility, machines that range from 800 – 1,600 tons, and cast A380 aluminum alloy products from melted ingots of aluminum, into automotive components of U.S.A. made vehicles. The process features a variety of robotic presses; computer controlled machining; quality control facility; and complete measurement and testing laboratory. In 2009 banks were backing out of loans for PCG equipment purchase agreements. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan guarantee helped make the loan possible with its guarantee. PCG obtained the needed robotic and other equipment. This resulted in a stable workforce that has since grown. When asked about their USDA experience, Port City Group Sales Manager Laura LaGuire said, “It was great! They were very helpful. Everything that came up was handled smoothly, the money came in place when it was needed, and it was a very smooth transition.” USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.