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Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 7:59 am

Executives with Pepsi and Muller to speak at GCEDC annual luncheon

Executives from PepsiCo and the Muller Group will be keynote speakers March 23 at the Genesee County Economic Development Center's annual meeting at the college.

The two companies are behind Project Wave, the $206 million yogurt plant being built at Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Mark Koenig, director of engineering and technology at the PepsiCo Global Nutrition Group -- who was in town when grading started in November although Pepsi's involvement was still officially a secret -- will be joined for a keynote presentation by Hanno Lehmann, a senior project manager from the Mueller Group.

Wave Holding, LLC -- the official name of the joint venture -- is expected to employ nearly 200 people in the near term and perhaps as many as 600 people if the new line of Greek yogurt is as successful as Pepsi and Muller project.

The new joint venture is receiving more than $11 million in tax abatements to build the plant in Batavia, which was initially not even a top-tier choice in the site selection process.

Also speaking at the event will be Rep. Kathy Hochul, State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and County Legislature Chairwoman Mary Pat Hancock.

GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde will make a presentation on some of the agency's 2011 highlights.

The luncheon is from noon until 1:30 p.m., March 23, at Genesee Community College. Tickets are $15 or $20 at the door. For reservation and tickets in advance, call 343-4866.

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