Ed Lowe grew up in Cassopolis, Michigan and attended Cassopolis High School, serving in the Navy after graduation. Upon returning to Cassopolis, Lowe joined his father’s company selling industrial absorbents, which included an absorbent clay. This clay would inspire Lowe to create the first modern cat litter, replacing then-typical ashes, dirt, or sand.
After creating this billion-dollar industry, Lowe used his fortune to foster entrepreneurship and developed the Edward Lowe Foundation, headquartered in Cassopolis. The foundation’s entrepreneurship initiatives educate companies on growth strategies and leadership, while its land stewardship initiatives encourage environmental integrity. The foundation allows researchers to use its 2,000-acre property for studies that can further conservation science. The contributions of the Edward Lowe Foundation have propped up Cass County as a destination for second-stage companies and environmental researchers alike.
MEC continues this legacy of community investment with SMART Park, a state-of-the-art business park designed to attract new and innovative employers to Cass County. In 2016, MEC purchased nearly 500 acres from the Edward Lowe Foundation to construct its new headquarters and a community solar array. With around 400 acres left over, MEC determined the best use of the remaining land would be to fulfill Lowe's dream of attracting opportunities to southwest Michigan.