Macomb Business Award Recipients
2019 Macomb Business Award Recipients
Champion of Work/Life Integration (Sponsored by MetroParent magazine): Godlan, Inc.
Godlan is a leading professional manufacturing services company that has been implementing integrated technology solutions since 1984. With two locations and more than 60 employees, it successfully implements hundreds of enterprise manufacturing systems and performs countless data conversions while simultaneously committing to quality of life for each of its team members.
Corporate Citizen: CARE of Southeastern Michigan
CARE of Southeastern Michigan strengthens resiliency in people and their communities through prevention, education and services that improve quality of life. CARE is a nonprofit organization with a 42-year history of serving the residents of Macomb County. Each year, the organization impacts the lives of 40,000 people in southeast Michigan by providing person-centered care that ensures each individual’s unique needs are met and their defined success is achieved.
Hidden Gem: Great Lakes Pickling Company
Great Lakes Pickling Company is a family owned and operated pickle making business right out of Macomb County. Each batch uses farm-fresh cucumbers, spices and pure Michigan water that gives their product an incredible flavor with 42 percent less salt than that found in typical jars using traditional recipes.
Manufacturer of the Year: Drake Enterprises
Drake Enterprises, Inc. was founded in 1952 by Benny Stemple and today is run by his two grandsons, Nathan and Keith Stemple. The company is a manufacturer of high-quality machined parts for major OEMs in the heavy truck, agriculture and automotive markets. The company specializes in torque transferring products such as gear shift levers and transmission components for the heavy-duty truck and automotive markets.
Model of OneMacomb: PACE Southeast Michigan
For 25 years, PACE of Southeast Michigan has cared for low-income, chronically ill seniors by helping them remain independent and engaged in the community. It opened a center in Warren in 2015 when a study showed that Macomb County had a high concentration of seniors who could benefit from its services. By December 2017, the Warren center was at full capacity. Knowing there were more seniors to be served, it opened a center in Sterling Heights in 2019.
Trailblazer of Future Talent: L&L Products
L&L Products is a technology-driven, international business with more than 1,300 global employees, 15 global locations and eight manufacturing facilities. The company actively creates opportunities for Macomb County residents through apprenticeship programs at Macomb Community College, future talent initiatives like Manufacturing Day and internship and mentorship opportunities.
Economic Development Partner of the Year: Macomb Intermediate School District
Beacon of Economic Development: Glenn Wynn, director, Shelby Township Planning and Zoning Department
Beacon of Economic Development: Grace Shore, former CEO, Macomb County Chamber of Commerce
2018 Macomb Business Award Recipients
Champion of Workforce Development - St. John Providence
Recognizing that up to half of nurses who start working at a hospital leave within the first two years, St. John Providence developed a two-week orientation program held for all incoming nurses in the system at their Regional Onboarding Center in Warren. Offering experiential learning and deliberate practice, the intense program has proven successful in helping nurses feel more competent and confident nurses as they begin their new jobs. Retention rates have soared to 92 percent which greatly helps to improve outcomes for patients.
Corporate Citizen - First State Bank
Whether it is a local fireworks display, scholarships for students, new clock towers, food drives or summer concerts, chances are good that First State Bank is a sponsor. Founded in Macomb County with 11 branches, FSB celebrated its bicentennial inn 2017 by recognizing people and organizations that help our community be a better place. They made large gifts to grassroots organizations; empowered employees to get involved as paid volunteers or through the ability to designate $100 gifts to charities of their choosing. To cap off the year, they raised $32,000 for Macomb Community College by hosting a Wynonna Judd concert at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.
Diversification Leader - RCO Engineering, Inc.
Family-owned RCO Engineering has made Macomb its home for 44 years and specializes in bringing customers’ ideas to the market from concept through production. RCO designs, builds, tests and produces components and prototypes for the world’s leading automotive, aerospace and defense industry brands. RCO recently expanded to offer low-volume parts production to meet global demand resulting in a 150,000 square foot expansion. It also provides staffing services for long-term technical positions at OEMs and Tier-1s. RCO is about to become the first North American supplier with an FAA certified 3D-printing process for production aerospace components.
Model of OneMacomb - AGS Automotive
AGS Automotive, headquartered in Canada, has more than 60 years of experience in the automotive parts industry. When it opened its first plant in Sterling Heights, it worked closely with Macomb Community College and Michigan Works! to meet its need to hire 200 people so that it could open. It discovered a large and capable workforce within Macomb County’s Iraqi refugee population. Working with the Chaldean Council, their human resources department now offers full-time translation services and offers English as a Second Language classes on site. AGS also partners with the Judson Center’s disability services program which helps adults with intellectual and physical disabilities find independence and inclusion in the community by providing meaningful employment.
Today, AGS employs more than 450 employees at three locations in Sterling Heights.
Startup Business to Watch - Rose-A-Lee Technologies
Rose-A-Lee Technologies was formed in 2013 by sisters Patricia Lopez and Jennifer Howard and is EDWOSB and ISO 9001 certified. Rose-A-Lee provides expert engineering and prototype manufacturing for a range of industries including defense, automation, automotive and consumer goods. In 2016, Rose-A-Lee purchased two vertical mills and a CNC lathe to keep up with orders as a Prime and Tier 1 supplier to the US government. At the end of 2017, the company quadrupled its footprint and now occupies 20,000 square feet in Sterling Heights. They recently hired three new employees and anticipate a need five additional five to keep up with recent contracts.
Economic Development Partner of the Year - 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base
The department has always worked closely with base personnel but 2017 was an exceptional year! To celebrate their bicentennial, Selfridge hosted their semi-annual Air Show for hundreds of thousands of people. When notified that the base was being considered to home the new F-35 Fighter Jet, the department worked with Brigadier General John D. “Odie” Slocum and his leadership team to build public support. A dedicated website was built along with a social media and advertising campaign to create buzz. Together, the team solicited support from the entire state of Michigan at the annual Mackinac Policy. The department also created a 144-page prospectus for incoming evaluators from the U.S. Air Force. Although not selected in this round of round, the team remains confident that Selfridge will continue to be an important to be a strong partner in economic development in the future.
2017 Macomb Business Award Recipients
Champion of Workforce Development: R&E Automated Systems
R&E specializes in all areas of turnkey automation including concept, design, prototyping, controls design and engineering, robotics and PLC programming, laser welding, joining, roller hemming and more. R&E has a dedicated, state-certified training center which provides training to young professionals looking to get into the industry, existing professionals looking to expand their knowledge and on-site training for its own employees. R&E has grown from 30 employees to more than 400 in the span of 10 years and continues to grow. The company recruits at local colleges and is very involved with local high schools and middle schools, helping them to grow their STEM programs.
Corporate Citizen: Binson's Medical Equipment and Supplies
Binson’s is a family-owned-and-operated, full-service home medical equipment, medical supply and orthopedic company. Their customer base includes individuals, hospitals, doctor offices, nursing homes, health plans and other providers. They are committed to helping defeat the diseases that impact the families they serve on a daily basis. Throughout the years, they have raised and donated funds to many charities including the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Muscular Dystrophy Association. They also played a big role in supporting the MDA Summer Camp and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure by donating the medical supplies and wheelchairs needed for attendees to participate at these events.
Diversification Leader: Baker Industries
Still privately owned by the Baker family, Baker Industries has been in business for 24 years as a tier one and tier two supplier for automotive and aerospace industries. They began as a duplicating company and have evolved over the years to become a premier tooling and machining shop. With the goal of encompassing all the capabilities that their customers could wish for in a supplier, today Baker has expanded to include machining, fabrication, injection molding, tooling, 3-D printing, project management and quality assurance. With the addition of a 3-D printer, they have entered new markets including medical, agriculture, appliances, energy and defense.
Efficiency Expert: JEM Tech Group
JEM is dedicated to helping customers with information technology products and services to transform their mission-critical environments into energy-efficient areas. They provide corporations with efficiency studies to assess their baseline energy consumption, determine problem areas and provide recommendations. Improvements may include reorganizing room layouts, equipment upgrades or airflow management devices. JEM also provides hardware and software that analyzes power consumption down to each outlet. Knowing the amount of power servers the customer is using can help determine what equipment can be better utilized or consolidated. JEM can help companies eliminate 30 percent in energy costs, resulting in significant savings.
Model of OneMacomb: Arts Academy in the Woods High School
Arts Academy in the Woods is a free public high school where students can major in the fine and performing arts while also fulfilling their academic requirements. They promote racial, cultural and gender diversity, and this is reflected in the makeup of their student body. Since their founding, hundreds of students who were uncomfortable fitting in at other schools have felt welcomed and accepted in this school community. Arts Academy in the Woods begins each school year with a three-day diversity training for new students which is led by current students. Here, students develop a cultural awareness and respect that will benefit them for a lifetime.
Startup Business to Watch: United Shore Professional Baseball League
USPBL is the first professional independent baseball league in Southeast Michigan. The league’s inaugural season in 2016 featured three teams: Utica Unicorns, Eastside Diamond Hoppers and Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers. USPBL attracted more than 225,000 fans during its first season at Jimmy John’s Field. Starting the league was a Herculean task that included working with city and county officials, securing corporate sponsors, constructing a state-of-the-art stadium, designing team logos and uniforms, hiring more than 400 employees, marketing and launching a baseball finishing school. USPBL has significant plans for growth in the future including a fourth team next season and additional stadiums in the future.
Economic Development Partner of the Year: Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!
Beacon of Economic Development: Dr. Jim Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College.
2016 Macomb Business Award Recipients
Champion of Workforce Development: Tweddle Group
As a global leader in information solutions, Tweddle is focused on creating innovative communications to best address the information needs of the automotive industry. Through processes that seamlessly integrate information development, management and delivery, the company produces high-quality, value-driven print, mobile and interactive communications for vehicle owners and automotive sales and service personnel. Tweddle provides classes to train managers to make good hiring decisions. New employees go through a robust onboarding process, including a tour, department overviews and tiered-job training. Tweddle University is an in-house program aimed at professional and personal development. Their strong social media presence highlights many diverse employee-driven committee events.
Corporate Citizen: Henry Ford Macomb Hospital
Henry Ford Macomb Hospital is a 451-licensed bed health care organization, offering acute and tertiary care at the Clinton Township hospital, behavioral health services at the Mount Clemens hospital and comprehensive outpatient care at six health centers. The hospital developed the innovative prevention program Faith Community Nursing; partnered with Macomb County schools through their School Health Network to facilitate a culture of wellness, especially in underserved populations; donated funds and professional resources to Operation Rx to eliminate prescription drug abuse and overdose; and sponsored many health promotion, wellness and disease prevention organizations including CARE House, Macomb County Food Bank and local senior centers.
Diversification Leader: Blake Farms
Blake Farms has undergone many changes over the years due to the forward thinking of the Blake family. They have expanded to three locations and have land leases on other orchards to use their fruit for their products. Blake’s has grown a seasonal business into a year-round operation, diversifying products to provide stability during years of difficult weather conditions. They meet the changing demand of their customers through offering new products, such as hard cider. Blake Farms has added a winery, applied for special land use for outdoor events and offers many family and nighttime attractions including a haunted hayride.
Efficiency Expert: Pioneer Metal Finishing
Pioneer offers a wide array of metal finishing services including anodizing and electroless nickel; paint and powder coating; and chromate, tin zinc and precious metal plating. Their location on Stephens was looking to reduce their environmental footprint and utility usage. To accomplish this, the plant invested significant capital to upgrade their older regenerative thermal oxidizer unit. The new unit destructs 98 percent of emissions, reduces natural gas usage and allows for internally-conducted cleanings and control monitoring. Under the leadership team at the Industrial Highway location, productivity has increased 19 percent over the past year and profitability has increased almost 200 percent.
Start-up Business of the Year: Bakes & Kropp
Bakes & Kropp is a cabinetry company that designs and manufactures luxury kitchens, baths and closets for some of the country’s most valuable real estate. Experiencing considerable demand along the East Coast, they look to grow the firm into a globally-recognized brand. Headquartered in Macomb County, they have access to a rich history of skilled trades. Their production team provides consistent quality and quick lead times to give them a competitive advantage. Thriving sales have allowed for top market wages, improved insurance offerings and quarterly profit sharing bonuses. In less than 21 months, they have hired 12 new employees and tripled production space.
Model of OneMacomb: St John Macomb-Oakland Hospital (SJMOH)
As a member of St. John Providence and Ascension, SJMOH is part of the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system. In response to a booming Middle Eastern population in Macomb County, SJMOH created several programs to better serve Arab Chaldean patients. An Arab Chaldean patient navigator provides continuum care management and serves as a bilingual public health outreach specialist for Iraqi immigrants. SJMOH introduced Middle Eastern food, Arabic television channels in patient rooms and Arabic signage throughout the hospital. They provide mental health services geared toward recent immigrants and established a prenatal education and breastfeeding support group for Arab Chaldean mothers.
Economic Development Partner of the Year: Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Beacon of Economic Development, a recognition reserved only for special circumstances, was presented to Stephen N. Cassin, recently retired director of the department. Cassin was credited for developing the county’s first-ever economic development strategy and a string of successful projects including the formation of the Macomb-Oakland University Business Incubator, branding of Michigan’s defense assets and a ballpark for a developing semi-professional, independent baseball league currently under construction in Utica.
2015 Macomb Business Award Recipients
Champion of Workforce Development: PTI Engineered Plastics
PTI is a custom injection molder and manufacturer of plastic components and assemblies whose global customer base varies from small tier suppliers to large OEMs. In 2014, they launched a new initiative and the first of its kind for Macomb – the PTI Technical Academy. It is designed to introduce the fundamentals of the manufacturing industry to high school students who may wish to pursue a technical career path. Each class consists of a lecture and hands-on activities. PTI’s goal is to design and implement education and skill-building programs that will strengthen their workforce and increase the skilled labor force in the community as a whole.
Corporate Citizen: First State Bank
First State Bank is Macomb County’s hometown bank. Since 1917, First State Bank has demonstrated a commitment to their community and neighbors. Recent community initiatives include a free mobile app called Banker Jr. to help kids save and learn money recognition and budgeting through games, no-cost debt counseling for customers through GreenPath Debt Solutions, a scholarship program with Macomb Community College for 11 incoming East Detroit students with $1,000 for the academic year, a Thanksgiving food drive for Macomb Food Bank, monetary support to Stony Creek Metropark to revive the Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert and fireworks and much more.
Diversification Leader: Coliant Corporation
Founded in 2004, Coliant started in a basement designing, manufacturing and distributing rugged electrical accessories that are intuitive and universally adaptable. Now, as award-winning developers of several technologies, Coliant primarily serves the automotive and power sport industries. More recently, they deepened their relationship with the Department of Defense (DoD) and are now in negotiations with companies in several secondary-market industries including sporting goods and aerospace. In 2010, Coliant released their first Personal Climate Control System™ under the trade name RapidFIRe to great reviews. In 2013, their RapidFIRe heated jacket liners received a perfect rating from Adventure Bike Rider. This year, Coliant was hired by SAIC for the DoD.
Energy Efficiency Expert: Magna Seating of America, Inc. DBA Shelby Foam Systems
Shelby Foam Systems makes foam pad products for Magna facilities that manufacture complete seat systems for global automakers. In 2014, Shelby Foam Systems implemented many projects and programs which are beneficial toward saving energy, the environment and reducing operational expenses. The key projects included LED lighting, VSD air compressor, process cooling and e-waste recycling. An air leak tag board was created after a plant air audit to promote employee involvement and awareness toward fixing compressed air leaks. They partnered with DTE’s Energy Incentives Program which provided incentives for various improvement projects and the use of Michigan-made products whenever possible.
Start-up Business of the Year: SkyBlade Fan Company
SkyBlade is a manufacturer of high-volume, low-speed ceiling fans that range in diameter from 12-to-24 feet. Their fans save on energy costs by recycling trapped heat and by cooling buildings. Since beginning in a basement, SkyBlade has moved to a 15,000-square-foot warehouse and office space. Each year, sales have grown higher than projected which has allowed for additional staff to be hired from the local area. The technical nature of this industry allows them to hire architecture and engineer majors as interns from both University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University, giving them the necessary job skills to hit the ground running after they graduate.
Model of OneMacomb: Chaldean Community Foundation
The Chaldean Community Foundation is dedicated to advancing the needs of the Chaldean-American community through education, charitable giving and advocacy. Among its missions is to provide Iraqi refugees and low-income immigrants with necessary medical, psychological and social services to assist with American acculturation. Through their seven key initiatives, they help refugees of the Iraq war to become less dependent on federal and state subsidies, supply mental health services, provide free or reduced-cost health care, provide low-interest loans to help refugees purchase cars as well as emergency loans for shelter and offer assistance to the disabled. The foundation also administers cultural competency training to community organizations.
2014 Macomb Business Award Recipients
Champion of Workforce Development: Proper Group International
Proper Group manages a number of programs designed to build their own skilled and ready workforce. They offer current employees opportunities to advance their training and tuition reimbursement, they have been one of the first companies to participate in the Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program and they collaborate with the mentoring program Winning Futures to introduce middle and high school students to the manufacturing industry.
Corporate Citizen: First State Bank
Established in Macomb County in 1917, First State epitomizes the phrase “hometown bank.” Their investments in the community includes sponsorship of many local events including fireworks, the Gratiot Cruise and free summer concerts. First State is actively involved with area chambers, donates to the East Detroit Public Schools scholarship program and supports the Michigan Senior Olympics.
Diversification Leader: Omega Plastics
Founded in 1984 as a supplier of plastic molded components to the automotive industry, Omega has expanded its services to include mold making for a wide range of clients including medical devices, consumer packaging, consumer electronics and the defense industry.
Economic Development Partner of the Year: Automation Alley
Formed in 1999, Automation Alley is a technology business association dedicated to growing the economy of Southeast Michigan and enhancing the region's reputation around the world. Serving tech-based businesses of all sizes, this organization has been a great partner to Macomb County in assisting area companies grow and prosper.
Energy Efficiency Expert: New Haven Community Schools
When building a new campus to house Endeavour Elementary and Endeavour Middle School, the district took advantage of new technologies to optimize energy efficiency including automated heating, cooling and lights and erecting a 60-foot wind turbine to generate electricity for the buildings. Led by the example of district leadership, district students are learning about careers in energy efficiency and have also initiated a comprehensive recycling program as well as tending a garden designed with native species to create habitat for wildlife.
Start-up Business of the Year: Ethel’s Edibles
Started in 2011, this gluten-free bakery produces a high quality product for a growing target market. Now shipping their products to retailers across the country, they are well on their way to increasing run rate by more than 300 percent in the next year.
2013 Macomb Business Award Recipients
Champion of Workforce Development - IBEW-NECA Electrical Industry Training Center of Warren with more than 4,500 members throughout southeastern Michigan, the center provides a foundation of training for the trade through apprenticeship programs. In addition, they offer a variety of sector-specific continuing education programs enabling members to diversify their skills base while serving changing market needs throughout the region.
Corporate Citizen - Omega Plastics of Clinton Township chosen for their efforts to engage employees in serving the greater good. With a dedicated associate to oversee special projects, they are strong supporters of the Hope Center, donate backpacks and schools supplies for children throughout the area, offer space in their building to a faith-based counseling agency and frequently collect food and other needed items for those less fortunate.
Diversification Leader - Fori Automation of Shelby Township a developer and builder of advanced manufacturing machinery for the automotive industry for nearly 30 years. With successful operations in locations throughout the globe, the company engaged a strategic plan to expand the types of industries it serves. As a result, they recently dedicated a new 19,000 square foot building to serve their growing customers in aerospace, agriculture and recreational vehicles.
Economic Development Partner of the Year was Macomb Community College citing a partnership that goes back nearly 25 years, the college was recognized for its longstanding collaborative efforts to identify and develop training programs to meet the needs of today’s employers. Macomb’s entrepreneurial training programs have also been instrumental in helping new businesses begin with a strong foundation.