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John Wiegand

John Wiegand

Staff writer

[email protected]

Sunday, 11 June 2017 20:00

Stamping shop develops robotic equipment to drive future growth

COMSTOCK PARK — One West Michigan manufacturer of stamping dies hopes to leverage a self-funded automation business into its primary money maker in the years ahead. 

Sunday, 11 June 2017 20:00

GVSU’s new Design Thinking Academy aims to embed design culture in local companies

GRAND RAPIDS — Over his storied career, John Berry has advocated for the benefits of incorporating design principles outside of traditional creative industries. Now, Berry is taking that vision one step further at Grand Valley State University with the new Design Thinking Academy, where he serves as director. The academy spun off from the university’s Design Thinking Initiative that launched in 2014.

Sunday, 28 May 2017 16:38

Q&A: Michelle Beebe, Senior Deputy Director of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has struggled in recent years amid budget cuts, staff reductions and a breach of public trust after an automated computer system falsely accused 20,000 residents of fraud over a two-year span. Michelle Beebe aims to change that. Beebe was appointed to lead the UIA in late April, following the state’s decision to reassign the former director Sharon Moffett-Massey in the wake of the false-fraud allegations. Beebe comes to Michigan from Utah where she led that state’s unemployment agency since December 2014. After three weeks on the job, Beebe spoke with MiBiz about the challenges the UIA faces in Michigan and how she plans to help improve the agency.


Sunday, 28 May 2017 16:19

Liberal arts colleges establish engineering programs through partnerships

As demand for engineering talent continues to intensify, some West Michigan liberal arts colleges are partnering with larger state-funded institutions to add niche programs to their curricula.

Sunday, 28 May 2017 15:53

Newaygo firm leverages $600K to bring medical device to market

NEWAYGO — One West Michigan entrepreneur hopes to use data science to make users of medical oxygen systems safer with a handful of new products.

Sunday, 28 May 2017 15:51

Reinvigorating an industry: Company pushes to restart potash production in Michigan

In 2013, the discovery of a large deposit of high-quality potash in Michigan touched off a wave of public attention.


Sunday, 14 May 2017 13:34

Sharing the wealth: ESOPs offer business owners an exit strategy, if they plan ahead

When Mark Lindquist purchased Rapid-Line Inc. in 1989, he completed the transaction with a strategy for exiting the business already in mind.

Sunday, 14 May 2017 13:17

Q&A: Tim Thompson, Managing Director of O’Keefe & Associates Consulting LLC

As a business consulting firm, O’Keefe & Associates Consulting LLC has increasingly seen a need to advise its clients on the best ways to invest in automation equipment. Tim Thompson, the firm’s managing director at its Grand Rapids office, spoke with MiBiz about how investing in automation equipment can affect an organization’s long-term investment strategies.

Sunday, 14 May 2017 13:15

Firstronic enters joint venture with French manufacturer to open European market

GRAND RAPIDS — One West Michigan electronics manufacturer plans to leverage a recent deal in Europe to further capitalize on the growing electronics manufacturing market.


Sunday, 14 May 2017 13:12

To build or not to build? West Michigan manufacturers react to limited inventory of industrial facilities

When Siliconature Corp. examined potential sites in West Michigan for its North American headquarters, the company knew finding an existing building that fit its specific needs would be challenging.

Sunday, 14 May 2017 13:10

NYC-based VC fund to invest in Michigan fashion companies

LANSING — A New York-based venture capital firm wants to propel Michigan’s nascent fashion industry to runways everywhere.

Friday, 05 May 2017 09:02

Smeal acquisition drives Q1 sales gain for Spartan Motors

Spartan Motors Inc.’s January acquisition of Smeal Fire Apparatus resulted in a nearly 25-percent increase in first quarter sales for the chassis manufacturer.


Wednesday, 03 May 2017 14:27

Union: Financial concessions unlikely in negotiations with Dematic

Negotiations between Dematic Corp. and UAW Local 1485 are progressing, but the manufacturer shouldn’t expect to win financial concessions from its workers.

Sunday, 30 April 2017 16:58

Family office, investment banking vets split to form new firm

GRAND RAPIDS — Following careers in investment banking and family offices, two West Michigan professionals have struck out on their own. 

Saturday, 29 April 2017 06:00

Beer industry to boost support for hop and barley research

Proposed federal budget cuts have the potential to wipe out key hop and barley research programs that have helped improve the quality of the raw material supply chain for craft brewers.


Saturday, 29 April 2017 06:00

Suppliers carve out niche with growing set of small craft breweries

Dynamics within the maturing craft beer industry are creating new growth opportunities for suppliers.

Saturday, 29 April 2017 06:00

Alienating consumers? Craft brewers clamp down on inappropriate beer names, labels

Saugatuck Brewing Co. thought it was being edgy in 2011 when it coined the name “Hop on a Blonde” for its new blonde ale.

Sunday, 30 April 2017 15:17

West Michigan ammunition equipment maker sues UAE-held firm in contract dispute

HASTINGS — A West Michigan ammunition equipment manufacturer wants an arms maker owned by the United Arab Emirates to pay up.


Sunday, 30 April 2017 15:15

Evoqua bets on sustainability, aging municipal infrastructure to drive business

HOLLAND — Executives at Evoqua Water Technologies LLC expect a combination of aging municipal infrastructure and an increased focus on sustainable business practices to drive interest in its water treatment technologies.

Sunday, 30 April 2017 15:13

Automotive industry braces for ‘talent crisis’ in tooling

The sector that provides the majority of tooling, fixtures and molds required to manufacture automotive components is facing a crisis.

Friday, 28 April 2017 13:48

Universal Forest Products rides acquisition for 24-percent sales bump

Universal Forest Products Inc. surpassed analyst expectations in the first quarter of 2017, growing annual sales by 24 percent largely due to an acquisition that closed last fall.


Friday, 28 April 2017 13:17

Auto drives double-digit sales growth in Gentex’s Q1 2017

Buoyed by continued strength in the automotive market, Gentex Corp. reported double digit sales growth in the first quarter of 2017.

Friday, 28 April 2017 13:15

Whirlpool reports modest growth in Q1 2017

Whirlpool Corp. grew sales modestly in the first quarter of 2017.

Thursday, 27 April 2017 17:26

Dematic reconsiders closing Grand Rapids operation

More than a year after first announcing its intentions to close its Grand Rapids manufacturing operations in late 2017, Dematic Corp. may reconsider the move.


Monday, 24 April 2017 05:00

Blackford Capital acquires Ellison Bakery via Michigan Prosperity Fund

GRAND RAPIDS — Blackford Capital has entered the baking business.

Sunday, 16 April 2017 12:42

Gluten Free Bar evolves with the niche food market

GRAND RAPIDS — What started as a business serving a niche of natural food aficionados has moved into the mainstream.

Sunday, 16 April 2017 12:37

West Michigan electronics makers find growth in IoT devices, autonomous vehicles

After years of leading the market for its signature technology, Fleetwood Electronics realized it let its position slip away.


Saturday, 15 April 2017 12:30

THE RISE OF AN EPIDEMIC: As death toll mounts, employers can stand as a line of defense in battling opioid addiction

Last year, Larry Zeiser answered a phone call that would forever change the way he perceived drug abuse in West Michigan.

Sunday, 02 April 2017 12:54

Office furniture manufacturers report stagnant earnings in latest quarters

West Michigan-based contract furniture companies have muddled through the recent period of political uncertainty and mixed international demand.

Sunday, 02 April 2017 16:03

Excess milk supply drives dairy production in West Michigan

COOPERSVILLE — A glut in raw milk production throughout the state is driving substantial agribusiness growth in West Michigan as area processing companies struggle to keep up.


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