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Jayson Bussa

Jayson Bussa

Senior Editor

[email protected]

With a relatively strong foothold already in the Philadelphia market, Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co. recently announced that it has become an official sponsor for NBA team the Philadelphia 76ers.

Online sports betting and casino gaming will go live statewide beginning on Friday at noon.

GRAND RAPIDS — Feyen Zylstra LLC, a Grand Rapids-based electrical services and industrial technology firm, has expanded its footprint into North Carolina following a recent acquisition.

As owner of Forerunner 3D Printing LLC, Paul DeWys utilizes the evolving process of additive manufacturing to primarily produce short runs of complex parts for area businesses, or help them bring those same capabilities to the shop floor.

Joseph Van Harken and his company Th3rd Coast Digital Solutions have long provided companies with cutting-edge digital training solutions.

As a company that has operated for more than 70 years, Jenison-based Nu-Wool Co. Inc. certainly was not oblivious to the fact that higher levels of technology and automation could transform its production process, according to executives.

As an industry that bounced back relatively quickly after the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, agriculture in Michigan and across the U.S. faces key issues that will shape its fate in 2021, experts say.

After ping-ponging around the globe in various professional roles, Jane Ghosh finally ended up back in Kalamazoo, where her new job involves promoting the city she calls home. In December, Ghosh was named the new president and CEO of Discover Kalamazoo, which promotes tourism to Kalamazoo County. With an economics degree from Harvard University, Ghosh has marketing experience with titans like Johnson & Johnson and Kellogg Company. She will apply that experience to help raise the profile of Kalamazoo in a time when dining, entertainment and many other forms of hospitality have slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GRAND HAVEN — A West Michigan-based company that developed a patented ultraviolet light technology to kill off pathogens on surfaces and in the air will see its technology deployed in select McDonald’s restaurants.

GRAND RAPIDS — Food packaging manufacturer Performance Systematix Inc. (PSI) has kicked off the new year under new ownership.

CHARLOTTE — After moving its corporate headquarters to Novi this summer, The Shyft Group Inc. announced that it plans to fill hundreds of new jobs at its manufacturing campus in Charlotte to meet growing commercial fleet and speciality vehicle needs.

TALLMADGE TOWNSHIP — A trio of Ottawa County-based businesses that serve as a one-stop-shop in the fasteners industry has changed hands.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Drive announced on Friday that it plans to opt out of the current 2020-21 NBA G-League season while promising major changes on the horizon for next year.

ROCKFORD — Footwear manufacturer Wolverine World Wide Inc. has shifted its focus to the e-commerce segment of its business complete with a new hire.

Legislation designed to put Michigan’s distillers on a more even footing with cider, beer and wine producers died on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk this week.

GRAND RAPIDS — HealthBar, a Grand Rapids-based provider of customized health care services for businesses, has launched a new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site.

Sports bettors and online casino gamers found themselves sitting on the sidelines in Michigan for all of 2020, even when there was a glimmer of hope that the state would launch online gaming before the year was out.

While Jake Hall might not tout the same beastly social media metrics as some famous American socialites, he considers himself a rare influencer in the manufacturing industry. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has not doused Justin Buiter’s optimism in his future plans for his brewery. However, when Buiter looks ahead, he said 2021 will likely be spent regaining the footing his company lost during a gauntlet of a year.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020 17:50

Kalsec earns B Corp status

Dr. Scott Nykaza always considered his company to be both environmentally and socially responsible through its 60-year history. Now it has a credible stamp of approval to back up those claims.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a driving force that influenced product development and launches for Altus Industries Inc. in 2020.

ALLEGAN — In addition to dealing with the massive disruptions to her business brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tanya Schafer is also juggling two construction projects.

GRAND RAPIDS — A cyberattack that stalled global operations for two weeks did not lend any favors for Steelcase Inc., which continues to see sluggish revenue stemming from rough market conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As manufacturing continues to lead both in statewide and nationwide economic recovery, the sector will still need to address a chronic issue that has only worsened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Few local executives can provide a better view of the manufacturing industry than Nelson Jacboson, whose Grand Haven-based JSJ Corp. is entering its 101st year in business and features a portfolio of companies with an international presence. Jacobson said the pandemic gave rise to a host of complexities in the supply chain as well as worker retention. Those challenges are likely to continue into next year, along with uncertainty about how the business community approaches mandatory COVID-19 vaccines.

Market research and consulting firm IHS Markit recently locked in its latest forecast for the North American automotive industry. Barring any major pandemic-related setbacks, most data indicate a scrappy recovery on the back end of 2020 that will continue into 2021. IHS Director of Automotive Analysis Mike Wall, who brings more than two decades’ worth of auto sector expertise, discussed the relatively surprising projections that he didn’t foresee at the start of the pandemic.

Other than a brief period in the spring when these businesses were shut down completely, many West Michigan automotive dealerships have managed to move vehicles at an impressive clip throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With 30 stores and 77 franchises throughout three different states, Kalamazoo-based Zeigler Auto Group is on the front lines of automotive retail. The company also operates Zeigler Motorsports, which belongs to another segment that is booming during the pandemic. MiBiz caught up with Zeigler Auto Group President Aaron Zeigler to see if he expects this rally to continue into 2021.

Other than professional and high-level college sports, most athletic competition was sidelined on and off throughout the year, yet another industry casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has made life tough for the West Michigan Sports Commission, which focuses on marketing West Michigan as a sports tourism destination. Since March, the commission saw 71 sports events canceled because of COVID-19, equating to 32,242 lost hotel room nights. WMSC President Mike Guswiler reflects on what this does for his organization and when we might see sports return in full force to West Michigan.

Consumers relied on grocery stores and supermarkets like never before during the pandemic. As the state transitioned through various stages of shutdowns, these businesses had to keep their shelves stocked amid challenges like panic buying and stockpiling. Tony Sarsam took over as CEO at SpartanNash Co. in September as the industry was six months into the new dynamic. The former CEO of Texas-based Borden Dairy Co. shares his views on the challenges that await his company with 155 corporate-owned retail stores and a distribution business that delivers to 2,100 independent locations.

In addition to farming his own 1,800 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat in Ionia County, Jeff Sanborn is also active in both the Michigan and National Corn Growers associations. In fact, he has represented Michigan on the NCGA board and was a chairman on the NCGA Ethanol Committee. Sandborn shared insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic, new administration and other issues are poised to affect the agriculture industry in 2021.

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