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Jayson Bussa

Jayson Bussa

Senior Editor

[email protected]

When Rolar Products Inc. recently added a 10-axis Swiss-style screw machine to its shop floor, the Muskegon-based provider of precision machine products turned to its senior-most employee to take the reins of the latest innovation.

Sunday, 02 August 2020 19:40

Q&A: Thomas Kelly CEO, Automation Alley

Widely considered to be a trusted authority on all things Industry 4.0, Thomas Kelly serves as executive director and CEO of Troy-based Automation Alley, where he oversees strategic planning and all ongoing activities for the Industry 4.0 knowledge center.

Wenger’s Bowling Center, the oldest bowling facility in Grand Rapids, has hosted patrons for the last 100 years, but not so much in the last four and a half months.

The manufacturing industry is under a crucial transformation as businesses of all sectors are faced with the idea of adopting what is referred to as Industry 4.0 technology and strategy.

When 2012 brought a drought to the state, it had corn growers feeling a bit skittish about their yield potential, which caused corn prices to peak.

Dennis Grumm has heard these rumblings before. As the founder, CEO and lead engineer for Grand Rapids-based Oktober Design LLC, which sells can seamers to seal lids on cans so breweries can conduct small-scale or to-go canning, he’s used to hearing murmurs that the industry’s staple container might be in short supply.

BATTLE CREEK — Auto parts manufacturer Marley Precision, Inc. submitted a letter to the city and state this week announcing plans to permanently close both of its facilities this fall.

KENTWOOD — Alro Plastics has a new Grand Rapids-area location slated to open in the coming spring.

GRAND RAPIDS — On the heels of divesting from one of its two primary business units, software developer Blue Medora has rebranded and relaunched its retained business.

KENTWOOD — To take pressure off of its existing two facilities, Flat River Group recently announced the opening of a new 160,000 square foot distribution center in Kentwood.

Michael Finn compares taking on a new executive role to drinking from a fire hose. But with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging virtually every industry, the water out of that hose has a bit more propulsion.

While the COVID-19 pandemic was quick to hit, instantly styming manufacturing throughout Michigan and the country, the bounceback will likely not be as swift.

When local auto dealerships braced for a potential cramp in new vehicle inventory, they opted to go heavier on used vehicles. Now, they’re looking for just about anything.

 BATTLE CREEK — As someone who has served on a hospital board for more than a decade, Erick Stewart is keenly aware of the financial challenges associated with these health care organizations.

KALAMAZOO — Baseball has been allowed to resume in Southwest Michigan after a brief disruption this week. 

Sen. Gary Peters has announced legislation to create a new government agency to synergize the U.S. manufacturing industry.

GRAND RAPIDS — The West Michigan Sports Commission took measures to create a safer work environment at its office, which was newly opened in November of last year before the springtime COVID-19 pandemic sent staff home to work remotely.

GRAND RAPIDS — Dierdre Jimenez is joining the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association at an interesting time.

When Tom Reardon rose through the ranks of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) 22 years ago, the trade association was operating in the red.

Late last year, the Cornerstone University athletic department announced the addition of men’s volleyball to its collection of sports programs, as well as plans to renovate a couple of its athletics facilities.

ZEELAND — In the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic, office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. reported a 29.1 percent drop in net sales for the fourth quarter of its 2020 fiscal year that ended May 30, 2020.

Two West Michigan cultural organizations plan to retain staff crucial to their operations with a newly awarded CARES Act grant issued by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Eight Grand Rapids technology startups are among dozens of businesses statewide selected to receive a combined $3 million from Michigan’s Tech Start Up Stabilization Fund.

The projected slide in new vehicle sales globally and nationwide paints a grim picture for the industry, but local auto dealership executives say there’s a disparity between the numbers and what they’re seeing on their lots.

Auto manufacturers, dealers and OEMs will catch a break from the busy auto show circuit this year after the COVID-19 pandemic essentially wiped out the ability to hold crowded events.

CALEDONIA — Mark “Crab” Reagan spent his morning wandering around his tattoo shop cleaning, organizing, providing a handful of clients with art consultations — pretty much anything other than actually tattooing.

The Kalamazoo Growlers are bringing baseball back to Southwest Michigan, and the organization is making up for lost time in a big way.

Owning and operating the Kalamazoo Speedway has always been a labor of love for Gary Howe — he’s never drawn a paycheck off of it in nearly two decades.

On Monday, Northwoods League baseball teams stationed in Michigan announced their plans to finally kick off the 2020 season, kickstarting the sport for the first time this year at any level in West Michigan.

International food and drink conglomerate Nestlé SA may be interested in selling a majority of its North American waters business, a portfolio that includes the Ice Mountain brand. 

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