Grand Rapids & Detroit, MI—Mark Ermatinger never would have guessed a customer-appreciation event would evolve into one of the fastest-growing advanced manufacturing shows in the Midwest.
Fifteen years ago, Micron Manufacturing Co. made a bold gamble. The Walker-based manufacturer invested substantial resources into replacing more than 60 lathes and other outdated equipment with 19 state-of-the-art CNC lathes featuring autonomous capabilities. At the time, the new automation equipment was relatively unknown, and represented a big step toward what company executives thought would be the future of manufacturing for their business.
Justine Burdette took over leadership of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West early this year after the organization’s long-time director, Bill Small, departed to pursue a career in education. With a background in liberal arts and art history, Burdette — who worked as an executive assistant to Small — brings a new perspective and problem-solving skills to guide MMTC-West through the next evolution of manufacturing. Burdette believes manufacturers will need to integrate new connected technologies, cybersecurity and other measures to compete in the future. She spoke with MiBiz about what skills she brings to the table and her long-term outlook for the organization.
Even with the underlying uncertainty caused by the presidential election, West Michigan manufacturers remain generally optimistic about the year ahead.
HART — After operating for a decade, The Starting Block has helped the West Michigan craft food movement grow from an idea into the fledgling industry it is today.
West Michigan office furniture manufacturers could soon be incorporating scrap wood into the production of their products through a new partnership with Michigan Technological University.