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Joe Boomgaard

Joe Boomgaard

Managing Editor

[email protected]

The solution to helping Michigan manufacturers find qualified talent could start with some very simple steps, according to Gov. Rick Snyder.

If the automotive supply chain thinks the global car business is crazy now, they should wait until 2020.

As one of the most public evangelists for Southwest Michigan, Ron Kitchens serves as the face of economic development in a region that continues to have its share of successes.

People that know about Landscape Forms Inc. often respect the company for its designs and innovation in the niche landscape furnishings industry.

When Johnson Controls Inc. opened its advanced battery plant in Holland in 2011, the company knew the plant would likely serve a small niche for electric and hybrid vehicles in the global automotive market.

A former cab driver who studied anarchism in Russian history at the University of Michigan, Ari Weinzweig never considered starting a business and really had no interest in the food industry. But Zingerman's Deli — the beginning of the "Community of Businesses" that he and Paul Saginaw went on to create — remains an Ann Arbor institution. The pair's success and Zingerman's extraordinary customer service model have created a legacy that transcends the Kerrytown neighborhood where the deli is based. Weinzweig was in Grand Rapids mid-May for the recent Business Alliance for Local Living Economies conference.

Business is looking up for the office furniture industry. While initial forecasts from the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) International had 2012 looking like a down year for production, the industry group is planning to announce — at the NeoCon World Trade Fair in Chicago — some newly revised numbers for this year and next. Executive Director Tom Reardon said the newest forecast predicts 2012 shipments of $9.69 billion, a 3.4-percent increase from 2011, and 2013 shipments of $10.34 billion, a 6.7-percent increase from 2012

Over the more than two decades he's worked at Herman Miller Inc., President and CEO Brian Walker experienced the industry's highs and felt the pain of its steep decline during the recent recession. Today, Walker says he's "cautiously optimistic" about the industry's direction, and he's concentrating on what the company can do internally to affect its success. That's certainly kept the Zeeland-based manufacturer busy. "We're launching a total of a couple hundred products over an 18-24 month period," Walker told MiBiz during an interview at the company's showroom at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago during the NeoCon trade show. 

Max Shangle just celebrated his third decade at Kendall College of Art and Design, the last two years as dean of the college. The experienced furniture designer and design consultant said he is invigorated by the state of change at the college. He believes Kendall is poised to make a statement through its new president, the newly renovated Historic Federal Building and the three new degree programs in design collaboration, fashion studies and medical illustration. "Kendall really is ready," Shangle told MiBiz during a wide-ranging interview about design's role in business, the nature of design education and more.

WEST MICHIGAN — Six months ago, MLive Media Group Inc. announced it would turn over a new page on the statewide newspaper chain’s business model.

Beginning in February, MLive scaled back the home delivery of printed newspapers to just three days a week as the company adopted a digital-first news strategy. The switch hurt the company's audited circulation numbers, but the magnitude of the slide depends on how one interprets the data.

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