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John Wiegand

John Wiegand

Staff writer

[email protected]

Mark Miller took on the role of CEO at Cascade Engineering Inc. in September after founder Fred Keller stepped down from the company’s day-to-day operations. The manufacturer of plastic injection moldings and components for a multitude of industries, including automotive and renewable energy, plans to see double-digit growth in 2015. While strong commodity prices are creating some headwinds, the company’s overarching concern is talent.

Increasingly confident consumers with more cash in their pockets have Diane Maher optimistic about the automotive retail market going into next year. The firm’s Grand Rapids-based Fox Motor Group LLC — a so-called ‘mega dealer’ that generated $631 million in sales last year — sells 43 brands at two dozen locations in Grand Rapids, northern Michigan and Chicago.

At a time when many energy-based companies are diversifying into the gas and oil industries, Dan Scripps, a former State Representative who now leads the trade association Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, sees alternative and advanced energy sources such as solar, wind and biodigesters becoming a more prevalent part of the energy mix, even amid regulatory uncertainties.

Sunday, 21 December 2014 22:00

Crystal Ball 2015: Yang Kim, Peopledesign

After a period in which companies across the board slashed their marketing budgets during and after the recession, the improving business climate of late has caused executives to loosen the purse strings, leading to a significant reinvestment in advertising, said Yang Kim of Peopledesign in Grand Rapids. Increasingly, the better economy has also led companies from a variety of industries to look at marketing as a strategy to remain competitive.

Thursday, 18 December 2014 11:45

Clemens Food Group invests $255M in Coldwater

Pennsylvania-based Clemens Food Group recently announced its plans to open a pork processing operation in Coldwater Township. The company expects to invest approximately $255 million in the project and create 810 jobs at its new facility.

Diversity in the West Michigan economy will be the driving force behind growth in 2015. That’s according to George Erickcek, senior regional analyst at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. The message was delivered to a crowd of business leaders at the annual West Michigan Economic Outlook hosted by The Right Place Inc.

Even though the first taste of winter snow that came in November is now long gone, ski hills throughout Michigan have taken advantage of the early cold snap to kick off their ski season and build momentum for the months ahead.

A commitment to technology and staying ahead of the curve has driven one family-owned West Michigan manufacturer to become one of the largest automotive suppliers in the region.

After a customer’s firearm business failed, Jenison-based Next Level Manufacturing LLC decided to use its expertise in high-end machining to spin off its own line of specialty rifles.

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