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After more than 40 years of marriage, Eileen Kanaar knows what it takes to get her husband, Greg, to listen. But now that she's majority owner of their family-owned business, she's also learning what it's like to be his boss.

After a tumultuous decade, manufacturers are again helping drive Michigan’s economy, rather than dragging it into the abyss as the sector did during the recession.

Sustainably successful

Written by | Friday, 27 April 2012 14:16 |

Despite the deep impact of the recession on the office furniture industry, newcomer izzy+ stayed true to its principles around sustainability and design-fueled innovation. Founder Chuck Saylor discusses how the company managed through the turmoil after wrapping up a sizable acquisition and how the industry remains committed to driving sustainability in products, suppliers and raw materials.

Manufacturing executives like Jim Zawacki at Grand Rapids Spring & Stamping Inc. both relish and loathe the thought of an onslaught of business coming back to the United States from foreign countries.

MarketLab sparks innovation

Written by | Tuesday, 17 April 2012 10:03 |

CALEDONIA — The medical device industry could be one of West Michigan’s most under-appreciated sectors, at least if you ask Tom Howing, the new product development manager at MarketLab Inc.

While still considered an exotic material in the automotive industry, carbon fiber could become more commonplace as its cost comes down — and as automakers try to shave weight from their vehicles to meet stricter fuel standards.

The automotive industry continues to experience positive results as consumers become increasingly comfortable with the idea of shelling out hard-earned dollars for a new vehicle again. Industry observers cheered when February sales exceeded expectations and came in at the highest annualized rate in four years, up 16 percent over last year.

WEST MICHIGAN — The Ann Arbor-based Clean Energy Coalition wants Michigan to be prepared for more electric vehicles on the road.

Cascade’s Xtreme RFID embraces tech

Written by | Friday, 06 April 2012 09:14 |

A local manufacturer wants to harness the power of information and technology to provide customers with data they can use to run their operations — or to drive behavioral changes.

The good news is that the West Michigan manufacturing sector is definitely rebounding. Demand is up. The new challenge, as we have discussed in the first two stories in this series, is that the supply of skilled workers, especially engineers, is down.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s consideration of allowing certain prescription drugs for sale as over-the-counter medications provides further future growth potential for Perrigo Co.

Coming out of one of the most tumultuous periods in the history of the automotive industry, ADAC Automotive is aggressively investing in new facilities and technology to position it to diversify into new clients and new industries.

Manufacturer opts to grow its own talent

Written by | Wednesday, 21 March 2012 12:31 |

Bryan Heath survived a Marine Corps boot camp and three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan but never realized how tough it would be to find a job in the civilian world.

Office furniture expected to dip in 2012

Written by | Monday, 19 March 2012 10:08 |

After posting strong growth for 2011, the office furniture industry will experience a small decline this year and then pick up again in 2013, according to a new forecast.

Trucks: The other vehicle market

Written by | Monday, 19 March 2012 09:42 |

The automotive industry looms large in West Michigan, but it is not the only vehicular game in town

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