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manufacturing2017

MUSKEGON — After a career spent in a variety of management and sales roles in the packaging industry, Rich Wilson decided it was time to strike out on his own. 

KALAMAZOO — The U.S. Air Force could rely on satellites designed by Western Michigan University students to diagnose issues with high-tech propulsion systems in space.

After months of depressed oil prices, West Michigan manufacturers with operations in the oil-and-gas industry could soon experience a reprieve. 

NEW TROY — After a large bet on the oil and gas industry went south several years ago, Vickers Engineering Inc. struggled to position itself for growth. 

After one of the largest political upsets in recent history, West Michigan automotive suppliers have started assessing how a Donald Trump presidency could affect their industry. 

GRAND RAPIDS — When hackers shut down popular websites including Twitter and Spotify in October, they enlisted myriad devices, ranging from coffee makers and appliances to webcams, to carry out the attack. 

KALAMAZOO — When Folia Water Inc. sought to partner with a paper manufacturer to advance its water filtration technology from the initial proof of concept phase, the company faced a dilemma. 

While West Michigan may lack the depth of resources and talent that some regions of the country possess when it comes to the medical device industry, it may have one key advantage: the affordability of its contract manufacturing. 

HOLLAND — Stepping into the showroom at Cento Anni LLC is a sensory experience. 

ZEELAND — The talent crunch has created a conundrum for many West Michigan manufacturers. 

GALESBURG — After more than 50 years operating in the same building, Impact Label Corp. has relocated its headquarters from Kalamazoo to Galesburg. 

As waves of baby boomers continue to reach retirement age, many have faced the prospect of selling the manufacturing companies they’ve built over the years. 

CHARLOTTE — Spartan Motors Inc. has landed on the short list for a potentially large government contract to make the next generation of delivery vehicles for the United States Postal Service. 

HOLLAND — As robotic technology continues to improve, manufacturers of automation equipment are finding their customers demand larger, more complex systems.

The automotive industry has been very good for West Michigan, in spite of the challenges that it has dished up for component suppliers over the last several decades. 

Editor’s note:
 
After more than 13 years of writing the Auto Focus column for MiBiz, Melissa Anderson plans to retire as a columnist, effective immediately, as she winds down her storied career in automotive analysis and research. In the short term, she and her husband plan to travel in the Southern Hemisphere. “I have enjoyed writing the column and it has been a good long run,” Anderson said. Anderson’s business intelligence on the automotive industry will be missed. “Melissa was our ideal business columnist because she was able to talk with a lot of knowledge about trends in the global automotive industry while also providing a lot of local context, examples and data,” said MiBiz Publisher Brian Edwards. MiBiz will continue its search for a new automotive/manufacturing columnist throughout the coming months.

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