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An investment by private equity firm Vance Street Capital of Los Angeles will help Motion Dynamics Corp. in Fruitport accelerate growth. An investment by private equity firm Vance Street Capital of Los Angeles will help Motion Dynamics Corp. in Fruitport accelerate growth. Photo Courtesy of Via Design

Med device supplier secures PE investment to further growth strategy

BY Sunday, September 18, 2016 01:52pm

FRUITPORT — A connection Chris Witham made five years ago at a trade show in Anaheim, Calif. culminated in a major investment that will position Motion Dynamics Corp. for growth in the medical device industry.

Representatives from Los Angeles-based Vance Street Capital LLC kept in touch with Witham over the years following their meeting at the Medical Device & Manufacturing West show.

When the Fruitport-based Motion Dynamics came to the point where it needed a capital infusion to support growth, Witham cut a deal for the private equity firm to acquire a majority stake in the company. Witham continues as CEO and retains a minority but “significant portion” of Motion Dynamics, a company his father, Dick Witham, founded in 1992. 

The investment from Vance Street Capital, a private equity firm that specializes in the medical, aerospace and defense sectors, makes “just the perfect fit” for Motion Dynamics. The investment firm provides not only needed capital but expertise and networks within the medical device industry that Motion Dynamics can tap to enter new markets and secure additional customers.

“All of the arrows aligned,” Witham said. “Their goals and our goals overlay identically. It was an opportunity that just, to me, made perfect sense.”

The company’s management team also remains intact and the business will “absolutely” stay in Fruitport, he said. 

“This is only going to help Muskegon County. This is going to accelerate our growth and employees,” said Witham, who declined to say how much Vance Street Capital invested in the recapitalization of the company.

Operating from a 40,000-square-foot facility on Airline Road that it built less than two years ago, Motion Dynamics designs, engineers and produces tiny metal components and sub-assemblies used in disposable medical devices, mostly for neurological and cardiology applications such as pacemakers and catheters. Some wires have a diameter as small as one-sixth the size of a strand of human hair.

“The Motion Dynamics opportunity is a perfect situation for Vance Street to support a world-class management team that has positioned the company in attractive, high-growth end markets with a strong focus on providing customers the highest level of design and complex manufacturing services,” John LeRosen, a principal at Vance Street Capital, said in a statement. “Chris and his senior management team have built a unique company and we are excited to help them take the business to the next level.”

Motion Dynamics, with 119 employees, has annual sales of about $20 million and is poised to grow 15 percent this year, which would follow a 35-percent growth rate in 2015 and a 15-percent pace in 2014. The company produces products for clients in 31 states and 19 countries.

As Motion Dynamics sought to accelerate growth and “take our performance to an even higher level,” it required a capital investment to obtain additional manufacturing capability and processes, such as laser cutting, that are required for the markets it plans to target, Witham said.

“We’ve been growing well, but the next step is more vertically integrated,” he said.

The company chose Vance Street Capital for the recapitalization based on the firm’s expertise and its ability to assist in pursuing further growth that goes beyond the financial investment.

“The group that we partnered with is a very special group. This was not a ‘whoever is the highest bidder is doing this deal,’ as they say,” Witham said. “It was driven by their skills and how they operate.”

Grand Rapids law firm Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummisky PLC served as Motion Dynamics’ legal advisers in the deal. The company also worked with Grand Rapids-based investment banking firm Charter Capital Partners as its financial adviser.  

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