Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: Feb. 4, 2019

BY MiBiz Staff Thursday, February 14, 2019 12:12am

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Feb. 4, 2019.


  • Heavy truck industry supplier SAF-Holland Inc. has acquired a 51-percent stake in Nashville, Tenn.-based PressureGuard LLC, which manufactures automatic tire pressure management systems. The deal, which closed Jan. 9, also gives SAF-Holland an option to acquire the remaining outstanding shares in the company from former owner Servitech Industries Inc. SAF-Holland, which maintains its North American headquarters in Muskegon, said the purchase price was “in the low single-digit million euro range,” but did not disclose specifics.

  • Holland-based Clarion Technologies Inc. acquired certain assets and a book of business from CNI Plastics LLC of Charlotte. With the deal, Clarion Technologies broadened its customer base and added manufacturing capacity, which it redeployed to facilities in Greenville, Mich., Anderson, S.C., and Garland, Texas. The deal “will reinforce our multi-regional growth strategy and allow future expansion in the multiple markets we serve,” Clarion President and CEO John Brownlow said.

  • Grand Rapids-based engineering firm Prein & Newhof Inc. has acquired QoE Consulting PLC, a Lansing-based firm focused on airport engineering services. QoE’s founders, Gordon Bogner and Michael Borta, plan to stay on with Prein & Newhof and sought out a deal as part of a transition plan, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Prein & Newhof has offices in Grand Rapids, Holland and Traverse City.

  • Muskegon-based Betten Baker Auto Group acquired South Haven Chevrolet Buick GMC, expanding the company’s reach to Southwest Michigan. The deal for the South Haven store, which took effect Jan. 29, will add a 21st location to the growing dealership group, according to a statement. Betten Baker plans to retain all the employees at the dealership, bringing the company’s overall headcount to about 900 people.

  • Grand Rapids-based Oliver Healthcare Packaging acquired Anaheim, Calif.-based CleanCut Technologies LLC, a medical packaging provider, according to a statement. The deal included CleanCut’s packaging product portfolio, design and prototyping, 3-D printing and contract packaging, as well as a 70,000-square-foot cleanroom manufacturing facility in California. Terms of the deal, which was finalized Jan. 24, were not disclosed.

  • BHS Insurance Services, a Grandville-based independent insurance agency, grew its employee benefits department with the acquisition on Jan. 1 of Preferred Benefits Inc. Preferred has operated in greater Grand Rapids for more than 30 years. The merger is the second in two years for BHS Insurance, which has four offices in West Michigan and previously merged with Strategic Employee Benefit Services of Michigan Inc. in 2017. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

  • Zeeland-based Foresight Management acquired Grand Rapids-based Building Performance Team Inc., expanding the company’s in-house services in energy modeling and building commissioning. The asset purchase came about after the two firms worked together on projects in the past, Foresight Management President Brian Pageau told MiBiz. Pageau said he’s known Building Performance Team President James Dirkes for the past six years. Building Performance Team, an energy engineering firm, offered Foresight “deep expertise in a few very niche areas,” Pageau said in an email. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Holland-based Westshore Design LLC plans to add customers in new markets with the acquisition of Petra Electronic Manufacturing Inc., a Moline, Mich.-based electronics manufacturer. The deal expands Westshore Design into entertainment devices, pneumatic valve controls and aftermarket automotive controls, according to a statement. Petra will now operate under the Westshore Design name and will maintain its operations at 1210 144th Ave. in Moline, about 15 miles south of Grand Rapids, just east of U.S. 131. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Private equity-backed Beacon Specialized Living Services Inc., a provider of specialized residential health care services, expanded out of state with the acquisition of Saint Paul, Minn.-based Owakihi Inc., according to a statement. Owakihi provides home and community-based support services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health needs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal is an add-on acquisition for Beacon, a portfolio company of Dallas- and Nashville-based Pharos Capital Group LLC.

  • Rural wireless provider FreedomNet Wireless of Byron Center was acquired by Surf Air Wireless LLC, a La Porte, Ind.-based internet provider. FreedomNet serves rural areas mostly south of Grand Rapids, near Fowlerville and in Southwest Michigan. Surf Air Wireless’ acquisition coincided with a $40 million investment from Stamford, Conn.-based Post Road Group, a private equity and investment firm specializing in real estate, telecommunication infrastructure, media, technology, business services and health care services.


  • Kaidi LLC, a subsidiary of China-based Changzhou Kaidi Inc., plans to invest $2 million into a new headquarters facility and equipment in Holland. The company is a vertically integrated supplier of electromechanical actuators for the medical, cinema seating, home/office and automotive industries. The state is providing the company with a $450,000 performance-based Business Development Program grant to support the project, which is expected to result in 95 new jobs, according to a statement from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Lakeshore Advantage Corp.

  • Medbio Inc., a Grand Rapids-based manufacturer of injection moldings, assemblies and packaging for the medical device and biotech industry, opened a 25,000-square-foot facility adjacent to its existing plant. The facility includes a 12,000-square-foot cleanroom and houses Medbio’s medical device and diagnostic assembly and packaging lines.

  • Communications and public affairs firm Truscott Rossman Group LLC opened a new office in Washington, D.C. The location is the firm’s fourth office and the first located outside Michigan. The Lansing-based Truscott Rossman also has offices in Grand Rapids and Detroit.

Higher ed

  • Trustees at Grand Valley State University named Philomena Mantella as its next president. Mantella succeeds Tom Haas, GVSU’s president since 2006 who plans to retire on June 30. Haas will continue at GVSU as a chemistry professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Mantella comes to GVSU from Northeastern University in Boston, where she serves as senior vice president and CEO of the Lifelong Learning Network. GVSU trustees unanimously approved a five-year contract for Mantella starting July 1. She will receive a first-year salary of $480,000.

  • Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business opened The Sanford Center for Financial Planning and Wellness. The center was created with a multi-million dollar gift by alumnus Todd Sanford, CEO and founder of Sanford Financial Services Inc. of Portage. The center will serve WMU students and area residents through financial coaching where trained students will provide financial advice and resources to fellow students and community members while under the supervision of experienced financial planners and faculty.

Life sciences

  • Researchers led by scientists at Van Andel Research Institute developed a new blood test that can lead to the earlier detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer. When combined with an existing screening, the test detects nearly 70 percent of pancreatic cancers and has a false positive rate of less than 5 percent, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment for patients. Researchers plan to conduct clinical trials over the next year or two. The bulk of the clinical trials involving about 200 people will occur at hospitals and clinics in the Grand Rapids area.

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