Regional Industries

Manufacturers Council

Establishing the region as an international center for manufacturing productivity

Increasing Competitiveness Through Collaboration

Convened in 1989, The Right Place | The Center-West Manufacturers Council is dedicated to the business success of the region’s manufacturing industry. The council’s vision is to establish the West Michigan region as an international center for manufacturing productivity. Members work together in a collaborative environment to promote, facilitate, enable, and advocate for advancing a “best-in-class” manufacturing sector.

Manufacturers Council Executive Team

  • Chair | Chris Bardeggia, Vice President of Global Quality & Lean, Steelcase
  • Vice Chair | James Kolodziej, Operations Manager, Flexco
  • Past Chair | Patrick Greene, President, Cascade Die Casting Group, Inc.
  • Workforce Development Chair | Steve Heethuis, Talent Development Manager, Praeco Skills
  • Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, Board Representative | Michael Davenport, President & CEO, Jireh Metal Products
  • Member at Large | David Beemer, Retired, Terryberry
  • Member at Large | Peter Hungerford, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, ADAC Automotive
  • The Right Place, Inc. | The Center-West | Terry Hossink, Vice President of Manufacturing Services, The Center-West
  • Administrator | René Booker, Program Manager, The Center-West

Benefits of Manufacturers Council Membership


Membership in the Manufacturers Council provides an opportunity to create new collaborations with other manufacturing members and educational institutions. Many companies have worked together on everything from supply chain ordering to talent development and training.

Best Practice Learning

As part of a trusted group of manufacturing leaders, participating members share best practices and new learning with other members of the council. Plant tours and operational reviews are often part of sharing best practices.

Voice of Manufacturing in West Michigan

Since 1989, The Right Place | The Center-West Manufacturers Council has provided a voice for West Michigan’s manufacturing community. Throughout that time, the council has had the opportunity to meet with and educate local, state, and federal elected officials, government departments, and future candidates on the opportunities and challenges facing manufacturers in the region.


As a member of the Manufacturers Council, you have the ability to network with other members of the council and their teams. This private networking opportunity provides a chance to develop new relationships and partnerships in the region.

Solving Common Challenges

Many of the problems facing West Michigan manufacturers are not unique to an individual business. The Manufacturers Council provides a platform and time to discuss these common challenges and address them as a team of companies. Discussions have and continue to focus on cost improvement strategies, talent development and retention, innovation, and sustainability.

Join the Manufacturers Council


  • The company must be a Right Place, Inc. investor. Additionally, the Manufacturers Council membership of $1,200 is invoiced annually.
  • Membership is by company not individual. A council members company is responsible for replacing individuals should a council member leave the company.
  • Membership is for manufacturers and select others invited by the Executive Committee that reside in any of the 13 counties which make up MEDC Region 4.
  • The company must be represented by a key decision maker in the company. The company leader or designee is expected to attend council functions and events.
  • A company that is not a member of the Council may be invited to join a working group.
  • Members are asked to treat each other with respect, mindful of customer/supplier and/or competitor relationships. Particular consideration should be given to hiring practices as it relates to recruiting member companies' personnel.
  • On an as needed basis, council leadership to contact “lost” members to solidify membership.
  • If a Manufacturers Council member representative retires, he or she is eligible for continuing participation in the council if 1) he or she was actively involved in the council for the past five years (minimum) and 2) he or she was a high-level executive for a manufacturing company 3) continued participation is agreed to by the Executive Committee and can be reviewed annually.

Interested in Joining? Contact us today


René Booker

Program Manager, MMTC-West

René Booker is program manager for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West, providing support for events, marketing, and internal continuous improvement efforts. She also supports The Right Place/MMTC-West Manufacturers and Supply Chain Management Councils.

Full Bio

Manufacturers Council Member Directory

If you would like to contact any members of the Manufacturers Council, please contact Rene Booker at or 616.301.6247.

* = Executive Team Members

  • ADAC Automotive, Peter Hungerford, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer *
  • Amway Corporation, Daniel Gabraith, Director | Nutrition Manufacturing
  • Aquinas College, Dr. Katharina Hausler-Gross, Associate Provost for Outreach and Engagement
  • BISSELL, Larry Griesbach, Manager Technical Services
  • Bradford White, Peter Kattula,Vice President of Operations
  • Cascade Die Casting Group, Inc., Patrick Greene, President, Past Chair*
  • Cascade Engineering, Steve Bushong, VP of Operations
  • Comfort Research, Ann Mason, SVP of Supply Chain and Operations
  • DeWys Manufacturing, Jon DeWys, President
  • DISHER, Joe Dyer, President*
  • Ferris State University, Gary Wendlowsky, Director of Corporate and Professional Development
  • Flexco, Doug Saunders, Director of Operations
  • Flexco, James Kolodziej, Operations Manager, Vice Chair *
  • GHSP, Dan Dawiedczyk, President
  • Grand Rapids Community College, Julie Parks, Executive Director of Workforce Training
  • Grand Rapids Controls Co., Mike Hofmann, Global Quality Manager
  • Grand Valley State University, Dr. Paul Plotkowski, Dean, Padnos College of Engineering and Computing
  • Irwin Seating Company, Graham Irwin, President and CEO
  • Jireh Metal, Michael Davenport, President and CEO *
  • Lacks Trim Systems, Tony DeNardo, General Manager
  • Leggett & Platt – Work Furniture Group, Bob Ballard, Senior Vice President of Global Operations
  • Michigan State University, Brad Fingland, Director, Venture Creation - Physical Sciences
  • MillerKnoll, Beau Seaver, Vice President of Global Advanced Manufacturing
  • NN, Inc. | Mobile Solutions Group, Rhonda DeBoer, Group VP, HR, Mobile and Power Solution
  • Nucraft Furniture, Scott Petzhold, Vice President of Human Resources
  • ORKA Automation, Michael Ramirez, Partner & President
  • Praeco Skills, Steve Heethuis, Director of Talent Development*
  • RoMan Manufacturing Inc., Nelson Sanchez, CEO
  • Steelcase, Chris Bardeggia, VP, Global Quality and Lean - Chair *
  • TACK Electronics, Todd Maines, President *
  • Terryberry, David Beemer, Retired*
  • The Right Place, Inc. | The Center-West, Terry Hossink, Vice President of Manufacturing Services *
  • The Right Place, Inc. | The Center-West, René Booker, Program Manager *
  • Unist, Chuck Boelkins, President
  • Western Michigan University, Steven Butt, Ph.D., Dean, Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management
  • Wolverine Coil Spring Co., Jay Dunwell, President