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 | Patrick Greene, President, Cascade Die Casting Group, Inc.
  • Vice Chair | Chris Bardeggia, Vice President of Global Quality & Lean, Steelcase
  • Past Chair | David Beemer, Chief Operating Officer, Terryberry
  • Facilitator | Justine Burdette, Vice President of Technical Services, The Right Place, Inc./Regional Director, The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West
  • Workforce Development Chair | Steve Heethuis, Training Director, NN Inc. | Mobile Solutions Group
  • Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, Board Representative | Michael Davenport, President & CEO, Jireh Metal Products
  • Membership Chair | Todd Maines, TACK Electronics
  • Continuous Improvement Champion | James Kolodziej, Operations Manager, Flexco
  • Member at Large | Peter Hungerford, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, ADAC Automotive
  • The Right Place, Inc. | Brad Comment, Senior Vice President Investor Relations, The Right Place
  • Retired Member | John Fynewever
  • Administrator | René Booker, Executive Assistant, The Center-West

Benefits of Manufacturers Council Membership

Collaboration

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.

Networking

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

Eligibility:

  • 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 30 continued participation is agreed to by the Executive Committee and can be reviewed annually.

Interested in Joining? Contact us today

Rene-Booker-Headshot

Rene Booker

Executive Assistant, The Center-West

René Booker provides administrative support for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West (The Center-West) events, marketing, and internal continuous improvement efforts. She also supports The Right Place/The Center-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 bookerr@rightplace.org or 616.301.6247.

* = Executive Team Members

  • ADAC Automotive, Peter Hungerford, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer *
  • Alro Steel, Randy Maitland, Vice President and General Manager
  • Amway Corporation, Bradley Rick, Director of Manufacturing Operations
  • Aquinas, Katharina Hausler-Gross, Associate Provost for Outreach and Engagement
  • BISSELL, Kara Smith, Senior Director - North American Operations & Consumables
  • Bradford White, Peter Kattula,Vice President of Operations
  • Cascade Die Casting Group, Inc., Patrick Greene, President, Chair*
  • Cascade Engineering, Christina Keller, President - Cascade Business Team
  • Conveyability, Inc. Heath Verstraete, President
  • D&M Metal Products, Bob Buist, President
  • DeWys Manufacturing, Jon DeWys, President
  • Ferris State University, Gary Wendlowsky, Senior Coordinator of Camps & Conferences
  • Flexco, Doug Saunders, Director of Operations *
  • Grand Rapids Community College, Bill Pink, Ph.D., President
  • Grand Valley State University, Paul Plotkowski, Ph.D., Dean, Padnos College of Engineering and Computing
  • Herman Miller, Beau Seaver, Vice President of Global Advanced Manufacturing
  • Irwin Seating Company, Graham Irwin, President and CEO
  • Jireh Metal, Michael Davenport, President and CEO *
  • Lacks Trim Systems, Curt Webb, Director of Supply Chain
  • Leggett & Platt – Work Furniture Group, Bob Ballard, Senior Vice President of Global Operations
  • Master Finish Company, John Mulder, COO
  • Medbio, Inc., Christopher Williams, President and CEO,
  • Michigan State University, Kevin McCurren, Commercialization Program Director - Gateway Grand Rapids
  • NK Manufacturing Technologies LLC, Jake Kassouni, Sales Engineer
  • NN, Inc. | Mobile Solutions Group, John Buchan, Executive Vice President - Mobile Solutions & Power Solutions
  • NN, Inc. | Mobile Solutions Group, Steve Heethuis, Training Director *
  • Nucraft Furniture, Scott Petzhold, Vice President of Human Resources
  • Ranir - A Perrigo Company, Ann Mason, Senior Director of Oral Care Operations and Supply Planning
  • Retired Member - John Fynewever *
  • RoMan Manufacturing Inc., Robert Roth, President and CEO
  • Steelcase, Chris Bardeggia, Vice President, Global Quality and Lean - Vice Chair *
  • TACK Electronics, Todd Maines, President *
  • Terryberry, David Beemer, COO *
  • The Right Place, Inc., Brad Comment, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations *
  • The Right Place, Inc. | The Center-West, Justine Burdette, Vice President, Technical Services, The Right Place, The Center-West Regional Director *
  • The Right Place, Inc. | The Center-West, René Booker, Executive Assistant *
  • Unist, Chuck Boelkins, President
  • Western Michigan University, David Meade, Ph.D., Associate Professor
  • Wolverine Coil Spring Co., Jay Dunwell, President