©2014 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

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Pure Michigan Business Success Stories

  • 906 Technologies

    Lee Francisco, CEO and Founder

    Launched in 2005, 906 Technologies offers a full range of services including IT support, website design, app development and custom software programming. Since it opened its door, 906 has doubled its revenue each year and projects a 50 percent increase in 2013. This success hasn’t gone unnoticed as they were the proud recipient of Michigan 50 Companies to Watch Award in 2013.

  • Algal Scientific

    Geoff Horst, CEO

    How do you solve the problem of toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes? The answer to that question became the impetus for Algal Scientific, which was founded in 2009. Its mission is to use algae to treat high-strength wastewater from a variety of industries. After winning several prizes and awards for innovation, the Michigan company was able to obtain cutting-edge biotech lab facilities at the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center. Algal further expanded its research team with world-class experts in Michigan and is now commercializing a technology to produce high-value nutraceutical compounds from pure algal cultures.

  • Bell's Brewery

    With just a 15-gallon soup kettle and a quest for better beer, Bell’s Brewery got its start in 1985 when most didn’t even know what a Russian Imperial Stout or even an IPA was. Since then, they have grown into a regional craft brewery that produced 216,000 barrels of award-winning beer in 2012. Expansion efforts are underway in Comstock with the addition of a canning line and additional fermentation space. Also, a division of Bell’s called Upper Hand Brewery will open in Escanaba to brew and bottle an entirely new line of beer for distribution across Michigan’s U.P. and neighboring northern states, part of a company-wide investment of $15 million.

  • Chateau Chantal

    Jim Krupka, President and CEO

    Rated a Top 10 Wine Country Inn, Chateau Chantal was founded in 1993 along the shores of Grand Traverse Bay. In 2003, the winery and B&B was expanded with a 15,000-square-foot addition. The 65-acre estate on Old Mission Peninsula provides guests with a unique destination that combines vineyards and a winery, a bed and breakfast, winding roads, fresh air and beautiful views. Chateau Chantal focuses on vinifera varietals of wine including Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and other varietals.

  • Cherry Republic

    Bob Sutherland, Founder and President

    Cherry Republic started over 25 years ago as a T-shirt sold out of the trunk of a car. Since then, the company has grown to sell over 175 different cherry products. Cherry Republic now has four stores, a large catalog and Internet business and they sell their products to 450 other stores in the Midwest. Located in Glen Arbor, the company’s main campus is home to the Grand Café, featuring an everything cherry bakery, ice creamery and sandwich counter; the Stomphouse Winery, which offers cherry wine and soda pop tasting for all ages; and finally, the Great Hall, a sampling and gifting cathedral to everything cherry. During the holidays, the company employs 275 employees.

  • Children's Hospital of Michigan

    Children's Hospital of Michigan

    Ranked among America’s best children’s hospitals in U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Hospital of Michigan is the first and most experienced hospital in the state completely dedicated to treating and researching childhood illness and injury. With more than 40 specialties, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan sees more kids and trains more pediatric medical and surgical experts than any other hospital in the state. Additionally, Parent’s Magazine named Children’s Hospital of Michigan one of the 10 Best Children’s Hospitals for Emergency Care and Preemie Care in 2013. Children's Hospital of Michigan is one of eight hospitals operated by the Detroit Medical Center (DMC).

  • Connor Flooring

    Ron Cerny, President and CEO

    It’s not a stretch to say Connor Flooring is the champion of wood gym flooring. After all, the company has made courts for the NCAA Final Four tournament, as well as courts for the NBA and USA Volleyball. With a key plant in Amasa, Michigan, the company uses hard maple from the Upper Peninsula and employs over 125 people in Iron County. That prized Michigan lumber is put to good use on over 750 new playing courts every year.

  • DeNovo Sciences

    Priya Gogoi & Saedeh Sepehri, Co-Founders

    After winning the $500,000 grand prize at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, DeNovo Sciences never looked back. They are now one of the leading companies in the development of cutting-edge technology for early cancer detection. With access to two world-class cancer hospitals and an ideal mix of talent and resources, DeNovo Sciences is utilizing the resources of Michigan to succeed worldwide.

  • Detroit Bus Company

    Andy Didorosi, President, The Detroit Bus Company

    Detroit Bus Company is a private bus line designed to fill the current transit gap in the city. The company offers daily routes, special events and private rents that will help alleviate Detroit’s growing transit issue, get people back to work and make it easy for more people to travel into Detroit. DBC is hoping to relieve Detroit of much of its car-based problems which involve traffic congestion and parking scarcity. The company’s goal is to develop a new system that will help people, and students, travel efficiently.

  • Detroit vs Everybody

    Tommey Walker, Founder and Designer, Detroit vs. Everybody

    Graphic designer Tommey Walker designed album covers for some of Detroit’s biggest names in music. But then he launched Detroit vs. Everybody, an effort to inspire the city and promote unity. And when his line was featured on Stephen Colbert’s comedy show, sales took off. Sales have skyrocketed and walk-in business at his store in Detroit is booming. Walker believes his Detroit vs. Everybody line of apparel is helping remind people of how much Detroit has contributed to the culture of America.

  • DTE Energy Foundation

    Faye Nelson, President of the DTE Energy Foundation and Vice President of Public Affairs

    DTE Energy was established 1903 and is Michigan’s largest energy company. For more than 150 years, DTE has served the homes and businesses of Michigan with reliable and affordable electric and natural gas service. Currently, DTE Energy has more than 2,500 employees and services an area of nearly 7,600 square miles. The company’s operations include about 1 million utility poles, 44,000 miles of power lines, nine fossil fuel generating plants as well as the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant. In addition to relying on Michigan’s abundant supply of natural gas, DTE Energy uses its pipelines to link customers to energy sources in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, the Rockies, the Gulf of Mexico and Western Canada.

  • Ford Rouge Plant

    Bill Ford, Chairman, Ford Motor Company, Ford Rouge Center

    Construction of the Ford Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, began in 1917 and was completed in 1928, when it became the largest integrated factory in the world. Today, this industrial park includes six Ford factories on 600 acres of land. The Rouge is still Ford’s largest factory and employs close to 5,000 workers. Recently, the factory has been reimagined as a model of sustainable manufacturing by using natural processes, bringing daylight and fresh air back into the complex and cultivating North America’s largest living roof.

    Bill Ford
  • Grand Traverse Pie Company

    Mike Busley, Founder

    In 1996, the Busley family quit their jobs and risked everything they had to open the Grand Traverse Pie Company. Now, there are 15 shops across Michigan and Indiana serving gourmet soups, sandwiches, salads, pot pies, quiche, espresso and 40 varieties of pie. The company’s slogan is “Warming Hearts and Community through Pie.” Committed to quality products, warm and friendly service and truly making a positive difference in their customers’ day, the company has just opened its newest GTPie Shop in Portage, Michigan, and its products are available for delivery across the country by Foodydirect.

  • InfoReady

    Bhushan Kulkarni, Co-Founder, President and CEO

    InfoReady is an IT company that creates apps to help other companies manage their data more efficiently using their Knowspace platform. The company is led by veteran technology entrepreneurs Bhushan Kulkarni and Jim Diggs. Kulkarni has won a host of awards, including “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young, and a Crain’s Detroit Business “40 Under 40” award. Diggs was an original executive team member of the successful start-up, BlueGill Technologies. InfoReady is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan and its resources are used by more than 35 universities, economic development organizations and local governments.

    InfoReady
  • Lafayette Greens

    Gwen Meyer, Garden Coordinator & Megan Heeres, Garden Program Manager

    A downtown Detroit green space and urban garden, Lafayette Greens was created by Compuware to beautify downtown Detroit in an innovative and hands-on manner. The space provides an opportunity for employees, as well as downtown neighbors and visitors, to learn about and enjoy gardening in an urban setting. The produce grown in the garden is donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank, Freedom House and other organizations and food distributors. Volunteers who work and help maintain the space are also able to take home food.

  • Lansing Capital Region International Airport

    Bob Selig, Executive Director

    Capital Region International Airport is a public airport three miles northwest of Lansing, Michigan. The airport serves a population of over 6 million people and is an important asset that generates $1 billion every year to the area’s regional economy. Hundreds of thousands of travelers use the airport each year to connect to the world through major airlines. Recently, the airport was awarded a federal grant for infrastructure improvements. The grant will fund the airport’s repaving some runways, upgrading the runway lighting system and removing trees. Additionally, the airport has been designated as an International Port of Entry into the United States, with a Federal Inspection Station and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on duty to process international passengers and cargo.

  • M-22

    Keegan Myers & Matt Myers, Co-Founders

    Kiteboarding icons Matt and Keegan Myers, also known as “The Broneah Brothers,” fell in love with M-22, a highway in Northern Michigan associated with bays, beaches, bonfires, dunes, vineyards, cottages, and friends and family. In 2003, the brothers produced T-shirts and stickers with the M-22 road sign. The brand sparked a passion and sales blossomed. The product line has continued to expand with new apparel and accessories. M22.com and an M-22 company store opened in downtown Traverse City and the distribution of the growing M-22 product line has taken off.

    M22
  • Michigan State University

    Professor David Closs, Program Founder

    The MSU Broad College of Business was recently recognized in national ranking as #1 in supply chain management education. Programs range from undergraduate and graduate degrees to executive education and corporate learning programs. The program creates a close-knit learning environment while teaching students to apply their new-found knowledge to the real world through practical, hands-on activities and projects. Professor David Closs, a Michigan State University supply chain expert, has been appointed to a newly formed state commission on transportation and logistics issues.

  • Plymouth Technology

    Founded in 1991, Plymouth Technology is a dynamic, privately owned water treatment company. In 2010, Amanda Christides, president and CEO of Plymouth Technology, was named AT&T Innovator of the Year in the Detroit area. She was also named to the 2011 “40 under 40” class by Crain’s Detroit Business. Record sales in 2010 and 2011 have helped the company expand. Plymouth Technology has grown from about eight employees to 31, including 15 chemists working on R&D at its 10,000-square-foot Rochester Hills SmartZone headquarters.

  • Port Detroit

    The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority

    The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority (DWCPA) was established to promote Detroit as a distribution hub and foster economic growth in the city of Detroit, Wayne County and the state of Michigan. Each year, the Port of Detroit sees more than 17 million tons of cargo at 29 private and public sector terminal facilities across the region. The Port Authority opened the $22 million Port Detroit Public Dock and Terminal on July 18, 2011, to attract Great Lakes cruise ships, and possibly to begin passenger ferry service between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

  • Seelio

    Moses Lee, Michael Deming, and David Jsa , Co-Founders

    Located in Ann Arbor, Seelio is an educational services and technology company that lets students easily and beautifully document their works, projects and passions with professional online portfolios. Initially, the platform was open only to students at the University of Michigan, but in August of 2012, Seelio launched to the world with a vision that college students everywhere could use it to show who they truly are and what they can accomplish. Seelio enables students to create a professional persona and allows them to take control of their online presence in a way they can’t on popular sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Backed by investors with decades of experience in higher education, Seelio is deploying full-service, custom portfolio networks for leading universities such as the University of Michigan, the University of Texas at Austin and West Virginia University.

    Seelio
  • Stik.com

    Nathan Labenz and Jay Gierak, Founders, Stik.com

    For the founders of Stik.com, a service that helps companies collect and showcase customer reviews, true success didn’t coincide with their arrival in Silicon Valley. More accurately, it came with their departure from Silicon Valley and a return to Detroit. In Michigan, they found an unbeatable talent pool, a vast support network, and a culture of innovation. Now, Stik.com is growing faster than ever before, right here in Michigan.

    Stik.com
  • Stormy Kromer

    Gina Thorsen, Vice President

    In 2001, Bob Jacquart, CEO of Jacquart Fabric Products in Ironwood, Michigan, learned that the Kromer Cap Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was about to discontinue production of its legendary Blizzard Cap. Less than a month later, Bob was the proud new owner of the Kromer Blizzard Cap. He quickly made a few subtle changes to the iconic headgear, including changing the name to the Stormy Kromer Cap. Over the next 10 years, Bob invested in Stormy Kromer and today, annual production of the caps is 20 times what it was in 2001 and the product line has expanded from 16 to over 100 SKUs in men’s and women’s apparel and accessories, all made in the U.S.A.

    Stormy Kromer
  • TekWissen

    Manish Senta, Director of Business Development, TekWissen

    TekWissen is a technology services company that specializes in global innovation and design. Established in 2009, the firm’s founder selected Michigan based on its talented pool of well-educated experts in the technology field. Utilizing these resources has been a boom to the company as it keeps its fingers on the pulse of a rapidly changing industry. TekWissen has built an enviable portfolio of capabilities and is continuing to develop new and innovative projects.

    Tekwissen
  • Two Men and a Truck

    Brig Sorber, CEO, Mary Ellen Sheets, Founder, Melanie Bergeron, Chair, and Jon Sorber, Executive V.P.

    In the early 1980s, two brothers from Lansing started the company Two Men and a Truck. Since then, the company has grown into a fleet of 1,500 trucks and is the nation’s largest franchised local moving company. A true Michigan success story, Two Men and a Truck show no signs of slowing down, with plans to expand internationally.

  • UpTo

    Greg Schwartz, CEO and Co-Founder; Chris Kaufman, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder; Mat Piccinato, Chief of Mobile and Co-Founder; Dave Webber, Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder

    UpTo is an innovative tech start-up that is redefining the calendar. UpTo’s calendar app for iPhone and Android offers consumers an all-encompassing view of what’s coming up based on their own schedule, their likes and their interests. UpTo offers businesses and organizations a modern calendar that transforms static lists of events into beautiful, social and engaging calendar experiences. The company’s founders, all Michigan natives, chose to locate their business in Michigan to take advantage of the area’s incredible resources, including creative talent, tech know-how, venture capital firms and entrepreneurial energy.

    UpTo
  • Vectorform

    Jason Vazzano, CEO & Co-founder, Kurt Steckling, CEO & Co-founder

    Think Tank. Lab. Studio. Vectorform invents digital products and experiences with a focus on innovative mobile and emerging technology solutions. They work to deliver best-in-class contemporary insight to create game-changing experiences for the world’s most influential brands, including Microsoft, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Nike and Disney. Vectorform was founded in 1999 by Jason Vazzano, Kurt Steckling and Karl Steckling. The company is headquartered in Royal Oak and has five offices globally.

    VectorForm
  • Whirlpool

    Jeff Fettig, CEO

    Founded in 1911, Whirlpool began by producing electric, motor-driven wringer washers. Today, Whirlpool Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of more than $19 billion in 2013, 69,000 employees and 59 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world.

    Whirlpool