Pure Michigan Business Success Stories

Mastronardi Produce

The Mastronardi family pioneered the North American greenhouse industry in the 1940s and now grows gourmet tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico under their SUNSET® brand. Recently, an extensive search for the next location of a major greenhouse led the company to Coldwater, Michigan, where they will produce and ship millions of pounds of tomatoes year round. With an emphasis on developing new commodities, Mastronardi/SUNSET® now also exports to Japan, the Caribbean and, most recently, Taiwan.

Michigan State University - Supply Chain Management

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.

Michigan Valley Irrigation

In 1985, Neal Krieger purchased Universal Farm Sales, changed the name to Michigan Valley Irrigation and moved the company from Carrolton to Vassar, Michigan. The company is a full-service agricultural irrigation company for specialty crops as well as irrigation for hay. The company also manages waste water and is equipped to design and install every aspect of a new irrigation project.


Begun at Wayne State University, MitoStem specializes in turning human adult cells into pluripotent cells that can be used to replace damaged tissue cells in that same individual. In July 2012, MitoStem won a $100,000 prize that will allow it to further develop its technology. More recently, MitoStem hired a new CEO and a new CFO to help the company raise $500 thousand in angel investor funding.


Steve LeBeau, President and CEO

Fractured and broken bones don’t fix themselves. Fortunately, there are companies like nanoMAG, LLC. This Michigan biomaterials engineering firm is developing a new class of materials for orthopaedic implants that are double the strength of commercial bioabsorbable polymer and fortified with elements essential to the body. “We have benefited greatly from collaboration with local universities, MichBio and seed money from the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition,” said Steve LeBeau, President and CEO of nanoMAG. It’s a perfect example of how strong businesses can grow in Pure Michigan.

New Eagle

Technology that specializes in control systems to make alternative fuel vehicles run smoother and more sustainably is the focus of New Eagle. Owners Rich and Mickey Swortzel launched New Eagle in 2008. New Eagle is continuing its growth streak in Ann Arbor thanks to new partnerships with other automotive firms. The company recently achieved certification on General Motor’s 8.0-liter block engine, with up to 350 horsepower, that is modified for dedicated liquid propane. This certification has positioned New Eagle as a leader in the market and has allowed New Eagle to grow its expertise in engine systems through additional staff and facilities.


Ronia Kruse, President & CEO

Using the home turf advantage, Ronia Kruse, President and CEO of OpTech, started the company with a vision to make Michigan a center for cyber security and to provide hundreds of high-quality jobs to retain students here in the state. She says about Michigan, ”This state has an outstanding educational system that graduates thousands of highly qualified students with Information Technology skills, and for years they have been promptly hired away by companies from other states.” Today, OpTech is an award-winning company with an outstanding track record in cyber security that has offices across the U.S. with key clients that include Fortune 500 companies and Government Agencies


Sean Hurwitz, CEO, PIXO

Forged from Detroit’s deep pool of artists, innovators and technical talent, PIXO (formerly known as PIXO Group) is developing a new mobile app – 1-To-1 Fan – that allows fans to follow sports stars through social channels and engaging with other fans. The project was awarded an incentive of $61,000 on $174,635 of projected in-state expenditures and expects to create 11 new Michigan hires.

Plymouth Technology

Amanda Richie, President and CEO

Founded in 1991, Plymouth Technology is a dynamic, privately owned water treatment company. In 2010, Amanda Richie, 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 from 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.