Best of Michigan Winners Listen to Customers and Excel

Competition always brings out the best in contestants. In this case, Michigan businesses are proving once again that our state has the right economic climate for businesses to succeed. It hasn’t been an easy journey though, but the proof of their grit and determination is in the pudding.

Included in our awards list are businesses that have heard from their customers and taken action. They’re learning that consumers are price shopping, and looking for companies who will treat them as important guests. Most importantly, it’s high business ethics that the buying public is searching for. Competing business may look the same on the surface, but consumers are doing all they can to find the very best ones.

Selected by our readers, the following 66 companies are worth taking a closer look at. Their hard work and commitment to excellence has earned them a spot in Corp! magazine’s “Best of Michigan Business” awards list.

The 2011 Best of Michigan Business winners are:

Accounting FirmsDoeren Mayhew, Gordon Advisors, P.C., Grant Thornton LLP, Plante & Moran PLLC, Yeo & Yeo

Architectural & ConstructionClark Construction Company, Ghafari, Inc., Hobbs + Black Associates, Inc., SHW Group, LLP, Turner Construction Company

Banks and Credit UnionsChemical Bank, Genisys Credit Union, Michigan First Credit Union, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union

EngineeringHubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc., Progressive AE, Tata Technologies, TowerPinkster

Family BusinessDuperon Corporation, Grand Traverse Pie Co., Goldfish Swim School, Just Baked, Mist Innovations, Planterra Corporation

Law FirmsBrinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, Kienbaum Opperwall Hardy & Pelton, Nemeth Burwell, P.C., Neuman Anderson, P.C., Olsman Mueller Wallace & MacKenzie

ManufacturingAmerican Seating Company, Automatic Spring Products Corp., Kellogg Company

Real EstateCommercial Real Estate Michigan, CPIX, Hall Financial, Signature Associates

Small BusinessAllied PhotoChemical, Inc., Amistee, Inc., Berg Muirhead and Associates, Body Pure Studio, Campfire Interactive, Inc., City Style, Design Works Custom Jewelry Studio, Hennessey Capital, Integrated Strategies, Inc., PixoFactor Entertainment, PocketCents, Inc., Praetorian Secure, LLC, Sphere Trending, Sustainable Research Group, LLC, The Plascon Group, Wellco

Staffing FirmsDiversified Industrial Staffing, NITS Staffing Inc., Strategic Staffing Solutions, Inc., Talascend LLC

Technology FirmsA&D Technology, Inc., Bright House Networks, Datanational Corporation, Harbor Computer Services, Plex Systems, Inc., Preferred Solutions, Inc., Red Level Networks, Service Express, Inc., Symplicity Communications, Inc., Text Ripple, Inc.

You can also view the Event Photos here.


Doeren Mayhew Troy -¢

As one of North America’s 100 largest CPA and consulting firms, Doeren Mayhew has been serving individuals and specific industry groups for nearly 80 years.

Headquarted in Troy, the firm serves middle-market, privately held companies and non-profit institutions, by providing tax, audit, financial advisory, technology and business consulting services.

With offices in Michigan and Texas and more than 250 staff, Doeren Mayhew approaches turning challenges into opportunities — helping many of their clients not only survive challenging economic times, but helping them reinvent themselves and prosper.

They are the only Michigan-based CPA and consulting firm to attain the “Best of the Best” rating from INSIDE Public Accounting, a distinction they’ve received 14 of the past 17 years, honoring the 50 best firms in the United States.

“Doeren Mayhew is committed to Michigan and is honored to be part of one of the most industrious and determined states in the nation,” said Mark Crawford, managing director.

We are proud of our efforts and accomplishments to help enhance the Michigan turnaround.”

The partner group at Gordon Advisors PC. Photo by Karen Lueck.

Gordon Advisors PC Troy -¢

Gordon Advisors PC offers a full complement of services from business, financial and tax advice to accounting, assurance, valuation, litigation and information technology services.

The company is respected and recognized for their experience, dedication and commitment to providing exceptional client service.

Gordon Advisors provides the services business owners desire and, by using a team approach, are able to provide clients the tools to add value to the businesses they own and manage.

Founded in 1954, the company maintains its office in Troy, with a current staff of 60 employees.

Gordon Advisors services a vast array of clients, including the entertainment/movie industry, professional services, retail services, real estate, health care, non-profit, manufacturing, distribution and wholesale.

Additional clients now include auto dealerships, corporate communications and transportation.

Their mission states that Gordon Advisors will continue to be a successful, growth-oriented firm where all team members are passionate about servicing the firm’s customers to create superior value for them.

Grant Thornton LLP Southfield -¢

Grant Thornton International is an international organization of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting member firms providing audit, tax and specialist advice to businesses and their owners.

They are represented through member firms in 529 offices in more than 100 countries, and have offices in 49 commercial centers throughout the United States. That structure enables them to maintain a solid, professional relationship with each client.

Company CEO Vince Tomkinson describes Grant Thornton as part of a global and growing organization dedicated to delivering distinctive client service throughout the world.

The company’s vision is clear: To be the leading audit, tax and advisory firm, serving dynamic organizations in chosen markets. Their values serve as the foundation for each step they take toward executing their firm strategy and achieving their vision.

One of their strategic initiatives is to deliver the Grant Thornton experience to their employees by offering meaningful and challenging work, career development, recognizing what their employees do and paying them fairly.

Plante & Moran PLLC Southfield -¢

Plante & Moran is among the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with tax, audit, risk management, financial, technology, business consulting and wealth management services.

Plante & Moran focuses on people, their clients and staff. They believe clients are the center of all they do and their satisfaction is the company’s primary concern.

Key elements in how they serve include expertise in each client’s industry, individualized attention, and client service team members committed to quality, integrity and professionalism.

Following the golden rule when dealing with clients and staff, the company says

clients don’t have to worry about surprises, and are kept well informed along the way.

“For us, this philosophy of treating people the way we would like to be treated means we have a collaborative and nurturing work environment where people are given the opportunity to grow,” said Gordon Krater, managing partner.

John M. Kunitzer is president and CEO of Yeo & Yeo.

Yeo & Yeo PC Saginaw -¢

As a leading certified public accounting and consulting firm in the nation, Yeo & Yeo also remains a full-service firm for Michigan businesses.

They provide comprehensive business solutions for manufacturing, construction, not-for-profit, health care, education and government entities.

The company is a member of The Leading Edge Alliance, a worldwide network of major independently owned accounting/consulting firms. They also are a significant contributor to their community, serving numerous cultural, business, civic and community endeavors.

Founded in 1923, the firm has been serving businesses for 87 years. Yeo & Yeo’s CPAs provide accounting, tax, audit, financial, fraud, valuation, estate planning, business and consulting services.

“Yeo & Yeo is grateful for the trust our clients have placed in us and are proud in helping businesses across Michigan achieve financial and business success,” said President and CEO John Kunitzer.

Architecture and Construction

Clark Construction Co. Lansing -¢

As a full-scale commercial construction company, with 60-plus years of experience and an outstanding safety record, Clark Construction Co. is on the leading edge of construction trends.

Leon P. Clark founded Clark Construction Co. in 1946, shortly after World War II ended. The main focus of the company during the early years was to help convert General Motors Corp.’s wartime production facilities back into automobile production.

In the 1960s, two of Clark’s sons, John and Chuck, joined their father’s business. The company gradually diversified into a wider range of construction projects, including schools, power plants and public works.

When John and Chuck Clark took over the helm of the business in the 1980s, they expanded into retail, food and pharmaceutical and correctional facilities. The company is now one of the top 400 general contractor firms in the nation.

The company is involved with green building (LEED and Green Advantage), Building Information Modeling (BIM), and the best estimating, scheduling and project management tools available. Information from company website

Ghafari Associates Dearborn -¢

Ghafari Associates is a full-service architecture and engineering organization with a 28-year history of customer focus, quality work and technological innovation.

The company maintains a diverse portfolio of projects that represents its full-service capabilities, expanding global footprint, and expertise across multiple markets. Ghafari has been involved in the planning, design and development of projects ranging from small renovations to new multi-facility complexes.

With offices in the United States, Middle East and India, they serve clients across a variety of markets. Ghafari-led successes have prompted several Fortune 100 companies to engage its Virtual Design & Construction Consulting Group to help BIM (building information modeling) and lean practices enable their project delivery strategies across increasingly integrated teams.

Ghafari was founded on innovation, and is recognized as a pioneer in adopting the latest technologies in real project applications. Their expertise in 3D building information modeling, combined with integrated project delivery and lean business practices, is transforming the industry. Information from company website

Hobbs+Black Associates Inc. Ann Arbor -¢

Hobbs+Black Associates, established in 1965, has more than 100 professionals providing architectural, engineering, design services and related consulting services from their offices in Ann Arbor, Lansing, Salt Lake City and Phoenix.

They’re one of the 10 largest architectural firms in Michigan, and an AIA (American Institute of Architects) Firm Achievement Award Winner. The company founders, William S. Hobbs, company CEO, and Richard Black (deceased), opened the first of their offices in Ann Arbor.

Hobbs & Black offers diverse skills and services in new construction, or a combination of renovations and additions to existing buildings in the following markets: higher education, corporate offices, health care facilities, commercial housing, retail developments, government buildings, religious structures and mixed-use developments.

The long-time Michigan company stands firm in upholding the demonstration of the identity of the client, not the designers. There is no certain style of Hobbs & Black, but all meet the demands of the building program with an appropriate, fresh and enduring design solution.

SHW Group LLP Berkley -¢

SHW Group is an interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers, planners and educators dedicated to the studying, defining and creating environments to inspire creativity and drive student potential

They are recognized for creating environments that transcend buildings by creating places where ideas are sparked, minds are engaged and future leaders are molded.

Key members of their team have devoted entire careers to education architecture and engineering. This focus ensures they have a thorough understanding of the latest innovations in learning environments. As a leader in the planning and design of education facilities, SHW serves nearly all of the public institutions in Michigan, as well as many other education clients nationally and internationally.

“Being a best Michigan business means never losing sight of what makes a great business great; exceptional client service, continuous innovation, and a dedicated team of professionals,” said SHW CEO Margie Simmons.

Turner Construction Co. Detroit -¢

As a commercial builder in Michigan since 1913, Turner Construction Co. has seen Michigan rise with the auto industry, defeat a Great Depression, fight in two world wars, and enter the digital age.

As a provider of pre-construction and construction management services for clients in health care, education, commercial, government, hospitality, aviation and industry, Turner Construction has become a “go-to” resource on global construction trends, controlling construction costs, and discovering new construction techniques and technologies.

The company, with additional offices in Troy and Grand Rapids, is connected to a network of Turner offices across the globe. To date, more than $4 billion of their projects have created thousands of local job opportunities for Michigan residents.

“Turner is proud of its 100-year Michigan heritage. During this time, our company has advanced the skills of Michigan construction workers through world-class training in safety, planning and execution,” said Steve Berlage, vice president and general manager. “As Turner charts its course for the next 100 years in Michigan, we will continue to be a partner with our community and help to grow and advance Michigan.”

Banks and Credit Unions

Chemical Bank Midland -¢

Chemical Bank was founded in Michigan more than 90 years ago and remains committed to the state. With assets of $5.25 billion at the close of last year, 142 locations and 1,700 employees, Chemical Bank is the second largest bank headquartered in Michigan.

Since their first day of business they’ve adhered to a basic banking concept: Remain steadfast and focused on community banking. Conducting businesses in communities throughout the state, Chemical Bank believes their approach to financial responsibility is of the utmost importance.

They embrace financial responsibility, and pride themselves on taking care of the money that is entrusted to them.

“The safety and soundness of our institution is of great importance, and we are pleased to report that, in management’s opinion, our financial condition is strong,” said CEO David B. Ramaker.

In addition to the financial support they provide to local organizations across the state, Chemical Bank employees are leaders, members and volunteers of charitable organizations and community events including United Way, Junior Achievement, 4-H clubs, Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society and the Chamber of Commerce, among others.

Genisys Credit Union Auburn Hills -¢

Finding just the right financial institution for your specific needs can be exhausting. With more than 25 convenient locations and 340 employees, Genisys Credit Union is proving themselves a financial institution worth looking for.

Genisys members have access to their accounts anytime-anywhere through branches, online and mobile banking. Committed to their vision statement of providing members with an experience second to none, they go even further when pledging to be essential to their member’s financial lives, demonstrating excellence in everything they do.

Jackie Buchanan, CEO, said, “Members are able to open new accounts, deposit checks from home, get text and e-mail account alerts, pay bills and more. At Genisys, we are committed to making a difference in the community and helping people reach their financial goals. Meeting financial needs ‘Your Way’ is our mission, and we strive to accomplish this through our values of being trustworthy people focused on providing quality service.”

Michigan First Credit Union’s headquarters in Lathrup Village.

Michigan First Credit Union Lathrup Village -¢

Michigan First Credit Union is one of the leading technology-focused credit unions in metro Detroit, serving Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

They are a Michigan-based financial institution, dating back to their founding in 1926 as the Detroit Teachers Credit Union.

Michigan First recognizes the importance of instilling today’s youth with sound financial values to help build a stable economic climate for future generations through the [email protected] Program, and MoneyKids Youth Banking.

They remain committed to investing in members and the metro Detroit community, providing the latest in banking technology and services, with MoneyWorks Banking Centers, high-speed coin counters and mobile banking.

“At Michigan First, we are committed not only to providing our members with the best financial products and services available, but also to making a positive impact on the communities we serve,” said Michael Poulos, president and CEO.

Michigan State University Federal Credit Union East Lansing -¢

Since their beginning in1937, the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union has come a long way from when they first operated out of a desk-drawer in the university’s administration building.

Today they are the largest university-based credit union in the world, with new headquarters at 3777 West Road in East Lansing.

With $1.97 billion in assets, a membership of 158,000, 391 employees, nine branches, and more ATMs than any other institution in the Greater Lansing area, MSUFCU offers loans from auto to Visa, to home mortgages, along with a variety of savings and checking accounts to their members.

“We are pleased to be selected for this prestigious award and that MSUFCU’s has been recognized for providing a quality work environment, outstanding service to our members along with products and services that are fairly priced, and support for the community,” said CEO Patrick M. McPharlin.


Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc. Bloomfield Hills -¢

Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc. (HRC) began its service and found the source of its growth in engineering from Detroit’s transformation into a major metropolitan area and center of manufacturing and commerce.

Founded in 1915 by Clarence W. Hubbell, Albert Roth and Homer W. Clark, all from rural farming backgrounds, each played a significant role in the infrastructure development of the city and suburban population of the twentieth century.

From the earliest plans for wastewater treatment to the construction of an interceptor network that serves more than 3 million people today in the city of Detroit and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties, HRC participated in many of the public works projects that have enhanced the quality of life in dozens of communities.

HRC architects have mastered the blending of design and functionality, of water, storm water and CSO pumping stations designed to fit within the aesthetics of a residential, commercial or industrial setting. Information from company website

Progressive AE Grand Rapids -¢

Progressive AE specializes in design thinking. They excel at creating an unusually complete harmony between nature and architecture.

The company understands that the environment in which people work greatly affects the work they produce. They collaborate with their clients, making them part of a creative community of architects, engineers, and consultants focused on advancing a sustainable future.

Progressive AE serves their clients from their offices built on quiet acreage in the woods, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Grand Rapids, but still only minutes away from the city. It also was designed to meet the diverse interests of their own employees.

Their company motto places people above buildings. “The built environment is meaningless without people. Design thinking allows us to create places that are human in scale, welcoming, sheltering, thrilling and fascinating.” Information from company website

Tata Technologies Novi -¢

Founded in 1989, Tata Technologies is determined to become the world’s number one partner to the manufacturing industry. They have more than 4,000 skilled professionals, all with access to their global facilities and design centers.

Active in North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region, they currently service all of the top 10 aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and the top 10 automotive OEMs.

Tata Technologies is dedicated to the service of its clients and to the community in which they do business. They provide engineering and design services to the world’s leading automotive and aerospace manufacturers, and support the community through education initiatives and environmental sustainability.

“Our ability to partner, and our ability to team are very much part of the DNA and character of our company,” said President and Chief Operating Officer Warren Harris.

TowerPinkster architects and engineers. Photo by Mary Vann Photography.

TowerPinkster Kalamazoo -¢

TowerPinkster is a creative solutions architecture and engineering firm committed to the enhancement of the built and natural environment and to the design of superior, healthy, sustainable environments for clients and communities.

The company utilizes imagination, innovation and integration for transforming results while striving for service excellence, collaboration and inclusion.

TowerPinkster remains committed to its community initiatives. In 2009, more than 75 charities were supported through donations of time and financial contributions. This firm-wide initiative resulted in more than 600 volunteer hours in 2009, as well as employees who became more connected to their communities and the people they serve.

Teamwork starts with a great team, and the company has vested heavily in team-training initiatives.

“This award means a great deal to us at TowerPinkster,” says President and CEO Arnie Mikon, FAIA. “We are fortunate, particularly as an architecture and engineering firm to be recognized for who we are and what we are doing. I believe it is a testament to the work ethic and ‘can do’ spirit of Michigan.”

Family Business

Duperon Corp. Saginaw

Twenty-five years ago, a simple idea recorded on a napkin gave birth to the Duperon Corp. The evolution of the idea -“ the Duperon FlexRake -“ operates in more than 600 installations across North America and internationally.

As a leader in preliminary liquids/solids separation technologies, Duperon is celebrating a quarter-century anniversary of innovation, growth, and being a part of the industry quest to find a better and easier way to screen.

The company’s is committed to the stewardship of the world’s water though integrity, innovation and reliable performance. Tammy Bernier is Duperon’s CEO.

Duperon Corp. has received multiple awards for its continuing traditions of entrepreneurship and ingenuity including: the Michigan Manufacturer of the Year; Michigan’s Top 50 Companies to watch; the Dr. Samuel H. Shaheen Vision of Free Enterprise Award; Michigan’s Economic Bright Spot; and others.

Grand Traverse Pie Co. Traverse City -¢

The Grand Traverse Pie Co. is a Michigan company from the inside out. All of the cherries, apples, blueberries and strawberries in their pies come from Michigan growers and processors, so does their flour and sugar.

Their first shop opened in Traverse City in 1996. There are now 16 more across the state, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Company founders Denise and Michael Busley met in 1977 while students at MSU. In 1980, he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering, and Denise with a degree in Microbiology.

After marrying, they moved to California and found success in their individual careers. But their work became ‘just work’ to them. A chance encounter with the owner of a local pie company planted a seed of hope in the couple, which eventually grew to a reality.

“Our simple fantasy was to own and operate our own business in a vibrant beautiful family-oriented small town in the Midwest. Why not Traverse City? The dream of most Michiganders is to retire ‘up north.’ Why wait until retirement? Let’s create a way of life for our family to work and contribute to this amazing community,” said Micheal Busley, CEO.

Goldfish Swim School Birmingham -¢

Teaching children to swim is the purpose of Gold Fish Swim School. The demand for quality swim instruction became evident to Chris and Jenny McCuiston, husband and wife, 11 years ago.

After years of just giving lessons, the couple decided to open their own school of swim instruction. They traveled the country learning from other swim school owners, and also to swim school conferences to help them develop a business plan. After two years of research they opened Goldfish Swim School in 2006.

They started with more than 500 students, and by 2008 the business had grown to more than 2,000 students per week. Today, they employ more than 40 people, and are in the process of franchising the business throughout the Midwest — with their first franchise located in Farmington Hills.

Class sizes are kept small. They have two heated indoor swimming pools and an experienced staff of Red Cross certified swim instructors. Their niche: extraordinary swim lessons in a child-friendly environment.

Just Baked Livonia -¢

Just Baked is a gourmet cupcake shop and bakery satisfying the sweet tooth of young and old. The bakeshop has been in business two years, and has now grown to five locations. The business in March announced plans to open franchise outlets nationwide, aiming for 200 sites by 2014.

Two additional locations will be added later this year. Using the finest ingredients and products, the bakeshop prides itself on their unique selection of goods.

Customers may choose from 50 different flavors of gourmet, “jumbo” cupcakes, including Red Velvet and Fat Elvis, and cinnamon donuts. Just Baked also has the traditional buttercream “mini” cupcakes, made fresh daily.

Also on their menu is a selection of homemade brownies, cookies, scones, munchie mix, granola, as well as decorated layer cakes.

Their cupcakes, as well as other items, will suit any occasion, including baby and bridal showers, weddings, birthdays and other special events.

“We are so proud to be recognized by Corp! Magazine. Just Baked started as a grass-roots business and continues to stay involved in our community and the state of Michigan. We are so grateful that we have been able to create jobs, and grow,” said Pam Turkin, co-founder.

MIST Innovations Detroit -¢

MIST Innovations, developers of network monitoring devices and security products, is focused on changing the perception of the Michigan and enhancing opportunities for emerging industries.

Mobility, Information, Security and Technology, (MIST), was founded in 2004 by Chief Technology Officer, Marquis Coleman, Sr.

Their flagship product, MISTonDemand, is changing the way businesses view their security protocols and workplace productivity. Launched in 2008, it combines video surveillance and smart phone technologies providing live-on-demand video streaming from CCTV cameras to smart phones such as a BlackBerry or iPhone.

With it, business gain an added layer of security allowing owners, managers and executives the ability to keep an eye on the business as well as monitor productivity even while away.

“We are proud to be recognized as a Best of Michigan Business. Our latest product speaks to small-to-medium sized businesses, enhancing customer’s existing security solution and is a tremendous benefit across multiple verticals,” said President and CEO Craig Capece.

Planterra Corp. West Bloomfield -¢

Established in 1973, Planterra is the leading interior landscape firm serving North America, specializing in design consultation, installation, plantscape maintenance, floral display and holiday decorating.

As a commercial distributor of living and replica plants, planters and site furnishings, they are known for personal service and exceptional specimen plants.

With 52 employees and two locations, they serve customers ranging from small offices to resorts, casinos, hospitals and Fortune 500 companies. Last year they opened the Planterra Conservatory in West Bloomfield.

The building houses Planterra’s operations and features a botanical garden, which is open to the public and offers the best selection of exotic plants and decorative planters in the region.

Carol and Larry Pliska, Planterra’s owners, said their new retail destination is essentially green from the inside out.

“We are dedicated to integrating nature into everyday living -“ at home, at work or inside public spaces such as hospitals and shopping centers where we spend time. Bringing people and plants together is our business,” said Larry M. Pliska, chairman and founder.


Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione Ann Arbor -¢

With more than 90 years of experience as a patent law firm, beginning in 1917, clients of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione sit with the best.

They have become one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the nation, serving the intellectual property needs of clients around the world.

Steven L. Oberholtzer, the firm’s CEO in Ann Arbor with 33 employees, said, “One of the main reasons Brinks opened an office in Michigan in 2000, is because of their longstanding belief that Michigan, and Southeast Michigan in particular, is truly the Arsenal of Innovation.”

By helping innovative businesses throughout the state protect and manage their innovations with patents, trademarks, copyrights and licenses, they not only safeguard a company’s intellectual property portfolio, but also help add jobs.

Specializing in intellectual property litigation and all aspects of patent, trademark and copyright law, the firm also advises on intellectual asset management, trade secrets, unfair competition, and technology and licensing agreements.

Kienbaum Opperwall Hardy & Pelton Birmingham -¢

Kienbaum Opperwall Hardy & Pelton specializes in guiding employers through the challenges of the contemporary workplace.

The law firm provides proactive services by counseling employers on avoiding wrongful discharge claims, employment discrimination suits, and all of the potential employee claims that can arise under an avalanche of federal and state statutes.

Kienbaum Opperwall Hardy & Pelton has been designated in Chambers USA’s Client Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers as the top employment and labor law firm in Michigan.

From wrongful discharge claims to traditional union-management matters to preventive advice, their attorneys are skilled in representing management’s interests and perspectives. Their practice spans all aspects of employment and labor law.

“Thank you to Corp! Magazine for selecting Kienbaum Opperwall Hardy & Pelton as a 2011 Best of Michigan business award winner. We truly appreciate the recognition and want to congratulate all of the nominees and wish them much success in the coming year,” said Eric Pelton, KOHP co-founder.

Nemeth Burwell PC Detroit -¢

Nemeth Burwell is the largest women-owned law firm in the state, and describes itself as a “collaborative partner,” and a boutique labor and employment management firm.

Nemeth Burwell provides employment litigation, traditional labor law and management consultation services with a client-friendly fee structure. They first opened in 1999.

With a specific focus on employment law, the practice generally has more attorneys dedicated solely to this specialized area than large, full-service law firms, where employment attorneys may also practice in legal areas not related to employment.

“Nemeth Burwell is a Michigan-based firm with national and international clients. We are thrilled to call Detroit home, especially given the city’s reputation for landmark labor and employment law cases. With offices that overlook the Detroit River, we have the perfect vantage point to view our vibrant city’s striking architecture and re-emerging waterfront,” said Patricia Nemeth, the firm’s president.

Neuman Anderson PC

Neuman Anderson PC is a business law firm specializing in complex commercial litigation and corporate law. With five attorneys, they handle matters in all state and federal courts throughout Michigan, Ohio and others.

They represent individuals and businesses in bankruptcy, real estate, employment, tort and real estate law. They’re also a referral source for attorney, law firms and CPAs.

Neuman Anderson offers the service, experience and technical support of a large law firm while providing the responsiveness, efficiency, flexibility and personal attention expected from a boutique practice.

The Southfield-based law firm is dedicated to doing their best, whether representing a large corporation, small business or an individual. Each client receives personal care throughout the engagement, yielding extraordinary benefits in terms of responsiveness, focus, attention to detail, sense of urgency and measured results. Information from company website

Olsman, Mueller, Wallace & MacKenzie PC Berkley -¢

Olsman, Mueller, Wallace & Mackenzie PC is a plaintiff’s personal injury law firm.

The firm fully supports the right of an injured person to seek redress in the court system and the right-to-trial by jury in a civil case.

They specialize in representing injured persons in areas of nursing home neglect or abuse, medical malpractice, automobile accidents, social security disability, products liability, police brutality and more.

As a small firm by today’s standards, they take great pride in their work and in their role on behalf of injured persons in society.

Also on their staff are three registered nurses whose knowledge and skill enhance the firm’s ability to represent people in complex medical cases.

“Let people work in an environment that encourages excellence and rewards success,” said Jules B. Olsman, owner.


American Seating Grand Rapids -¢

Since 1886, sitting down has been a way of life for American Seating. Their world-class seating solutions for architectural environments, including the education, entertainment, office and government contract markets are legendary.

They’ve set the benchmark for seating product design, durability and comfort.

Consider just some of their recent installations: new club seating at U-M’s football stadium, historic renovation of seating at the Boston Red Sox Fenway Park, and for Meadowlands -“ home of the New York Jets and Giants pro-football teams. Their seating also is in Grand Rapid’s public transit system, the Chicago Transit Authority, and elsewhere.

“We’re honored to be a 2011 Best of Michigan Business Award recipient. Our company has been making seating and related products in Grand Rapids for 125 years. American Seating is proud of our Michigan-based workforce and the quality of product that we produce for clients not only in Michigan but all across America and the world,” said Tom Bush, company president and chief operating officer.

Automatic Spring Products Corp. Grand Haven -¢

Automatic Spring Products Corp. is a technology focused, high-volume manufacturer of custom designed compression, extension and torsion springs, wire forms, flat springs, stampings, spring and shim washers, and assemblies.

They control the entire manufacturing process from engineering concept and prototyping to in-house tooling, manufacturing, heat-treating, burr removal and phosphating. That total process control results in improved quality, delivery, process refinement and cost optimization.

The company recently moved their wire production into a new 53,000-square foot facility on Hayes Street in Grand Haven. This new plant allows them to better serve each customer’s needs. Their original facility remains dedicated to improving workflow and manufacturing processes in their multi-slide, stamping, assembly, tool room and finishing operations.

Because of their new facility, equipment, increased capacity, and on-time delivery, their goal is to exceed every manufacturing project that comes their way. Information from company website

Kellogg Co. Battle Creek -¢

The familiar-looking ‘K’ of the Kellogg Co. looks as good as any of their products taste. Being the leading producer of cereal and convenience foods, the Battle Creek company holds a unique place in the history of food producers.

For more than 100 years, consumers have been buying Kellogg cereals. Founded in 1906, their products are now manufactured in 18 countries and marketed in more than 180 countries.

W.K. Kellogg, the company’s founder said, “We are a company of dedicated people making quality products for a healthier world.”

Kellogg remains the leading producer of cereal and a leading producer of convenience foods, including cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, fruit-flavored snacks, frozen waffles and veggie foods

Since 2006, Kellogg has contributed more than $64 million in cash and $122 million in products to charitable organizations.

“We look forward to carrying forward the legacy our founder began by continuing to provide consumers with the great-tasting, high-quality foods and programs that help promote health and well-being,” said Kellogg CEO John Bryant.

Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate Michigan Troy -¢

The website is dedicated to commercial real estate and available to all interested parties.

Their most popular link searches include: Virtual office, executive suites, extended stay, office space, executive office, shared office space, office rental and serviced office.

The website also offers categories on investment, insurance and broker, each with their lists of vendors, contacts and popular searches. The site also links to state and national listings and includes news feeds on real estate from the New York Times and Yahoo! Information compiled from website

CPIX Grand Blanc -¢

CPIX is a commercial real estate property information exchange owned and administrated by the Commercial Board of REALTORS, a non-profit association that provides Michigan’s commercial real estate industry benefits and services.

Created and governed by commercial brokers that utilize the site, CPIX has become the most highly used commercial real estate resource in Michigan for site selection by brokerages, cities and counties.

Started in 2001, CPIX brings a local community together to promote new business and growth initiatives to reach outside the community promoting Michigan throughout the country and world. Although the site offers a membership level, it is free to access the site and input available properties.

Nancy McKellar, CEO said, “The goal has always been to have one resource for all commercial real estate professionals throughout Michigan. Commercial brokers, developers, owners, and economic development have united to streamline the process to promote properties and bring businesses into Michigan.”

Hall Financial Bloomfield Hills -¢

The last couple of years have brought sweeping changes in mortgage programs, guidelines, and all processes. Hall Financial has the experience to help people through current changes -“ and with their personal mortgage needs.

Founded by David Hall, former voice of Rock Financial and Quicken Loans, the company offers decades of mortgage experience.

They can help customers sort through FHA loans, Reverse Mortgages, Modifications, Zero Down Rural Development Loans, Jumbo Loans, Conventional Loans and Government Incentives to find the best match for your circumstances.

A full Hall financial analysis and ongoing communication is provided to each customer and or potential customers. They also save clients time by contacting their accountant or real estate agent for any documentation needed to process their loan.

“Myself and my team are honored to be helping folks across the great state of Michigan navigate through their home financing options,” said CEO David Hall.

Signature Associates Southfield -¢

Signature Associates, with 90 sales associates, is a full-service commercial real estate firm specializing in industrial, office and retail brokerage, investment sales, property/asset management, mortgage banking and market research.

Their sales and leases exceeded 60-million square feet, and 1,500 acres over the last 24 months. Additionally, they currently manage more than 9.2-million square feet, making them the largest third-party management company in the marketplace.

They have become the largest-volume, full-service commercial real estate firm in the region, and a dominant real estate firm with more than 42 percent market share. They say their success is built on unparalleled work ethic and integrity, true teamwork, and an unsurpassed innovative and aggressive marketing approach.

Signature has additional offices in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Kalamazoo and Toledo, Ohio. The company provides a diversity of services, including industrial, office, and retail brokerage, investment sales, property/asset management, market research, mortgage banking and corporate services. Information from company website

Small Business

Allied PhotoChemical Marysville -¢

Allied PhotoChemical manufactures “environmentally safe,” 100-percent solid, and 100- percent UV curable electronic inks, paints & coatings.

Their technology empowers other U.S. manufacturers to be faster, smaller and cleaner. The ability to run faster production speeds, coupled with the ability to consume less energy is what their results are all about.

Allied Photochemical markets include: Cosmetic, safety, consumer products, electronics, photovoltaic, automotive, tubing and kitchen countertops.

Every action by their team of experienced industry professionals reinforces their commitment to “exceeding customer expectations and needs,” which continues to set new standards in the production of “environmentally-friendly,” 100 percent solid and 100 percent VOC-free products and technologies.

Mike Kelly, CEO, said, “Our employees empower Allied PhotoChemical and our customers, through innovative thinking, proactive customer service, and their ‘have fun’ attitude, something that has allowed Allied to sustain double-digit growth three years running, and over 50-percent in 2010.”

Amistee Inc. Novi -¢

Amistee Air Duct Cleaning has served thousands of residential and commercial customers throughout Michigan since 2005.

Owners Mike McCowan and Steve Dickinson are engineering graduates of Michigan State University. Following graduation they went into business together to help homeowners and businesses fight the problem of indoor air quality. From the beginning, Amistee has only done premium and professional air duct cleaning.

The company owns several types of equipment to solve different problems customers may be facing. From the giant vacuum trucks (for our residential customers) to the state of the art portable equipment (for commercial and industrial customers), Amistee has every piece of equipment needed to tackle any job.

If done right, Amistee says, duct cleaning works very well. When homeowners contact a reputable company for duct cleaning, it can have an enormous effect on the indoor air quality for the better, the company says. Information from company website

The Berg Muirhead and Associates team.

Berg Muirhead and Associates Detroit -¢

Berg Muirhead and Associates is a full-service public relations company delivering high-quality communications work for many well-known and respected organizations and businesses.

The company utilizes high-level communications campaigns with media relations, community marketing, public affairs, and event planning and crisis management tactics for a diverse range of markets.

Their clients include The Grand Hotel, Strategic Staffing Solutions, New Detroit, Faygo, Henry Ford Hospital and the Detroit Public Schools. They also are working on the Woodward Avenue Light Rail effort.

“When we formed this agency more than 12 years ago, our goal was not just to build another public relations agency, but to pursue an active role in the life of our community and to seek out and take on projects that improve the quality of life in Detroit and Michigan. We have been successful in that goal, and are proud of the contributions we have made and continue to make to this community,” said company CEO Georgella Muirhead.

BodyPure Studio Birmingham -¢

BodyPure is a premier full-service exercise studio offering instruction in Pilates -“ their signature barre technique “BodyPure” -“ along with a variety of sculpting and cardio classes.

Their newly remodeled 4,000 square foot fully equipped facility consists of three separate studio rooms, which allows for group classes as well as private training. BodyPure has an award-winning retail area and offers a large selection of stylish workout apparel, including the lulu-lemon line.

The studio’s experienced staff is highly trained, with more than 100 years combined experience, to ensure customers receive an effective and safe workout. Aside from full workouts in regular groups, non-group sessions also are available.

A sampling of their studio workouts include BodyPure, which is an invigorating full-body workout; also available are cardio ballet, cardio bootcamp, basic reformer; flat tires and barre, plus many other programs. Information from company website

City Style Berkley -¢

Tim and Carrie Vestrand selected a vacant building in downtown Berkley to house their new business. In 2007, after a complete renovation ­-“ with the help of many friends -“ they opened the doors of their new footwear and apparel boutique.

The husband and wife team have differing backgrounds, but both are complementary to their business. Carrie had (and still does) a shoe and handbag addiction, according to Tim. His background was in construction.

Both are native Detroiters and say they’re proud of what Michigan and Detroit have offered in music and automotive history. They’ve incorporated those sentiments into the atmosphere of their boutique with background music from Kid Rock, Howling Diablos, The Rockets and Thornetta Davis.

“We feel we’re a mom-and-pop shop that caters to our customer’s footwear needs and we welcome their feedback. It’s truly a family and friends affair with City Style and we look forward to many more years of serving your shoe and accessory needs,” Tim said. Information from company website

Campfire Interactive Ann Arbor

Customers needing help to plan and develop their product portfolios may want to consider Campfire Interactive.

According to Campfire literature, thousands of users in medium-size to Fortune 500 companies use solutions developed by Campfire Interactive.

Business processes addressed by Campfire include: Opportunity management, sales forecasting, market share management, competitor intelligence management, cost and price estimation, and change cost management.

Customers have chosen Campfire solutions for their powerful capabilities for making critical business decisions that span across financial, engineering and timing information. Information from company website

Design Works Custom Jewelry Studio Metamora -¢

Zorka Pondell is the owner of Design Works Custom Jewelry Studio. And as a designer of custom fine jewelry, she is well known for unique pieces of contemporary jewelry and equestrian pieces. Metamora, a historic equestrian community that continues to host fox hunting twice a week as they have for 75 years, is home to Design Works. Pondell showcases not only her designs in the studio, but those of local artisans.

The studio showcases interesting creations in glass, wood, metal as well as original paintings and beautiful photographs. Pondell’s love of horses is shown in her jewelry and throughout the gallery in art, glass, metal and other creative mediums of their featured artists.

“Creating jewelry as a form of preferred artistic expression was an early decision in my life. This realization came to me the moment I created my first ring. I feel that jewelry, in current society, is one of the most distinctive, powerful forms of personal artistic expression,” Pondell said. Information from company website

Hennessey Capital Huntington Woods -¢

Hennessey Capital offers factoring and asset-based lines of credit to growing business-to-business companies that are post-revenue, in transition or otherwise do not meet the credit guidelines of traditional bank lending.

Their experienced team will provide guidance and the cash flow management tools most businesses need to create new opportunities.

Hennessey Capital focuses on helping Michigan businesses, and those outside the state, to secure the working capital needed to grow their company. Many of the businesses they help include automotive parts suppliers, industrial services and supply, engineering services, professional staffing, transportation services, nursing and hospital services’ IT consulting, and security services.

“Increasingly, small and medium sized companies need to ramp up quickly to meet supplier and customer needs. Factoring and asset-based lending are options that can provide an immediate injection of cash flow so businesses can react to new opportunities, which in turn spurs hiring, purchasing and positive momentum to help stimulate the economy,” said President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Semanco.

Integrated Strategies Okemos -¢

For the past 18-years, Integrated Strategies has gained success by “teaching a man to fish and have fun doing it.”

Focused on supply-chain management, with value measured in price/cost reductions, efficiency improvements, asset utilization and employee job enrichment, the company creates double-digit value for its clients and transfers the knowledge, content and tools back so they can replicate and sustain the results themselves.

Integrated Strategies has worked with more than 75 businesses around the world helping to create double-digit value. Their recent work with the Michigan Department of Corrections is transforming how business there is done. Teams, trained and facilitated by Integrated Strategies team members, are delivering real value.

“We are honored and humbled to receive the ‘Best of Michigan Business Award.’ We thank the Michigan Department of Corrections for the opportunity to help drive further value for the citizens of Michigan via Supply Chain Transformation, which would not have been possible without all their hard work and trust in our firm,” said Steve Trecha, company president and CEO.

Pixofactor Entertainment Royal Oak -¢

PixoFactor Entertainment is a games, apps and animation development studio developing games and apps for mobile and handheld platforms including iPhone/iPad, Android and for social network spaces like Facebook.

They have been attracting the business of global brands, and are expanding Michigan’s “digital footprint.” They’re also developing next-generation platform games for all three AAA consoles – Nintendo Wii, MicroSoft XBox 360 and Sony PlayStation.

The studio’s entertainment production costs can qualify for a Michigan state sponsored incentive rebate of up to 40 percent of the cost of development. Artists at Pixofactor are experienced at bringing stories and brands to life in all areas of the entertainment industry.

“PixoFactor is designed to be the new model of versatility, innovation and creativity in games, apps and entertainment production,” said President Chris Firestone. “The core value of PixoFactor is our talent. Rich, diverse, experienced and above all, open to the new business path and the ever-evolving media landscape.”

PocketCents Inc. Washington -¢

PocketCents is a local online advertising network specializing in promoting small and local businesses through pay-per-click banner advertising.

They have a large network of publishers in the U.S. and around the world displaying PocketCents ads. The network currently receives more than 3 million views per day.

Advertisers select the geographic location they would like to target and the only ads displayed to viewers are within that area. PocketCents has the ability to target down to a five-mile radius with over 90 percent accuracy.

In addition to being a cost-effective advertising option, PocketCents has revenue generation options available that Michigan residents can easily utilize.

“Many people forget about the small corner stores right down the street when they are always hit with so many advertisements for the larger establishments, but PocketCents holds the key for the owners of these smaller establishments to compete on the same level in their local area,” said CEO Phil Kanaby.

Praetorian Secure LLC Davison -¢

Praetorian Secure LLC, an information systems security company, provides systems security support to the U.S. government, businesses, and non-profit organizations throughout the United States. They’re also a Service Disabled Veteran Owned and Operated Small Business.

With each new client, their business development staff will discuss Praetorian’s many IT Security service offerings and develop a quote based on each company’s project goals.

Praetorian is known as industry experts in certification and accreditation, information security, security consulting, risk management, advisory services, security design, configuration and project management.

They deliver a customized secure solution to meet each client’s business objectives or compliance needs. Based on Praetorian’s methods and strategies, each client’s staff gains a higher level of understanding as to how the process can be simplified.

Praetorian can lead the certification through all the process milestones and manage the path required for a successful accreditation via consulting, reduction in allocated resources and planning. Information from company website

Sphere Trending Waterford -¢

Sphere Trending talks to businesses in a way they understand.

How about this for getting their point across: “We don’t just provide data, we create solutions and opportunities for our national retail, manufacturing and design clients,” says CEO Maxine Lauer

The staff works hard to keep things simple at Sphere Trending. They connect the big picture, consumer and lifestyle trends to emerging design and product innovations for creative and successful strategic plans.

Focusing on intelligence, creativity and design, Sphere Trending services include the following: tracking generational insights, consumer trends, identifying future needs and expectations, collecting and critiquing trends, traveling the globe to tradeshows, reviewing colors, design, materials, finishes and products to create trend forecasts and product style guides customized to specific industries.

“Dedicated to the creativity and entrepreneurship in our home state, we share our insight and innovation knowledge with our local community through speaking engagements, workshops and presentations through organizations such as the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and Inforum Michigan,” said Lauer.

Sustainable Research Group Grand Rapids -¢

By viewing commerce through the lens of sustainable development, Sustainable Research Group (SRG) is able to identify opportunities for its clients faster and at less cost than other sources of assistance. That approach keeps the company on the cutting edge of efficiency and product development innovation.

SRG provides sustainable business research, project design and project management services that advance a company’s integration of sustainable development principles into its business model.

The company has deep experience working on sustainable business issues in a variety of capacities including service businesses, government agencies, trade associations, not-for- profit organizations, and large and small manufacturers.

“Starting Sustainable Research Group ten years ago to focus exclusively on sustainable business practices was a risk, but our vision of the power of environmentally sustainable approaches to business is now being validated in the marketplace by the growing number of leading companies collaborating with us,” said CEO William Stough.

The Plascon Group Traverse City -¢

The Plascon Group consists of world-class manufacturers of specialty, flexible plastic packaging for the food service, institutional, pharmaceutical and bulk packaging industries.

With David Peterson as their CEO, they’ve grown during the recent economic climate based on their commitment to innovation and customer service, and the creation of strategic partnerships in specialized niche markets.

From turn-key work programs that generate income and create job skills in community rehabilitation centers and correctional institutions, to time and money saving packaging solutions for the food industry, to a “Class 10,000 clean room” where they manufacture cutting-edge bioreactor bags, The Plascon Group with 48 employees takes pride in being a strong Michigan company.

In 2010, they added 18,000 square feet to their production facility. All of their flexible packaging products are made in the USA.

The Plascon Group has been profitable for 10 consecutive years, and has hired additional employees each of the past five years.

Wellco Corp. Royal Oak -¢

Michigan-based Wellco Corp. recently became the first and only wellness industry leader to offer an effective evaluation system for wellness programs.

The product, called HealthHammer, helps companies accurately benchmark and fully achieve flat health costs over time.

Wellco works with organizations wanting to measurably improve health costs and conditions. Wellco specializes in wellness ROI systems, health risk appraisals, corporate wellness programs, speaking and consulting.

Scott Foster, the company’s president, recognized the tremendous demand by companies and health providers to know if their wellness programs were really cost effective.

“Rather than be a wellness provider, we became a company that fixes wellness programs. As a result, our competitors became clients,” Foster said. “Until now, companies have not had the resources to measure wellness-program outcomes and ROI. HealthHammer changes all that by transforming wellness programs from fad to foundational.”

Founded in 1996, the company has expanded with their second location in Wixom.


Diversified Industrial Staffing Troy -¢

Diversified is different from most “headhunters.” They focus on the candidate first.

Though other firms start with a job description, and then attempt to fill it, Diversified believes their approach is the most logical. Their approach to staffing combines a specialization only in skilled trades, and the ability to match a precise analysis of employer needs with a detailed evaluation of candidate abilities.

They have a pool of talented individuals, with the skill sets of CNC programmers, CNC machinists, welder-fitter-fabricators and other highly skilled industrial workers.

Diversified Staffing Services was established in 1997 in Troy. Over the years they have helped manufacturing, construction and logistics clients achieve their goals by providing quality personnel and human resource services.

The company has extended their service area to now provide staffing solutions throughout the country. Diversified remains dedicated to providing the close personal service they’ve become known for. Information from company website

NITS Staffing Inc. Novi -¢

Finding the right people for the right company is their purpose. NITS specializes in a full spectrum of permanent and interim recruiting and customized and flexible IT solutions to Fortune 500 and early startups.

As a premier recruiting and staffing service provider in Novi, they invest time to understand corporate culture, values, and objectives. From there, they develop recruiting strategies forming a partnership among NITS clients and candidates. Started in 1999, they also provide flexible and customized IT solutions.

Following the core values of integrity, honesty, respect and consistency, NITS states that a client’s delight and success is the only metric for their performance. Their mission is to help all members of the workforce attain a better quality of life.

“I am very pleased to welcome you to NITS. I believe in having a ‘Courage, Confidence and Can-do-it’ attitude. Last but not least, I believe in long and lasting relationships with my clients and candidates,” said NITS founder Neetu Seth.

Strategic Staffing Solutions Inc. Detroit -¢

Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) is an international provider of consulting and staff augmentation services, vendor management programs, executive search services and call center technology. S3 is also an IT development center for financial institutions, energy companies, telecommunications, government agencies, retail and health care industries.

Founded in 1990, S3 now has more than 20 years of consecutive revenue growth, and more than $200 million in annual revenue. They’re in more than 20 locations throughout the U.S. and Europe.

“Being a ‘Best Michigan Business’ is more than running a good company, it is being a true partner with other businesses, civic officials and the community. When S3 marked its 20th year of service in October of last year, we also marked another year of revenue growth, donating the most money and time to local organizations in our company’s history, and we have the largest employee base we’ve ever had and are still growing. I am proud of the mark the S3 team has made on Michigan,” said President and CEO Cynthia Pasky.

Talascend LLC Troy -¢

As a leading resource solution in the technical sector for more than 60 years, Talascend LLC has provided projects and companies across the industry with tactical and strategic sourcing options.

The demand for skills is high, yet the supply remains low. Talascend has been successful in helping customers to connect with the right people and companies for them.

Talascend remains committed to providing the best job, while delivering business transforming solutions to each of their clients.

Their efforts and focus continue to provide markets across the board with valuable people. Their markets include health care information technology, document control, vendor management, global training academy, global engineering services and more.

Providing clients with access to new talent pools and innovative methodologies is how Talascend contributes to the growth and success of others. Information from company website


A&D Technology Inc. Ann Arbor -¢

A&D Technology Inc. is a leading global supplier of advanced test and simulation solutions for power train testing and vehicle development.

With more than 20 years of experience, their open, flexible and cost-effective tools are designed to fit a variety of applications, from durability and performance (HiL) simulation to hybrid/electric vehicle and battery test systems.

A&D’s mission is clear: To meet their customer’s needs by providing products and services with superior quality, reliability and functionality. They are committed to helping customers build and maintain world-class testing capability. Their commitment to the future is steadfast as they provide world-class state-of-the-art development tools and services to engine and power train development and test applications.

With more than 1,500 installations globally, their focus remains centered on application solutions with advanced industry-standard hardware/software for real-time control, data acquisition, and combustion analysis.

A&D Technology believes they have the people, hardware, software technology, applications expertise and the commitment to help implement the most advanced and cost-effective solution to each test challenge. Information from company website

Bright House Networks Livonia -¢

Bright House Networks is making it easier for businesses to compete in the digital marketplace, with Internet access from the company’s Network Business Solutions.

Running a business is challenging, but with their business-level Broadband Internet, the tiered-access levels allows businesses to choose the right speed for their needs.

For businesses needing greater bandwidth than Broadband Internet can offer, Dedicated Internet Access might be the solution. As a fiber leader, Bright House Networks has built a fiber optic network supporting more than 2.4 million video and data customers. This advanced infrastructure assures high-quality, uninterrupted Internet communications. Bright House is the sixth largest owner and operator of cable systems in the U.S.

Along with serving customers in Michigan, their other markets include: Tampa and Orlando, Fla.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Indianapolis; Birmingham, Ala.; plus several smaller regions in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Information from company website

Datanational Corp. Farmington Hills -¢

The Datanational Corp. considers their business to be a premier vendor of choice for customers looking for 21st century solutions.

Their focus on technology enables them to become not only a service provider, but also a technology partner. By reviewing their business offerings and pursuing new opportunities to align themselves with the ever-changing business needs of their customers, they deliver the desired results based on customers’ requirements.

Paul Greenstone, CEO, said Datanational started in 1979. They have 35 employees providing quality service 24/7.

Datanational’s core solutions include the following focus areas: System Recovery (DR); System Management & Hosting; eBusiness Solutions; High Availability (HA); Shop Floor automation with PlantTalk: MES IT Solutions for the Automotive Aftermarket – Automotive Sequencing; IBM Systems (Power Systems, BladeCenter, i, x); PRMS Solutions; EDI Support.

They actively participate with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Farmington Hills and Oakland County Economic Development Departments, and Automation Alley.

Amy Babinchak

Harbor Computer Services Royal Oak -¢

In business since 1999, Harbor Computer Services is a full-service IT firm offering services to small and medium business with up to 100 PCs.

They offer flexible contracts for businesses of all sizes, with a distinct difference in service that spares clients the pain of having to suffer through first-tier, help-desk support before problems are resolved.

Each client is assigned a single point of contact technician, with them learning how the business works and what specifically is important to them.

Amy Babinchak, company CEO, said, “I am very proud of my employees for continuing to have such a passion for their work. It is because of their efforts that Harbor has been recognized as a best Michigan Business. I started Harbor Computer Services to serve a market space that was not taken seriously by other IT firms. Small Businesses deserve great IT support services and we’re happy to have been recognized as having reached that goal for our clients.”

Plex Systems Auburn Hills -¢

Plex Systems is a software technology leader. Their growth has been a by-product of their ingenuity, agility and flexibility.

Their Plex Online product, a software solution that helps manufacturing companies cut operating costs increase production efficiency and compete more successfully, remains a core product of the company.

Plex Systems has nearly doubled their workforce in the past three years. Since 2010, the company has added 54 new employees. The company additionally helps the state’s workforce by providing co-op and internship opportunities for students at local colleges and universities.

“Today, given the ubiquity of software development skills, you can build a successful software company just about anywhere. However, there’s something special about the skill sets of Michigan workers. Manufacturing has been the lifeblood of this state for so long that it’s virtually in the DNA of everyone we hire. It’s the combination of world-class manufacturing expertise, exceptional technology skills, and an unmatched work ethic that makes Michigan such an excellent place for our company,” said President and CEO Mark Symonds.

Preferred Solutions Northville -¢

Throughout their 18-year history, Preferred Solutions has built a solid reputation by becoming a premier provider of high-quality, cost-effective services for staffing, training, and go-live support services for large-scale IT initiatives.

The company is uniquely positioned as subject-matter experts in health care IT, IT business services, and training and learning solutions. They work with hospitals, health systems, and other Fortune 500 firms across the country.

Preferred Solutions values a positive and beneficial company culture and has a distinct, progressive and professional attitude. Honesty, ethics, and integrity guide their behavior and decisions. With 50-full time, and 200 part-time employees, the company takes pride in providing quality consultants to reputable clients to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship.

CEO Marie Seipenko said, “Preferred Solutions is results-driven, and passionate about helping their clients become successful. We are ethical, and easy-to-work with as a vendor partner.”

Red Level Networks Novi -¢

Red Level offers customized technology solutions that accelerate growth, reduce costs and enable scalability. As a full-service infrastructure solutions company, they partner with small-to-midsize companies who understand, invest in, and value technology.

The company, which began in 2004, relies on the latest innovations to stay ahead of the curve. Red Level supports the entire framework on one aspect of a company’s IT needs, ensuring increased productivity and efficiency.

Their experience ranges from professional services, manufacturing, health care, education and financial services. They offer customers more than 50 years of combined technical experience, and more than 100 certifications from the largest IT vendors in the world, including, Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, VMware, HP and others.

“Red Level Networks is among the best of Michigan businesses because we operate honestly and efficiently, valuing our employees and the knowledge they need to be successful. We give our employees the tools they need to become certified in various aspects of information technology, and we constantly stay alert of new innovations to ensure the best solutions are provided for our customers,” said CEO David King.

Service Express field service engineers keep mission-critical servers running.
Service Express Inc. Grand Rapids -¢

Now in their 25th year, Service Express Inc. (SEI) continues delivering on-site data center maintenance for mission critical servers.

Their customers depend on them to reduce or prevent server downtime. SEI supports mainframe, midrange, and Intel-based servers for hospitals, manufacturing plants, universities, banks and other mid-to-large companies.

In addition to maintenance programs, SEI also offers hardware upgrades, trade-ins and installations, data center relocations and Time & Material services. Exceptional service has led to SEI’s 98 percent customer retention rate.

Their corporate Vision sums up their purpose: “To work with our employees to help them achieve their personal, professional and financial goals.”

With additional offices in Flint and Farmington Hills, their Grand Rapids headquarters has a 24,000 square foot central warehouse and training facility to provide support to their service teams.

CEO Ron Alvesteffer said, “Everything we do at Service Express starts with surrounding ourselves with the right people. We are proud to be headquartered in Michigan and believe it has all the top talent we will need as we continue to grow.”

Symplicity Communications Inc. Grand Rapids -¢

Symplicity Communications is driven by their single focus of making telecommunications management “Symple” for the client.

Founded in 2006, the company focuses on making the telecommunication process easier, from negotiating with multiple carriers for the correct solution, to project managing a new product installation or managing a clients monthly phone bills.

Staff members hold integrity as a key ingredient to their success, the company says. While their product offerings are not unique, it is their level of integrity within the organization and throughout its processes that set them and the company apart.

“The reason I enjoy doing business in Michigan is the amazing people I work with. Nearly all of (our) new business comes from networking, partner and client referral. These referrals exemplify a genuine interest in the success of my business and demonstrate the true values of the fantastic individuals within our state,” said founder and CEO Catherine Lazarock.

Text Ripple Inc. Royal Oak -¢

Text Ripple is a text message marketing company offering a simple, effective and affordable Web-based platform.

With 95 percent of text messages being read within four minutes, instant, direct connections do provide the greatest returns of any marketing a company can do, according to Text Ripple.

Text Ripple works with restaurants and bars, retail outlets, realtors, churches, Web developers and publishers, and a number of other industries. Their text message platform can be used to benefit those companies in need of effective communication or increased sales.

The company can help generate dynamic sales leads, calculate mobile surveys in real-time, communicate employee info instantly, send alerts about upcoming events, and deliver mobile coupons to customers.

“All of our technology and employees are located within Michigan with a national client base. This allows us to take our funds and reinvest them into Michigan,” said company CEO Hans Hegge.