Michigan’s Economic Bright Spots Award Winners Show Innovation, Creativity and Growth

Networking before the Awards Ceremony.

-“ Michigan is home to a number of thriving companies, many of them growing and expanding, according to the newest issue of Corp! magazine, which revealed the winners of its annual Michigan’s Economic Bright Spots Awards. The winners, comprised of 50 companies from across Michigan, were honored today at a special event in Troy, Mich. on Tues., June 2, 2009.

“While the latest economic reports show that Michigan’s business climate is weak, and it continues to face many challenges, Corp! is pleased to report on the firms who are thriving and creating exciting new growth right here,” said Corp! Publisher Jennifer Kluge. “From Traverse City to Detroit to Ann Arbor, these companies represent everything from the emerging industry of life sciences to the long-established trade of manufacturing.”

Jennifer Kluge of Corp! Magazine

Stephanie Bergeron of Walsh College

Harry Kurtz of MRA, Inc.

Mike Semanco of Hennessey Capital

Richard Sheridan of Menlo Innovations

Michigan’s Economic Bright Spots Awards event, sponsored by Rehmann and Comcast Business Class at the MSU Management Education Center in Troy featured a celebration of all the winners and an engaging panel discussion, “Leveraging Creativity and Innovation to Succeed in Any Economy.”

Moderated by Michael Cebulski, vice president of Comcast Business Class, four presidents of Bright Spot winning companies talked about how their firms achieved success, and continue to push the envelope.

Stephanie Bergeron, president of Walsh College, told the audience, “If you know where you’re going and are clear about your goal, you can do amazing things.” Added Richard B. Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations, which grew 68 percent last year: “We see opportunities inside every obstacle. We have looked at every obstacle as a chance to do something creative.”

MRA, Inc. President Harry Kurtz said that searching for opportunities has worked to his company’s advantage. “We’ve been open to the possibility of changes in customers’ contracts and it has worked to our advantage. It has to be a win-win situation.”

Noting the Michigan state government’s emphasis on diversifying the economy to industries such as life sciences, alternative energy and film making, Hennessey Capital President Mike Semanco told the audience of more than 200 people, “We need to talk more about what other companies are doing, not just the new, ‘cool’ industries.” He also counseled audience members to be proactive in business planning.

After a lively question and answer session, which touched on how to advocate for businesses at the legislative level to taxes to keeping positive during tough times, each panelist was asked to give parting words of advice.

“To every entrepreneur and entrepreneur wannabe, remember that a business defines itself by what it chooses to say ‘no’ to. That means they are focused,” said Sheridan.

Kurtz added a note of optimism. “In times of great adversity, we have seen a lot of opportunities produced. So take a chance, seize the moment.”

“Entrepreneurs should take a step back and think about what is possible and what you can do differently to be successful,” said Hennessey’s Semanco.

Walsh College’s Bergeron told the audience that “failure is a temporary roadblock to where you want to go.”

Michigan’s Economic Bright Spots winners are profiled in stories in the print May/June 2009 issue of Corp! and also online at www.corpmagazine.com.

The 2009 Michigan’s Economic Bright Spots awardees are:

Acme Manufacturing Company
Advent Engineering Services, Inc.
Aernnova Engineering US, Inc.
Albert Kahn Family of Compaines
Brandmotion, LLC
Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd.
Dan’s Cement, Inc.
Dean Foods/Country Fresh
DFCU Financial
Eview 360
Fab Masters Company, Inc.
Farbman Group
Georgetown Utilities Enterprise, LLC
Global Tooling Systems
Grand Traverse Pie Company
Hennessey Capital
ImageSoft, Inc.
Institute for Athletic Medicine
ITC Holdings Corp.
LeanLogistics, Inc.
McKeon Products, Inc.
Meadowlark Builders, LLC
Menlo Innovations LLC
Michigan First Credit Union
Models & Tools
Moon Valley Rustic Furniture
MRA, Inc.
Nemeth Burwell, P.C.
Osiris Innovations Group
Partners In Architecture, PLC
Phimation Strategy Group
Precision Gage, Inc.
Service Express, Inc.
Shelving, Inc.
Solid Signal
Strategic Staffing Solutions
TAC Worldwide
The Beal Group
Trivalent Group
Tropical Smoothie Café
Van Wyk Risk & Financial Management
Vendor Managed Solutions
Vision Computer Solutions
W Industries
Walsh College
Wellco Corporation
ZenaComp Incorporated

“These businesses are truly bright spots and the companies that will continue driving Michigan’s economy forward,” said Jennifer Kluge, publisher of Corp!

The mission of Corp! magazine, founded in 1998, is to inform, intrigue and entertain business owners and top level executives by providing business features, news and executive profiles.