MMTC-West opens office in Hart to serve northwest

January 28, 2011
| By Pete Daly |
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The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center–West, based in Grand Rapids, has added a new location at The Starting Block kitchen and business incubator in Hart, according to an announcement from The Right Place.

The new office provides “a single, objective source” for manufacturing technical information and services to small and medium-sized manufacturers in Mason, Lake, Osceola, Oceana, Northern Newaygo and Mecosta counties, according to the announcement.

“MMTC-West, as part of a statewide program, covers a 17-county region throughout West Michigan,” said Bill Small, vice president of technical services at The Right Place Inc. in Grand Rapids and MMTC-West regional director. “Establishing a physical presence in our northern counties will enable us to build stronger relationships and provide better service to our customers in that region.”

The MMTCs in Michigan provide technical services such as market diversification strategies, energy and sustainability planning, and lean training for small and medium-sized manufacturers.

The Starting Block is a nonprofit corporation that opened in 2005 on Industrial Park Drive in Hart, initiated by a $238,700 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program, plus a $40,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. It is a 10,900-square-foot “kitchen incubator” facility to support agricultural product innovation and instruction for entrepreneurs with ideas for new or expanded businesses. The commercially licensed kitchen is available for use by producers and packagers of specialty and gourmet food products.

Paul Powers, business development specialist at MMTC-West, will operate out of The Starting Block office, providing support and information on the products and services available through MMTC. “There are a lot of great businesses in the area,” said Powers. “I look forward to building new business relationships and becoming a valuable resource for manufacturers throughout the area.”

The facility will also be used to conduct seminars and training workshops on manufacturing and food-processing best practices.

The announcement also coincides with MMTC-West’s plan to begin providing services to the food-processing industry through quality training and ISO certification, as well as a variety of traditional operational efficiency services and consulting.

“There are a lot of similarities between manufacturing and food processing in terms of business and production best practices, and I’m excited to see where this new cross-collaboration will go,” said Ron Steiner, director of The Starting Block. “The services MMTC-West provides help companies better compete and grow, creating much needed jobs in the area.”

MMTC-West offers food processors several of the same technical services it currently delivers to its manufacturing customers, customized to meet the individual needs of the food-processing industry. Several recent meetings and discussions with food processors have revealed that many operational issues and challenges are similar in both industries, such as quality control, quality assurance and meeting regulatory requirements.

Powers and the MMTC-West team plan to begin hosting welcome meetings and morning seminars throughout the coming months. For more information on these events, or to request a meeting, call (231) 873-1432.

The MMTC-West regional office is owned and administered by The Right Place in Grand Rapids and has assisted thousands of manufacturers to be globally competitive and achieve millions of dollars in cost-saving measures.

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