Mt. Clemens, MI - Business leaders from across the region attended the 10th annual Macomb Business Awards, presented by Consumers Energy, Thursday, September 22, 2022 at the historic Emerald Theatre in downtown Mount Clemens. Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel joined Vicky Rowinski, director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development, to recognize award winners.
“It’s an incredible honor to recognize Macomb County businesses every year at the Business Awards,” said Hackel. “I’d like to first congratulate our winners. They are all outstanding examples of what it takes to succeed in today’s ever-evolving business environment. I’d also like to note that we had more than 130 nominees this year, and it was an extremely competitive group. So while we could only announce six winners, I believe that all of our nominees are deserving of recognition and I’d like to congratulate them as well."
Winners of the 2022 awards include:
- Hidden Gem: Flash Steelworks - Washington Township
Flash Steelworks is a research and development firm specializing in maximum strength, high performance metal for lightweighting in the Automotive and Defense industries. Starting in 2003, Flash began testing combinations of rapid heating and quenching of commercially available steel. The resulting product is "stronger than titanium, lighter than aluminum and able to stop speeding bullets" at record setting velocities. As tested by the U.S. Army, defense primes, auto OEMs and others, Flash® Steel is the world's highest performing "Truly Weldable®" armor plate. Flash Steelworks has two Macomb County locations that employ a total of eight. While research is conducted in Washington Twp, the Shelby Twp facility is constructing two Flash® Armor production lines funded by Congress and the U.S. Army via a Phase III SBIR. Upon completion, in 12 to 15 months, Flash will produce the world's highest performing armor in Macomb County.
- Hometown Hero: Healthmark Industries - Fraser
Since its inception in 1969, Healthmark Industries has operated under three generations of the Basile family. Its family-oriented beginnings resonate across its culture, as leadership takes care of employees as if they are family. Healthmark has four locations in Fraser and almost 300 team members. The company makes intelligent solutions for infection control and its overall goal is to make surgery safer for everyone. Its values are family, fun, authenticity, gratitude and creativity. Another value is community service, which sees Healthmark and its employees donate time and money to a variety of organizations every year.
- Manufacturer of the Year: RAVE Computer - Sterling Heights
RAVE has proudly manufactured innovative, purpose-built computer solutions in the Sterling Heights Innovation District of Macomb County for 34 years. In 2019, with a vision to empower people to overcome challenges through innovation, RAVE Computer increased R&D efforts to support emerging technology in the immersive VR/MR space. The company partnered with Varjo and HTC, leaders in the HMD space, created a RenderBEAST bundle, (a portable plug and play immersive starter kit) and began showing the possibilities of immersive technology to both commercial and federal markets. Its RenderBEAST XR Zone opened this year and provides a dedicated space for on-site client demonstrations in the areas of immersive technology, photogrammetry and, coming soon, digital twinning. In 2021, RAVE became a woman-owned business and posted the best year in the company’s history.
- Small But Mighty Award: Anton Art Center - Mount Clemens
With only five employees, the Anton Art Center maintains a strong basis of programming in arts, education, community and economic development. Annual direct spending totals $500,000 and it is estimated by Americans for the Arts to have a total economic impact in Mount Clemens and Macomb County of about $1 million each year. Annually, through hundreds of classes, more than two dozen art exhibits, dozens of off-site artmaking programs and multiple large-scale public art projects, the center engages Macomb County residents and continues to expand its impact to the benefit of all. Notably, the Anton Art Center’s historic facility in downtown Mount Clemens recently received a National Register designation, a crowning achievement for this hidden gem.
- Trailblazer of Future Talent: RCO Engineering - Roseville
RCO Engineering offers manufacturing services for the automotive, aerospace and defense industries. As the organization is heavily reliant on skilled labor, the HR department maintains relationships with Macomb Community College Career Services. The company has also hosts undecided career path students for tours of facilities. Further, there are employees who sit on college program Advisory Boards, providing industry insights to the instructors and curriculum. High schools have also toured the grounds through Manufacturing Day and job shadowing opportunities. RCO sponsors First Robotics teams and donates to industry awareness events like Women in Defense (WID) scholarship fundraisers to encourage high school and university students to pursue STEAM careers. As all our manufacturing businesses can attest to, finding good talent has been increasingly challenging so promoting its paid apprenticeship programs at the college, high school and on-site job fairs have been a priority with success.
- Workforce Champion: AGS Automotive Systems -Sterling Heights
AGS Automotive Systems has experienced tremendous growth across the company’s U.S. Operations. Consequently, there is a considerable need to recruit and retain employees in a competitive and challenging job market. The company has responded by implementing several initiatives that have resulted in a turnover rate of less than 5 percent for hourly employees. Those include: A competitive wage structure; an early hire program that resulted in a 70 percent retention rate of 130 employees over the past 18 months; a commitment to employees, with over 45 internal promotions made across the company’s U.S. operations in the past three years; formal, internal leadership training; employee engagement activities to cultivate a fun work environment; a diverse workforce with nearly 55 percent of the company’s hourly workforce represented by the local Middle Eastern community; and a continued dedication to diversify labor by tapping into the Bengali population, and more recently Afghan refugees.
- Economic Development Partner of the Year: Macomb County MSU Extension
- Beacon of Economic Development: Gene Lovell, Chairman, First State Bank; James Ahee, retiring Program Director for Economic Development, MCPED
WDIV Local 4’s Nick Monacelli served as emcee of the Macomb Business Awards while Telva McGruder, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for GM, provided a keynote address.
The 10th annual event was presented by Consumers Energy. Additional sponsors include Clark Construction Company, RAVE Computer, DTE Energy, First State Bank, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, Attendant Care Companies, Macomb County Chamber, Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce, Dominion Technologies Group, Macomb Community College, Macomb Intermediate School District, Comcast, RCO Engineering, and UHY LLP.
For more information, visit www.macombbusiness.com. To access images from the event, click here.
About Macomb County Planning and Economic Development
The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development supports an environment where businesses prosper and people thrive. Its activities and programs are focused on stimulating the local economy through business retention, expansion and attraction while improving the overall quality of life for residents. The department specializes in providing services to businesses at all stages of development with a concentration on the high-growth industries of aerospace, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, defense and homeland security. For more information, call 586-469-5285 or visit: https://ped.macombgov.org/Ped-Home.