How the Macomb Business Awards helped land a local start up on the NBC Nightly News

There are many reasons to nominate your organization for a Macomb Business Award. Whether you are looking to celebrate an achievement with the community, hoping to network with other local businesses or wanting to exhibit your company’s expertise, the event can help your business achieve several promotional goals. There’s even a chance to be featured on local media outlets, and if you’re lucky, national ones as well. Bakes and Kropp, a 2016 Macomb Business Award winner, can attest to that.

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Bakes and Kropp is a custom cabinetry company that designs and manufactures luxury kitchens, vanities, libraries and closets. Their high-end cabinetry is built in a 30,000-square-foot production facility in Mount Clemens and sold at three showrooms in the New York area as well as through a dealer in Plymouth, Michigan.

According to co-founder Paul Kropp, a benefit of being located in Macomb County is the area’s talented workforce and solid work ethic. Traditionally an area dominated by automotive manufacturing, Kropp sees the excitement employees have when they get to work on something different. The presence of the auto industry also means that there is no shortage of experienced metalworkers for the company’s chrome plating or metal fabrication needs, allowing them to create truly unique wooden and metallic products.

At the end of 2015, Bakes and Kropp was nominated for the Macomb Business Awards in the ‘Startup Business to Watch’ category. As an organization that that had been operating for less than four years with more than two full-time employees, they fit the qualifications for the award, but they weren’t sure they’d win. Kropp said at the time that this uncertainty was driven by the other competing businesses, but when their company name was announced as the recipient, he was thrilled.

“I enjoyed the whole process,” he said. “The ceremony was well done, and it was a huge morale booster for the company.”

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Upon receiving the award, Bakes and Kropp was mentioned in several local newspaper articles and listed on MacombBusiness.com. This sparked the interest of an NBC Nightly News producer who was covering the 2016 presidential campaign in the Midwest. After researching Bakes and Kropp, the producer reached out and asked about hosting a televised roundtable at its Mount Clemens facility. Company leadership agreed to the opportunity and soon Lester Holt and the NBC news team descended on the Macomb County business. The crew got to experience the business first-hand while filming the special, which was eventually broadcast across the country. According to Kropp, it was exciting to meet a celebrity and receive exposure on a national level.

While there is no guarantee your company will be mentioned in national news, if you nominate your organization for the Macomb Business Awards you can count on a delicious breakfast, an inspirational guest speaker and the chance to take home one of six prestigious honors, including:

  • Trailblazer of Future Talent – creating partnerships that provide opportunities for the next generation of our workforce to explore career possibilities and experience work-based learning.
  • Corporate Citizen – providing meaningful support to our community through service and/or philanthropy.
  • Champion of Work / Life Integration – offering innovative benefits that enable employees to balance work responsibilities with personal passions (Sponsored by MetroParent magazine).
  • Model of OneMacomb – cultivating an environment where diversity is valued as evidenced by inclusive practices.
  • Hidden Gem – uncovering a unique Made-in-Macomb product or place that more people should know about.
  • Manufacturer of the Year – in recognition of a manufacturer of any size that is achieving success through its efforts to diversify its customer base, retain employees and/or implement new technologies or efficiencies.

March 15 is the deadline for nominations. Simply fill out our easy application and you’ll be in the running!

For more information on the April 23 event, visit www.MacombBusiness.com/bizawards.

*Parts of this story originally appeared in a Macomb Business blog from 2017.

Submit your nominations now for the 7th annual Macomb Business Awards

The annual Macomb Business Awards are undergoing a few changes this year – and that includes the date of the event. As part of a larger shift in plans, the awards will be held Tuesday, April 23, but at its core, the 7th annual program remains the same. The event will recognize organizations that are striving to build a capable workforce, tap new markets, cultivate a welcoming workplace or give back to the community.  A Macomb County Economic Development Partner of the Year will also be honored.

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Several new features, such as a new logo, a keynote speaker and new award categories have also been developed. Those categories include:

  • Trailblazer of Future Talent – creating partnerships that provide opportunities for the next generation of our workforce to explore career possibilities and experience work-based learning.
  • Corporate Citizen – providing meaningful support to our community through service and/or philanthropy.
  • Champion of Work / Life Integration – offering innovative benefits that enable employees to balance work responsibilities with personal passions (Sponsored by MetroParent magazine).
  • Model of OneMacomb – cultivating an environment where diversity is valued as evidenced by inclusive practices.
  • Hidden Gem – uncovering a unique Made-in-Macomb product or place that more people should know about.
  • Manufacturer of the Year – in recognition of a manufacturer of any size that is achieving success through its efforts to diversify its customer base, retain employees and/or implement new technologies or efficiencies.

Nominations for the Macomb Business Awards can be submitted through an online form now through Friday, March 15. A panel of judges will then review and select winners in each category. All nominated companies will receive two complimentary tickets to the breakfast, which will feature a celebrity emcee, keynote speaker and exceptional networking opportunities.  Last year, more than 400 regional leaders attended.

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Sponsorship opportunities for the Macomb Business Awards are still available. More information and a link to the sponsorship form is available at http://www.MacombBusiness.com/bizawards or by contacting Maria Zardis at maria.zardis@macombgov.org or (586) 469-5285.

 

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Annual breakfast honors students and highlights importance of Career Technical Education

The world of work is changing; industries are adapting to new economies, new jobs are appearing, old jobs are disappearing and required skills are evolving. What does this mean for young people? To put it simply, they need to be better prepared for work than any previous generation. This shift is pushing educators to try new concepts and pursue different teaching strategies that prioritize experiential learning. One strategy in particular has been extremely effective in getting students ready to join the workforce, and that’s Career Technical Education (CTE).

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By definition, CTE is an educational option that provides learners with the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared for college, careers and lifelong learning. It gives purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world skills and practical knowledge within a selected career focus.

Here in Macomb County, CTE has had a tremendous impact on the school district, one that was highlighted on Friday, February 1 at the 29th annual Macomb Career Technical Education Administrators Association Awards. The event saw leaders from the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD), business and government gather to celebrate the success of local CTE programs and the students that excel in them. In all, 42 students were recognized for their involvement in a variety of CTE programs, including culinary arts, marketing, business, health, education, design, engineering and machining.

Businesses that volunteer their time supporting the students and providing real-world experiences were honored as well (a full list of these businesses and students can be found at the end of this article). For instance, Tom and Krista Barr, co-owners of TK Mold and Engineering, were recognized for working with Romeo High School and Macomb Community College to find and train young talent; a strategy that has paid off for the organization. In fact, half of TK Mold’s 20 employees are 19 to 25 years old – a remarkable statistic in an industry largely comprised of retirement age workers.

Shannon Williams, CTE regional administrator for the MISD, spoke about this and several other compelling facts proving the benefits of CTE during the breakfast:

CTE works for students

  • Taking one CTE class for every two academic classes minimizes the risk of students dropping out of high school. (National Research Center)
  • The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 93 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent. (U.S. Department of Education)
  • Ninety-one percent of high school graduates who earned two to three CTE credits enrolled in college. (U.S. Department of Education)

CTE works for business

  • CTE addresses the needs of industries and helps close the skills gap. We know this because:
    • Half of all STEM jobs call for workers with less than a bachelor’s degree. (Rothwell, The Hidden STEM Economy)
    • Health care occupations are projected to grow 18 percent by 2026, adding more than 2 million new jobs. (U.S. Department of Labor)
    • Three million workers will be needed for the nation’s infrastructure in the next decade, including designing, building and operating transportation, housing, utilities and telecommunications. (Brookings Institute)
    • More than 80 percent of manufacturers report that talent shortages will impact their ability to meet customer demand. (Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute)

This all makes CTE a popular and important option in Macomb and it’s why there are 237 state-approved CTE programs, 34 program areas and 34 operating buildings in the county. It’s also why more than 14,000 students are enrolled, which makes Macomb the county with the highest CTE population in the state of Michigan. These numbers indicate a positive future for the region and its economy. And it certainly makes the case for why CTE matters and why we must celebrate it.

To learn more about CTE programming in Macomb County, visit http://misd.net/careerteched/index.html. And to view photos from the breakfast, click here.

Students and businesses recognized at the CTE breakfast:

New Haven Public Schools         
Emily Brohl, Taylor Gauthier
Sara Gibbons, Director of Engineering-Quikly; Vicki Dorazio, Cyber Security Consultant: TEALS, Microsoft Philanthropies

South Lake Schools
Nolan Girven; Virginia Goodrich
Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Coating Systems

Richmond Community Schools 
Erik Haack; Drew Reindel
Jeff White, Chief of EMS; Sara Glanville, Training Officer: Richmond Lenox EMS

Chippewa Valley Schools
Jessica Hetzel; Alexandra Pannemann
Joe Nieddu, Emerald Coast Building Company

Clintondale Public Schools
Tyron James, Jr.; Courtney Martin
Michael Salvatore, J’s Silkscreens

Lakeview Public Schools
Passion Lewis; Jacob Shue
Gary Nieman and Adam Specht, PLM World

Van Dyke Public Schools
Theresa Kraft; Ryan Weidner
Dan Meehan, Performance Machinery, LLC

Warren Consolidated Schools  
Noah DeWalt; Breeanna Robinson
Jason Klinesteker, South Park Welding

Warren Woods Public Schools 
Andre Vance; Gwendolyn Yang
Amaty Calhoun, Ceratizit Group

Fraser Public Schools    
Vincent Castillo; Michael Lemanski
Andrew Spiece, Tom Darga & John McPhee – Microsoft Philanthropies TEALS

Lake Shore Public Schools
Ali Abdul-Malik; Kyle Dreyer
Mark Denning, Denning & Associates

Romeo Community Schools
Kailee Billock; Michela Hein
Paul D’Angelo, WBRW TV

Armada Area Schools    
Tayor Chambers; Justin Herbert
Doug Schroeder, Masonry Solutions

Roseville Community Schools  
Carlos Fullerwood; Gabrielle Waderlow
Frank Devos, Frank Devos National Heating and Cooling

Eastpointe Public Schools
Jeffrey Rudolph; Carcia Young
Cardi DeMonaco, Michigan Court of Appeals

Macomb Community College   
Connor Clifford; Michael Pawlusiak
Tom & Krista Barr, TK Mold & Engineering, Inc.

Anchor Bay Schools       
Ken Barker; Angelica Bailey
Shannon McIntosh, Michigan Schools & Government Credit Union

Utica Community Schools
Anthony Salazar; Angel Sanders
John Ferrozzo, New Line Diamond and Granite

Fitzgerald Public Schools
Caylinn Higgins; Jacob Reiss
Jeffrey “JP” Skop, Athletico

L’Anse Creuse Public Schools    
Delano Williams; Griffyn Woodson
Tom Nahas, MadHabit Creative

Center Line Public Schools
Syeda Jamal; Laura McBride
Allison Biliti, Medstar Ambulance

 

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

How SME Prime and Center Line High School are working to address the skills gap in manufacturing

There’s a growing crisis within American industry. There aren’t enough prepared, qualified candidates available to fill crucial advanced manufacturing roles. Nearly 3.5 million jobs will be available over the next decade in manufacturing — but 2 million will remain unfilled due to the lack of skilled talent.

smeef.rgb.notaglineThe SME Education Foundation is working to address this growing talent gap with a unique solution: the SME PRIME® (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) schools initiative. SME PRIME focuses on building and developing a workforce talent pipeline by bringing together local industry, educators and communities.

On February 21, representatives from the SME Education Foundation, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel, Center Line Public Schools Superintendent Eve Kaltz and others will discuss plans to bring the SME PRIME schools initiative to Center Line High School in Macomb County.

The Foundation’s mission focuses on inspiring, preparing and supporting young people in their pursuit of advanced manufacturing career pathways. Through SME PRIME, the Foundation establishes manufacturing education centers of excellence in high schools across the country working with the local manufacturing community to help with funding, mentoring and developing young people in their pursuit of career opportunity.

“We’re pleased with the progress and direction of our partnership. It’s a great opportunity to work with talented students – helping to guide them and expand their opportunities help them realize their potential.”

Mark White, President, Shape Corp.

Nationwide, the Foundation has built 46 SME PRIME schools in 22 states, with 8 schools in the state of Michigan. To date, SME PRIME has impacted over 50,000 students with 84 percent of students graduating from PRIME schools pursuing careers in manufacturing. Furthermore, 40 percent of those students entered the workforce directly, filling critical jobs, and the other 60 percent pursued higher education within STEM degree programs focused on manufacturing.

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To RSVP for the SME PRIME information session at Center Line High School on Thursday, February 21 or to learn how to get involved, please contact Sandy Wilton at swilton@sme.org or 313-316-3356.

Joshua Grossman is senior marketing specialist with SME, an association of professionals, educators and students committed to promoting and supporting the manufacturing industry.