A New Sales Engineer’s Road to Success at DeWys Manufacturing

An unknown author once wrote “As you climb the ladder of success, be sure its leaning against the right building.” I believe this quote communicates the importance a company and its culture has on one’s ability to climb different rungs of success. The building that I first leaned my ladder on, and continue to lean on today is DeWys Manufacturing. I started cleaning toilets and weeding landscape when I was 15 years old, and fast forward 8 years, I do not regret putting in the hard work to get where I’m at today.

I have been very lucky with the opportunities that have been made available to me during my short career. After my time as the shop janitor, I began working in various departments throughout the shop floor. I first transferred to the paint line then on to machining where I would spend my next two years learning the ins and outs of the CNC machining process. Moving from area to area would turn out to be a great asset in my future positions at DeWys, as I was able to experience the fabrication process firsthand. During this time, I was also growing my mind in other ways, as I attended college full time.

DeWys Manufacturing was willing to work with my goals/aspirations during my earlier years as a team member, which gave me a chance to prove my worth. For starters, they allowed me to work part time while I was attending college. This type of flexibility is not a common industry standard, and was vital for improving at work and outside of work. DeWys also helped guide my decisions on what to go to school for, and what the best path might be in my academic career. I can remember when I first started attending GRCC, I set up a meeting with our Workforce Development Manager, Laura Elsner. Even with her busy work schedule, she met with me to discuss what business degree she thought would best shape my career. This type of investment in employees was very important to me, and emboldened my attempts to continue moving up through the company. I was given the chance to complete an internship in the sales department at DeWys. Upon completion, I continued to work in a part time sales role until I finished school.

After completing my Bachelors in Business Administration, and Masters in Business Administration in the Spring of 2017, DeWys offered me a fulltime position in the sales department. I was also given the opportunity to become the Business Development Coordinator for the newest company purchased by DeWys Manufacturing, American Grower Resource (AGR). This load of responsibilities will be a new test of my abilities. My years of experience on the manufacturing floor as well as my two degrees, have prepared me for these opportunities. I hope to accumulate more knowledge and more experience to further propel my career at DeWys Manufacturing.

I have come to understand that the next 8 years will be much harder than my past 8 years, but I am ready for whatever challenges arise. As I have said before, I have leaned my ladder on the right building, and I am not done climbing. – Mitch B.

Finding and Hiring the Right Person

Every company looks for a new hire that portrays certain qualities and traits during the interview process. The Human Resources department at DeWys Manufacturing is tasked for finding the right fit for the company and at times this can be stressful, but worth the process. Our human resources team work closely to review applications and meet with potential new hires that convey the same mission and vision as the DeWys Mfg. team.

Laura Elsner, Workforce Development Manager at DeWys Manufacturing, believes the right team member is “someone who wants to be a part of growing themselves and the company to the next level. Here at DeWys we put more of an emphasis on the cultural fit for the company, along with the persons motivation and drive to continuously learn. Having the skill set is a huge benefit, but if we can find the right candidate we can always help to create and advance the skill set within that person.”

The interview process mainly consists of two, sometimes three interviews depending on the position. The first interview is solely with our workforce development manager and human resources generalist. During this time, the HR team is looking for someone who is positive, motivated, has critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and has set goals for themselves personally. At this time, a candidate could also complete a weld or mechanical reasoning test to ensure they meet the skill set for that position. If the interviewee qualifies, a second interview is held with team leads and trainers that will be working directly with the potential new hire.

DeWys Manufacturing has been successful for 40 years thanks to the hard-working team members who have been a part of our road to success. As the company expands so does the need for more “hands-on deck”. With the right interview process in place it makes it easier on the company to find and hire the ‘right’ person.

DeWys Manufacturing Welcomes a New Addition to the Inside Sales Team

DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the addition of Amy Hatfield as their new inside sales coordinator. In her new role, Amy will provide communication between the sales, engineering, manufacturing and shipping areas of DeWys Manufacturing. She will also be responsible for order entry and meeting the needs of customers by building relationships through phone calls and face-to-face visits.

Prior to joining the team at DeWys Mfg., Amy worked in sales, accounting, and as an operations manager for a metal fabrication distributor. In 2009, Amy started her own metal fabrication equipment distributorship, becoming the first female to own and operate a company in this industry. Her passion for manufacturing stems from being the third generation involved with metal fabrication in her family, following her grandfather and father. “When I was 12, I remember going to a metal fabrication shop with my dad and being fascinated with the sights and sounds of the machines in the shop. I get the same feeling today that I got when I was younger.”

DeWys Mfg. is excited about the addition of Amy Hatfield to their team. Amy’s years of industry experience, education, and passion will give her the knowledge needed to be an asset to the company and their customers.

DeWys Manufacturing Inc. to Acquire American Grower Resource

DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the acquisition of an agricultural resource company called American Grower Resource, also known as A.G.R. The addition of A.G.R. will allow DeWys to further explore the agriculture industry while also becoming an O.E.M of agriculture equipment.

Servicing greenhouses nationally with transportation grow racks, A.G.R. is committed to providing the best quality and innovative solutions for all their customer’s needs. With American Grower Resource now being a division of DeWys Mfg., the durable mild steel carts will be produced in the lean manufacturing value streams where they are precision machined and hand welded by A.W.S. certified welders. The grow racks will also be painted on a state-of-the-art powder coating line with high strength and durable paint to withstand a greenhouse environment, then assembled to the customers’ requirements.

A.G.R.’s grow racks serve as a transportation unit for products from greenhouses and growers to their final destination. Custom shelves offer a variety of shelf space options to allow for small potted plants to larger high density plants. With a range of brakes and casters for customers to choose from, the grow racks are designed for strength, durability, and safety, with their customer’s productivity in mind.

DeWys Manufacturing strives to provide solutions today that meet their customer’s’ requirements tomorrow. The joining of these two companies will allow for continuous growth and innovation in the future with the goal of expanding the agricultural products offered through American Grower Resource. “We’re excited about the addition of A.G.R., and the additional opportunities to exceed their customers’ demands” – Jon DeWys, CEO of DeWys Manufacturing.

DeWys Manufacturing Inc Celebrates 40th Anniversary

DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West Michigan based metal solutions company, is delighted to announce that in 2017 they are celebrating 40 years in business! Their road to success has taken them on a journey of changes- from location and ownership to technological advancements and the development of DeWys University, their in-house training program. The company has grown to 160 team members.

Starting in 1977 in a little red barn producing fireplace inserts, DeWys Manufacturing is now a 90,000-sq. ft. contract manufacturer serving over 160 customers in more than 10 different industries. DeWys’ ‘Circle of Companies’ includes precision sheet metal, contract manufacturing, powder coating, machining, and product assembly. Providing all of these services allows DeWys to partner with their customers in every aspect of the production process from the initial design to a completely finished and assembled end product.

40+RoadWith the mission to provide solutions today that meet their customers’ requirements tomorrow, the company has been quick to adapt to changes in technology over the past decades and worked as a team to implement the new and upcoming trends. “I’ve always encouraged our innovation teams to be progressive, to try new things without the fear of failing forward,” said Jon DeWys, CEO of DeWys Manufacturing. “This mentality allowed us to stay afloat during the challenging economic recession from 2008-2013. During this time period many manufacturing companies experienced a decline in sales and some even closed their doors. Because we were diversified in our service offerings and customer base and have always invested in technology, we made it though and came out stronger than ever.”

Second to technology, DeWys’ top resources are their team members. The company realized that as a manufacturer in Michigan, they needed to create the talent required to keep up with their growth. In 2012, The DeWys University was born. “DeWys University has really allowed our business to grow. We’ve been able to build a team of motived, well-trained, and knowledgeable employees who are excited about their future with the company,” said Laura Elsner, Workforce Development Manager. “

While the company will take time to celebrate and acknowledge the major milestone achieved, they’re also looking forward to the future. “We take a lot of pride in hitting this 40 year mile stone. We know that we’ll never be finished finding new ways to innovate and we’re looking forward to the growth ahead of us,” said Jon DeWys.

2016 Behind Us, 2017 Starts Now

I would like to take this time to personally thank our loyal customers, suppliers, and team members for the opportunities, orders, materials and resources provided to make DeWys a success in 2016. At DeWys Manufacturing, we count on our customers to award us work that we can excel at in every way. In our business, we focus on a diversified and balanced customer base. This diversification enables us to bring leading practices from one industry to the other. As many of you know, we supply industries including office furniture, medical equipment, and industrial/consumer products. This strategy enables us to grow and strengthen our business, allowing us to continue to supply high precision products for another 40+ years!

This year DeWys Manufacturing added on a second facility to provide additional capabilities for our customers. As that continues to develop, our hope is that this facility will bring more value to you. Also housed in this location, DeWys and several local employers, have partnered with a local K-12 public school system to create a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) lab. We currently have 100 students ranging from grades 7th – 10th that are participating in project based learning in the STEM lab. The lab encompasses approximately 3,500 square feet adjacent to a real manufacturing business where the students can hear and witness firsthand how ‘things’ are made. We believe that DeWys Manufacturing needs to foster that next generation to achieve the workforce necessary to continue business for another 40 years.

In celebration of 40 years of being your complete metal solutions provider, we are going to take this year to optimize the investments we have made over the past year. We plan to work on better utilization of the new automated conveyor system, our in-house weld cell “Megatron”, the automated insertion machine, and our P-2 lean panel bending Salvagnini. These 2016 advancements will really improve our processes, quality, and on time delivery for 2017.

With 2016 behind us, we are all looking to 2017 as an exciting year for DeWys Manufacturing. We look forward to continuing our partnerships in the new year.


Thank you & Happy New Year!

Jon DeWys

CEO of DeWys Manufacturing

DeWys Manufacturing Inc. Team Members Pay It Forward in 2016

DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, would like to recognize their compassionate and charitable team members for another fulfilling year of community service. The company takes pride in knowing their team members have helped improve someone’s life, and enjoyed creating positive relationships in the community.

In May, DeWys Manufacturing team members had the opportunity to volunteer their Saturday morning with the Kids Food Basket organization. During this time food was prepped for the sack suppers program that will go towards 7,500 children in the greater West Michigan area. During the month of October, a group of 20 volunteers from DeWys Mfg. joined together to build two houses through Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. Each house had 10 people and the projects consisted primarily of framing and insulating. Not only did the DeWys team members provide sweat equity, the company also sponsored both houses by covering the cost of supplies. Finally, DeWys held their annual Thanksgiving canned food drive in November. This year a competition was held between value streams to bring in the most canned goods. It was a record breaking year as team members joined together to donate more than 450 pounds of food to Feeding America West Michigan.

The volunteers from DeWys Manufacturing helped in making 2016 a banner year for community involvement. The company is looking forward to the positive impacts the team members will make in 2017.


DeWys Manufacturing Partners with Local School to Increase STEM Education

DeWys Manufacturing and MOVE Systems are privileged to announce the partnership with Kenowa Hills Public School for the new STEM lab program. STEM is a science, technology, engineering and math focused program which gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the growing fields of STEM centered careers. This program stimulates students to solve vigorous problems, gather information and interpret data.

The STEM lab, located within DeWys Manufacturing’s secondary location, is a hands-on classroom with over 3,400 square feet of workspace that is strategically placed side by side a real-life manufacturing setting. By equipping students with this type of learning environment, they are provided access into real-world careers to innovate, research, create and prepare to become tomorrow’s leaders. The community has come together during the planning, construction and launching processes to synergize a lively and safe environment with exceptional learning opportunities. This facility is equipped with computers for CAD design, 3-D printers, and computer screens at each workstation allowing for multicast imagining to join teachers with students. The space also includes access to collaborative technology, with a core curriculum designed to help students accelerate in studies while earning math or science credits.

The STEM program is currently open for enrolled students of Kenowa Hills Public School in 7th and 9th grade. In the fall of 2017, enrollment will be open for 7th through 10th graders. Recently, DeWys Mfg. received the 2016 A.R. Hedberg Training & Education Award which granted the company $1,500 to use directly towards an educational partnership. The winnings were donated to Kenowa Hills Public School STEM lab program to enhance the current curriculum. DeWys Manufacturing along with Kenowa Hills, is overwhelmed with the continuous support from the community. Companies have donated time, supplies and ideas to help construct the STEM lab, and prepare students for diverse learning and careers in the developing STEM fields.


DeWys Manufacturing Inc. Promotes Manufacturing Day to Students and Teachers in the West Michigan Area

DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce their involvement with the National Manufacturing Day event for the fourth year in a row. By opening the doors to the public, this helped to promote the skilled trade industry and allow DeWys Mfg. to promote the advanced manufacturing processes they provide their customers.

This year manufacturing week was celebrated in the West Michigan area from October 2nd through October 8th. A total of 3,100 students visited a variety of manufacturing facilities to gain knowledge, participate in tours and hands on activities to better understand the diverse fields in the industry. DeWys Mfg. hosted 155 students from Kent Intermediate School District, Discover Elementary, and Ridge Park Charter Academy. The students received a tour of the shop, participated in a team building activity, and explored the MCAM trailer provided by Grand Rapids Community College. Along with the tours given to students throughout the week, DeWys Manufacturing hosted 15 math and science teachers organized through the Kent ISD called “Teachers in the Industry”. This event consisted of the teachers taking a mechanical reasoning test to show the initial steps taken in the hiring process, a short video on DeWys Manufacturing, and a question and answer panel with four of the DeWys team members. This allowed the teachers to learn from the team members about career paths in manufacturing.

Manufacturing Week in Grand Rapids was unique compared to past years thanks to the City of Grand Rapids and the Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. An official proclamation was created for 2016 declaring October 2nd through October 8th as Manufacturing Week.  As stated in the official proclamation, “Whereas the city of Grand Rapids joins with the State of Michigan to celebrate Manufacturing Week and recognize our manufacturers for their commitment to creating jobs and a prosperous economy in West Michigan.” DeWys Manufacturing is proud to be an active participant in the raising awareness of the advanced manufacturing career opportunities to students in our community.


DeWys Manufacturing Inc. Purchases New Automated Conveyor System

DeWys Manufacturing Inc., a West – Michigan based metal solutions company, is pleased to announce the addition of a new state-of-the-art automated conveyor system. This conveyor system is over 160 feet long, weighs 44,000 pounds, and allows for a fast and easy connection of parts from the fabrication process to the powder coating line. With a total of eight loading stations within the conveyor system, our customers’ products are easily accessible at any point in our value streams. Once the pallet has been loaded onto the line, photo electric sensors are used to detect that they are in the correct position and ready to move down the conveyor.

With this new conveyor system in place, DeWys Manufacturing will be able to ensure that parts will be painted in the order they are received due to FIFO (first in first out). Hi-lo transportation has also been reduced allowing for better product flow from value stream to value stream, thus reducing our product handling time. The addition of this new conveyor system to DeWys Manufacturing will continue to enhance our lean process for future growth and progress, while providing continued quality improvements for our customers.