Entries by Ron Kitchens

From farm to table

COMPANY
Packers Canning Co., dba Honee Bear Canning Co.

WEBSITE
honeebear.com

LOCATION
72100 M 40
Lawton, MI 49065

YEAR FOUNDED
Honee Bear Canning was founded in 1943 and Packers Canning in 1967. The two entities existed as a partnership between the grandfather of Steve Packer, current president and chief executive officer, and another family. The Packer family became sole owners in 1967.

A Conversation with Sondra Phillips

WHAT SERVICES DOES SKP DESIGN PROVIDE?

SKP Design is a boutique interior design company—in fact, we are the only interior design firm in Kalamazoo. We have both residential and commercial clients and can do everything from new construction to remodeling. Clients come to us because they’re changing, moving, growing, or launching a new product line. If a client wants people to think a certain way when they walk in their space, we figure out how to make that happen. Essentially, our job is to make sure that an area makes sense visually.

HOW DO YOU CREATE A UNIQUE ATMOSPHERE?

Interior design employs a lot of psychology and sociology. We have to understand people and how they behave. We consider how people interact with an environment and what effect a physical space will have on an individual.

Only the select few foresee never-ending opportunities

Team members at SELECT Products Limited in Portage have a great story to tell. The geared continuous door hinge they produce survived an independent test of 25 million open-and-close cycles. The test required over four years to complete. Every other component in the door failed except the hinge.

That’s a product the team is proud to develop, produce, sell, and support! In fact, the company has a never-ending warranty.

LOVING THE LOCAL FLAVOR

NAME
Andy Cullen

EDUCATION
Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC)
Web Design and Development (A.A.S.) ’17

Software Development (A.A.S.) ’17

HOMETOWN
Bellville, Michigan

EMPLOYMENT
Junior Software Development Engineer, National Flavors

ON THE JOB
My job at National Flavors spans both the development and IT worlds, so my responsibilities consist of everything from fixing surprise bugs in our homemade business software, constructing new capabilities in our data software, and building a new online customer portal. My previous experience as a lab assistant helped me fit into the company culture quite well, but the main thing that helps me thrive in this position is the wide range of experiences I have gained from my instructors at KVCC.

INVESTING IN DEVELOPMENT

NAME 
Kayla Poole

HOMETOWN
Jackson, Michigan

EDUCATION
Western Michigan University (WMU)
Accounting and Aviation Management Double Major

Expected Graduation: Spring 2018

POSITION
Staff Auditor Intern at Consumers Credit Union

THE KICKOFF

When I first started my internship program, all the new hires began in a group together to do training and orientation. Then, we moved into different departments to learn specific skills. For continuing professional development, interns meet every week as a group with the HR Department. They have different people come in to talk about resume building, interviewing, and other skills. Consumers Credit Union wants to grow you as a person as much as possible.

Can it!

There are nearly 300 breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs operating in Michigan with over 30 operations just in the 269 area code.

“You are never more than an hour from a fresh pint of hand-crafted beer. Brewing operations are located in communities throughout the entire state, many of which are revitalizing main streets and resurrecting historical buildings,” according to the Michigan Brewers Guild. “Brewery tap rooms and restaurants are diverse, unique gathering places that are connected and committed to their local communities. Additionally, local breweries have a profound impact on Michigan’s economy.”

Positivity, Passion, and a Kaleidoscope

Just one look at the desk of WSI President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff O’Brien reveals a lot about his company. Since 2001, WSI, a recruitment and staffing specialist currently with offices throughout the Midwest, has impacted thousands of lives by helping people get full-time and temporary work assignments. Over the years, WSI has also dramatically increased the number of companies using its selection model to test the caliber of candidates. Beyond these successes, the one thing that O’Brien is most proud of is his team. He says, “I’ve never had a more collaborative, effective, enjoyable group of people to work with than I do currently. And that makes what we do fun.”

BOOK
Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street is about culture interviews and cultural fit. Its systemic approach to finding the right candidates and how to interview to discern between good and bad fit is quite powerful.

LEADER2LEADER: Kay Clark

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A GOOD LEADER?

A good leader is somebody who not only has a vision but can also paint that vision for others. How do you get everybody involved on your team in making that vision come to reality and how will you keep them motivated? How do you continue to inspire and motivate? Great leaders have the ability to do all of those things.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?

I was an athlete my whole life, so I’m a huge believer in teams. I surround myself with talent, and I’m very purposeful in hiring different skills. I work hard to construct a group of diverse talents because I believe that the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts. When everybody brings something valuable to the table, we can accomplish great things.

LEADER2LEADER: Tom Ward

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A GOOD LEADER?

A good leader is a person who people look up to and want to follow. They’re someone who is willing to sacrifice for their team, to set an example, and to set their people up for success. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?

My leadership style is built on support and trust. I trust my team to be able to get the job done without me having to micromanage. I also focus on aligning their strengths and their passions with projects to get the best results. I work on building a connection with each one of my team members to understand what goals they have set forth, so I can align them with projects that peek their interest.

HOW DID I GET HERE? – Gary Schultz

1952 | BORN IN ANN ARBOR, MI

Pioneer High School, where I went to school, sat kitty-corner from the University of Michigan football stadium; we felt very much a part of what went on at the campus. It was a time of great change for our nation, and the political unrest at my school that mirrored what was happening in downtown Ann Arbor. At the same time, the high school benefited from its proximity to the university; the opportunities we had were unbelievable. We could choose to take classes in eight different foreign languages taught by University of Michigan faculty.

1975 | GRADUATED FROM MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

I ended up going to Michigan State—surprisingly, a lot of my classmates did the same! I went there, because I decided I wanted to work in the hotel and restaurant industry. Michigan State had, and still has, the second-best hospitality program in the country.