Entries by Ron Kitchens



DENSO Manufacturing Michigan, Inc. (DMMI)

DMMI occupies 1.38 million square feet of manufacturing, warehouse, and administrative floor space on more than 100 acres of land at 1 Denso Road in Battle Creek, Michigan. Operations began locally in 1986.

A Conversation with SARA DUNN

(A web designer) translates what a business or individual does into an interactive format that provides more information for a potential customer.

My company is entirely remote; I might be in my home office in Battle Creek or I might be traveling. So a typical day is never typical. I might be spending a lot of time answering email, I might be on video calls with my team or my clients, or I might be in fully focused work time, heads down, email paused, doing work and strategy, managing social media, doing competitive research, writing content, any of those things. No two days are the same.


Define leadership.
Observation brings understanding. Understanding brings tolerance. Tolerance brings direction. Direction brings followers.

To me, that’s what leadership is. Observation is the ability to observe what’s going on—the ability to observe in any sector of leadership. Observation brings understanding—understanding of perspective. That brings tolerance and that brings direction and that brings people to follow you. Leadership is about following.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
In our family-owned business, it’s my dad. If I was fair, and I am fair, my mom too had a very interesting impact on my leadership.

My dad developed in me this concept of tolerance or understanding and, through understanding, you can get people to better their life. In our world, the key to this is that we’re helping people reach the next station in life. We manage 180 different business owners who are trying to get their businesses to the next level. My dad gave me the ability to get people to that next level of understanding.

My mom brought a different perspective that you don’t typically think about in leadership. She was an art major. She’s a very creative person. Creativity is so critical in leadership. The ability to think creatively is a whole different concept. The ability to have an eye for what you want is super huge in leadership, super huge, because that’s what causes people to follow you. Is what you have the creative approach, that innovative approach? She taught me to think like that.


Define leadership.
Leadership is being a developer, raising up your team, and empowering them to learn new things and develop themselves.
Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
One person is a guy who works here. His name is Andy Short. He’s made an impact on me as a leader because he’s so trustworthy. He’s so transparent and you know, with anything that comes out of his mouth, there’s no smoke and mirrors behind it. He’s totally committed to his team. I’ve never actually worked for him—I’m on the Inclusion and Diversity Council here, and he used to be a leader on it. You want to do well so that you make him proud. He instills that in people.

Designing a Collaborative Workforce – TIPS FROM TOWERPINKSTER

How many of your employees or co-workers would show up to work the day after winning the Powerball jackpot?

If your answer is a resounding “no one,” then your company might need to rethink that mission statement hanging on the wall behind your door. Companies who fully align their mission with their business strategies experience dramatic doses of creativity, innovation, and commitment from team members. These companies also find themselves “sticky” place to be, meaning they easily attract and retain high-performing workers.

AROUND (269): That moment when you find the perfect dress!

Perhaps nothing is more personal—or more of a rite of passage—than choosing a prom or a wedding dress. To many prom-goers, as with prospective brides, the process is one fraught with anticipation, expectations, and emotions.

Memories Bridal & Evening Wear aims to make the experience a joyful—and painless—one.

“Styles have changed quite a bit over the years, but what we do has stayed fairly consistent,” says Adrienne Wissner, owner of the bridal and evening wear shop on Michigan Avenue in downtown Kalamazoo. “We want our clients to have an amazing experience.”

LEADER2LEADER: Denise Crawford

Define leadership.
The ability to inspire and motivate others towards a common goal.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
Dr. Allen Kogan. He’s always with me. He was my first real boss in the professional world out of school. He took me under his wing, mentored me, and was a really, really solid good person. The most profound part was just having the ability to watch him and see how he interacted with others as a leader.

He was the chief of staff. He was, at that particular time, over the psychiatry department. Throughout this mentoring process, he would constantly coach me on various situations. In a difficult situation with the doctor, he would say things like, “You always want to end on a positive note. Remember it’s never personal.” It would just be very quick and to the point. He would regularly summarize any interaction. Whether if it was very intense or even if it was positive, he would say, “Never forget the true focus. Never forget the patient.” He was just very humble and profound.


Define leadership.
Leadership is mobilizing others to make a change, process, or environment.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My boss in college, Dr. Damon Arnolds, was the first adult in a position of power that would sit down and ask my opinion and challenge how I thought about things. He really wanted to have a conversation that would push the envelope. A lot of our conversations were based around racial inequality or socioeconomic inequality. He was the first guy who really got me opening my eyes to something that I didn’t know or see or grow up in because I grew up in Vicksburg. There wasn’t a ton of diversity. There were socioeconomic disparities, but it wasn’t really that obvious, I guess, so I kind of grew up in a charmed environment. He was the first guy that really challenged that and challenged my thoughts on giving back.

A Conversation with MIKE ROZEWICZ

What does an interior designer do?
An interior designer takes a client’s request for spaces in buildings, and gives them a great solution for furniture for their interiors while keeping in mind the client’s vision and mission.

What does your typical day look like?
My typical day is usually spent in the office working on space planning, furniture designs, and furniture layouts. I do a lot of budget pricing for customers and furniture options—customers want to see what a lobby, an office, or a collaboration area could look like. I do renderings, which are a 3D visual with color, lighting, furniture, and architectural features that show what a space will potentially look like. I also do a lot of research online about furniture, contacting reps, and contacting other designers.

Architecting solutions

Hungarian inventor, architect, and professor of architecture Ernö Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube 40 years ago. What has become one of the world’s top-selling puzzle games was originally created to build Rubik’s students’ problem solving skills at the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts in Budapest. How could they get the pieces to move without falling apart?

The job of an architect is to design and construct something. But it’s so much more, according to an actual architect or product designer: it’s more about problem-solving. In the case of a six-sided, six-colored cube, it’s more like getting cubes to move in harmony or getting similar colors to appear on the same face.

Landscape Forms, the industry leader in integrated collections of high-design site furniture and advanced LED lighting headquartered in Comstock Township, approaches its business model based on superior product designs in that manner.