Michigan Manufacturers Recognized for Service to Community and Industry


Manufacturers across Michigan gathered in Lansing on May 14, 2013 to honor the recipients of the 2013 John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Award. The Award, an annual honor since 1981, recognizes manufacturers for their dedication to community service and their role as a symbol of positive work being done by the manufacturing industry.
The 2013 John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year award winners include:
·        Large Tier Manufacturer of the Year: John C. Kennedy, president & CEO of Autocam Corporation
·        Small Tier Manufacturer of the Year: Jonathan DeWys, president of DeWys Manufacturing
·        Small Tier Finalist: Paul Aultman, president of Vantage Plastics
·        Special Achievement: Andra Rush, president and CEO of Detroit Manufacturing Systems
·        Special Achievement: Michael Heneka, president of Faurecia North America

John C. Kennedy is being recognized as the 2013 John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Large Tier Award winner for his service to the West Michigan community. During his years running Autocam Corporation, now celebrating its 25th year, Kennedy has transformed the Grand Rapids area with his philanthropy, hard work and commitment. Kennedy is focused on closing the talent gap and relaying a positive image of the manufacturing industry. Kennedy’s involvement in many of West Michigan’s greatest educational assets, including Grand Rapids University Prep, Talent 2025 and the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, have allowed each program to excel. Thanks to Kennedy, West Michigan is preparing to see an influx of new talent entering the jobs market over the next decade.
Jonathan DeWys is being honored as the 2013 John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Small Tier Award winner for his service to the West Michigan community. Driven by his affinity to see young people achieve their goals, Jon’s commitment to Michigan’s K-12 system is evident. By showcasing manufacturing’s potential, Jon has helped Michigan’s youth discover exciting new opportunities, propelling them toward a future they never imagined possible. Not stopping there, Jon has founded a first-of-its-kind resource for career-focused training in manufacturing, DeWys University is a model of how business and education can come together to close Michigan’s talent gap. With partnerships with Grand Rapids Community College, Ferris State University and Grand Valley State University, DeWys University attracts a pool of applicants eager to learn and train for the many jobs available in manufacturing. Through his hard work, DeWys has put West Michigan on the path toward filling jobs at a fast rate both now and in the future.
Paul Aultman is being recognized his community service with the John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Small Tier Finalist Award. Through both his leadership at Vantage Plastics and his rigorous community service efforts, Aultman is a large contributor to Standish and the surrounding area. Thanks to a collaborative effort with other area business leaders, Aultman helped establish the WELL (Weaving Effective Life skills and Leadership) as an outreach organization for young people. The WELL allows children to find stability by unlocking their inner leadership skills. Aultman’s pure passion for people exemplifies the spirit of the Michiganmanufacturing industry and what we look for in role models for the next generation.
In celebration of their incredible contributions to the City of Detroit and the entire state of Michigan, Andra Rush and Michael Heneka are being honored with the 2013 John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Special Achievement Award. In a symbol of manufacturing’s entrepreneurial spirit, the Rush Group and Faurecia came together to form the joint venture Detroit Manufacturing Systems (DMS), which is already having a positive impact on the Motor City. Through their unique hiring style and business philosophy, DMS anticipates an investment of nearly $30 million into Detroit, a process that could be responsible for creating over 500 new jobs. With a focus on the future, Rush and Heneka have positioned our state for great things today, tomorrow and years to come.
The John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Award recipients will be honored at the 2013 MMA CEO & Executive Forum on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. The event will be held at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development in East Lansing and will be attended by manufacturers, stakeholders and leaders from across the state and Huron Township.

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