Design-Based Manufacturing

In Southwest Michigan, we pride ourselves as being a community famous for its many “firsts” and innovative manufacturing processes. Checkered cabs. Parchment paper. Upjohn’s pharmaceutical pill. Shakespeare Rod & Wheel. Gibson Guitars. Stryker’s Turning Bed Frame. All were once “Made in Southwest Michigan.”

Due to innovation and diversification, today’s design-based products now include Eaton transmissions, cereal cartons by Graphic Packaging International, Whirlpool appliances, Parker Aerospace's hydraulic components, Pfizer medicines, food containers by Fabri-Kal and Stryker orthopedic implants. A spirit of entrepreneurship and collaboration, a well-educated and skilled workforce and an extensive network of support services available to employers have long been and still are major attractions to manufacturers. Long live innovation! Long live manufacturing!

Top Regional Employers by County (by Estimated # of Employees) 

Berrien County Primary Sector Estimated # of Employees
Whirlpool Corporation Appliances 3,000
Leco Corporation Agriculture/Health Sciences 600
Gast Manufacturing Automotive 320
Premier Tool & Die Cast Corporation Tool and Die 315
Pilkington North America Glass 302
FAPCO Packaging 290
IPC Print Service Printing 273
Lane Automotive Automotive 224
Robert Bosch LLC Automotive 203
JVIS Manufacturing Automotive 200
Branch County Primary Sector Estimated # of Employees
Asama Coldwater Manufacturing Automotive 350
ConAgra Foods Food Processing 350
Hutchinson FTS Automotive 300
Crotty Corporation Automotive 250
Douglas Autotech Automotive 232
Oak Royal Industries Machining 200
Quality Springs Automotive 195
Sekisui America Corporation Housing 180
Calhoun County Primary Sector Estimated # of Employees
Kellogg Company Food Processing 2,000
Denso Manufacturing Automotive 1,789
II Stanley Company Automotive 750
Post Foods Food Processing 650
Duncan Aviation Aerospace 560
TRMI Inc. Transportation 450
Musashi Auto Parts Automotive 430
Hi Lex Automotive 380
Asmo Manufacturing Automotive 375
Cass County Primary Sector Estimated # of Employees
Rospatch Jesco Corporation Furniture 350
K & M Machine Fabricating 250
Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation Packaging 250
Lyons Industries Kitchen and Bath Components 220
North American Forest Products Lumber 214
Mennel Milling Company of Michigan Food Processing 200
Creative Foam Corporation Foam 150
Best Plastics Plastics 140
Kalamazoo County Primary Sector Estimated # of Employees
Pfizer Pharmaceuticals 6,000
Stryker Medical Device 3,000
Summit Polymers AM 1,555
Parker Hydraulics Power Management 640
Eaton Corporation Power Management 600
Graphic Packaging Corporation Packaging 476
Flowserve Corporation Material Flow 400
MANN+HUMMEL Automotive 400
Benteler Automotive Automotive 340
Landscape Forms Furniture 300
St. Joseph County Primary Sector Estimated # of Employees
Morgan Olson Corporation Automotive 775
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Inc. Automotive 350
Burr Oak Tool Tool and Die 320
Penguin Plastics 230
Dexter Chassis Group Automotive 220
Armstrong International Energy Management 220
Vanguard Automotive 200
Sturgis Molded Products Plastics 200
Van Buren County Primary Sector Estimated # of Employees
Coca-Cola Company Food Processing 500
AFL Automotive Limited Partnership Automotive 500
Welch Foods Food Processing 260
South Haven Packaging Packaging 250
Pullman Industries Automotive 200
Trelleborg YSH Automotive 165
Special-Lite Housing 140

Source: Employment data is derived from a variety of sources and is estimated at a single point in time.

Average Wage by Occupation

Occupation Average Hourly
Mean Wages
AO Food Processing Workers $9.23
Assemblers & Fabricators, All Other $14.97
Building & Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance Occupations $12.00
Bus & Truck Mechanics & Diesel Engine Specialists $19.68
Cabinetmakers & Bench Carpenters $14.43
Cementing & Gluing Machine Operators & Tenders $12.44
Chemical Engineers $29.73
Chemical Equipment Operators & Tenders $23.28
Chemical Technicians $19.34
Chemists $30.79
Cleaning, Washing & Metal Pickling Equipment Operators & Tenders $13.34
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal $15.51
Crushing, Grinding & Polishing Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $22.71
Cutting, Punching & Press Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders $15.78
Drilling & Boring Machine Tool Setters, Operators & Tenders $17.68
Electric Motor, Power Tool & Related Repairers $20.13
Electrical & Electronic Engineering Technicians $25.60
Electrical & Electronic Equipment Assemblers $15.71
Electrical Engineers $36.54
Electrical Engineers, Except Computer $39.16
Engineering Managers $47.18
Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters, All Others $23.18
Engineers, All Other $35.63
Extruding & Drawing Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $13.60
First-Line Supervisors of Helpers, Laborers, and Material Movers, Hand $21.33
First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers & Repairers $26.97
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Office & Administration $22.53
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Production & Operating Workers $25.87
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Transportation $25.08
Forging Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $18.21
Foundry Mold & Coremakers $15.47
General & Operations Managers $37.97
Grinding & Polishing Workers, Hand $14.34
Grinding, Lapping, Polishing & Buffing Machine $7.80
Helpers-Installation, Maintenance & Repair Workers $12.65
Helpers-Production Workers $11.75
Industrial Engineering Technicians $21.81
Industrial Engineers $33.55
Industrial Machinery Mechanics $22.66
Industrial Production Managers $42.77
Industrial Truck & Tractor Operators $14.94
Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers & Weighers $16.83
Janitors & Cleaners $11.65
Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators & Tenders $11.32
Machine Feeders & Offbearers $11.62
Machinists $18.67
Maintenance & Repair Workers, General $17.16
Maintenance Workers, Machinery $18.32
Mechanical Drafters $22.44
Mechanical Engineering Technicians $22.80
Mechanical Engineers

$36.35

Metal Workers & Plastic Workers, All Others $13.50
Millwrights $20.48
Mixing & Blending Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $19.77
Molding, Coremaking, & Casting Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders, Metal & Plastic $13.73
Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators & Tenders $16.61
Office & Administrative Support Occupations $15.09
Office & Administrative Support Workers, All Other $14.68
Office Clerks, General $13.26
Packaging & Filling Machine Operators & Tenders $13.58
Packers & Packagers, Hand $10.43
Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $14.30
Plating & Coating Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $18.12
Pourers & Casters, Metal $16.84
Prepress Technician & Workers $17.74
Pressers, Textile, Garment & Related Materials $9.63
Printing Press Operators $17.40
Production Occupations $16.15
Production Workers, All Other $14.57
Production, Planning & Expediting Clerks $19.95
Purchasing Managers $44.34
Rolling Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $18.06
Sawing Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $12.42
Shipping, Receiving & Traffic Clerks $14.07
Team Assemblers $14.73
Tool & Die Makers $20.55
Tool Grinders, Filers & Sharpeners $13.67
Transportation & Material Moving Occupations $14.84
Transportation, Storage & Distribution Managers $40.54
Truck Drivers, Heavy & Tractor-Trailer $19.22
Truck Drivers, Light or Delivery Services $13.57
Weighers, Measurers, Checkers & Samplers, Recordkeeping $14.80
Welders, Cutters, Solderers & Brazers $16.01
Welding, Sodering & Brazing Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $14.24
Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators & Tenders $12.81

Source: Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, Annual Average Regional Metropolitan Statistical Area Hourly Mean Wage, 2012

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