By K.D. Norris
With more than half a century of doing business in the Wyoming-Kentwood area, and more than 2,500 employee as part of the family, Lacks Enterprises, Inc. is the Wyoming Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Manufacturer of the Year.
Lacks Enterprises will be one of three businesses honored at the chamber’s 36th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on Friday, Jan. 27, at the Crossroads Conference Center in Grand Rapids.
Lacks Enterprises, headquartered in Kentwood, was started by John P. Lacks and son Richard Lacks Sr., and is still a family-focused company now led by CEO Richard Lacks Jr. and executive vice president Kurt Lacks.
“We are a privately held company,” Jim Green, Executive Director of Human Resources, said. “We have been in business in the Wyoming and Kentwood area for over 55 years. The third and fourth generation of the Lacks family are still active in the business. We employe approximately 2,700 employees … Approximately $450 million in sales.
“We mold, plate, paint and assemble parts for the automative and appliance industry,” he said. “If you are looking for our real call to fame, we are the best in the world at providing high quality, Class A decorative finishes for the automotive industry.”
Lacks has 19 manufacturing sites in the Kentwood-Wyoming area and 26 total buildings “if you add in our lab, our warehouses, our medical clinics and our corporate offices,” Green said.
Long, productive relationship with chamber
Lacks history not only goes back more than 50 years, its relationship with the chamber also goes back to its beginning as well.
“The Kentwood-Wyoming chamber truly is a partnership with manufacturing, they have been partners with us for the 55 years we have been in business,” Green said. “There has been countless times we have needed their assistance, whether it was a tax abatement or dealing with the city on an issue, or dealing with Lansing (state government), and the have always been there.
“They understand the importance of a strong manufacturing community to make your whole community successful. The positive business environment has been instrumental in our continued growth over the last 55 years. If you did not have that kind of support, you couldn’t keep growing your business. The Kentwood community also provides a very high quality and diverse workforce, which is crucial to your success as a business.”
While Lacks is one of West Michigan’s manufacturing success stories, it still is humbled and thankful for the Chamber award and for its place among the leading businesses in the region.
“It is a privilege and an honor” to gain the award, Green said. “There are a lot of high quality manufacturers in the Kentwood-Wyoming area, so for us to be recognized as the manufacturer of the year, it is very meaningful and very important to the Lacks family and to our Lacks employees.
“I think it reinforces the quality of company we have, the contributions we do make to the community,” he said. “We are the fourth largest private employer in West Michigan, so for us to be recognized and for our peers to see us be recognized for what we do, it matters. We are pretty humble as a company, we are privileged and honored to be recognized.”
For more information visit the chamber’s website.