Lansing-headquartered Demmer Corporation is investing $4.2 million in two new high-speed, five-axis precision machines for its Oakland Avenue operation. The new machines will allow the company to diversify and compete for work in the aerospace and commercial industries.
Demmer has already hired four operators for the machines, plus 82 other employees who were hired back after a recent layoff.
The privately-owned Demmer Corp. started 30 years ago in a partnership to make auto parts. But along the way, the company shifted to defense contracting. From August, 2006 to April, 2008, it grew from 300 people to 1,500. Now it occupies nine buildings in Lansing, Petoskey, Williamston and Delta Township and has 850 workers.
It is the company’s flexibility that has kept it in business, says Matt Heppler, general manager.
Today, less than one percent of Demmer’s business is auto-related, and 80 percent is defense related. In the next three to five years, it plans to reduce its military work to 60 percent, and add aerospace, energy, transportation and other commercial work.
For now, the company is mainly in the military vehicle parts business. The televised images of Saddam Hussein’s statue coming down in Baghdad, Iraq, captured an M88 Hercules “recovery vehicle.” Its outer skin was produced by Demmer. Armour component kits with brackets and fasteners are prepared so military units can “up-armour” vehicles in the field.
“I could dazzle you with robotics” and other whiz-bang stuff, says Heppler, but the important thing about Demmer is that it employs nimble systems within a strong infrastructure. It also trains and retrains its employees through a certification program with Lansing Community College.
“We’re a demonstration of the culture of the Capital region with our ‘Can Do’ attitude. We’re a model for the region,” says Heppler.
Source: Matt Heppler, Demmer Corporation
Gretchen Cochran, Innovation & Jobs editor, may be reached here.