Employee buys long-time manufacturer


Bryan Howard, left, and Amy Proos. Courtesy Proos Manufacturing

A local manufacturer of metal stampings has changed ownership and plans to move its headquarters and add 25 jobs.

Grand Rapids-based Proos Manufacturing said today that Amy Proos, its third-generation owner, transferred full ownership of the company, founded in 1919, to its president, Bryan Howard.

Howard joined Proos in 2015 as general manager and became president in 2017.

Amy Proos, the company's former CEO, is continuing in a full-time leadership capacity as the company’s chief thought officer. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Bryan has been doing so many great things for the company,” Proos said. “His leadership is giving me an opportunity to step aside at a time where I can enjoy more time with my family and being involved in other activities.”

The company also said it purchased the former 60,000-square-foot Eerdmans Publishing facility at 2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE in Grand Rapids, which will be its new headquarters and assembly facility. The $4-million project will include the purchase of equipment.

No contractors have been secured for the expansion project.

Proos Manufacturing said it has seen 85-percent growth in 2018 and needs to expand its operations. The company saw additional sales of $10 million through the third quarter of 2018.

Its current headquarters is located at the company’s manufacturing facility at 2555 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, which will remain operational, giving the company two locations.

Proos employs 140 people and said it plans to add 10 full-time employees within six months and an additional 15 within the next two years.

The company was approved for a loan from Farmington Hills-based Level One Bank to cover existing loans worth $14.3 million, according to Level One Bank SVP Douglas Kohlbeck, which freed some capital to more easily allow for the ownership transfer and expansion.

The company is providing a subordinate seller’s note of $2.5 million, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, or MEDC.

The Michigan Strategic Fund is giving Proos $998,000 in "collateral support that will serve as gap financing on the company’s loan from Level One Bank," according to MEDC.

Proos Manufacturing once worked fully in metal stamping for the automotive industry.

Since it began shifting over the past couple years, metal stamping work is now about 15 percent of the company’s operations, with about 75 percent of the business now in sheet metal fabrication, welding and the assembly of products for a wide range of industries.

“It is an exciting time in manufacturing,” Howard said. “Our team has paid close attention to market trends and made adjustments where necessary. In this industry, it is important to diversify and be able to offer products and services for multiple industries.”

Proos Manufacturing also offers engineering and design services, as well as assembly and blow-molding capabilities.

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