Video: Dominion Systems processes growth


Dominion Systems CEO Jud Highhill describes the configuration of the company’s new floor in southwest Grand Rapids. Photo via

Dominion Systems has been on a dominating growth spurt lately.

The 40 year old, Grand Rapids based payroll and processing provider has seen such major growth in the past year that the company plans to expand from its space at 401 Hall St. SW, by moving 46 employees and all its work offices to an 8,500-square-foot space to a floor in the same building by June. The current 10,000-square-foot space downstairs will be used for reception, training, operations, loud equipment, and kitchen space.

“The new space will allow for more collaboration, which is one of main reasons I wanted to get everyone on the same floor,” said Jud Highhill, Dominion CEO. “The nomadic space is designed not just to bring IT together, but everybody.”

The new space also makes room for more employees. In the last four months, Dominion has hired 15 employees in the IT, sales, reception and client services departments, Highhill said, and is still looking to add more.

In 2010, Dominion opened a sales office at 445 S. Livernois, Rochester Hills, which houses three — soon to be five — employees, he said. Within five years, the company plans to have at least three sales offices across the state, housing nine employees at each.

“From the outside looking in, and the inside looking out, everything is ratcheting up a notch and it’s happening fast,” said Scott Baldwin, Dominion director of sales. “There’s management dedication to that kind of improvement. We see a need for it and we make it happen. And we’ve got great people here.”

Much of it stems from Highhill, Baldwin said. In July 2009, Highhill, who had been working in the Dominion sales department since 2004, took the company over from his dad, John Highhill, the company founder. Highhill said he has heard “horror stories” of family business handoffs, but that his dad did a good job of retiring and letting his son take the reins of the company he built.

The biggest aspect of new direction, he said, was to develop technology and update the office appearance.

“To attract new high-level developers, you’ve got to have a cool office. These guys generally like to come into a place where they feel welcome and like they’re part of a contemporary business,” Highhill said. “If you’ve got old stuff lying around, old computers and old furniture, they’re not going to want to come in to work. You’ve got to have that Google feel.”

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Although Dominion has been growing steadily as a company since the early 1980s, the recent growth push has been due to the need to upgrade and “beef up” staff to cover and service all Dominion clients, Highhill said. The company has about 600 clients, most of which are in West Michigan, but there is an increasing demand in Detroit, as well.

“We’ve always run pretty lean as a company and I’ve decided that in order to grow as quickly as I’d like to grow, we need to have some good infrastructure in place. We’re hiring ahead a little bit,” he said.

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