Longstanding companies shape lakeshore region


In 1968, Chicago native Pat Thompson put down roots in Holland where he embarked on a new entrepreneurial vision: deep-draw business. He was 27 and sought out Holland for its quality of life for raising a family, its high-quality, educated workforce and its longstanding manufacturing opportunities.

Now, 50 years later, the Trans-Matic founder’s roots have systematically spread across the region, the state and the globe. Pat Thompson didn’t just start a company here in Holland, he planted roots, inspired an industry and continues to create good-paying jobs in a vibrant economy.

This is an anniversary milestone year for three area companies that are privately held and locally owned. Trans-Matic and Trendway are celebrating 50th anniversaries and Haworth celebrates 70 years as a leader in office furniture manufacturing, design and innovation. As these companies commemorate 50 and 70 years in West Michigan, Lakeshore Advantage celebrates alongside them, as our region is grateful for progressive investment of employers that value people and the communities they serve.

Starting a business is risky, and fortune favors the bold. About 36 percent of companies today make it to their 10th year in business, while only about 21 percent mark the 20th anniversary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Trans-Matic, Trendway and Haworth stand among a select few companies that have paved a successful 50-plus-year path. They are shining examples of the success that can be accomplished through perseverance, living core values, innovation, investing in people and leadership in action, and receive our sincere congratulations and thanks for their contributions to our community’s economic vitality.

Today, our region is rich with highly trained and skilled experts in sophisticated technology and engineering, manufacturing and global customer service, and Holland has become a household name in the global manufacturing industry.

Trans-Matic’s international reputation for its deep drawn metal components all began with Pat’s commitment to excellence and investment in equipment, machinery upgrades and talent. Trans-Matic’s investments have continued to grow under the leadership of P.J. Thompson, Pat’s son, now leading the company. They have been and remain a model corporate citizen, committed to the well-being of their people, the place they live and the products they produce. Their support of our local economy, schools, cultural organizations, churches, and health and human services organizations continue to improve the quality of life and economic vitality of our region.

We are honored to have Trans-Matic’s corporate headquarters in the West Michigan lakeshore community. Holland is now a world leader in the deep-draw industry. Today, of the top 10 global deep-draw industry companies, three of them — Trans-Matic, Metal Flow and Drawform — are located in the Holland area. We look forward to celebrating the continued success Trans-Matic will experience continuing their legacy of leadership as a world-class employer and provider of deep drawn metal parts found in nearly every business, home and school through the next 50 years. Congratulations!

Jennifer Owens
Lakeshore Advantage

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