Structural Concepts. Have you heard of the company? You've probably driven by it out by the Muskegon County Airport or on your way to Harvey Street a million times, but did you ever stop and wonder what goes on there? Well, it's been 50 years of being a global leader in point of sale innovation in both hot and cold food merchandisers and while you might not have any idea what's being built by over 500 employees inside the walls of Structural Concepts, I'd bet my last dollar that you've come across one of their products in one of your favorite retail locations.
Serving companies like Meijer, Starbucks, Whole Foods and more....Structural Concepts is the world leader in building functional display cases for an ever growing world demanding grab and go convenience for a fast paced life. The days of the ice chest vending machine and the necessity for opening and closing doors and digging around for what you are looking for have been relegated to the scrap heap and today, it's highly efficient and versatile merchandising cases custom built to meet retailers needs and fit the visual appeal of their brands. Anything from ice cold soft drinks to hot fresh chicken is served from modern, stunning displays...up to 20,000 of them built annually in Muskegon and shipped all over the world. Let's just slow down here for a second, 500 plus employees putting out up to 20,000 custom tailored products for the top names in retail every year...that puts Structural Concepts in the ball park of $150,000,000 a year that they are producing in the Muskegon Area.
$150,000,000 is a pretty stout number seeing as back in 1972 when the founder of Structural Concepts Jim Doss brought an idea to a former employer and was told "That won't work". Three of the most famous words ever. Jim then took to proving them a little on the short sighted side and established his company. The expansion continues today and the need for quality help is growing too. It's all made in house. CEO Joe Mockus begins a short tour of the plant explaining how he marvels daily at how the workers there can take raw material and turn it into a finished product with the skill and finesse they do. From expertly cutting a piece of sheet metal to special glass bonding techniques to keep condensation from forming, the research and development all happens here too. Mechanical Engineering is the career path suggested for those wondering, but Structural Concepts also has industrial design engineers, sales and marketing, installation experts and more. It's an awesome place running 2 or 3 shifts most all of the time. It would stand to reason, as the world isn't slowing down anytime soon.
With the 50th Anniversary coming up, we asked if we could come out and highlight the company and learn a little more. To know that SO much is going on just off Grand Haven Road and that Muskegon's manufacturing pride is still reaching across the planet in places you may least expect it, well....that's kind of what we're all about. Meet Joe and enjoy a little of the story of Structural Concepts.
50 years!! We can only hope for that kind of longevity. A walk through the plant and there were happy people going about their work. I sincerely applaud them too, I don't have the ability they do to build something like that. Focus, pride and dedication. Structural Concepts recently added in a profit sharing benefit for the employees too so that was a great step for all involved and one thing that caught my ear the most, and it was said almost in passing.... Joe made a comment I have never heard from another CEO as we were walking through a door in the building. "I have a job because of every one of these people building these products....it's my job to make sure they get what they need and to ask "dumb questions" to improve where we can for them. I get a paycheck because of these workers....I tell myself that every day." That's an incredible mindset for the next 50 years.