The latest headlines tell of a markedly improving Michigan economy, including a drop in the state’s unemployment rate to levels not seen in years. That resurgence is at least in part thanks to the types of success stories told by the 2015 winners of Corp! magazine’s Economic Bright Spots awards. This year’s 82 winners can tell of innovation, resilience and, in some cases, reinvention in the face of economic turmoil.
It’s their success that this spring helped push down Michigan’s jobless rate below 6 percent for the first time in 14 years. At 5.4 percent, the rate matched the nationwide average for the first time in 15 years.
And, as demonstrated by the diversity of the Bright Spots award winners, job growth is coming in a variety of occupations and industries, including trucking, retail sales, nursing, software development and computer systems analysis.
Corp! magazine honored this year’s Economic Bright Spot winners at a June 25 breakfast event at VisTaTech Center in Livonia. Jake Cohen, partner in Detroit Venture Partners, delivered the keynote address, and David Lochner, president of FirstMerit Bank, provided an economic update. Here are synopses of this year’s Economic Bright Spots:
TRIVALENT GROUP INC.
Client loyalty is a key to success at Trivalent Group Inc., a Grandville managed IT and cloud services company. “In Michigan, trust plays a key role in organizations’ choosing which vendors to partner with, especially in regard to IT with the ever-changing technology landscape and the ubiquity of solution providers on the market today,” says CEO Larry R. Andrus. “Trivalent might not always be cheaper than the ‘big guys,’ but our clients (of which more than 128 have been with us for 10 years or longer) trust us to do the job right the first time and for their IT infrastructure to work without them having to think about it so they can focus on their mission, not their technology that powers it.” Trivalent, which employs 73 people, recently updated its brand image by redesigning its website with new content and a more modern look and feel. It also enhanced its business development, in part by transferring responsibility for the everyday management of managed services accounts from its salespeople. In addition, recently introduced employee engagement software has increased productivity and reduced turnover by continually engaging the workforce for feedback (with an anonymous option to ensure candid responses). Monthly “Lunches with Larry” offer another opportunity for employees to provide feedback directly to the CEO. “We see our biggest opportunity going forward as expanding our recurring services portfolio, especially with regard to cloud services, as businesses of all sizes gradually embrace the cloud and all of its benefits, including a lower, predictable monthly fee, increased scalability, guaranteed uptime and enhanced security,” Andrus says.