LANSING, Mich., April 24, 2012 — Eight Michigan manufacturing leaders have been named 2012 John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Award recipients by the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA). The awards program, in its 30th year, recognizes the positive contributions of Michigan manufacturers to the industry and their local communities.


The award recipients are as follows:

Large Tier Michigan Manufacturer of the Year

Sergio Marchionne
CEO, Chrysler Group LLC, Auburn Hills

Small Tier Michigan Manufacturer of the Year
Al & Beth Thieme
Chairman and Founder & CEO (Respectively)
Amigo Mobility International, Bridgeport

Large Tier Finalists
Steven Moreland
Automatic Spring Products Corporation, Grand Haven
Mark Fazakerley & John Workman
President & Vice President (Respectively)
Eagle Alloy, Inc., Muskegon

Small Tier Finalists
John McIntyre
President & CEO
Anderson Global, Muskegon
Michael Nevins
Full Spectrum Solutions, Inc., Jackson


The honorees will be presented with their awards at a luncheon held in conjunction with the MMA CEO & Executive Forum on May 8, 2012. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Henry Center for Executive Development in Lansing and will feature an address by Governor Snyder and keynote presentation from Charles G. McClure, Chairman, President and CEO of Meritor, Inc.

Marchionne and Mr. and Mrs. Thieme received top honors as the Large and Small Tier Michigan Manufacturers of the Year, respectively.

Large Tier Michigan Manufacturer of the Year

As the Large Tier winner (an award granted to a company with 200 employees or more), Sergio Marchionne is being recognized for his successful leadership of Chrysler Group LLC through one of the most difficult periods in the auto giant’s 87-year history.

Just three years ago, Chrysler was losing money and facing bankruptcy, unable to find a willing lender to keep them in business. The turnaround between then and now has been nothing short of remarkable, with the resurgence of the company being seen as symbolic of the promising future of the entire American manufacturing industry.

Marchionne was instrumental in helping the company to achieve several significant milestones in 2011, including refinancing and repaying its outstanding U.S. and Canadian government loans in full, with interest, six years ahead of schedule. By the end of last year, Chrysler Group had met or beat all of its financial targets, achieved a 22 percent year-over-year increase in sales, more than doubled its year-over-year operating profit, posted $183 million in net income, and added more than 2,700 jobs, with the majority of those being located in Michigan. The company also announced several investments to support new vehicle and product launches, resulting in the creation and retention of thousands of jobs for Chrysler Group employees and well as generating thousands of additional direct and indirect jobs throughout Michigan communities.

In a speech made by Marchionne on 5/24/11, the day the company successfully refinanced and repaid its outstanding loans in full, he stated, “We dared to dream big, and we delivered on that dream.” He elaborated, “We have undertaken a profound transformation of our organization, introducing a new culture, based on meritocracy and accountability... a philosophy where merit prevails over whom you know, leadership over authority, the pursuit of excellence over mediocrity, the spirit of competition over ego-centricy, and reliability over idle promises.” It is for this philosophy, and his extraordinary leadership, that Sergio Marchionne was unanimously chosen to be this year’s Large Tier Michigan Manufacturer of the Year.

Small Tier Michigan Manufacturer of the Year

The Small Tier Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Award was jointly awarded to Al & Beth Thieme, Chairman and Founder & CEO (Respectively) of Bridgeport-based Amigo Mobility International. The Amigo story is one of opportunity, innovation and success. More than 40 years ago, Al Thieme was a young man working as a plumbing and heating contractor. When a family member began to lose their mobility due to Multiple Sclerosis, Thieme resolved to come up with a solution, working in the evenings after his job to come up with an independent form of mobility. His efforts resulted in the invention of first the power-operated vehicle/scooter — the Amigo — which launched an entire industry.

As Amigo’s Chairman and Founder, Al continues to run the company daily. Hands-on and focused, he is passionate about Improving Lives Through Mobility®, which is the company’s slogan. Beth, the company’s CEO, is also known for her strong spirit and determination. She has grown Amigo’s commercial sales by more than 300 percent over the past five years and, serving on the board of directors for the Great Lakes Bay Manufacturing Association, has served as an advocate on local, state and federal issues concerning manufacturers. Together, the husband and wife team are constantly pushing the Amigo team to grow, provide a better product and “wow” their customers. To keep up with the company’s rapid growth, the leadership team was recently expanded to also include new President Tim Drumhiller of St. Charles, Michigan.

Amigo has been a Michigan-based manufacturing company since it was founded in 1968, currently employing more than 80 individuals in the Great Lakes Bay Region. The company supports the Michigan economy by using as many Michigan-based suppliers as possible, with 67 percent of Amigo’s suppliers being from Michigan or immediately surrounding states. All manufacturing is done in Michigan, and product is shipped worldwide.

The company is also proud to be a Green Certified Business. The Thiemes have stated that, “Environmental awareness has always been, and will always be, a priority as we hold a strong regard for our community and its future.” All Amigo products are completely recyclable, and products are packaged using recyclable plastic, which saves more than 350,000 square feet of cardboard each year. Products for retail use are shipped on eco-friendly CHEP pallets, which are reusable and made from renewable resources, cutting the number of wood pallets used in half.


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In this edition of Friendly Wheels, we get to meet Shannon DeWall, JD, an attorney, wife, mother and community volunteer in metro Detroit. Learn more about her story below.

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Amigo Mobility Blog