eMailMax 7/18/15 : Page 1

Moody On The Market

Pat Moody

The 14,000 square foot commercial building at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and Lemon Creek Road in Baroda Township that was the long-time home to Zilke Brothers Nursery has been acquired by one of the largest hops growers in the entire region, and is destined to become a new hops processing center to serve the burgeoning craft brewing industry across the Midwest. Hop Head Farms of Hickory Corners, Michigan operates multiple hops growing sites including a large plot at the corner of Hinchman and Hollywood not far from the site of what will become their new processing center, and you will see new trellis systems at the Zilke site as their growing prowess expands again. Jim Passios oversees the management of all property and buildings for Ceres Partners who teamed up with Hop Head Farms early this year. His job includes the planning, design of new structures, leasing and sale of split properties and removal of existing structures in an effort to create tillable land. He also ensures long-range capital improvement for the firm. Passios tells me that even as clear-cutting of aging timber continues at the rear of the Zilke property, Hop Head Farms is in the process of the design stage for what will become the second such processing facility for picking and dry oast systems of hops being grown across the region. This processing center will be even larger than Hop Head Farms' first facility constructed in Hickory Corners. Hop Head and Ceres Partners have many acres of hops in production and more both under construction and being planned for one, two and three years out. Passios says they acquired the Baroda property because "It just makes sense to have your processing facilities very close to the fields where the hops are produced." He adds that once the system is operational it will mean more jobs for the area. The Zilke property is comprised of some 35 acres and Passios says they also recently acquired an additional 38 acre site on the opposite corner of Lemon Creek Road and Cleveland Avenue, where still more of the intriguing post & wire trellis systems will allow for even more hops to be grown and harvested in immediate proximity to this new processing center. The acreage behind the Zilke building is being cleared now for planting and production beginning in 2016. As for the venerable old Zilke Nursery building, Passios says they will work hard to "keep the character of the landmark building." They had to tear off a small part of the building that was damaged, however, "We will work hard to keep the historical feeling to retain the sense of what the Zilke family did in and for this community intact." He characterized the previous owner, Roger Zilke, as having been "an absolute pleasure to work with," adding, "He's a no nonsense guy, and the Zilke building is very tied to the Baroda community. We want to do the same, by keeping the historical sense and character and be good stewards for the community." Passios says Hop Head Farms continues to grow the Hickory Corners facility with tenant growers and imported hops from Europe currently being processed there. When the Baroda processing center is ready to swing into action, Jim projects a seasonal staff of 20 to 30 workers when the crop is being harvested and processed and closer to 10 on staff during the off season. The project manager says, "Hops are a huge market and the craft brewing industry continues to grow exponentially." He predicts, "This isn't the last site we will undertake, as plans continue to advance over the next year." This facility will work to ramp up as quickly as possible once the design stage is complete.

When his PSG — Plastic Service Group business in Stevensville was sold three years ago, Rich Oles did anything but pack it in or hide away. The first thing he did was create ROI — Rich Oles Industries, a limited liability corporation. Shortly after creating the firm, however, it largely went dormant when Rich landed a new gig as Director of Molding at Stone Plastics in Zeeland. He later advanced to Tooling Manager, but elected to launch his ROI into a full-time venture in late March on the first day of the NPE 2015 the International Plastics Showcase in Orlando, Florida where he was a presenter. Rich is rapidly becoming the Comeback Kid with his focus on consulting for the plastic injection molding industry. He brings an incredibly unique skill set to the entire industry having been a mold maker, mold designer, and 3D modeler with an IT background, and previously CEO of two international Hot Runner Manifold original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) based in Europe. He owned a minority share in the last venture and having worked with the Tier Two plastic injection molder, Stone Plastics, with 70 presses and 235 employees his experience runs deep. Thanks to his expertise as a consultant, Rich signed a contract several weeks ago becoming Hotset America's distributor for the entire Midwestern United States. Hotset America is a heater, thermocouple and RTD (sensors) OEM. He supplies industries from consumer goods to foods, from medical to plastics industries of all sorts, from die-cast industries to oil, gas, and steam energy and beyond. Hotset America reaches every manufacturing segment imaginable on a global scale. In fact, Rich himself has been a customer dating back to 1999, so he has the ultimate confidence in selling the products because of his personal experience with them. He's especially high on their HotFlex and HotSlot heater technologies which are unique in the industry. Additionally, Hotset America also distributes the German engineered and manufactured STRACK mold components and other high-end heating solutions providers Keller-Ihne & Tesh. Oles brings another skill set to the table as author of an entire series of articles in Mold Making Technology magazine for 2015 titled "Pellet 2 Part." It's an 11-article series for the highly regarded industry magazine. He is also speaking on that series of materials at trade and technical conferences.He has already addressed four sessions at the NPE 2015 Conference in Orlando and Amerimold 2015 in Rosemont, Illinois. As a result, Mold Making Technology magazine asked Oles to continue his series into 2016 for Gardner Publications, who will also use the series in a few of their other publications when the subject matter is relevant for that publication. Oles and his wife Lisa are now empty-nesters with their adult children living in Vermont, Kentucky and Hudsonville, Michigan. They recently made the decision to sell their personal horse farm -- BOSS- Bit of Success Stable in St. Joseph after 22 years there. Rich calls it a bittersweet decision, but it's time for their next chapter in life. Lisa is General Manager at Concord Ridge Equestrian Center on M-139 in Royalton Township, where they have taken up residence as well for now. The center is enjoying great success with 34 animals stabled on site and many weekend clinics here and horse show travels as well. Once the home farm sells, they'll be ready for the next step. Rich says Hotset America will require inventory and many daily transactions as it grows, so they will likely be looking for a space to renovate that might allow for a Chicago-style loft along with a technical service center for Rich. Industries interested in utilizing Rich's consulting expertise in the plastics industry can reach ROI -- Rich Oles Industries at 616-610-7050.

A Lawrence manufacturer who is making life considerably easier for fruit processors and larger farm operators worldwide has earned top recognition among the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch thanks to amazing new technologies that streamline the process. A&B Packing Equipment garnered the notoriety at the 11th Annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business session recently in Lansing. A&B Packing Equipment's Evolution packing machine disrupted the retail packing market for small, round fruits and vegetables. It is faster, gentler and more accurate than any other machine available and is now being sold around the globe. The variety of equipment sold by A&B Packing allows each customer to receive a custom produce packing line, yet one that has years of experience behind it. A&B also supports its systems like no other company in the business according to Bob Williamson who is Founder & CEO of the company. They deploy more than a dozen full-time field service technicians worldwide.Williamson says, "A&B is the leader in fresh packing and cleaning equipment for fruits and vegetables worldwide. We promise to deliver superior equipment that is second to none in speed, accuracy and gentleness." Fred Pieplow is President of A&B. He is proud of the fact that the company makes its products right here in Michigan's Great Southwest. He says, "Our workforce takes pride in knowing that the machines we build we lead the industry, not only in the USA, but worldwide." He adds, "Our machines are assembled by hand to meet each customer's individual needs so they can deliver the highest quality fruits and vegetables to grocery shoppers throughout the world." The Michigan's 50 Companies to Watch awards honor growth-oriented businesses based on market expansion, job creation, technological innovation, and community impact. In order to even be considered for the award, companies must be privately held and headquartered in Michigan, must have between six and 99 employees, and generate anywhere from $750,000 to $50-million in annual revenue, or have working capital from investors.

A select number of entertainers over the years have been readily recognized by a single name like Cher, Elvis or Madonna. Meanwhile, in the annals of St. Joseph High School Football there are a couple of high-impact coaches that have played such a major role they are instantly recognizable by a single name as well. Just mention "Ike" or "Elliot" and the memories flood in, gridiron war stories start up, and alumni chests puff up. Well, the pride factor will escalate dramatically this month when the St. Joseph Football Boosters celebrate the launch of the milestone 100th Season of St. Joseph Football. The big kick-off will take place at the Alumni Flag Football Game on Saturday, July 25th at 5pm. Two beloved coaches return complete with clipboards, whistles, and rosters directing teams of alumni players in a fun-filled game of flag football, complete with cheerleaders and the marching band! Coach Ike Muhlenkamp was the field marshal for the St. Joe Bears for an unprecedented run from 1968 to 2001, while Coach Elliot Uzelac roared into town to lead a fired-up squad from 2006 to 2010 achieving remarkable success. Ike & Elliott each had their own special brand of substantive impact on not only the players, but the entire community- at-large as well. Two days before the big alumni showdown, Ike & Elliot will select individual line-ups for the game at a Draft Night celebration at Santaniello's Glenlord Pizzeria at 2262 Glenlord Road. The first round draft will get underway at 7pm and fans everywhere are invited to join an evening of reacquaintance with the coaches and the reveal of their respective squads. It's a great opportunity for reconnecting with old classmates and teammates, a night of reminiscing and posturing, and good food and drink. On game day,saturday, July 25th, the gates to Dickinson Stadium at SJHS will open at 3:30pm with opening remarks slated for 4:30pm and a 5pm kick-off. Organizers from the SJ Football Boosters have planned a Game Day Cookout, so gather family and friends for steaks, chicken, hot dogs and corn-on-the-cob either prior to or after the big game. Other activities are also planned to engage everyone from the tiniest tots to Grandma and Grandpa. The 100th Season will also feature a classic matchup for Homecoming this year as the Bears play host to the cross town rival Benton Harbor Tigers on Friday, October 2nd at 7pm at Dickinson Stadium. Follow all the action by becoming a booster fan on Facebook by clicking this link: www.facebook.com/SJFootballBoosters.

Lsaac Hemsath will report to the Naval Station Great Lakes on August 11th. He is a Lakeshore grad and the son of Jeff & Janice Hemsath. His father is a Marine Corps sergeant and Isaac wanted to follow in his father's footsteps by serving the military. His friends wanted to highlight his stellar work for Karen Falak at the Pebblewood Banquet Hall in Bridgman for the past five years, where he has been a responsible, hard-working employee. He is Karen's right hand, and helps with all of their functions & events. Sunday morning his fans contend that he makes "the most delicious omelets & waffles ever" for the Sunday Pebblewood Brunch from 10am until 2pm. This Sunday, July 19th, the public is invited to honor Isaac as this brunch will be his final function as an employee. They wanted to pass along their thanks for building a successful business, and for his future in defense of our country. After learning Weapons Safety and basic marksmanship skills from the Marines, Isaac also teaches military recruits those skills prior to boot camp. He is also a certified SCUBA diver completing dives in Lake Michigan, inland lakes, and the warm waters of the Caribbean. Best of luck Isaac, from your friends Joe Thomas & Walt Kronbetter.

That's it for this week, folks. Have a great weekend and we'll see you Saturday right here in MailMax and 24/7 online at www.MoodyontheMarket.com

Pat Moody
Morning Radio Personality
WSJM Radio moody@wsjm.com
(269) 925-1111

Read the full article at http://www.onlinedigitalmagazines.com/article/Moody+On+The+Market/2221636/265907/article.html.

Western Michigan University

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