Honored in West Michigan

Oct 15, 2004

Gill Industries of Grand Rapids is named the 2004 Kettering West Michigan Co-op Employer of Year.

Gill Industries of Grand Rapids received the 2004 Kettering University West Michigan Co-op Employer of the Year Award during ceremonies and a reception Oct. 14 in Grand Rapids. Kettering presented the award for the company's ongoing work with co-op students from the University based in Flint.

Kettering selected Gill Industries from a list of more than 30 West Michigan-based companies based on the company's partnership and support of the University's professional co-op program.

Bob Nichols, Kettering vice president of Corporate Relations and Enrollment Services, congratulated Gill Industries for the honor. "Gill has been a long and dedicated co-op employer of Kettering students and they've had a very strong program in developing their students into full-time employees," he said. "It reflects well on their commitment to employee development within the company."

Nichols said that Gill Industries has been consistent in hiring. "Part of that loyalty and dedication," he added, "is their interest in developing the young people of West Michigan for future technical talent for their company."

The West Michigan Co-op Employer of the Year Award is given annually to a company that shows exceptional commitment to student development, continued support of Kettering's co-op program and a commitment to matching the right student with the right job to ensure a successful educational experience.

Gill Industries is a global resource for manufacturing platform-critical mechanical and welded assemblies. Located in Grand Rapids, the company makes stamped metal parts for the automobile industry and recreational vehicle industry, such as golf carts. Gill has been a Kettering co-op partner since 1988, consistently hiring co-op students one or two a year for more than 15 years, Nichols said, noting that some of Kettering's best students choose to work at Gill. "The average academic standing for the co-op students at Gill Industries is 91 out of 100," he added.

Kettering also has many alumni in West Michigan, who live and work in the region. One of them is Armen Oumedian of Grand Rapids, who called Gill Industries "a quality company" that has a strong position in West Michigan. Oumedian is a Grand Rapids businessman and graduate of Kettering University, and works to provide more co-op opportunities in West Michigan. "This company is respected by the citizens of this community," he said. "It works closely with students to help them develop to Kettering University's standards. And it works closely with Kettering University to meet the co-op work requirements required for a Kettering education."

Kettering University's professional co-op program is mandatory for all its undergraduate students. It consists of alternating terms of class study and career-related work. The work component of the program represents a substantial portion of student's curricula and each student's level of professional responsibility normally increases as he or she completes advanced course work.

"Our co-op program seeks to integrate the theory taught in the classroom with the experience gained in the workplace," said Carmon Liversedge, a Kettering cooperative education manager. "We believe the experience our students gain working at organizations such as Gill Industries is fundamental to their development and gives them a head-start when they graduate and enter work force."

For more on Gill Industries, visit: http://www.gill-industries.com/.  

Past recipients of the award include Cascade Engineering, awarded the 2003 West Michigan Co-op Employer of the Year Award, and Siemens Dematic (formerly Rapistan), which received the 2002 West Michigan Co-op Employer of the Year Award.

Written by Patricia Mroczek
(810) 762-9533
pmroczek@kettering.edu