News & Updates

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lacks Enterprises hosting third annual employee shopping day at the Downtown Market

On Sunday, September 18, Lacks Enterprises gave 300 employees a $100 gift certificate to the Downtown Market, for a limited-time shopping spree with their families. This year’s event marks the company’s third year of providing this employee perk.

Last year, Lacks had more than 850 workers enter the drawing for the 300 gift cards. Only employees who did not participate in previous years were eligible to receive the $100 gift certificates this year, and the list was narrowed down from there based on seniority.

“Lacks Enterprises, Inc places great importance on employee well-being and happiness, and this is another fun employee perk we love, that gives our teams a fun day out with their families,” said Jim Green, executive director of human resources at Lacks Enterprises. “Lacks is committed to the success of West Michigan’s local food ecosystem, the Downtown Market and its tenants, and we are very excited to share Lacks Employee Day for a third year in a row.”

Lacks plans to continue investing in the Downtown Market and its tenants over a four-year span. Their commitment started in 2014, and the company has now given more than $90,000 worth of gift certificates to employees during the annual “Lacks Employee Days” at the Market.

“Our food economy grows when we all work together to support local business," said Mimi Fritz, president and CEO of the Downtown Market. “The Market staff, artisans, entrepreneurs and small business owners are thankful to have the continued support of Lacks Enterprises, and we look forward to spending the day with them on Sunday.”

Monday, September 19, 2016

Going Plush: West Michigan Suppliers Eye Opportunities as Automakers Push Upscale Interiors

Written by John Wiegand
Originally published on — See original full article here

As automakers have invested in high-profile technologies and lightweighting, they’ve also started to pay more attention to the place in their vehicles where drivers spend the most time: the interiors.

While quality leather, wood veneers and contrast stitching have long served as differentiators between vehicle classes, drivers’ preferences and increased technology content in cars have pushed upscale interiors into lower-priced segments. According to auto industry sources, the result is that end users will have more options for interior customization. For West Michigan manufacturers, this also translates into additional opportunities to supply upscale finishes, trim and other interior components to more vehicles.

“The consumer spends most of their time in the vehicle, so they want to see some of those upscale finishes on the interior since they do spend most of their time touching and feeling the car,” said Ryan Lacks, director of sales and marketing at Plastic Plate LLC, a division of Grand Rapids-based Lacks Enterprises Inc.

In Lacks’ experience, high-quality trim components formerly reserved for luxury models have started moving downmarket to lower-end vehicles. For example, Plastic Plate coats trim pieces in the Chrysler 200 with its Spinelle coatings, which the company considers its high-end finish, he said.

Plastic Plate uses its electroplating process to coat a variety of interior components including door panels, consoles and steering wheel bezels.

Elsewhere in the vehicle interior, Holland-based Motus Integrated Technologies LLC, a private equity-backed firm that purchased Johnson Controls Inc.’s automotive visor, headliner and overhead systems business in 2014, has also benefited from automakers putting more emphasis on upscale interiors.

While it’s unlikely the company’s headliner and visor business will be directly affected by the trend toward higher-end interiors, Motus’ armrest and door panel division will benefit, said Chris Hall, the supplier’s vice president of corporate strategy.

“It gives us more places to compete,” Hall said. “Typically, your higher-end vehicles are going to have your stitching and wrapping. I think we’re seeing that move into mid-level vehicles and lower.”

Overall, the style trends in automotive interiors are gravitating toward making it feel more home-like, Hall said.

To do so, automakers are moving away from injection molded and other plastic interior components in favor of more leather wrappings and textured trim pieces. They’re also integrating more black metallic, earth tones and bronze finishes in their interior components, sources said.

Supplier executives in West Michigan hope that automakers’ push to upscale interior materials will provide new market opportunities for their companies.

“Interior will hopefully become a growing part of our business,” Lacks said.

As a whole, Lacks Enterprises, which makes grilles, exterior and interior trim, and decorative wheel coverings, generates approximately $550 million in annual sales and employs 2,850 workers, the majority of whom are located across its 20 facilities in the Grand Rapids area.

Article continues at

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lacks Enterprises named as one of Michigan's Best and Brightest in Wellness

The Best and Brightest In Wellness® is an innovative initiative that recognizes and celebrates quality and excellence in health awareness. This unique program highlights companies and organizations that are making their workplaces, their employees and the community a healthier place to live and work.

Lacks Enterprises will be honored at the Best and Brightest Wellness® event in Dearborn, Michigan on October 20th. The Best and Brightest in Wellness® award honors companies and organizations that recognizes and celebrates quality and excellence in health and wellness.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lacks Wheel Trim Systems eVOLVE™ Wheel Cited in EPA, NHTSA Fuel Economy Report

Lacks Wheel Trim Systems LLC, a business unit of Lacks Enterprises, Inc., was recently cited in a joint Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report titled “Midterm Evaluation of Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards for Model Years 2022-2025” for its innovative lightweight eVOLVE™ wheel.

The report, which analyzes the progress the automotive industry has made toward meeting upcoming government-mandated fuel economy regulations, said eVOLVE’s design “balances a lightweight structure with optimal aerodynamics.” It also references a study involving the Ford Focus compact car in which eVOLVE wheels replaced the standard production wheels, leading to a reduction in weight and improved fuel economy of 1.1 miles per gallon highway, and 0.4 miles per gallon city.

The eVOLVE composite wheels were included in the report among a number of lightweighting materials and mass-reduction technologies needed to achieve the 2025 fleet average fuel economy target of 54.5 mpg.

“When our team introduced the eVOLVE hybrid composite wheel system and its test data to the marketplace in November of 2012, the results took everyone by surprise in both magnitude and potential fuel economy impact,” said James Ardern, general manager, Lacks Wheel Trim Systems. “To see the marketplace and the EPA validate our efforts with product development activity and the referenced mid-term paper, is exciting as all stakeholders understand more about the effects of wheels on fuel efficiency. Our composite wheel system has the proven potential to offer significant contributions to improved fuel economy for many vehicle platforms.”

Lacks Wheel Trim Systems, a leader in lightweight automotive wheel systems, recently submitted a whitepaper to the EPA outlining the benefits of the eVOLVE composite wheel, highlighting its measurable fuel economy improvements when analyzed using CAFE tests due to its light weight and aerodynamic properties.

The report also notes that the eVOLVE composite wheel system provides turbulence management and saves research and development time because the visible design surface can be changed per OEM specifications without changing the base wheel underlay design. In addition, the composite system’s design flexibility enhances visual aesthetics for appearance purposes.

Originally reported by — read the original article here.

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