GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – This year, Scarlett, Inc., a provider of technical machinery and consulting for manufacturing systems, celebrates its 50th anniversary. The story of Scarlett Associates Corporation (SAC), aka Scarlett, Scarlett Machinery, and Scarlett, Inc., is one of careful planning, hard work, and perseverance in the face of difficulty.
In October of 1966, Wally Scarlett’s dream of designing engineering systems and production lines centered on the processing of rough lumber used by the furniture industry in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas blossomed into a fledging business operated from his basement. The company expanded rapidly and moved into a larger building in Rockford. Tragically, during this period of growth, Wally Scarlett was diagnosed with a very deadly form of cancer and, shortly thereafter, succumbed at only 57 years of age. However, just a year prior to Wally’s death, his son, Jim, had left a budding career as a pharmacist in Lansing, Michigan, to move his family to Grand Rapids and join the family business.
Despite industry concerns that Scarlett, Inc. could not survive without Wally’s leadership and experience, a mass exodus of Scarlett employees, and the death of a key salesman, the company tackled these challenges head on and began to evolve into the industry leader it is today. Through expanding into the nonferrous metal industry and strategic condensing, Scarlett survived and thrived during the recession, even as the entire industry was contracting.
Jim’s son, James, and his colleague, Chris Timmer, both engineers, were key to keeping the company afloat during this time and soon became majority shareholders. Ryan Scarlett joined the team, and with a graphic design background, he oversaw Scarlett’s new website design and coordinated the company’s entry into social media marketing. Carl MacConnach was hired to take over the never-ending requirements of supporting the CNC routers, and Mark Scarlett and Craig Smith joined the team to provide adequate coverage throughout the company’s territory. With the exponential growth Scarlett was experiencing, the company moved into the 15,000 square foot facility where it is located to this day and runs with office manager Linda Harkness coordinating Scarlett’s office staff.
As Scarlett celebrates its 50th year, it continues to anticipate and addresses industry trends, and recently expanded into the field of additive manufacturing (better known as 3D printing). Scarlett has partnered with 3D Systems and has committed to a demonstration machine for application analysis throughout the region. Mike McLean heads up this new division and provides sales and application services. Keeping with the traditions of Scarlett, the company maintains a continued emphasis on 50 years of offering the finest lines of woodworking machinery available to the industry. Art Miller and Matt Ledger are now part of the Scarlett sales team, working in Northern Indiana and Eastern Michigan, respectively.
With less than 5 percent of all companies reaching a 50th year, five decades ago, Wally Scarlett could scarcely have imagined that his family-owned company would grow to be a lasting industry leader. Scarlett Inc. wished to convey that its staff is proud of all those who have gone before them and those who currently contribute to its ongoing success. The company also wishes to thank all the customers and suppliers who have partnered with it and who it depends on daily to ensure its continued success as it begins another 50 years of serving its communities.
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