10 Women-led Businesses That You Should Know About


We’re lucky in Southwest Michigan: There’s definitely a lot of women creating a big impact and to whom we can give a shout-out this coming International Women’s Day. We know we missed many great leaders, but let’s take a minute to celebrate these stand-out ones who are creating jobs and opportunities at companies doing business in our hometowns.

  1. Things need to be precise at Jirgens Modern Tool which has been doing business in Kalamazoo since 1973. The shop, run by President Maija Jirgens, offers machined precision parts and specialty equipment for those in mechanized industries.
  2. CEO Caralee Mayer steers the team at Mayer Tool & Engineering. The designer and builder of quality injection molds for the plastics industry has been in business in Sturgis since 1982.
  3. American Metal Fab is a full-service, custom-fabrication manufacturer with state-of-the-art equipment from robotic welding cells to the latest in fiber-optic laser technology. President Kelly Crowell is currently in charge of keeping things humming at the family-owned manufacturer of low to high volume welded metal stampings and fabricated metal components for a variety of industries.
  4. As president and CEO of CTS Telecom, Stacey Hamlin is ready to answer your call. Connecting local people, businesses, and organizations since 1911, the telecommunications company offers internet, voice, data transport, and IT solutions. “Access to fast, high quality internet and data services has an enormous impact on attracting, retaining, and growing companies in our region,” says Hamlin.
  5. Did you know that Southern Michigan Rubber might just very well make the world go-around? The manufacturer of rubber products like gaskets, belts, seals, vibration dampeners, bumpers, and many more is run by a team that includes Marel Ryman.
  6. Genemarkers, a Kalamazoo-based biotech company specializing in the application of genomic science to health care, pharmaceutical research and consumer product development, was founded by Anna Langerveld. So what exactly is genomics? For us non-scientists, it’s a science that studies an organism’s genomes. Need to know more?
  7. Owner Lisa Halliday makes sure things get, well, finished at Kalamazoo Metal Finishers, a full-service plating shop specializing in zinc plating, phosphate, black oxide, and tin, plus additional finishes including chromate, wax, seals, lubricants, paint, passivation, and hydrogen embrittlement relief.
  8. Founded in 1986, Quality Assured Plastics is a certified woman-owned custom injection molder located in Lawrence. President Annette Crandall credits “her mentor—her father—for setting a great example of looking forward, seizing opportunities, and fine-tuning them as they progress.”
  9. Julie Van Zytveld keeps things connected at ESTO Connectors, a manufacturer and supplier of molded nylon connectors, framing solutions, and square aluminum extrusions. If you need a framed solution, Julie has your answer.
  10. Natalie Valentine, president of Peregrine Company, remembers that “as a little girl, I would come down on Saturday morning to sweep parking lots, get snow off the roofs. I have always kind of been in the business.” Today, Valentine leads what many call Southwest Michigan’s answer to luxury, high-end spaces in both the residential and commercial development realm.

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