Published: Dec. 21, 2011

MSU gift aims for business transformation, global competitiveness

Contact(s): Mark Fellows Media Communications office: (517) 884-0166, Shawnee Vickery Supply Chain Management office: (517) 432-6441, Stefanie Lenway Broad College of Business office: (517) 355-8377

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A mid-Michigan manufacturer's gift will help Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business become a hub for business transformation, assisting Michigan companies to better compete globally.

A $5 million gift to establish the John and Marnie Demmer Center for Business Transformation will open more consulting, advisory and educational services from MSU faculty members and student teams to state business owners.

"We had been using consultants help from all over the country assisting us in our business transformation," Demmer Corp. CEO Bill Demmer said. "As our relationship with the MSU Broad College of Business grew we found that everything we needed was right in our own back yard. We are so pleased to give back and participate in marshaling the tremendous resources of MSU to transform other Michigan businesses."

Executives will be able to access research on business process improvement with an emphasis on growth strategies, lean manufacturing and supply chain, and quality processes and metrics. Additionally, the Demmer family’s gift will create an endowment to provide funding for faculty members and students to work with companies and for educational grants to smaller companies to enable them to participate in the center’s executive education programs.  

Lansing-based manufacturer Demmer Corp. in 2008 joined other area companies in a Broad College business strategic reinvention program. It so impressed Bill Demmer that he wanted to share it – and his own company’s experience – with others.

"We are tremendously grateful to the Demmers for a gift that will benefit not only the Broad College at Michigan State and our students, but other Michigan businesses," said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. "We are excited about the positive impact this center will have on the region and its alignment with our commitment to put knowledge to work to benefit society."

Demmer Corp. was formed in 1951 by John E. Demmer to design and build tools, dies and special machinery. In the 1990s, the company adopted lean manufacturing and quality principles, positioning it to expand in the next decade as new opportunities arose. Demmer today is a key supplier of assemblies, modules and components for defense, aerospace, transportation and commercial heavy fabrication customers.

The Demmer family, which includes John Demmer and his late wife Marnie; son Bill Demmer and his wife Linda; son Ed Demmer and his wife Laura; and daughter Marguerite (Peg Demmer) Breuer and her husband Bradford, is associated with numerous MSU initiatives. Gifts from the Demmer family have previously created the John and Marnie Demmer Shooting Sports Education and Training Center and the Demmer Family Hall of History in the Skandalaris Football Center.

"With innovation comes increased competitive pressure on companies," said Eli and Edythe L. Broad College Dean Stefanie Lenway. "The Demmer Center for Business Transformation gives Broad College faculty and students an opportunity to help companies learn what they can do to improve their ability to compete in their industry sector."


Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.