Transforming Michigan businesses into competitive leaders.



Agility is the foundation for tomorrow’s innovative businesses. At the John and Marnie Demmer Center for Business Transformation, our faculty members, advisors and student teams aim to transform Michigan manufacturing businesses into lean, agile global competitors by providing hands-on engagement and thought leadership.

Demmer Center Information Sheet

We foster mutually beneficial relationships between Michigan businesses and the Broad College. This advances the college’s strategic research, education, outreach and engagement initiatives while providing real-world, transformational solutions for the businesses and organizations supported.

Shawnee Vickery headshot

Shawnee Vickery

  • Demmer Legacy Professor
  • Department of Supply Chain Management

From the Faculty Director

Welcome to the Demmer Center for Business Transformation! Our mission is to help Michigan companies transform their business models to spur innovation and growth so they can compete more aggressively and effectively in domestic and global markets. To facilitate strategic transformation, we assist companies in becoming more operationally effective by designing integrated business processes and applying best practices such as lean and total quality management. We provide education and coaching to companies and other kinds of organizations desiring to change and often involve our students in projects under the mentorship and guidance of Center staff. We also conduct research that examines the drivers of competitive performance.

We are excited about our mission and want Michigan companies to know that we are here to help them advance to the next level of performance. Our vision is to become the #1 resource for Michigan companies desiring to increase their competitiveness in the marketplace through strategic transformation.

Our Mission & Vision


Transform Michigan companies into strategic, lean competitors by providing education, “hands-on” engagement and thought leadership.


To assist Michigan manufacturing businesses in transforming into lean, agile global competitors, increasing their presence and profitability in domestic as well as global markets and opening the doors to new employment opportunities for Michigan workers.


Our partnerships span manufacturing and service organizations and a variety of industries, such as aerospace, apparel, automotive, call centers, banking and finance, defense, health care, pharmaceutical and supply chain.

The Demmer Center is looking for diverse partner organizations spanning all size and industry sectors (including nonprofit and government). Partner companies and organizations are selected based on the following Demmer Center guidelines:

  • Michigan-based operations
  • Stable business(es) with growth potential in new or existing markets
  • Recognize the value of lean systems thinking and express a strong desire to incorporate this into their culture, strategy and operations

Partner Expectations

The Demmer Center expects partner organizations to establish a working relationship to advance strategic transformation, lean systems thinking and subsequent process improvement by engaging lean apprentices, staff or faculty to assist, support and coach continuous improvement projects and business transformation.

Emergent’s experience with the Demmer Center programs has been an extremely positive influence on our early lean transformation efforts. In a relatively short period of time, we have seen tangible benefits to the organization through the establishment of our production value stream, elimination of waste and improved cycle times of some of our critical processes.
Michael Vallender
Emergent BioSolutions

Our Focus

The Demmer Center’s research and engagement with Michigan companies and organizations focus on four core areas that foster competitive advantage:

Business transformation

Strategic integration

Lean enterprise

Leading edge practices

Our flagship research project, the Health Care Multi-Disciplinary Initiative, a collaborative effort with the College of Human Medicine (CHM), investigates strategies and practices that hospitals can use to improve quality of care, reduce costs and boost population health.

Our Difference

The center is unmatched in the breadth and depth of the expertise it offers relating to business transformation, drawing on faculty members who are leaders in their fields to provide creative solutions and support to Michigan companies and organizations. We facilitate collaboration between faculty and C-suite leaders to solve critical problems and exploit strategic opportunities for competitive advantage.

Our History

The John and Marnie Demmer Center for Business Transformation was established in December 2011, through a significant gift from the John and Marnie Demmer family.

In 2008, the Lansing-based Demmer Corporation and several other mid-Michigan companies were participants in the “Imaging the Future: Revitalization of Mid-Michigan Companies Through Deep Strategic Change” project directed by MSU faculty Roger Calantone and Shawnee K. Vickery. This project was funded by a Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MIIE) grant, which is designed to assist the participating companies in revitalizing or reinventing their organizations to more effectively compete in regional, national and global marketplaces.

Demmer Corporation CEO Bill Demmer, impressed with the work being accomplished under the auspices of the grant, said “We had been using consultants’ help from all over the country, assisting us in our business transformation. 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 be able to give back and participate in marshaling the tremendous resources of MSU to transform other Michigan businesses.” With this in mind, his family funded gifts totaling $5 million to set up the Demmer Center for Business Transformation with the task of providing consulting, advisory and educational services by faculty members and student teams to help Michigan-based companies strengthen their competitive performance. These activities should allow Michigan business leaders to access research on business process transformation with an emphasis on growth strategies, lean manufacturing and supply chain, and quality processes and metrics.

Additionally, the Demmer family’s gift created 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 executive education programs that will be offered by the Demmer Center.

Demmer Corporation

Demmer Corporation was formed in 1951 by John E. Demmer, with a focus on designing and building tools, dies and special machinery. In the following decades, the company’s entrepreneurial spirit enabled it to evolve and transform as the competitive environment changed. In the 1990s, the Demmer Corporation infused lean manufacturing and quality principles into its organization, positioning the company to rapidly expand in the next decade as new opportunities arose. Today, Demmer Corporation is a key supplier of assemblies, modules and components for defense, aerospace, transportation and commercial heavy fabrication customers and is known for its innovative engineering and manufacturing solutions.

Contact Us

  • Demmer Center for Business Transformation
  • Henry Center for Executive Development
  • 3535 Forest Road
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • Phone: 517-353-8711
  • Fax: (517) 353-0796