Michigan businesses will gain enhanced access to Broad College of Business expertise

Through a significant new gift, the Michigan State University Broad College of Business has announced the establishment of the John and Marnie Demmer Center for Business Transformation to aid Michigan manufacturing businesses in becoming domestically and globally competitive, including in reaching markets that are new to them.

This new center, funded with gifts totaling $5 million from the John and Marnie Demmer family, will provide consulting, advisory, and educational services by faculty members and student teams to help Michigan-based companies strengthen their competitive performance.  These activities will 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 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 executive education programs that will be offered by the center.  

In 2008, 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 professors Roger Calantone and Shawnee K. Vickery which was funded by a Michigan Initiative for  Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MIIE) grant.  Demmer Corporation CEO Bill Demmer was impressed with the work being accomplished under the auspices of the grant which was designed to assist the participating companies in revitalizing or reinventing their organizations to more effectively compete in regional, national, and global marketplaces.  This desire and Bill’s passion to have other companies in Michigan benefit from the entrepreneurial experiences of the Demmer Corporation planted the seed for his family’s gift to the Broad College of Business.

“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.” said Bill Demmer.  “We are so pleased to be able to give back and participate in marshalling the tremendous resources of MSU to transform other Michigan businesses.

 The Demmer Center, housed within the Broad College’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will draw upon the experience of the Demmer Corporation, as well as the research of Broad College faculty and the talents of their students.

 “We are tremendously grateful to the Demmers for their gift that will benefit not only the Broad College at Michigan State and our students, but also other Michigan manufacturing businesses,” noted MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.  “We are excited about the potential impact this center will have on the region, which fits perfectly with the Michigan State University land-grant ideals.”

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 synonymous with numerous MSU initiatives.  Gifts from the Demmer family have previously established 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.  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,” said Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean Stefanie Lenway.


Demmer Corporation was formed in 1951, by John E. Demmer, with a focus to design and build 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.

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.