Kalamazoo, MI – January 5, 2021 – Landscape Forms, North America’s leading designer and manufacturer of high-design, site furniture, structure, LED lighting, and accessories, has received the 2020 Michigan Manufacturer of the Year award.
The John G. Thodis Large Tier Michigan Manufacturer of the Year award, presented by the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA), honors the important, positive and tangible contributions individual manufacturers make to their employees, customers and communities.
Over the past 51 years, Landscape Forms has become a leader in the modern Michigan manufacturing community, honoring the region’s rich history of creativity, craftsmanship and technical expertise while embodying a spirit of continuous improvement to help secure a more productive, more sustainable and more equitable future for the industry in the State of Michigan.
Central to the company’s approach is a commitment to participation and professional development of its employees. “We work hard to demonstrate that you can have a long and gratifying career in manufacturing at Landscape Forms,” says CEO, Marjorie Simmons. "People who join us at an entry level know that we will invest in them, that we will actively help their career develop along the way.”
From electronic assembly, to powdercoating and welding, all manufacturing roles at Landscape Forms are supported by robust internal training programs. This commitment to professional development not only serves to expand capabilities and drive innovation internally, but also to bolster the local talent pool, create new opportunities and contribute to the prosperity of the community as a whole. “We believe in the protégé effect,” explains Simmons. “By pushing ourselves to be teachers, we in turn are constantly learning—it drives our growth and simultaneously strengthens our manufacturing community.”
Unique in the manufacturing industry, Landscape Forms’ approach to the development of its employees seeks to balance a depth of specialized knowledge with a wide breadth of competency and capabilities. “We have always excelled in design and are confident in our identity as a design-forward company, but over the past few years, we have spent a lot of time developing our unique identity on the manufacturing side,” says Vice President of Operations, Tim Woolley. “We realized it’s our flexibility in manufacturing that sets Landscape Forms apart. The way we employ extensive cross-training to develop a nimble workforce with a diverse skillset forms the basis of this unique identity.”
In recent times of crisis and uncertainty, the company’s unique flexibility and capacity to pivot knowledge and resources to where they are needed most proved a valuable asset for its community. As the first wave of COVID-19 pushed hospitals beyond capacity and manufacturing was shut down in the State of Michigan, Landscape Forms quickly assembled a volunteer team to join a local medical supplier to aid in the construction of emergency relief beds for pop-up hospitals. Following the shutdown as manufacturing in the state began to reopen, Landscape Forms’ Pandemic Response Team developed its “Return to Work: Safe Work Playbook” to establish new strategies and guidelines for safe working environments. When shared with local manufacturers, the playbook’s positive impact was immediately evident, with one partner stating “I wouldn’t have been able to reopen without it.”
“Being named Michigan Manufacturer of the Year is a significant milestone and special source of pride for Landscape Forms because it recognizes more than just excellence in our field,” says CEO Simmons. “It celebrates the responsibility we have as a company to enact positive change in all the communities to which we belong—our community of fellow team members, our community of fellow manufacturers, and our community of fellow Michiganders. Witnessing the generosity, collaboration and resilience of these groups in the face of this year’s challenges is undeniable evidence of the importance of supporting our communities, of what we can achieve when we pull together.
About Landscape Forms
Landscape Forms is the industry leader in integrated collections of high-design site furniture, structures, accessories, and advanced LED lighting. Since its founding in 1969 Landscape Forms has earned a reputation for excellent design, high quality products and exceptional service. The company is headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with manufacturing facilities in Kalamazoo and Phoenix, Arizona, and sales representatives throughout North America, South America, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Asia. Landscape Forms collaborates with renowned industrial designers and consultancies, landscape architects, and architects to design and develop integrated collections of products that address emerging needs and help create a sense of place. Additionally, the company has formed global marketing partnerships with select companies that share its commitment to design. Landscape Forms has an installed base of products around the world. Clients include municipalities, transit centers, corporate, college and health care campuses; and familiar brand leaders such as Harvard University, Linked In, New York Central Park Conservancy, Bryant Park, Google, Coca Cola, Oculus, U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), Nike, National Museum of African American History (Washington, D.C.), Barclays Center, Adidas, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Microsoft, and Uber. We’ve been named one of the Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production for 2020 by Fortune magazine, Michigan Manufacturer of the Year for 2020 by the Michigan Manufacturers Association, and by 269 Magazine as one of Southwest Michigan’s Wonderful Workplaces.