Four years ago, Cynthia LaGrow decided to use her wealth of experience as a certified economic developer to set up her own company—LaGrow Consulting (Coloma, MI)—and this decision has resulted in LaGrow playing a vital role in the formation of a number of coalitions in Michigan for Michigan Economic Development, including the Berrien Tooling Coalition and Strategic Tooling Solutions.
LaGrow tackles a number of projects, which include grant proposals, ordinance language, 425 agreement language, business plans, marketing, feasibility studies, financing plans, tax incentives, real estate transactions and site location in addition to performing problem-solving initiatives for business and municipalities to reduce expenditures and increase revenues.
LaGrow founded her own company primarily so she could put her knowledge to its full use. “Before, I could not tell a company looking at doing business in the area my true feelings because I was limited in my duties and area of coverage,” she explains. “Now I find that I could be very candid and honest dealing with companies regarding business advice, decisions or situations.”
In addition to making a name for herself in an industry dominated by men, there have been other challenges the company has faced over the last several years. “For example, we have encountered irate citizens due to the so-called preferential treatment of the tool and die industries,” she notes.
LaGrow has been instrumental in the establishment of numerous coalitions. “I serve as a facilitator or project manager,” she elaborates. Over at Mach Mold, Inc. (Benton, Harbor, MI)—part of the Berrien Tooling Coalition—President Bill Mach consulted with LaGrow on the governmental portion of forming this collaborative effort.
Concept Molds, Inc. (Schoolcraft, MI)—members of Strategic Tooling Solutions—sought LaGrow’s assistance to seek new business besides automotive. According to Program Manager Michael Rochholz, the company wanted to build the medical segment of its business as well as unite with fellow toolmakers. At Auburn Hills, MI-based Delta Tooling Co., Vice President William Moore wanted to tap into LaGrow’s experience in helping to form the coalition Strategic Tooling Solutions.
Short- and Long-Term Goals
LaGrow is working hard to keep the companies she works with afloat during difficult times. “I am currently working with a number of companies troubleshooting for them and establishing business-to-business connections so they can stay in business,” she states. LaGrow plans to keep doing what she does best—furthering business. “For every one manufacturing job, there are seven spin-off jobs.”