GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Waséyabek Development Co., the non-gaming economic development arm of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians, has added a Muskegon, Mich.-based manufacturer to its portfolio of companies. 

The tribally owned firm, which has a buy-and-hold strategy for operating companies and commercial real estate, acquired Re-source Industries Inc. in a deal that closed Aug. 20. Waséyabek will rebrand the company as RSI of West Michigan. 

Re-source Industries employs 44 people and specializes in CNC machining and rapid prototyping and serves a range of customers with high-volume manufacturing for parts related to automobiles, ATVs, snowmobiles and archery equipment. 

Waséyabek President and CEO Deidra Mitchell described RSI as “our ideal portfolio candidate” based on the company’s history of innovation, profitability and strong leadership. 

The company will complement Waséyabek’s Baker Engineering, a designer and manufacturer of custom high-performance engines, engine components, and other parts and mechanical assemblies based in nearby Nunica, Mich. Baker Engineering and RSI of West Michigan will operate as sister companies. 

“Where Baker offers engineering, prototype development and low-volume manufacturing, RSI offers higher production manufacturing,” Mitchell said. “Customers of both companies routinely need the services of these two sister manufacturing facilities and we’re targeting to provide their customer base with a high-quality, certified, one-stop shop.”

Waséyabek’s portfolio also includes a majority stake in business consulting firm DWH LLC, also of Grand Rapids, as well as several federal contracting entities. The firm’s Waséyabek Federal Services LLC previously secured a $161 million contract with the Department of Energy, as Native News Online reported in June. 

As well, Waséyabek has various holdings in commercial real estate in Michigan. Earlier this year, the firm partnered with Gun Lake Investments, the non-gaming entity of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, to buy an 18-story mixed-use building in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, as Native News Online previously reported

Collectively, Waséyabek now employs 101 people across its portfolio of companies. 

“This is an example of our vision becoming reality,” Jeri Pamp, chair of the board of directors for Waséyabek and a tribal member, said in a statement about the RSI deal. “Waséyabek’s mission is to buy, hold and grow non-gaming businesses that will strengthen the Tribe and the greater community for seven generations. This acquisition will allow us to further that mission for the betterment of all.”

With the acquisition of RSI, Waséyabek looks to expand the manufacturing capabilities of its portfolio beyond Baker Engineering. RSI’s owners, Paul and Randi Kuyt, will stay on with the company and manage the manufacturer’s daily operations with executive oversight from a pair of managers at Baker Engineering. 

“The high-quality work performed at RSI will be a great complement to our manufacturing operation at Baker Engineering,” James TenBrink, vice president of Baker who’s also a tribal member of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band, said in a statement. “We have been looking to grow and expand our capabilities and our customer base and that’s why we approached Paul about working together to grow our two organizations.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

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About The Author
Joe Boomgaard
Author: Joe Boomgaard
Joe Boomgaard is the editor of Michigan-based regional business publication MiBiz and a contributing writer to Native News Online on business, economic development and related topics. He can be reached at [email protected]