About Dowding Industries
Dowding Industries, Inc is a precision short to medium run manufacturer of progressive die stampings, metal fabrications, and welded assemblies. We also specialize in the custom laser cutting,
prototyping, machining, and component part double disk grinding processes.
Located just south of Lansing, MI in Eaton Rapids, Dowding Industries, Inc. was founded in 1965 by Skip Dowding. The company has remained within the Dowding Family throughout its history and is now led by CEO Christine Dowding-Metts.
As a Certified Women's Business Enterprise we take pride in our diverse workforce. Every employee has done their part within the company in order to achieve this prestigious certification.
What makes our technicians stand out above the crowd? Their training! Dowding Industries is ISO9001:2008 Certified and coming in 2016….. TS-16949 Certification, which will complement our current portfolio. Furthermore, in a continued effort to gain governmental work and better serve our country, we will be ITAR Certified as well. Yet another element that will add to our competitive advantage.
Dowding is honored to serve on the Board of Advisors in support of Workshops for Warriors; a nonprofit organization that is rebuilding America’s advanced manufacturing workforce, one veteran at a time. They train, certify, and place veterans and wounded warriors into advanced manufacturing careers, meeting the strong demand for skilled labor in U.S. manufacturing. We are also proud to be a member of the Capital Area Manufacturer’s Council; an executive level manufacturing community that works together to improve mid-Michigan’s manufacturing competitiveness by addressing and tackling common issues. Dowding, along with other local manufacturers, are making a collaborative engagement effort by participating in the Michigan Manufacturers Connect Campaign to educate and provide awareness of the Manufacturing Industry. This initiative focuses on addressing the talent gap for skilled trade jobs here in our state and across the US. As well as being involved in the manufacturing community, we also like to remain civic minded…..Dowding is privileged to serve on the following boards; Michigan Economic Development Corporation - Executive Committee, Sparrow Hospital – Foundation Development, Greater Lansing Food Bank & The Capital Area Humane Society.
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About Skip Dowding
Maurice (Skip) Dowding, the Founder of Dowding Industries, Inc., opened a small 5,000 sq. foot facility just down the road from the family homestead in Springport, MI in 1964. Dowding began operations as a Tool and Die shop for GM and Eaton Corporation, and shortly thereafter, added stamping operations to their endeavor. Over the years, Skip and Karen (his wife) would expand the business, adding six more additions onto their original 5,000 square foot print. As President and Entrepreneur, Skip embarked on numerous diversification projects through his contacts across the country which would lead to the opening of D&M Manufacturing, a small shop in North Carolina. In 1980, Skip was awarded a franchise opportunity with LOPI Wood Stove to manufacture wood burning stoves for a 5-state region. Skip and Karen then started KDI and began forming, welding, assembly and painting operations of the LOPI product line, in a small building on their property in Deveraux, MI. They quickly out grew this building and were forced to move to a 20,000 square foot building in Albion, MI. Over the next 25 years, Skip purchased an additional plant in Marshall and leased a facility in Battle Creek, MI as the product and customer base continued to grow. In 1998, he consolidated all the production facilities into one location in Eaton Rapids for yet another new customer and product venture. In 2007, Skip was assumed the role of the Chairmen of Board and passed the CEO torch on to his daughter, G. Christine Dowding. Skip chartered Chris with continuing the Dowding legacy. The objective given was to grow the business by constantly “re-engineering” ourselves to provide employment opportunities our community and family, for years to come. Skip is now able to focus his time and attention on his love for being an Entrepreneur. With the accomplishments of Dowding Iowa Division and Dowding Machining, which recently opened in Eaton Rapids, Skip helped secure two more “emerging market” product lines that he can add to his success list. Skip is a veteran of the Army Signal Corps and was stationed in Alaska as the Korean War was ending from 1950 –1955. His special interests are flying, traveling and an occasion golf game. Skip has flown numerous “Angel Flights” for critically ill patients for special medical treatments. He is a member of the Rotary Club and enjoys his wife of 50+ years, three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
About G. Chris Dowding-Metts
Chris started as a Sales Associate with Dowding in 1982, after graduating from Olivet College with a BA in Business Administration. She quickly assumed Sales Management responsibilities for their 5-state region in the sale of the LOPI wood burning stove line. After several years of success, the woodstove industry declined leaving Dowding in search of a new market and new customers. Chris was charged with developing a potential, viable customer, Cummins Engine Company. Over the next few years, she would lead her team and emerge the business to the point of outgrowing their facility. By 1998, Dowding was able to consolidate four plant locations into one in Eaton Rapids, MI. During that time, Chris continued her education and graduated from Northwestern University’s Executive Management Program – EMP 20, in 1990. Chris was advanced to Sales Manager and was accountable for all four Dowding Industries, Inc facilities. As a key contributor in expanding the business from 7 Million in 1981 to over 18 Million in 1998, she was promoted to the office of President of the corporation. Other key milestones achieved that year were the naming of Dowding Industries as “Supplier of the Year” by Cummins Engine Co. coupled with Chris being requested to contribute as a founding member on the Cummins Supplier Council, a typical two year commitment that grew to more than seven years of participation. Chris continued to manage and direct her Sales, Logistics and IT teams through the implementation of a new ERP software system. Dowding successfully incorporated these state of the art software tools to enable Just In Time ship systems for our customers. In late 1999, as the first step to meeting customer and product diversification objectives, a niche product venture was embarked upon with Caterpillar and a 2nd plant was opened in Eaton Rapids. With the retirement of the Controller in 2001, Chris assumed Financial Management, as well as Sales and Operations responsibilities. In 2006, an affiliate company was formed, Dowding Industries of Iowa, owned by Chris and Jeff Metts and located in Cedar Rapids, IA. In 2007 Chris was named CEO and awarded 1.1 % of voting stock. The conception of Dowding’s latest business enterprise came to fruition and Dowding Machining was formed. The goal for this newest division was to diversify product and customer base into the wind energy sector. In 2009 Dowding was recognized as being Woman Owned and received the stringent certification from the prestigious Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). In 2011 Dowding received the Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification. In 2013 Dowding Industries was named in Crain’s Detroit Business publication as one of the Top 25 Woman Owned Businesses in Michigan. Dowding is a member of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), Michigan Manufacturer’s Association (MMA), Capital Area Manufacturing Council (CAMC), as well as both Michigan and Lansing’s Chamber of Commerce. Chris has been active in numerous community service projects and serves on several boards: 1990 to 1992 -Eaton County American Cancer Society Board Member; 2004,2005 - Trinity United Methodist Youth Group Mission Trips; 2008 -Chris and husband, Jeff Metts were named Grand Marshalls for the Eaton Rapids Memorial Day Parade; 2010 to present–Empty Plate (Food Bank) Board Member; 2011 to present –Sparrow Hospital Foundation Board Member; Current member in the Eaton Rapids Community Improvement Committee; Active advocate for the Capital Area Humane Society.
About Jeff Metts
Jeff Metts is President of Dowding Industries, a certified woman-owned manufacturing business and Astraeus Wind Energy, a manufacturer in Eaton Rapids, Michigan that specializes in heavy equipment, rail, automotive and wind energy components. Serving in his current capacity since 2007, Jeff is a 20+ year veteran of Dowding, and is pioneering Michigan’s renewable energy frontier. Jeff’s passion and drive has moved Dowding Industries toward renewable energy. In 2007, he oversaw the design and development of Dowding’s newest facility for wind power components, Astraeus Wind Energy, which is located next to their Eaton County headquarters. Both companies are members of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), Michigan Manufacturer’s Association (MMA), Capital Area Manufacturing Council (CAMC), as well as both Michigan and Lansing’s Chamber of Commerce. Jeff is considered a leading advocate and strong ally within the renewable energy community. He has appeared at several conferences across the nation speaking as a knowledgeable proponent of renewable energy, as well as in promotional videos. He has also testified in front of numerous congressional committees on the issue. In recognition of his dedication and role as an active leader, he was awarded the Business Leadership Award by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association. He was also appointed as a member of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s Green Energy Task Force. Jeff serves on various boards to include the Executive Board of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Executive Committee for the Energy Innovation Business Council, the Board of Directors for the Greater Lansing Manufacturing Council, the Executive Board of the Capital Area Manufacturing Council and most recently, the Great Lakes Leadership Academy Board. Jeff began his career with Dowding Industries in 1997 as a Sales Representative. His responsibilities quickly expanded to include growing Dowding Industries’ customer base, resulting in tripling sales for the company. He has also served as the Plant Operations Manager and Vice President of Operations, before stepping into his current role as President and Principal Partner. The company has a multitude of capabilities including stampings, large sheet metal fabrications and large scale precision machining. Dowding was named an Employer of the Year in 2008 by Capital Area Michigan Works and were awarded the Small-Tier Michigan Manufacturer of the Year in 2010 by Michigan Manufacturers Association. The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce honored Dowding at its 2011 Celebration of Regional Growth Awards Luncheon.