Star Cutter Company is celebrating its 90th Anniversary throughout 2017 by reflecting on its past and looking towards the future.
Founded in 1927 by Howard B. Lawton and Frank Burgess, Star Cutter Company is a fourth generation family owned business and one of the oldest Michigan based manufacturing companies. Star Cutter started its cutting tool operations in Detroit before moving the main facility to Farmington in 1951. In the late 1960s, the company made an extreme change to their operation by splitting up its growing manufacturing offerings into several smaller towns throughout Northern Michigan. The Star Cutter Company headquarters remains in Farmington Hills along with its solid carbide tool manufacturing (Northern Tool), with additional manufacturing taking place in East Tawas (Tawas Tool, Gear Cutting Tools), Ossineke (Ossineke Industries, Gundrills), Lewiston (H.B. Carbide Company, Carbide Blanks and Preforms), Elk Rapids (Elk Rapids Engineering, CNC Tool & Cutter Grinding Machines), and Traverse City (Grand Traverse Construction, Commercial Construction).
Bradley Lawton, chairman of Star Cutter Company, believes a large amount of the company's success is due to the culture created as the result of directing the business "up north" beginning around 1967. "The family has always had a fond attraction to the northern lower peninsula and wanted to invest in the local communities," Lawton said. "We set out to develop a skilled workforce and over time have created viable operations that have supported these communities."
In addition to having grown to 500 statewide employees, the company has long been committed to the future of manufacturing through education and training.
Lawton added: "We believe in Michigan manufacturing and its future and have forged relationships with local colleges including: Alpena Community College, Northwestern Michigan College (Traverse City), Kirkland Community College (Roscommon), MTEC (Gaylord), Delta College (University Center), and Schoolcraft College (Livonia). As a result of these partnerships, we have made access available to hands-on training and apprenticeship programs for students interested in a career in manufacturing."