GRAND RAPIDS, MI — For the second time, J.C. Huizenga has surprised employees by sharing his profits from the sale of a company.
In March, he sold off Holland-based J.R. Automation and its smaller sister company, Stevensville-based Dane Systems, to an investment firm.
After the sale, parent company Huizenga Automation Group gave thank you bonuses to the employees at the two West Michigan factories.
The bonuses ranged from $500 for new employees to more than $50,000 for those who had worked at the company the longest, Huizenga told MLive and The Grand Rapids Press.
“In the letter I sent to the employees, I reminded them that my goal in business is to create wealth and share it,” Huizenga said. “And we all worked together at J.R. Automation and Dane Systems had amazing success. It was the right thing to share with everybody.”
The surprise payout to 570 employees added up to $5.75 million. The size of the bonus each employee received was based on years of service and job responsibility.
“It was our intention that everybody from the latest hire to those who were there the longest all participated so everyone got something,” said Huizenga, adding that he was seeking fairness.
Around $5 million was split up among 500 employees at J.R. Automation, while 70 employees at Dane Systems received around $750,000.
Workers weren’t surprised to get a profit-sharing check the day the business changed hands because yearly profit-sharing bonuses were typical, said Bryan von Dorpowski, controller at Dane Systems
He added that the thank-you bonuses, however, were a “total surprise.”
The companies, which have been affliliates for 18 years, build custom automation systems for industry. Their combined sales climbed nearly 23 percent in 2014.
Huizenga said he also rewarded employees at American Litho after he sold the Kentwood company in 2005 to Konica Minolta Graphic Imaging USA, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based film and camera giant Konica Minolta Holdings Inc.