Decker named Michigan Young Entrepreneur of YearWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
Tyler Decker of Lambertville was recognized as Michigan Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the 10th annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business awards event May 6 at Michigan State University.
“I am very flattered and honored to receive this award,” Decker told Toledo Free Press before he left for East Lansing.
“When they wanted to nominate me, I didn’t know my chances to win it. Now, it feels like a sense of accomplishment to overcome all the adversities to get here,” said Decker, a graduate of Bedford High School.
The 28-year-old businessman was announced as the recipient of the award by the U.S. Small Business Administration in March. The awards are presented in May to celebrate National Small Business Week May 12-16.
“The SBA is honored to highlight the impact of the courageous men and women who work every day to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation and increase American competitiveness,” said Gerald Moore, SBA Michigan district director.
The SBA has recognized the impact made by American entrepreneurs and small business owners since 1963. The SBA’s mission is to recognize the contributions small businesses make to the state’s economy, Moore said.
Decker said he had a table for eight reserved so that his wife, parents, in-laws and two close cousins could attend the event where he was recognized for his achievements.
“It means a lot to have them there. I’ve had some good people to look up to and count on for their help,” Decker said, referring to his family.
His father John is a real estate broker and his grandfather Bill is a highly-regarded home builder in the Toledo area. Decker said he began working for the family business when he was 14 and learned a lot from working hard on the job.
Decker won the award as Young Entrepreneur of the Year for his establishment of Pure Liberty Manufacturing. However, it’s not his first business or first award recognizing his accomplishments.
At age 19, Decker started Global Building Supply LLC in 2005 after seeing an opportunity to import stainless steel sinks for commercial and residential use. The business was growing well in December 2008 when its largest customer filed bankruptcy and went out of business.
“It was a crushing loss but it could have been worse,” Decker said.
He said the company continued selling and operating at a loss while seeking financial assistance. He was referred to the Center for Empowerment & Economic Development (CEED) for its MircoLoan Program. CEED is a leader in making microloans since its inception in 1984.
Decker was recognized as an award honoree and outstanding achiever by CEED MircoLoan earlier in 2014. He now has a goal for his firm to be named to the list of Michigan’s Top 50 Companies to Watch, which it just missed making last year.
Decker said the whole process for the manufacturing business started in 2010 with CEED, which introduced him to the local economic development company, the Monroe County Business Development Corp.
Decker connected with Tim Lake, president and CEO of Monroe County Business Development, who referred him to Chuck West at Fifth Third Bank in Monroe. He said Lake and West were very instrumental in helping him through the process.
He said they submitted a well-thought-out and researched business plan to the bank and SBA. They were awarded a loan that was funded 50 percent by Fifth Third Bank and 50 percent by the SBA.
From that small business loan four years ago, Global Building Supply has become a million dollar company. During that time, Decker was researching his plans to establish a manufacturing firm.
“It’s good to see that Tyler is being honored as Michigan’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year,” Lake said. “The BDC has been working with Tyler over the last few years and we have been impressed with how this young man has successfully grown his business from a start-up into a premier business operation that will soon be launching a new manufacturing facility in Monroe County.”
Decker is now ready to launch Pure Liberty Manufacturing which will make stainless steel sinks to be sold and distributed by Global Building Supply. The facility will begin producing 30 to 40 percent of what it currently imports, he said.
“We’ll start excavation work this week and we hope to have it completed by July 1,” Decker said.
They are building an 8,000 square-foot manufacturing facility on a 10-acre site located on Schnipke Drive, just off Sterns Road along U.S. 23 in Ottawa Lake. It will include an 80 by 80-foot production facility and 40 by 40-feet of offices.
“We have all the tooling and machinery ready or on the way so we’ll be ready to start production as soon as we get a Certificate of Occupancy,” Decker said.
He explained the company will bring in stainless steel in raw coils from ThyssenKrupp. Decker said they will start with six full-time workers to begin production of the sinks at the new facility.
His father, John, handled the purchase of the property where Pure Liberty Manufacturing will be located.
“Tyler Decker has created an amazing economic opportunity not only for himself but for the community at large. His courage in starting a business at 19 years of age is commendable. He is a role model for young people throughout the country,” Moore said.
Tags: 10th annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business, Bedford High School, CEED, Center for Empowerment & Economic Development, Certificate of Occupancy, Chuck West, East Lansing, Fifth Third Bank, Gerald Moore, Global Building Supply, Lambertville, LLC, Michigan State University, Michigan Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Michigan’s Top 50 Companies to Watch, microloans, MircoLoan Program, Monroe County Business Development, Pure Liberty Manufacturing, SBA Michigan District director, ThyssenKrupp, Tim Lake, Tyler Decker, U.S. Small Business Administration