Jeff Metts is President of Dowding Industries, 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 12 year veteran of Dowding, and is pioneering Michigan’s renewable energy frontier.
Jeff’s passion and drive have moved Dowding Industries toward renewable energy. In 2007, he oversaw the design and development of Dowding’s newest facility for wind power components, which is located next to their Eaton County headquarters.
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 is also a member of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s Green Energy Task Force.
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.
Jeff has a passion for flying and is an accomplished pilot. He is married and has three children and eight grandchildren.
G. (Gail) Christine Dowding
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 for the Albion plant. Chris was charged with developing a new potential customer. Over the next few years, she would lead her team and emerge the business to the point of outgrowing their Albion facility and be forced to move shipping and warehousing to their Marshall location.
In 1998, Dowding was able to consolidate their 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 at 502 Marilin Ave. 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. The following year, 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 turbine business.
In 2009 Dowding was recognized and received certification by the WBENC as being woman owned.
Chris has been active in several community service projects: 1990-1992 Eaton County American Cancer Society Board Member; 2004, 2005 Trinity United Methodist Youth Group Mission Trips; 2008, and Chris and husband, Jeff Metts were named Grand Marshall’s for the Eaton Rapids Memorial Day Parade in 2008.
Chris is married with two children and enjoys her extended family that includes three more children and a total of eight grandchildren. Her special interests are her grandchildren, animals, participating with numerous local and national charities, and entertaining family and friends.