CEO Speaks on New Tax Law & Investing in Business

In December of 2017, Congress passed and the President signed a major revision to the US tax system. For those of us who own and manage businesses, it is important to understand how the new law may impact our businesses.

First, let me be clear – I am not an accountant and I have no intention to offer advice on accounting or tax law. Specific advice and interpretation of the law should come from your own legal and accounting professionals.

Second, though you may have heard the talking heads on TV tell you this was about “simplification”, my thought is “not so much”.

The law has many provisions impacting your tax rates – increasing the standard deduction, reducing your state and local tax deductions, etc.

What I want to point out for you today are some opportunities you may have to lower your taxes while growing your business at a much quicker pace.

After my initial reading of various newspaper articles, I did what we all need to do. I consulted with my CPA and my business lawyer on how the changes in the law will impact my company. I cannot stress enough the importance of professional advice. Because of some of the changes, the legal structure of your business is going to be a very important concern.

For our businesses, other than a reduction in rates, the biggest change that will benefit our businesses is called “immediate expensing”.

What that means is that most of the business investments you make can be fully expensed in the year you make the investment. For example, a $200,000 piece of equipment which you would previously amortize over a 5 or 7 year period, now can be written off fully in the year you take possession. This results in significant tax savings and a motivation to make business investments before the scheduled expiration of this provision – currently set for 2022.

If you qualified for Section 179 – Small Business Expensing, the annual amount available for this consideration has doubled and the total allowed has been increased by 25%.

Agricultural operations are the beneficiaries of these changes as well. For our customers who sell their crops (grain), there is an unusual provision that allows for 20% deduction on all payments received on sales of your crops to Coops as opposed to sales to private or publicly traded grain companies. The Coops are going to be very busy. Strengthen your relationship now!

Many of the changes in the law are important to decisions you make today. The provisions are complicated and will impact your investment decisions and the very structure of your business enterprise. The good news is things look positive for industrial and agricultural businesses.

Seek professional advice sooner rather than later. Ask your accountant, lawyer and business advisor to help you with a plan to benefit from the provisions of the new law.

The time to invest in your business is now! Thanks for reading!

Richard Spruit

President & CEO

Holiday Message from the CEO | 2017

TIS THE SEASON for me to both reflect and anticipate. That’s what we do as the year comes to an end. We think about what was and what will be. There are no hard and fast rules in holiday reflection. The end of one year and the start of another, along with the holiday time off and gatherings, seems to naturally inspire us to reflect.

Grand Rapids Metrology had a very good 2017. We grew the business at an astounding rate compared to our peers. We made some tremendous new staff additions. We also made some major team changes through attrition which have offered us opportunities to add targeted staffing additions more suited to our mission and values. We increased the scope of products and services we provided to our customers which allowed us to work with customers we previously had not served.

First and foremost, we thank our employees who are the finest group of measurement professionals ever found at one company. They work hard and long and strive to be better each day. They understand and live our values at home and at work.

Also, we thank our vendors who support us with products, training and research. Our main suppliers have been with us for multi-decades and several generations. That is a tribute to them and to us.

Finally, we thank our customers, without whom, everything is irrelevant. We thank them for their loyalty, appreciation and their receptiveness to our ideas and solutions.

We dedicated much of 2017 to the exploration and reinforcement of our corporate values. We know adherence to our values makes us better. They define what we want to be, how we want to act and how we want to be perceived. So, I’d be remiss if, in reflecting on 2017, I did not cover the issue of sexual harassment and, more importantly, opportunities in the workplace.

At GRM, we were somewhat ahead of the curve on this issue. We had discussions at all our locations in August and September, before the Weinstein and numerous other allegations came to light. I think fathers of daughters (like me) are more cognizant of this issue. As men, I think we all have witnessed discrimination and harassment. We either turned the other way, considered it done in humor, decided it was not our business, participated in covering it up or diminished it to avoid conflict. I have seen it. I challenge any man reading this to deny that he has witnessed it as well. I am happy and relieved that it is now out in the open. It’s one of the gifts 2017 has given us.

Power and the misuse thereof by bad, immoral people is the culprit. Power granted by money, title, influence, size or strength in the hands of a bad person leads to oppression of those with less power.

Everything we do requires a thought process. For instance, when pulling up to a stop sign, we go through the mental process of recognizing the risk of not stopping at the sign. If we did not do this, chaos and harm would reign.

What I can’t figure out is how the thought process of someone who is about to commit sexual harassment. When they have a button installed under their desk to lock their door from the inside — when does that sound like a good idea? When they make a sexually provocative statement to an employee or sends a sexually suggestive gift — what are their thoughts? When they demand sexual favors to advance a someone’s career — how can they possibly believe it is a good thing for either of them long term? When they send sexual pictures of themselves to a co-worker — really? Is there a thought process even involved? Do these people have an inability to evaluate consequences?

Throughout history, my beloved legal profession has done so much to keep the issue of sexual harassment hidden. Accusations were handled “quietly” and payoffs were made which required all parties to be “silent” in the accusations, the truth thereof and the amount paid. How does that solve a systemic problem in our society? How does that create accountability for one’s actions and words? Serial harassers have left a parade of victims who were paid off for their silence while the career of the perpetrators thrived.

So, thank you 2017! The allegations of Weinstein and many other harassers freed accusers to come forward. For reasons difficult to explain, we have turned a corner on this issue. Sexual harassment and discrimination are finally acceptable dinner topics. Society has decided that fear of power will no longer keep victims in the shadows.

2018 should mark a new beginning for fairness in the workplace!

I do have a fear. The weaponization of accusations scares me tremendously. False charges are made constantly, particularly (go figure) in the political arena. 2018 is an election year. I hope my fears are unfounded. Every accused has to have some form of due process. Let’s never forget this.

In 2018, at GRM, we will continue to focus on our values and mission.  We will continue to hire and promote based on values. We will continue our dialogue of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

I will personally go one step further. Last month, I was elected to the Board of Directors of the Women’s Resource Center in Grand Rapids. I will work tirelessly to see that every person, regardless of their sex, race, religion, ethnic background, sexual preference, etc., has opportunities to thrive and succeed as I have had throughout my life.

To all of you individually, if you see or hear something that does not look or sound right, report it. If you see or hear it, stop it. If it happens in your home or in the store, intervene. If good people stand by and allow evil to occur, evil will win the day as it did for decades in the treatment of women in the workplace. Don’t allow evil to be present where you live or work.

Marisa and I wish all of you the happiest and safest holiday seasons. We wish good health and prosperity to all the GRM families, customers and vendors. We are blessed to have you in our lives. Thanks for all you do for Grand Rapids Metrology!


Richard Spruit

Meet the GRM Staff | Richard Spruit

Name: Dick Spruit

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

Title at GRM: CEO & President

Branch: Grand Rapids

Time working at GRM: 25 years

What is an average day of work like for you? Thrilling! Always a variety of challenges and opportunities. I feel that every day we create something great!

What originally got you interested in the work that you do? I am a lawyer by education. Running a business seemed like a logical progression in my career and I was blessed with this family opportunity.

What is your favorite part of your work? Person to person contact.

What is your favorite experience you had with a customer or your favorite achievement when servicing a customer? I consider myself good at logistics in complicated scenarios and solving problems for customers.

If you weren’t in the business of metrology, what do you think you’d be doing? Still practicing law!

What are some activities you enjoy when you aren’t working? Traveling and golf.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Trip to Niagara Falls with my mother and brothers.

What is your favorite food? Thai or Indian.

What are some of your favorite movies? Hunt for Red October; Shawshank Redemption; Lincoln.

What are some of your favorite musicians/bands? I don’t listen to music very much but I love Broadway musicals.

What is your favorite place to travel to or visit? Aviara at Carlsbad, CA

What is something you find unique/interesting about yourself? I am never afraid to speak in public and am not shy about sharing my thoughts and opinions on right vs. wrong. Also, I have been blessed with an incredible number of friends.

Holiday Message from the CEO | 2016

Holiday Message from the CEO

December, 2016
The typical holiday message mentions all the business success of the year soon to end, talks about goals for the future, thanks customers, vendors and employees, talks about holiday cheer, peace and goodness. It might even mention a party or two. Not mine. Not this year!

I want to tell you about our employees. They are the backbone of this company. They make the important things happen every day. They are generous to a fault, not just at the holiday time but, throughout the year.

We have employees who sit on boards of charitable organizations, public school boards and library commissions. We have employees who participate in mentorship programs, work with their churches, cook for the poor and work with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. These are some of the things I know about. I’m sure many of them do things privately for the good of others that they choose not to openly discuss. They are just good people.

We do have several formal programs of which we are extremely proud:

  • GRM CARES is a voluntary program for our employees. We meet about four or five times a year after work hours. Everyone brings $20 to donate and 3 or 4 employees make short presentations about charities that are important to them. We then vote as a group and all the money collected goes to the chosen charity. Last week our meeting raised over $1,100 for the Michigan Make-A-Wish Foundation and 80% of our employees voluntarily participated. Last fall, our charity was the City Of Flint Community Foundation Children’s Fund and we had over 80% participation for that as well.

  • In November, we read in the Grand Rapids Business Journal that the Mel Trotter Ministries was short on their non-perishable food drive. Our employees took it upon themselves to collect food and other items and we will be delivering over 1,000 pounds of food, etc. and several hundred dollars in cash later this week for Mel Trotter.

  • Our employees have always been interested in community service so this year we formalized a program to pay them for days they devote to a community service project. Each employee is paid their wages for pre-approved community service. The good news is that many of them were doing it without this program. We hope that the program allows more new participants and encourages even more service by those already doing it.

Some things are not planned or structured. Some good works just happen spontaneously. Last week, one of our newest employees who had not yet qualified for any type of paid leave, called to inform us that his 4-month old baby (first child) was having emergency heart surgery.  Obviously, he and his wife were concentrating on the welfare of their baby but, in the backs of their minds they also were agonizing over his job security and not having pay. Our employees, on their own, decided to donate vacation days from their personal accounts to help out this young family. As a CEO, this was one of the proudest moments of my career.

In 2016, we spent significant time discussing our value system (see below). Value statements are often made by companies as promotional statements. Not here! Our employees live our values in their personal and professional lives.

Every successful business person reaches a point where it’s no longer about the money, the conquest or chase, the growth or acquisition, etc. As I get older, it’s more about “Did I make a difference?”, “Did I positively influence people?” and “Did I foster a values environment?”, etc. My answer is that I did not but, WE have! Our employees do make a difference, they do positively influence people and they do live by a value system. What greater Christmas gift could a man ask for? None. I have my gift and I am so proud of it. Thank you to all of our employees who work each day to make the world better and me look good!

Happy Holidays!