Alticor Media Blog

Alticor Media Blog is the official news weblog from the Alticor family of companies.

September 12th, 2006 @ 10:21 am…

Luddites and xenophobes

Yes, we’ve seen the new commercial.

The ad’s message and imagery are enough to make any Michigan business with global aspirations gag.

Nothing makes American companies stronger than opening new markets around the world. In this day and age, you can go global, or you can go broke.

That’s clearly not how the Luddites and xenophobes who made this ad see the world. If they can see it at all.

Selling our U.S.-made products all over the world, and tapping into the China market, we have grown to be a $6.4 billion enterprise with more than 5,000 U.S. employees. Without those markets, we’re 80 percent smaller, with 80 percent fewer U.S. employees.

Somewhere, people who know how the world works are having a good laugh at Michigan’s expense.

It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Filed by: Corporate Communications

Posted in: Alticor, Amway, Michigan Governor's Race

Comments: 0 (Post a Comment)


September 8th, 2006 @ 12:35 pm…

Lay off

Two campaign commercials have now asserted that our company laid off 1,400 Michigan workers while Dick DeVos was our president.

That is baloney. These are the facts:

The Democratic Party ad cited a July 19, 2005 Free Press column by Tom Walsh noting that between 1997 and 2005, our Michigan workforce went from 5,300 to 3,900. No mention – none – of layoffs.

5,300 to 3,900? Yes, we are truly sorry to say – though the changes we made have left us stronger and more competitive.

But 1,400 layoffs? No. Over those eight years, we got from one of those numbers to the other by:

  • 600 involuntary separations. In other words, there were 600 of our colleagues who, through no choice of their own — and no fault of their own — had their positions eliminated.
  • 400 early retirements, buyouts and other voluntary separations. Those people chose to leave.
  • 400 positions eliminated through attrition. Those 400 were not forced out; rather, over time, when they left for their own reasons, they were not replaced.

Why does this matter to us? Because every one of those 1,400 people were our colleagues and our friends, and we worked like crazy to make sure the business decisions we had to make were as humane as we could make them.

Some of us here have been in situations at other companies where the suits from HQ walk in, hand everyone a check and say, “Today’s your last day. See ya.”

Not here. Not us. We treated our colleagues as people – with respect, with generous benefits, and all the help we could give them.

We understand there is political advantage in making people think otherwise, but that doesn’t make it true. So allowing people to make the “inference” (a fine weasel word, that) that we lopped off 1,400 people, dusted off our hands and went on our merry way is factually incorrect, morally dishonest, and wrong.

The other point in the ads, about our capital investment in China – it’s almost too tiresome to drag up again. But here we go:

Yes, our capital investment in China over the past decade is around $200 million. But for a point of comparison, we are spending more than $100 million just on our new, downtown Grand Rapids hotel here in Michigan. And that’s just one project. We aren’t in the habit of publishing our internal financial data – that’s the sort of stuff our competitors would like to know – but it’s a safe bet that our Michigan investments dwarf those in China.

And by the way, that Walsh column? It labeled the Democratic Party chairman’s behavior on the China issue “an overstated bit of political theater,” and counseled, “Don’t expect Sinophobia to ease anytime soon.”

Now, that would be truth in advertising.

Filed by: Corporate Communications

Posted in: Alticor, Amway, Michigan Governor's Race

Comments: 0 (Post a Comment)


September 8th, 2006 @ 10:37 am…


Today’s Grand Rapids Press mentions our company lending a hand to stock new library books in the Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Seems like only yesterday, you were sifting through card catalogs, immersed in some far, far away tome between towering stacks. Even if today’s youth seem to prefer MySpace over “My Side of the Mountain“, it’s warming to know that these venerable brick-and-mortar institutions will always be a trusted friend to educators.

And, when your kids (and eventually their kids) are ready to traverse said mountain, that book will be ready. The web is wonderful, of course, but may our children never grow old without a nose for fresh ink.

Filed by: Corporate Communications

Posted in: Alticor, Miscellaneous, Grand Rapids

Comments: 0 (Post a Comment)


September 6th, 2006 @ 7:30 am…

Come on down!

What a great surprise to open today’s New York Times and see this article offering tips on a 36-hour getaway to our hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Prominently featured are the area’s many works of sculpture along the Grand River and at Meijer Gardens — though we, of course, turned our focus to the nice things the Times had to say about our Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Nice mentions of the Pantlind Lobby at the Grand and, of course, the magnificent food at The 1913 Room, as well as a heads-up about our coming-soon JW Marriott hotel.

Nice way to start the day!

Filed by: Corporate Communications

Posted in: Alticor, Miscellaneous

Comments: 0 (Post a Comment)


September 5th, 2006 @ 3:25 pm…

Back on the block

Finally, a chance to return to talking about business. Crain’s Detroit Business recently published a special fall supplement, “Living and Investing in the D,” about, well, living and investing in Detroit. And there, on the inside back cover, was a nice compliment: a full-page ad from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, headlined, “Start-ups have always done well in Michigan. Yours could be next.” Behind MEDC CEO Jim Epolito was a long list of successful Michigan companies, including ours.

Check the link* here — but be warned, the type in the online version is very faint; you’ll have to squint to see us in the top line, there. (In real life, the type is more, um, khaki-colored.)

Proud to see our name next to other terrific Michigan employers like Kellogg, Dow, Ford and Gentex — feels a lot more like home to us than the political world.

* It’s the second to last page of a PDF file. Or, if you’re a print subscriber, just flip to the back.

Filed by: Government Affairs

Posted in: Alticor, Miscellaneous

Comments: 0 (Post a Comment)


September 1st, 2006 @ 11:57 am…

Fantasy football

Mucho coverage of our announcement yesterday that we are going up statewide in Michigan with TV ads protecting the Amway name, which has become a political football this election season.

Because it is political season, all the furor has quickly gathered around the political questions: “Were you in cahoots with the campaign? Who’s your firm? This is all to help the campaign, right?”

We refer you back to one of our very first posts: We have a business to run. And day after day, we are making business decisions for business reasons.

Democrats work here, Republicans work here. Democrats write this blog, Republicans do. Republicans worked on our commercials, Democrats did.

That is because WE ARE A COMPANY, and NOT A CAMPAIGN. We’d rather spend our time with our families, not fielding political calls. We’d rather spend our money growing our business, not defending it from political attackers who could care less whether the 4,000 people who work here end up as collateral damage in a political campaign. (Yeah, we’re hammering a theme – but we believe it. So deal.)

So, to those who are scrambling to find deeper meanings and darker motives: Here is how we finished up our internal memo to employees announcing the ads yesterday:

These ads are about us and not about any political campaign. The ads do not support any candidate for any office. They explain who we are and what we do and will make you proud to be an employee of the Alticor family of companies. The ads will be shown under the name Amway, our international export brand, because that is the name that the critics have cynically attacked.

We want everyone to do their civic duty and vote for the candidate of their choice, Democrat, Republican or Independent.

Like the man says, “you got a problem with that?”

Filed by: Corporate Communications

Posted in: Alticor, Amway, Quixtar, Michigan Governor's Race

Comments: 1 (Post a Comment)


August 31st, 2006 @ 1:22 pm…

Alticor launches “I Am Amway” advertising

Our company has been dragged into the headlines in recent months. Today, the company began running TV commercials featuring some of our 4,000 Michigan-based employees. Because, if people are going to define our company, we’d rather our employees be heard. They are the experts. We are running these ads because, in the hallways and on the factory floor, our employees feel like our company is under attack.

Click here to see the commercials on our company site.

They are also on YouTube:

I Am Amway : Collage

I Am Amway : Job Talk

Filed by: Corporate Communications

Posted in: Alticor, Amway

Comments: 0 (Post a Comment)


August 27th, 2006 @ 3:28 pm…

Ye Olde Farmer’s Almanack

When it’s only the end of August, and already there is this much hot air rising over the state… it’s gonna be a looooong fall.

We will try to maintain our sense of humor. We may not succeed.

Filed by: Corporate Communications

Posted in: Alticor

Comments: 0 (Post a Comment)


August 17th, 2006 @ 3:25 pm…

Interleukin interactions

A business deal announced today involves Alticor.

Interleukin Genetics is acquiring Alan James Group.

Alticor is the major shareholder in Interleukin, which developed Quixtar’s Gensona line of genetic testing products, and will be investing some more money as part of this transaction.

Filed by: Corporate Communications

Posted in: Alticor

Comments: 0 (Post a Comment)


August 14th, 2006 @ 9:21 am…

Hed T.K.

Big business-front story yesterday in the Grand Rapids Press on how our company was handling the effects of Dick DeVos’ run for governor of Michigan. Good piece. (Though no spokesperson, believe it or not, ever really enjoys being quoted.)

Now, we know that we should have blogged about the piece yesterday, especially because they mentioned the blog specifically, even using quotes and, in the print edition, excerpts. But two things held us back.

One, there’s this whole thing about us blogging about a news story about us blogging about news stories. Because then if someone writes another story about the story, or blogs about the blogs, or – well, see diagram.

And second, it was really nice out yesterday. And we do worry about becoming the sorts of bloggers that don’t get out of the basement enough.

If we had to nitpick anything, it would be the headlines that accompanied the print version (“Damage Control”) and the online version “(“Alticor Deflects Fallout”). Not sure we feel damaged. Not sure Dick DeVos qualifies as radioactive. But who knows? Headline writing is harder than it looks (see above). And a month from now, we may be sitting here with our chinstraps buckled, thinking that the copy editor who wrote the headline was Miss Cleo.

Speaking of which, if you don’t know what our headline means, go ask the oldest newspaper guy you can find – the kind of fella who still laments the demise of Terry and the Pirates, and who knows that ships don’t sail the Great Lakes, but boats do.

Oh, and one factual note – we count Dick DeVos as serving as president here for 10 years – seven when we were Amway Corp., three after we became Alticor. The Press just counted the Alticor years. Technically true, but not exactly.

Filed by: Corporate Communications

Posted in: Alticor, Amway, Michigan Governor's Race

Comments: 0 (Post a Comment)