J.C. Huizenga sold his Holland-based company, J.R. Automation, and its sister company, Dane Systems, which is based in Stevensville, Michigan, to an investment firm in March.
Huizenga then shared the profits of the sale with his employees at two of his West Michigan factories. Bonuses ranged from $500 for new employees to more than $50,000 for those who had worked at the factories the longest.
"In the letter I sent to the employees, I reminded them that my goal in business is to create wealth and share it," Huizenga told MLive. "And we all worked together at J.R. Automation and Dane Systems had amazing success. It was the right thing to share with everybody.”
In total, the bonuses added up to $5.75 million for 570 employees. The employees who had been loyal to the company and had more job responsibility received larger bonuses. Huizenga said he was trying to be fair when divvying up the money.
"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.
Bryan von Dorpowski, a controller at Dane Systems, said profit-sharing checks are common but added no one expected the thank you bonus.
"We didn't do it to inspire anyone, we did it to do the right thing for our employees," said Huizenga. "Our employees are amazing people.”