Steelcase celebrates 100 years of business Friday

Mar 16, 2012

Steelcase doesn’t manufacture much office furniture in West Michigan anymore, but it still has about 3,000 employees here. They gathered for the birthday celebration at the Grand Rapids headquarters for cake and a balloon drop.

Nancy Willemstein has been the front desk receptionist for nearly 30 years. “I’m just very excited that I can call Steelcase my home. And I hope that I can still be here to celebrate a few more years,” Willemstein said. At one point, she tears up talking about the company’s “awesome” leaders and culture.

Jeremy Bergwerff worked at Steelcase from 2007-2009, went to grad school out of state and then came back last May. He says the company has come a long way from the metal wastebaskets and cubicles it was known for decades ago. (You can see a cool, interactive timeline on the company's website here.)

“Manufacturing office furniture is kind of a boring idea. But when you think about what Steelcase really is, that’s not what it is. It’s about how do people work and creating the right environments,” Bergwerff said.

The Grand Rapids-based company is the world’s largest manufacturer of office furniture. The company employs about 13,000 worldwide.