This article appeared in the October 2020 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
Like many of Michigan’s manufacturers, a powerful brand and a valuable product often start with meager beginnings. In 2004, David King started Red Level with nothing but a card table, a Nextel phone and a few friends who believed customers of IT services deserved better than what the industry offered. Red Level’s bare bones beginning paid off as more and more clients — many of them manufacturers — recognized a kindred spirit in King and sought out the customizable solutions he offered.
“I’ve always felt that most business problems can be solved through a combination of reliable technology and a dedicated team,” said King, now the President & CEO of the Novi-based IT service and consulting provider. “Manufacturers have always enjoyed an energetic and innovative workforce — step into most any facility and you see it right away — but we want to make sure they have access to the other half of that equation.”
King is a military man, a retired Naval Officer, and he brings that passion, commitment and problem-solving skillset to his civilian work.
“I wanted Red Level to be a place where the passion of our people shined through. We aren’t just thinking about the services we provide, but about the culture we project,” explained King. “You can’t fake caring and most customers will sense if you’re genuine or not and I think they can tell that Red Level is a brand worth trusting.”
Red Level is also a brand built to thrive during times of chaos — something manufacturers know all too well. When COVID-19 struck and the future of many manufacturers was uncertain, King and his team jumped forward to offer new technology solutions for employers who were still trying to understand the scale of the pandemic’s impact. The most impactful solution was the development of the COVID ClearPass application that allows businesses to track and manage the health screening process mandated by Governor Whitmer. This free application has helped numerous businesses get back to work.
“The ability to adapt has been a top-line characteristic of this company since its beginning and I think that experience has helped us in interacting with manufacturers,” King said. “Continual change is the new normal and if this year has taught us anything, it’s that you have to be able to move quickly to the next thing and do it with confidence.”
During King’s time in the military, there were moments where he knew they weren’t in the best of circumstances and nobody could foresee what was next. They had to trust in each other, the processes they’d put in place and that the objectives they set were sound. This remains true to this day when the business landscape is changing daily making it difficult on staff and clients to keep evolving.
“I see a lot of similarities to what we’re all going through today — as business owners and as communities,” King stated. “We’ll make it through if we have the right people in place and trust our objectives. We need to try to find the positive in the world and we might even become better for having gone through it.”
Red Level is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since December 2019. Visit online: redlevelgroup.com.