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Next Generation of Healthcare Companies Sprouting from Furniture City, USA

By Eric Kahkonen | Published May 01, 2019 | 5 MIN READ

Grand Rapids has been a center for furniture design and manufacturing starting in the early 1800s, so it was the perfect place for my business partner Craig VanderHeide and I to start our first company—Idea Industries, Inc.—in 1994.

We witnessed the fast-paced, ever-changing environments of the office and realized the need for more flexibility where people work. We focused on creating durable and ergonomic office accessories and it wasn’t long before we’d patented our first adjustable keyboard tray and monitor arm.

It wasn’t hard to see the influence our “Furniture City" background had on our designs. We used high-quality materials and focused not only on function but creating an appealing design to enhance the workplace. Idea Industries had great success and was acquired at the end of 1999.

Both Craig and I weren’t satisfied with our success with Idea Industries, we had more ideas to share! In 2001, we established Altus. The first product line included small sit-to-stand mobile tables for office and educational setting designed to enhance efficiency and workflow.

However, by 2004 we couldn’t help but notice the dynamic world of healthcare. From then on, we shifted gears and took all the benefits of our ergonomic accessories to healthcare. With our custom solutions mentality, we knew we could create a dependable technology mobile workstation that could aid the demand of the shift to EMRs (electronic medical records).

Our team expanded, our offerings evolved, and at the end of a few years, we officially grew into multiple product offerings. We supplied powered and non-powered mobile workstations, wall-mounted technology and medication delivery workstations for clinicians.

Over the course of our 18-year history, Altus has helped 2,000 customers worldwide—clinicians, educators, students and more—be more productive with innovative workstations.

Being based in the Furniture City has further motivated our team to innovate—designing and developing products that actually improve how people work. We offer custom colors, configurations and accessories that allow our customers to build workstations fit not only the people using them but also the hospital rooms and lecture halls where the work gets done.

Our Midwest roots are an important part of how we do business. We proudly manufacturer 80 percent of our products in the United States, and the majority of our suppliers are based in the Midwest.

Grand Rapids has been a hub of furniture innovation for years and we’re excited to be a part of that. Craig and I wouldn’t choose anywhere else in the world to call home.

Managing Partner of Altus, Eric Kahkonen

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