Co-founders, Bandit Industries, Inc.
Michael and Dianne Morey took their fortunes into their own hands when they decided to start a business from little more than an idea and determination. After the company that resulted grew to be an industry leader, they put everything in the hands of the people who they saw as instrumental to that success: their employees.
In the 1980s, Michael was plant manager for a manufacturer and Dianne was running the first female owned Real Estate Company in Isabella County, when their entrepreneurial spirit compelled them to strike out on their own. Bandit Industries began operations with six employees, building the Brush Bandit wood chipper in a small warehouse near Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Today, Bandit employs over 700 people, has over 560,000 square feet of manufacturing space, and sells more than 50 different models in 56 countries. Bandit products include hand-fed and whole tree chippers, stump grinders, horizontal grinders, track carriers, skid steer attachments, and slow speed shredders.
As Michael and Dianne began thinking about stepping back from running the company, they investigated options for selling the organization. Despite lucrative offers from corporate suitors, they chose to pass Bandit on to its employees through an employee stock ownership plan, commonly referred to as an ESOP. The process began in 2019 and was complete by the end of 2022. This decision is one that they share they are extremely proud of as it created opportunities for the team that helped them become the success they are today.
Michael is a graduate of Shepherd High School and Dianne is a graduate of Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart Academy. In his free time, Michael is passionate about classic cars, assembling a collection of iconic automobiles that rivals many museums. In January, 34 vehicles from that collection were auctioned off as a donation to Northwood, bringing in more than $2.3 million. This was just another way that the Morey’s chose to share their good fortune and lead by example, creating opportunity for our next generations.