“The persons administering GLTAAC at the University of Michigan are amazing.  The talent they offer in support of the program is the best I have seen.  They have a wide pool of proven resources.  Through using their recommendations we are a better, smoother running operation.”

— Linda Merlo, COO, Spot Imaging


SPOT Imaging is a family-owned business that designs and manufactures scientific cameras for the life science market. Based in Sterling Heights, Michigan, the company has developed a strong reputation and recognized brand over its 50 year history.

While the company worked to change with the life sciences, imports started to take a much larger market share. Recording several years of declining sales, SPOT’s management knew they needed to direct their technical expertise into new markets. They saw the potential of diversifying into the under-served pathology market. However, they needed resources and assistance to make such a move.  The firm applied to the Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (GLTAAC) at the Economic Growth Institute to help with this new direction.

Connections Yield Results

COO Linda Merlo, one of the firm’s owners, immediately saw the benefit of working with GLTAAC: “They brought a fresh, objective approach to seeing our company.”  GLTAAC project managers conducted in-depth interviews with the management team. Then, they reviewed SPOT’s industry and identified key areas to be tackled to increase global competitiveness. GLTAAC crafted a detailed plan of action and helped management prioritize for the best course forward.

SPOT has since used program assistance to make changes throughout the business. Initially, they chose to advance leadership development efforts – creating a more cohesive team with a clear focus on their diversification plans.  GLTAAC also facilitated projects to support recruiting a new sales manager and to enhance SPOT’s product development process.  Throughout these efforts, GLTAAC helped identify and connect consultants and industry experts that fit SPOT’s needs precisely.

GLTAAC also enlisted one of its graduate researchers, a Ross MBA student, to provide a deep dive into the global digital pathology market.  Furthermore, the company participated in the Institute’s course “Reimagining Companies through Innovation,” which offered university students a chance to learn how to analyze a business and provide analysis.  SPOT proved to be a popular case study, and the company received further analysis by multiple teams of students.

SPOT continues to work with GLTAAC.  Since beginning the program, SPOT Imaging is more productive, is profitable, and is enjoying growing sales.

This article was originally featured in the Economic Growth Institute’s 2020 Annual Report (see the complete Annual Report).

Contact us now

Learn how GLTAAC can help your business become more competitive