In 1986, Steven Heystek partnered with Bob Briggs who was the manager at the local Computerland Store and started Micro Concepts of Michigan. Their goal was to build the best computers for the lowest prices by purchasing the products from California. Together they were able to build excellent machines for low prices. Since both Steven and Bob were novices at marketing, their initial customers were friends and family in their immediate network.
Micro Concepts then started servicing businesses within Kalamazoo: taking care of their computer needs from networking to printers. In 1992 they started producing software for computers. Then in 2001 they started making web applications. Steven’s vision was to make programs that would run on the internet. By 2001 there were 2 major computer companies in Kalamazoo: Micro Concepts of Michigan and Secant Technologies.
In 2006 Steven collaborated with Don Dailey at the Kalamazoo ISD. Micro Concepts created a handful of applications to help the local ISD with some of their important functions. The first project was the Sirens application that manages all the judicial transactions between a juvenile at school and the police force. It was built to notify school Safety Officers if a juvenile breaks the law off campus. It allowed schools and the police force to share information easily.
In the same year, a major restructuring occurred and the company Micro Concepts was re-christened Technology Solutions of Michigan.
In 2007 a second company called Smart Planet Software was created to handle the development of software and software applications exclusively.
This began the company’s ventures into web application development. To date, Smart Planet Software has written many programs and helped many businesses with their software application needs.
The most fruitful partnership was with the local ISD, KRESA. Smart Planet Software was instrumental in creating their financial management program, FA. This is now KRESA’s financial package product and it is utilized within the local school system and 60 districts in its reach. This partnership also developed EPG (Emergency Preparedness Guide), a customizable web and mobile safety application that was built for schools by schools. EPG is now used in all the public schools in Kalamazoo, Monroe, and Cass County, with the recent addition of Grand Rapids Public Schools.
The next major project for the company was Snowpaths, a web application that allows the public to see what roads have been plowed and the plow’s progress in real time. The app is crucial for route logistics since it has reporting capabilities for route percentage completion, shift allocation, and forecasting. It has been adopted by most of the municipalities in Kent County, Newaygo County, Mason County, and the city of Portage.
Smart Planet Software and Technology Solutions have grown over time, with a customer base that includes local companies such as KRESA and Parker Hannifin, as well as companies with international locations such as World Wide Labs. The company is currently a close-knit family of 10 employees: 3 full-time programmers, 2 IT engineers, an office manager, an account manager as well as a C.O.O. with Steven at the helm as President.