Port Huron-based automation company wins Michigan small business award, hopes to continue growth

Optimizing businesses is what the Cogent Hex team does best

It's been just over a year's time since their founding, but the Port Huron-based Cogent Hex is already winning awards. The full turn-key automation company, founded in 2016 but not fully operational until 2017, is being honored as a 2018 Best Small Business by the Michigan Celebrates Small Business organization.

The company will receive its honor alongside a number of other Michigan small businesses at the fourteenth annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business awards ceremony and gala event on May 3 in Lansing.

"It was a surprise to be such a new company and already winning awards, but it's great being noticed for going in the right direction," says Cogent Hex partner Scott Morris. "Hopefully it's a vision of the future to come."

Cogent Hex is a full turn-key automation company that helps other companies improve quality and cost efficiency throughout the assembly process. Morris and his four business partners meet with the customer, talk about what their goals are, conceptualize the process layout, create the mechanical and controls design, and then present their automation solutions.

Being a full turn-key company, all processes are handled in-house, including hardward design, software design, electrical build-outs, software integration, running the system, and the de-bugging process.

Morris and business partner Scott McQueen say that one of the reasons that Cogent Hex is capable of handling everything in-house is because each partner brings their own unique skillset to the table. The Cogent Hex team met while working at another automation company that has since been sold and shuttered.

Since their founding, Cogent Hex has added several employees and hope to add more.

"The goal is to become a larger company and to become a hiring force in the area. We want to develop and grow so we can give the workforce here in St. Clair County an option in the tech field," says McQueen. "We want to give people the option to stay in this area and not have to travel for work."

"We want to give people viable options to stay in St. Clair County and have quality jobs."

The team at Cogent Hex credits The Underground Business Incubator and Service Center for contributing to their success. The small business incubator, of which Cogent Hex is a client, is located in Port Huron and features office space, IT support, think tanks, and more.

The Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, a partner in The Underground, provided Cogent Hex a board of advisors to help in their decision-making. McQueen credits the experience as one that helped them more quickly grow the business.

"The EDA works with companies of all sizes to help influence job creation and business development growth," Quentin Bishop, Director of Entrepreneurial Services at The Underground and Director of Business Attraction for the EDA, said in a statement. "Our role in managing The Underground Business Incubator has helped us increase our focus on St. Clair County’s entrepreneurs and small business owners working closely with key partners like the Michigan Small Business Development Center."

"We’re very pleased with the incubation growth of Cogent Hex and are working toward similar progress with other incubation clients at The Underground."

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