About Kirk

Kirk’s Journey

Kirk found joy from working with his hands at an early age. A neighbor’s farm provided Kirk’s education in science, mechanics, engineering, and technology. He earned his career as a project manager with Dematic, headquartered in Grand Rapids, by starting out as a general laborer. While still a college student, Kirk worked hard and smart to become one of the most respected men in his field. He knew firsthand that skilled tradespeople are in high demand.

The answer to the demand seemed so clear to Kirk: a skilled trades education can serve the individual and the community, providing a steady income and sense of pride for workers, and highly valuable skills for employers and broader populations in need of mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and other skilled trades.

Kirk had begun a personal project to connect young people with skilled trades through his relationships in the greater Grand Rapids community. His heartbreaking passing in June of 2018 means that his passion is now our family’s mission.

Kirk’s passing is felt intensely by all who were fortunate enough to know him. We strive to keep Kirk’s love for life, young people, hard work, and his adopted home of the Grand Rapids area by offering the Kirk Mann Memorial Scholarship to a deserving young person who is committed to learning a skilled trade.