Keith Swims

Keith Swims

Managing Partner


Keith joined Design Systems in 1985 when he was 19 years old as employee number 33. Making 4 dollars an hour, his job was to plot cad drawings from 5 ¼” floppy disks. This role included prepping the mylar paper, aligning it to the plotter bed, and refilling/cleaning the plotter pens. Running blueprints, restocking the breakroom fridge, and generally helping out wherever he could were all part of his duties.

In 1986, Keith was given the opportunity to learn AutoCAD, version 1.6 using a monochrome monitor, light pen, and a computer with no hard drive. From that point, Keith’s early years with the company consisted of large in-town and out-of-town projects across a wide spectrum of clients and industries. Keith’s responsibilities included overall program advanced planning and management, proper conveyor application and design, chain pulls, bid package creation, project engineering, onsite field technical/coordination/follow-up and CAD support from concept to commission.

After working his way up from plotter tech to CAD Operator to Project Engineer to Project Manager, Keith was identified as the person to assist the Mechanical Engineering Group Managers to lead, grow, and develop the expanding mechanical engineering department at Design Systems. As an Assistant Group Manager, Keith supported the current group manager’s initiatives until 2005 when Keith took on the role of Mechanical Engineering Group Manager. Managing over 100 engineers and designers, Keith focused on expanding the service offerings of the group, improving quality, and securing additional talent through the acquisition of subject-matter-experts. Year after year Keith was recognized for meeting all corporate targets and goals set by the Managing Partners of the organization.

In 2017, Keith was selected to be a Managing Partner where he collaborates closely with his partners, Dan Birchmeier and Joel Schnelbach overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization.

When he is not at the office, Keith loves spending time with his family and enjoys northern Michigan and being outdoors, kayaking, hiking, trail riding, boating, etc.

“Design Systems has been a large part of my life for almost 40 years. I never expected to be one of the owners. I am truly grateful.”

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