The Ideal Story
In 1917, Frank Venegas’ grandparents, Francisco Jesus Venegas and Mary Alonzo moved to Detroit, MI from Mexico to seek the $5 a day jobs from Ford. Both Frank’s father and grandfather worked for Ford Motor Company before retiring after 40 years.
As a child, Frank Venegas’ mother, a seamstress in the neighborhood, taught Frank how to become an entrepreneur.
On December 27, 1979, Frank entered a raffle in the Fall Festival of the Home Builders Association of Livingston County and won a 1979 Cadillac Coup DeVille.
Frank drove his Coup DeVille for nine days before selling it for seed money to start his first business, Ideal Steel.
Hank Aguirre, former Detroit Tigers pitcher, convinced Frank to move Ideal Steel to Southwest Detroit and formed Hispanic Manufacturing Center with Gonzalez Design Engineering and Uni Boring in 1995.
In 1996, Frank became a founding partner of the Gang Retirement and Continuing Education and Employment program (GRACE), a program that transitioned youth from gang life to work life.
Seeking to establish a peaceful work zone, Frank met with local gang leaders. To his surprise, in exchange for leaving HMC alone, the leaders demanded steady jobs and career growth opportunities. Frank accepted and hired over 80 employees from 4 different gangs.
In 2000, The Ideal Group opened its headquarters next door to HMC on 2525 Clark St, Detroit, MI 48209.
In 2002, General Motors awarded The Ideal Group with their first Supplier of the Year award on behalf of Ideal Steel.
In 2008, Ideal Group began a sponsorship to host students from Detroit Cristo Rey High School as part of their work study program.
Frank would go on to open 2 gardens, Cadillac Urban Gardens and Scarcyny Park, in Southwest Detroit to beautify the neighborhood and offer families a place to pick fruits and vegetables for free. The gardens serve as a neighborhood model for developing community leaders.
In 2014, in order to promote STEM, Frank helped start a Robotics team with Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation and a local high school. The First Robotics Engineering Center of Detroit provides career opportunities for Southwest Detroit youth.
Due to his philanthropic efforts, Frank has been honored with the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award and an Honorary Degree from Dartmouth College.