Change Ups: Aquinas College named Sustainable Business of the Year


Aquinas College was recognized as the West Michigan Sustainable Business of the Year by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. The award recognizes organizations that best represent the values of the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. The college has six LEED-certified buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council, helping to earn Grand Rapids the distinction of “America’s Greenest City.” As a signatory of Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment, Aquinas is working to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.


Baker Holtz partner Lori Baker announced she will transition into an “Of Counsel” role beginning Dec. 31. She will work on special projects for clients and continue to share her substantial expertise by continuing to serve as a firm-wide resource.


Experience Grand Rapids announced the additions of Larissa Karimwabo as an event coordinator and Maria Liddil as an events specialist.


Erin Martin and Justine Pritchard joined TowerPinkster as architectural technicians.

PSI, now part of Intertek, announced the hire of Eduardo Suescun as senior geotechnical engineer in the Grand Rapids office.


The Music Center in Battle Creek announced it was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in the Challenge America category to support a 2016-17 season Battle Creek Symphony concert.


The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum announced it had a record-breaking attendance of 195,381 guests for fiscal year between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016. Three million people have visited GRCM since its opening in July 1997. Upcoming 20th anniversary celebrations include the 20th Anniversary Gala on March 4, 2017, the annual Birthday Street Party on Sheldon in July, and its Symposium on Play in October.


James K. Haveman, Jr. was honored with Pine Rest Foundation’s Van Den Berg Leadership Award for making significant contributions to Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and the Pine Rest Foundation.

Rosa Moreno of Holland and Kent County Parole – Michigan Department of Corrections, Grand Rapids are recipients of the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons Achievement Honor Roll Awards.

Venues Today magazine announced the following Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place executives are Hall of Headlines Award nominees: Rich MacKeigan, general manager for SMG at Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place, nominated for bookings for breaking multiple venue records; Hilarie Szarowicz, director of marketing at Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place, nominated for hosting a Facebook promotion; and in the Concessions category, Jeff Dubin, director of food & beverage for SAVOR at Van Andel Arena, nominated for introducing a new take on the everyday salad bar called a Living Salad Bar.


Jack Vander Meulen of Holland was elected secretary of the Lansing-based Home Builders Association of Michigan, and Jerry Whitaker from Portage was elected associate senior officer. Vander Meulen is president of Vander Meulen Builders, and Whitaker is a senior partner with Acrisure.


Grand Rapids Community College and Calvin College signed an institutional agreement that provides GRCC students with a seamless path to Calvin’s programs. The agreement maps out what classes students need to take at GRCC to transfer to Calvin for their third and fourth years. The program agreements will appear as academic programs in the GRCC catalog and will be eligible for financial aid.

Holland-based Hope College faculty members Dr. William Polik (chemistry) and Dr. Barbara Vincensi (nursing) were elected to the Guild of Scholars of the Episcopal Church, a national association of lay Episcopalian academics who meet annually, and whose membership includes prominent people in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural and applied sciences, as well as in religious studies. Established in 1945, the group offers collegial intellectual exchange within the context of fellowship and prayer.


Holland-based New Holland Brewing introduced Hoptronix, a Double IPA brewed with Mosaic Hops to create a vibrant hop profile. The new year-round release will begin shipments in 12-ounce bottle six-packs to retailers and on draft to restaurants and bars wherever New Holland beer is sold.


Dan VanSingel joined Forest Hills Financial Inc. as an advisor.


U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) received the Taxpayers’ Friend Award for the fifth consecutive year from the National Taxpayers Union in recognition of the “A” grade he earned for his 2015 voting record.


Spectrum Health’s School Health Advocacy Program received the Alliance for Immunization in Michigan Coalition’s Outstanding Achievement Award for consistently contributing to raising and improving immunizations.


Robert E. L. Wright is the recipient of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Michigan Distinguished Service Award

Varnum announced Kimberly A. VandenAkker joined the firm as an associate and will be based in the firm’s Grand Rapids office. VandenAkker has experience in transactional business and corporate law and also is familiar with the litigation process and employment law matters.


PRO-VISION Video Systems in Byron Center announced it is one of only 26 companies in the NTEA — the Association for the Work Truck Industry — recognized for qualifying for its Member Verification Program during the quarter ending in September. PRO-VISION is one of 18 companies that requalified for the program.

Winn-based Morbark announced the appointment of David Herr as CEO. Herr has more than 30 years of experience in operations, supply chain management and executive management with major companies, including Navistar, GE Aircraft Engines and BAE Systems, and has diverse business experience in the areas of heavy-duty truck manufacturing, commercial avionics, commercial ship repair, munitions production and information and intelligence analysis.


Walker-based Meijer’s Simply Give program set a fall record with $2.5 million for food pantries throughout the Midwest. Meijer customers donated more than $913,000 during the fall campaign and combined with a donation from Meijer, setting the donation total to more than $2.5 million.


Ottawa County deputy Shane Ryke is the recipient of the quarterly Outstanding Customer Service Award. 

Gov. Rick Snyder announced Jessica Ann Tyson, of Kentwood, was appointed to the Building the 21st Century Economy Commission.


Simms Electronics Inc. was named by Microchip Technology Inc. a Gold-ranked authorized Design Partner, one of only three companies in Michigan with that designation. Microchip Technology has added Simms Electronics to its short list of Internet of Things Design Partners, and has been listed on the corporation’s IoT Design Partners website.

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