Change Ups: Blandford Nature Center founder receives inaugural award


Blandford Nature Center founder and former director Mary Jane Dockeray is the inaugural recipient of the Association of Nature Center Administrators’ ANCA President’s Award for foundational leadership in the Nature and Environmental Learning Center Profession. Dockeray helped introduce youth environmental education as part of the nature and environmental learning center profession. In 1964, she sought and received the donation of 10 acres of private land. Over 43 years, Dockeray grew those 10 acres into a 143-acre refuge that has served over 2 million visitors.


Sarah Abel joined 834 as managing director.


TowerPinkster announced the expansion of its Grand Rapids office located on the corner of S. Division Avenue and Fulton Street. The office expansion was part of a three-year strategic plan focused on growing the company in terms of talent, clientele, markets and services offered, as well as expanding its team in the Grand Rapids community.


Muskegon Museum of Art Executive Director Judith Hayner announced she plans to retire in the fall, after 14 years in the top leadership position. The MMA Foundation Board of Trustees is undergoing a search for a new director.


Gov. Rick Snyder announced the winners of the 2017 Governor's Service Awards for their commitment to volunteerism, service or philanthropy: Lifetime Humanitarian Award, Larry Hines of Muskegon; Senior Volunteer of the Year, Magnolia Bodley of Kalamazoo; Outstanding Volunteer Program, IM Kids 3rd Meal of Ionia/Montcalm; Corporate Community Leader, Firekeepers Casino Hotel of Battle Creek and Griffin Properties of Grand Rapids; and Education Service Leader, Western Michigan University of Kalamazoo and Ionia Youth Advisory Council, Ionia.

Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma was selected as the first recipient of the Terrence L. Jungel Sheriff of the Year Award by the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association.


Comerica Bank announced Debra VanHevele was named regional director for the bank’s West Central Wayne Region. VanHevele will oversee more than 90 Comerica banking centers throughout Central and West Michigan along with a few offices in Wayne County.

Independent Bank Corp. announced the appointment of Michael Cok to the boards of the corporation and the bank. Cok also will serve on the corporation’s audit committee. Cok is the chief operating officer of Farmers Specialty, a division of Farmers Group Inc.


Advance Capital Management announced it was named to the 2017 edition of the Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers. 

VantagePointe Financial Group President David Pasciak achieved a position as a SmartVestor Pro by the Dave Ramsey organization. Financial professionals must agree to a Code of Conduct, provide a high level of investing guidance and have the heart of a teacher, not the attitude of a salesman.  


Kent County announced it will take advantage of both its Triple-A Bond Rating and favorable interest rates to refund two separate bonds originally sold in 2007 and 2008, saving the county a projected $4 million in interest payments on a nominal basis.

Kent County assistant county administrator Wayman Britt will serve as interim county administrator/controller. Britt has been with Kent County since 2004, serving as management oversight for the Health Department, the Community Development and Housing Department and Veterans Services.


Grand Rapids Community College received a $50,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to create more health care career opportunities for minorities. The grant will fund a 10-day Health Care Scrubs Camp for Grand Rapids Public Schools students. High school juniors and seniors will learn in GRCC simulation labs, work in a decontamination unit at St. Mary's Hospital, participate in a culinary medicine workshop at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, and take part in a disaster drill.


ComForCare of Kent County completed corporate certification in DementiaWise, ComForCare’s comprehensive program designed to enhance the lives of those with dementia.

Kent County Health Department’s partnership with My Community Dental Centers opened a dental clinic near Cedar Springs at 14111 White Creek Ave. NE, near U.S. 131 and 17 Mile Road, for those who need oral health care and are on Medicaid, are underinsured or have no insurance. Dr. Zachary Brian will see patients from northern Kent County and the surrounding area.

NxGen MDx announced a 9,000-square-foot expansion at its current location, 801 Broadway Ave. NW, Suite 203. The new expansion will increase the laboratory’s testing capacity and ability to respond to increased customer demand. NxGen intends to bring 37 new jobs and invest $2.8 million in the Grand Rapids area over the next three years.


The Kent County Parks Department recently hosted members of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund at Pickerel Lake, where construction is complete on the 900-foot boardwalk.


Kids’ Food Basket received a $10,000 donation from Alliance Financial & Insurance due to the agency earning a 2017 Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award. KFB received the funds for demonstrating extraordinary volunteerism that makes positive change happen in their community. The donation will assist with the nonprofit’s mission of empowering communities to alleviate childhood hunger so that young people can learn and live well. Alliance Financial & Insurance originally received $5,000 for KFB through a submission process.

Quota International of Grand Rapids announced the installation of its board of directors for 2017-18: president, Pam Howland, retired, formerly Bank of America; vice president, Sue Scharf, The Wellness Forum; secretary, Kathleen Slagal, retired; treasurer, Jenny Seckinger, G.A. Richards Group; and directors, Barbara Griffin, Robert W Baird & Co.; and Elaine Carr, Advantage Marketing.


Gov. Rick Synder appointed Kent County Veterans Services Director Carrie Anderson to the Michigan Veterans' Facilities Board of Managers.


Progressive Grocer honored SpartanNash associates as part of the publication’s nationwide list of Top Women in Grocery: store manager, Mary Mulder, D&W Fresh Market in Caledonia; and rising star: Doreen Hansen, support/front end systems coordinator, Grand Rapids.


MyWay Mobile Storage donated for the seventh consecutive year portable storage units to help support various needs for first aid and water stations along the course for the recent Grand Rapids Triathlon.

Wayne State University standout and Kalamazoo native Talisha Bridges was named head coach for Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s women’s basketball program.


West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum announced its new board members for 2017-18: Krista Badiane, Aquinas College; Sarah Chartier, Spectrum Health; Paul Isely, Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University; Alice Jasper, Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance; Lynn Spurr, FTCH; Doug Tamboer, Consumers Energy; Lynette Wolf, Lake Michigan College; Sara Yob, Grand Rapids Community College; 2017 board president, Sara Meyer, ERM; and immediate past president, Alison Sutter, SpartanNash.


Lindberg/MPH in Riverside announced the shipment of a pair of custom 500°C Tube Furnaces to be used in a health care laboratory application. Tube furnaces provide a uniform high temperature atmosphere for small batch sizes and laboratory work in applications, such as annealing, crystal growing, heat treating, pyrolysis and sintering.


Grand Rapids Young Professionals has a new website:

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