Virginia Vanderband was promoted to executive director of operational development and training of Wayland-based Gun Lake Casino. Vanderband started with the casino more than nine years ago as the director of training, developing preopening plans for all training and onboarding programs from concept to implementation that became the foundation for Gun Lake Casino’s success. Over the course of nine years, Vanderband has contributed to the growth and development of each team member that has worked at the facility. Vanderband is a proud citizen of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is partnering again with the DTE Foundation for the Young Women in Science program, offered as an after-school program to Godfrey-Lee Public Schools and Grand Rapids Public Schools students. During spring of 2020, middle school students will have a special opportunity to work with local women STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals. During this after-school program, students will work with hydrogen-powered cars, solar and wind energy, electrochemistry, physics and engineering, and more. Young Women in Science is offered free to participants and takes place during a six-week session at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
The board of library commissioners of the Grand Rapids Public Library elected Kent Sparks as president and Rachel S. Anderson as vice president/secretary.
The Grand Rapids Police Department Board of Awards announced Officer Thomas Warwick was selected as the Police Officer of the Year for Operations, Officer Stephen Wiersema was selected as the Police Officer of the Year for Administrative/Investigative Services and Crime Scene Technician Sheila Brow was selected as the Civilian Employee of the Year.
Samaria J’s Salon Suite owner Synia Jordan recently was presented with the Nolan Grace Business Leadership Award by the Urban League of West Michigan.
Craig Sutherland joined Kalamazoo-based Arbor Financial Credit Union as senior commercial lender in the Kent County market.
The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce hired Emily Morgenstern as a communications specialist. Her position will focus on the creation and implementation of marketing and communication strategies for chamber, chamber member and community success. This includes content development, print collateral, social media messaging, and event and community promotion.
Olivet College announced its designation as a 2020-21 Top 10 Gold-Level Military Friendly School by Victory Media. Olivet ranked third in the category of private schools not offering a doctorate degree. The Military Friendly School list is specifically designed to equip veterans, dependents, active duty and other military personnel with the ability to easily and efficiently navigate their educational opportunities. Military Friendly serves as a standard to measure an organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community.
The Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation elected Dan Poortenga, chair; Chuck Burpee, vice chair; Carla Grant, treasurer; and Derether Greer, secretary. Kimberly Thomas was elected to the board of trustees.
Phillip Mitchell was appointed to the Grand Rapids Board of Trustees for the General Retirement System and Police and Fire Retirement System for the city of Grand Rapids. His four-year term ends Jan. 1, 2024.
State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis, of Grand Rapids Township, received the Legislator of the Year award from the Michigan Retailers Association.
Dr. Kenneth E. Berkovitz joined Warren-based Ascension Michigan as senior vice president and ministry market executive.
Christopher K. Cooke joined Secrest Wardle’s Grand Rapids office as executive partner.
Detroit-based Bodman PLC hired aviation and banking attorney Brian E. Kersey in its Grand Rapids office.
Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge announced attorneys Laura A. Johnson, Jonathan B. Koch, and Jonathan J. Paasch joined the firm’s Grand Rapids office. All three are litigators.
Varnum litigation attorney Regan Gibson was named to the board of the Michigan Center for Civic Education, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing an active and informed citizenry through law-related and civic education in Michigan.
LEISURE & RECREATION
The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority approved funding for a complete renovation of the expansive public plaza in front of the main entrance to the Van Andel Arena. Renovations are slated to begin in the spring with a fall completion. The $2.1 million project, organized in partnership with the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority, will include the full demolition of the existing plaza and construction of an enhanced public space featuring seating, new trees and landscaping. The renovated plaza — approximately three-quarters of an acre in size — also will feature a snow-melt system, improved lighting and other design adaptations that make the plaza more inviting, comfortable and safe for visitors, as well as downtown workers and residents.
Comstock Park-based Great Lakes Label celebrated its 25th year anniversary last year.
CUMULUS MEDIA announced 105.3 HOT FM’s morning radio program, “The Gray and Green Show” was honored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters with two MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards in the Commercial & Network Radio category: Best Morning Show Broadcast Personality or Team and Best Feature/Use of Medium.
Mel Trotter Ministries partnered with JC Films to produce a movie tentatively titled “One Life at a Time” that will be filmed entirely in Grand Rapids. The movie will highlight the importance of awareness and misconceptions of homelessness in West Michigan. Filming starts in June with an October release and stars Dean Cain, best known for playing Clark Kent/Superman in the TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”
Streams of Hope hired Kurtis Kaechele as its executive director, its first full-time position. Streams of Hope’s focus is healthy schools, neighborhoods and families through a variety of programs that touch almost 600 neighbors each month. Supportive services include the food center, an on-site medical clinic, fitness and cooking classes, and after-school programs for students that help foster a healthier community.
Real estate holdings firm Blu Holdings LLC appointed Doug Kessler to vice president of operations. In his role, Kessler will be responsible for assisting in the operations and development of Blu Holdings’ companies and investments.
The SVN Colvin Team in Grand Rapids, consisting of Peter Colvin and sons Chris Colvin and Cody Colvin, and part of the SVN Silveri Co., was awarded the SVN President’s Circle Award for outstanding sales volume in 2019. The Colvin Team is one of the leading investment real estate advisory teams in the world for SVN, which is a global real estate brokerage company based in Boston with over 2,000 advisers in six countries.
Anisa Williams joined Micro Visions Inc. as the technical services coordinator.
Feyen Zylstra promoted E.B. Sonheim to director of marketing and Kevin VanDyke to director of engineering and virtual design.