Change Ups: ChoiceOne earns service award


From left: Heading the ChoiceOne Outreach Committee are President/CEO Kelly Potes, Vice President Regional Manager/CRA officer Patricia Brown, mortgage lender Carmen Villahermosa de Cox, and Vice President of Business Development Bonnie Koehn.

ChoiceOne Bank in Sparta received the 2017 National Community Bank Service Award by the Independent Community Bankers of America for broadening access to mainstream financial services for underserved communities. ChoiceOne serves hundreds of locally owned farms that grow apples, blueberries, peaches, among other crops, many of which employ seasonal help from Central and South America, as well as Spanish-speaking permanent residents. ChoiceOne Bank provides secure ways for employees to be paid with minimal fees, financial education in Spanish and Spanish-speaking customer service.


Fleis & VandenBrink announced the additions of Daniel R. VanKalker, project manager; Andrew W. Ogilvie, senior project engineer; Donald B. Lowry, construction technician; Peter A. Dunning, CAD designer within the municipal group; Corey B. Turner, water/wastewater project; and Jonathan D. Parrish, marketing manager.


The Grand Rapids Public Museum plans to open an original production in the Chaffee Planetarium on Oct. 21, titled “Subatomic.” The show will take viewers on a journey of scientific discovery centering on the Higgs boson, an elusive subatomic particle crucial to physics and existence itself. 

The Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Awards in Kalamazoo named Pierre van der Westhuizen as its next director, effective Jan. 2, 2018. Van der Westhuizen will succeed The Gilmore’s current director, Daniel Gustin, who will retire in 2018 after 18 years at the helm. 

The Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon ranked No. 27 in the nation and first in the state of Michigan for Classic & Contemporary Craft Shows by the Sunshine Artist Magazine. The ranking was up from No. 83 in 2015. 


The Grand Rapids Public Museum announced the honorees for the ninth annual Jay & Betty Van Andel Legacy Awards: The Jay & Betty Van Andel Lifetime Achievement Award to David and Judy Frey; The Dave & Carol Van Andel Leadership Award to Birgit M. Klohs; and “The Casey” Award to Dr. Mira Krishnan.

Local First announced Catalyst Partners was named Best for the World and Better Way Imports was named Best for Community by B Lab, a nonprofit that rates companies based on their ability to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.


Kalamazoo-based Consumers Credit Union’s wellness program again was recognized as both a 2017 Healthiest Employer recipient and, for the sixth year in a row, 2017 Best & Brightest in Wellness award winner, bestowed to organizations exhibiting outstanding quality and excellence programs in health and wellness from MicBusiness, Michigan Food and Beverage Association, and Corp! Magazine.


Erhardt Construction founder Joe Erhardt announced he will retire as chairman and CEO of the construction firm, effective Dec. 31. Longtime president Ben Wickstrom will become CEO, as well as gain controlling interest in the company starting 2018. This announcement is the culmination of an eight-year succession plan. The company also promoted Ryan Formsma to project development director and Stan Elenbaas to senior estimator.


Kalamazoo-based Western Michigan University’s board of trustees and president Edward B. Montgomery recently honored the following alumni: the late automotive executive Ronald Hall Sr., former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and entrepreneur Dr. William Pickard to commemorate the official naming of two residence halls and unveil the upgraded signage within the Western Heights complex, Hall-Archer-Pickard West and East, and the Hall-Archer-Pickard Conference Room in Heritage Hall.


The Clark Foundation announced JoAnn Abraham is its new vice president.

The Grand Valley University Foundation announced the election of new directors and advisory cabinet members:  New foundation directors: Matthew DeCamp; Robert Roth; James Sebastian Jr.; Elizabeth Welch; and Steven Workman. Advisory cabinet members: Robert Bernecker; Raleigh Finkelstein; Allen Hunting; Helen Hunting; B. P. (Budge) Sherwood III; and Joyce Wisner.


The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners approved a purchase agreement with the estate of Joyce Carle to acquire 1.28 acres including a historic house located on 12th Avenue in the Bend Area, a county park property on the Grand River in Georgetown Township. The Ottawa County Parks Foundation will assist the Parks Commission with the $160,000 purchase price with a $17,000 grant. The Parks Commission will explore adapting the house for weddings and other public gatherings.

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash received the Taxpayers’ Friend Award from the National Taxpayers Union in recognition of the “A” grade he earned for his 2016 voting record. His score of 93 percent on the organization’s 2016 scorecard earned him the highest rating in the House of Representatives.


AlleganBarryKalamazooKentMuskegon and Ottawa counties are among the Michigan Council Arts and Cultural Affairs’ grant recipients for fiscal 2017-18. Recipients by program are listed here:

The Nature Conservancy partnered with the DTE Energy Foundation, which has given a $1 million grant to support dune restoration along the Lake Michigan shoreline, wetlands conservation in Erie Marsh — near Monroe in southeast Michigan — and green infrastructure in Detroit.


Van Andel Research Institute announced physician-scientist J. William Langston as the 2017 recipient of the Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parkinson’s Disease Research. Langston’s work with the “frozen addicts,” six people who came down with severe Parkinson’s-like symptoms in the 1980s after taking synthetic heroin, revolutionized the way the disease is studied.


Greater Hopes Inc. purchased a 1,168-square-foot space at 2453 28th St. SW in Wyoming. The organization will relocate there from a leased space in downtown Grand Rapids, with plans to occupy its new location sometime in the first quarter of 2018.

West Michigan Partnership for Children is a pilot program with an eye on improving outcomes for children in the foster care system. Representatives partnering to create WMPC include Kent County, Network180, the 17th Circuit Court and local child welfare agencies including Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Charities West Michigan, D.A. Blodgett/St. John’s, Samaritas, and Wellspring Lutheran Services. Kent County is the only county in Michigan with such a pilot.


Varnum attorney Luis Avila was accepted into Leadership Grand Rapids 2018, the nine-month leadership program designed to enhance and connect leaders from a cross section of the community.

Warner Norcross & Judd’s new Holland location is 99 E. Eighth St., Suite 200. Phone numbers remain the same: (616) 396-9800; fax, (616) 396-3656.


The West Michigan Tourist Association is the recipient of the Historical Society of Michigan’s 2017 Michigan State History Award in the Business category for its efforts in researching, documenting and celebrating WMTA’s 100th anniversary this year.


Columbian Logistics Network was named to Inbound Logistics Magazine’s 2017 Top 100 Truckers list, which serves as a resource guide to help customers meet their shipping needs.


Eaton Aerospace LC was awarded the Michigan Voluntary Protection Program Star Award from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Plascore Inc. announced it is building an approximate 73,500-square-foot addition onto its current aerospace business unit facility at 500 E. Roosevelt Ave. in Zeeland, allowing the company to develop and install additional automated production equipment, facilitating capacity increases at competitive costs to meet aerospace customers’ demands, as well as create 10 to 15 jobs over the next two years.


Katelyn Crain joined Sabo PR as an associate. She will assist clients with communications, crisis and brand management, and social and digital initiatives.


Downtown Grand Rapids restaurant Bistro Bella Vita celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Rendezvous is now open at the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection By Hilton. The eatery is set in the main lobby of the hotel and will offer an inviting breakfast experience in the morning before transforming into a seductive lounge in the evenings.


The West Michigan Whitecaps in Plainfield Township will celebrate their 25thh season beginning with the season-opener at home, 6:35 p.m. April 5 against the South Bend Cubs.


Envoy was chosen as one of the top 10 E-Commerce Provider Of The Year in 2017 by RetailCIO Outlook magazine.

X-Rite Inc. and subsidiary Pantone LLC unveiled new versions of ColorCert Suite 3.0 process control software and eXact handheld spectrophotometer. The new products, combined with X-Rite’s InkFormulation Software, offer commercial printers and packaging converters an integrated, end-to-end solution for managing color consistency in a G7 or PSO process workflow. 

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