Change Ups: Faculty members snag national award


Left to right: Diane Sparks and Dawn Cheikh received their awards in Dallas.

Grand Rapids Community College faculty members Diane Sparks, education professor, and Dawn Cheikh, French and Arabic adjunct instructor, were awarded the national John and Susanne Roueche Excellence Awards in Dallas. Each year, GRCC recognizes outstanding contributions to the college through its Excellence in Education Awards. Its Innovation award caps a long career of leadership and teaching excellence for Sparks, a 28-year veteran of GRCC, which includes time as an education professor and director of GRCC’s lab preschool.


Himebaugh, Tamm & Co. PC announced the addition of Michael J. Pelkey, staff accountant. Pelkey is a graduate of New Hampshire College and is a certified public accountant, master analyst in financial forensics and a certified exit planning analyst.


Full Circle Marketing & Design announced the additions of Laurie Moran, account manager, Lauren Hollern, project manager, and Josh Kulchar, graphic designer.


Construction Financial Management Association announced the election of its 2013-2014 board of directors: past president, Roger Tjoelker; president, Andy Odehnal; vice president and program committee chair, Tom VandenBosch; secretary, Jeff Koster; treasurer, Shanna Reynolds; directors, Todd Hanson, Robert O’Brien, Jennifer Murphy and Grace Silva; membership committee chair, Ann Plummer; technology committee chair, Harriet Perdue; promotion committee chair, Mike Waalkes; and golf committee chairs, Jake Berzkains and Rhonda Huismann.

The Michigan Association of Counties announced its 2013-2014 board of directors: Don Disselkoen, Ottawa County; Pat Gardner, Newaygo County, Michael Hanley, Saginaw County; and Dan LaFoille, Schoolcraft County.


The Michigan Optometric Association honored Michael P. Keating, Ferris State University’s Michigan College of Optometry professor, with its Jack W. Bennett Optometric Educator of the Year award. Alana Herron, a fourth-year MCO student, was named Student of the Year for 2012.


Independent Bank announced the promotion of Michael Keast to assistant vice president of commercial banking.


Presort Services Inc. announced the appointment of Amer Gerzic as executive vice president. Gerzic started with the company in 1999 as a machine operator and quickly moved to positions of increased responsibility as his skills and experience evolved.


Elzinga & Volkers Construction Professionals announced the election of the first female to its board of directors. Grace Silva is also the company’s controller.

Triangle Associates Inc. announced it was awarded contracts valued at nearly $70 million to provide design/build, construction management and general contracting services for the following projects: Higher education: Michigan State University and Alma College; Automotive: Fox Ford Lincoln, Chicago, and Hart Ford Lincoln, Roscommon; Commercial: Walgreens Specialty Pharmacies, Canton and Miamisburg, Ohio; and Wal-Mart; K-12 Education: Grand Rapids Public Schools.


Cornerstone University announced the addition of Jordan Shepherd, project manager, in the marketing and communications office.

Grand Rapids Community College announced it has awarded an honorary Associate of Arts degree to Noorthoek Academy student Melinda Frank in recognition of completing 42 concurrent semesters, earning nationally recognized Continuing Education Credits and exhibiting a particular talent in the study of autonomy.

Suzanne Walsh, senior program officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will be the speaker at Grand Rapids Community College’s May 3 graduation ceremony.

Tara Kram has joined Grand Rapids Theological Seminary as associate dean of students. She received her M.A. from the school in 2007,


Wells Fargo Advisors announced it has designated Kerry Buettner, managing director-investments, Jim Marosi, senior vice president-investments, and David Young, senior vice president-investments, as members of its Premier Advisors Program.


Metro Health Hospital Foundation announced new members of its 2013 board of directors: Joe Belsito, Amway Corp.; Brandon Bissell, Imperial; Kaitlyn Disselkoen, GR Outdoor; and Laura Ann Gordon, Metron Integrated Health Care. Re-elected to the board are: Tommy Brann, Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille; Mike Damstra, CareLinc Medical; Michael Mraz, Rockford Construction Co.; Michelle Tremper Brown, Keller Williams Realty; and John Van Singel, Van Singel Holdings.


Robert M. Hendershot, Grand Rapids Community College associate professor of history, has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that will allow him to spend a month living and studying in India this summer.


Auto-Owners Insurance announced Lake Michigan Insurance Agency has been named one of the top 10 growth agencies for the company in West Michigan in 2012.


Foster Swift Collins and Smith PC announced the additions of attorneys Joshua Wease and Kari Sherry to the firm’s business and corporate practice group.

Grand Rapids construction law attorney Steve Hilger delivered a messaged titled “Clearing the Path Toward a Successful Project” at the Building Envelope Symposium in Ann Arbor this month.

Hilger Hammond PC announced attorney Aileen Leipprandt has been selected as a Leader in the Law in the state of Michigan.

The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed Ottawa County 20th Circuit Court Judge Jon Van Allsburg to the newly created Business Court for a six-year term. The court will begin operations July 1.


The Michigan Trucking Association has named Holland professional driver Mike Finn its 2013 Driver of the Year. The honor is extended to one Michigan driver per year to recognize excellence in safety, work habits, and public and customer relations.


RoMan Manufacturing announced the appointment of Paul Doyle, principal of Paul T. Doyle & Associates LLC, to its board of directors.


Inner City Christian Federation announced the appointment of Sandra Gaddy to vice president of advancement. She will be responsible for corporate communication, marketing and fund development.


Churchill Mortgage announced it has opened a branch serving Grand Rapids at 1600 East Beltline Ave., Suite 212. Steve Vanderwey is the new branch manager. The mortgage lender also announced the additions of loan officer Joshua VanDyke and processor Maureen Partio to the new branch.


Amy Ruiz of Art of the Table has teamed up with cheesemonger and chef Kate Leeder to open Aperitivo, a retail cheese shop, wine and small bites tasting bar, and wine and beer purveyor in the soon-to-open Downtown Market.

Schuler Books & Music announced it has named Neil Rajala director of community and business services.

Spoonlickers Handcrafted Frozen Yogurt announced it has launched a custom-designed mobile unit designed to serve birthday and graduation parties, wedding receptions, corporate and private events and summer festivals.

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