Change-Ups: Gras tapped as LifeCircles’ executive director

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Heidi Gras. Courtesy LifeCircles PACE

Heidi Gras joined LifeCircles PACE as executive director. She replaces former executive director Luke Reynolds, who was promoted to Brio Living Services’ chief of home and community-based services in January after serving LifeCircles PACE from 2014 to 2021. Gras’ career at LifeCircles PACE spans more than a decade, including as interim executive director. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from Grand Valley State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hope College. LifeCircles PACE is an affiliate of senior living organization Brio Living Services (formerly United Methodist Retirement Communities and Porter Hills).

ARCHTECTURE & ENGINEERING

Driesenga & Associates Inc. announced the additions of Olivia Striegle as an engineering technician in the firm’s Holland Material Testing and Construction Inspection Group and Ellen Jackson as an administrative assistant in the firm’s Grand Rapids office.

ARTS

Circle Theatre announced Olivia Bentley has been named its marketing and outreach director.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum and OBON Society are in the process of returning another Yosegaki Hinomaru, or Japanese “Good Luck” flag (circa 1939-1945), from the museum’s collections to its rightful family. OBON Society provides reconciliation between American and Japanese families through the return of personal items acquired during World War II. Japanese Good Luck flags are decorated with messages from family members, friends and community members that wish victory, safety and good luck for the soldier.

AWARDS

The Michigan Small Business Development Center recently announced Brooks Kindel of the Growth Team is the recipient of the Business Consultant of the Year Award.

BANKING

Holland-based Macatawa Bank announced the additions of Andrew VanSolkema as commercial banker, Jason Dozeman as commercial banker senior and Mike Moll as bank protection manager, vice president.

Jeffrey R. Steeby joined Highpoint Community Bank as senior vice president, wealth management.

Keturia Tate joined Independent Bank’s mortgage team, working from the bank’s East Beltline office as a neighborhood mortgage specialist. Tate will originate both first and second mortgages in Barry, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.

Lake Michigan Credit Union hired Laura Veldhouse as treasury management sales officer.

BUSINESS SERVICES

EPS Security is the recipient of the Monitoring Center of the Year – Small/Medium Business Award by The Monitoring Association.

CONSTRUCTION

CD Barnes Construction awarded its Key To Our Success Award to Rico’s of Hudsonville. CD Barnes Site Manager Jonathan Stoner, who is overseeing the Kiddie Academy project in Wyoming, selected the framer for the contractor’s first nominee of the year.

EDUCATION

Aimée Laramore joined the Johnson Center as director of learning services.

Becky Starkenburg, former vice president for student life and Title IX coordinator at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., was chosen as Holland-based Hope College’s dean of students. She succeeds Richard Frost, who retired as vice president for student development and dean of students after serving at Hope since 1989.

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Natural Choice Foods recently marked its 25th year providing overstock food solutions that help increase food accessibility and eliminate food waste.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Bankers Life announced Carrie Durr has been named one of the company’s 2022 Top Women Financial Advisors.

GRANTS

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Foundation will receive a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct eight environmental site assessments and develop eight cleanup plans.

HOSPITALITY

Lindsey Veldhof, event coordinator for CityFlatsHotel Holland, has been chosen as a 2022 Hospitality Heroes Award winner by Hilton. CityFlatsHotel Holland is part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection of hotels and is operated locally by 6PM Hospitality.

INSURANCE

Acrisure appointed Matthew Kirk executive vice president and head of insurance strategy and execution.

Alera Group announced the acquisition of West Michigan Insurance Inc., a property and casualty insurance agency based in Grand Rapids, with office locations in Shelby and Hart. West Michigan Insurance will join Alera Group through local office Lighthouse, an Alera Group company headquartered in Grand Rapids.

Hylant hired industry veteran Carman Baines as client executive.

LEGAL

James L. Liggins Jr., senior counsel with Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, was named the 2021 recipient of the George N. Bashara Jr. Distinguished Alumni Award from the Michigan State University College of Law Alumni Association. The award recognizes alumni with distinguished service in their field and whose personal achievements, involvement in alumni affairs and service to the college enhance its reputation.

Jennifer VanTimmeren joined Varnum’s Grand Rapids office as a paralegal.

Laura Kane joined Rhoades McKee as an associate and is a member of its litigation practice group. Before becoming a lawyer, Kane was a paralegal for 18 years. Attorneys Neil Kimball and Dan Parmeter joined the law firm as shareholders.

Troy M. Cumings and Monique C. Field-Foster, partners with Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, have been selected as two of the 50 Names to Know in Lobbying by Crain’s Detroit Business for 2022.

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP partner Emily S. Rucker has been selected for a Grand Rapids Bar Association 3 in 10 Award. The 3 in 10 Awards are presented to three attorneys each year who are in the first 10 years of practice and have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements, exceptional public service and significant contributions to the legal profession.

LEISURE & RECREATION

Wayland-based Gun Lake Casino announced the hiring of Tom Malloy as vice president of marketing.

MANUFACTURING

Hydra Unlimited hired Chris Gioia as senior business development manager.

NONPROFITS

Brio Living Services announced that for the 20th consecutive year it has received the designation of Best and Brightest Company to Work For in West Michigan.

D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s President and CEO Mary Muliett has been appointed to Kent County’s Family and Children’s Coordinating Council to fill a mid-term vacancy. She will serve through the end of 2024. 

First Tee West Michigan announced the addition of board members Antoinetta Freeman, financial adviser from Grand Rapids; Jeane Hess, author and former head volleyball coach at Kalamazoo College; Mitch Wilson, Kalamazoo native and longtime competitive amateur golfer; and Randy Lindquist, associate superintendent for Muskegon Area Intermediate School District.

REAL ESTATE

NAI Wisinski of West Michigan welcomed commercial real estate specialist Kevin O’Reilly to the brokerage team.

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