Change-Ups: Independent Bank hires first VP of digital banking


Aaron Smith has joined Independent Bank as first vice president, digital banking. Smith will create strategies to deliver the best digital experience for Independent Bank’s customers, as well as identify new digital products and service opportunities. Smith has been in banking for more than 22 years, with the past 13 years spent at Macatawa Bank in Holland, where his leadership experience included retail banking, government banking, deposit operations, call center, digital payments, and online and mobile banking.


KPMG LLP named Kevin Voigt managing partner of its Detroit and Grand Rapids offices. He also is the national service line leader for the tax, economic and valuation services practice.

Baker Holtz promoted Sara A. Knoper to senior tax manager.


Dig announced Kristin Porco has been named vice president of marketing and Kate Geschwendt was promoted to vice president of operations. Hired were software developer Ryan Vander Laan and project coordinator Jordan Van Eerden.


Holland family-owned manufacturer Bradford Company received the Outstanding Growth Award from the Association for Corporate Growth Western Michigan for demonstrating sustained growth in sales, profitability, employment and community involvement. 

The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce announced Tasha Blackmon, president and chief executive officer of Cherry Health, as the 2020 recipient of the ATHENA Leadership Award. Blackmon joins three decades of recipients recognized for their efforts supporting, developing and honoring local women leaders.


The Kent County Board of Commissioners approved $2 million to help county schools reopen safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is allocated from the nearly $115 million federal CARES Act grant sent to Kent County earlier this year.


Hope College’s Children’s After School Achievement program in Holland is the recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area’s COVID-19 Community Stabilization Fund to help provide additional materials and Hope-student staffing for the after-school program.

The West Michigan Partnership for Children is the recipient of a $60,000 grant from Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s LGBTQ+ fund for the new Foster Care A.L.L.Y. (Affirming and Listening to our LGBTQ+ Youth) Project. The project seeks to build the foundation and infrastructure for a Kent County foster care system that welcomes and affirms LGBTQ+ youth and caregivers.


Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo recently opened an expanded state-of-the-art surgical care services center that includes roughly 38,000 square feet of new space with 10 spacious and technologically advanced operating rooms, 18 post-anesthesia care stations and a sterile processing department.

Holland Hospital Ear, Nose & Throat announced the additions of audiologist Alyssa Blackmer and otolaryngologist Timothy McDonald, MD.

Mercy Health Muskegon earned Stewardship Center of Excellence designations from the Infectious Diseases Society of America Hospitals for creating stewardship programs led by infectious disease-trained physicians and pharmacists that advance science in antimicrobial resistance and have achieved standards aligned with evidence-based national guidelines. Mercy Health Muskegon also was recognized as an RQI Lighthouse Organization for demonstrating resuscitation best practices using the RQI program.

Muskegon-based Hackley Community Care School Based Health Programs at Nelson Elementary relocated to Oakview Elementary School at 1420 Madison St.


Experience Grand Rapids announced the promotion of Mary Manier to vice president sales and services. Manier was most recently director of sales and has promoted Grand Rapids/Kent County as a meetings and travel destination for nearly 40 years in various positions with Experience Grand Rapids.


Bodman PLC announced its Grand Rapids attorneys Lindsay M. Cummings (trusts and estates) has been listed in the 2021 edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, a new publication of The Best Lawyers in America; and Wayne D. Roberts (tax law) has been named Michigan Lawyer of the Year by The Best Lawyers in America. Roberts recently joined the firm’s Grand Rapids office.

Mika Meyers PLC attorney William A. Horn was named Grand Rapids’ 2021 Natural Resources Law Lawyer of the Year and Mark A. Van Allsburg Grand Rapids’ 2021 Oil and Gas Law Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America. The firm also had 27 attorneys listed in Best Lawyers in America.

Miller Johnson announced the strategic acquisition of Lusk Albertson, headquartered in Detroit. The move brings Miller Johnson to 105 practicing attorneys across three offices statewide and further strengthens its position in the Detroit market.

Plunkett Cooney Grand Rapids partner Michael S. Bogren (municipal law and litigation) was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2021.


Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek announced the birth of a marabou stork chick, marking the first time in 21 years marabou storks produced eggs.

Wayland-based Gun Lake Casino appointed Scott Szybilski director of finance.


Haviland Enterprises Inc. promoted Meg Post to chief financial officer; Rob Pawson to vice president of Haviland Products Company; David O’Brien to vice president of Haviland Pool & Spa; Cindy Van Linden to vice president of human resources; and Ben Gaeth to vice president of enterprise services. Alex Beck joined Haviland Products Company as technical sales account manager.

TG Manufacturing announced its Grand Haven-based AIM Industries operation has been certified by American Systems Registrar of Wyoming as ISO 13485 and IATF 16949 compliant. The scope of these registrations encompasses the direct manufacturing of medical devices and direct automotive work, further advancing AIM’s position in those markets.


Colliers West Michigan launched a monthly podcast “West Michigan Insight,” hosted by Jon Potvin, managing director of Colliers West Michigan. The podcast is intended to give listeners an inside look at the real estate market in West Michigan.

Jaqua Realtors opened an office at 100 S. Jefferson, Suite A, in Hastings and added three team members. It is Jaqua’s 10th office location.


GreenHome Institute elected its first woman chair, Emily Petz, sustainable housing consultant, to its board of directors. In addition, Tony Reames, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School for Environment & Sustainability, Brad Keuning, assistant professor of accounting at Aquinas College, and Justin R. Wheeler, real estate, construction and business law consultant were welcomed to its board. GreenHome recently marked its 20th anniversary as an organization dedicated to empowering people to make healthy and sustainable choices.

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