Change Ups: Johnson-Jelks joins GRPM


A former managing director of administrative services for the city of Grand Rapids joined Grand Rapids Public Museum’s staff. Mari Beth Johnson-Jelks is the museum’s new vice president of human resources. Johnson-Jelks retired from the city last year, where her worked included labor relations director and chief negotiator and the human resource director. During her tenure with the city, her accomplishments included setting up the city’s first 311 Customer Service Center, launching a citywide “Grow Our Own” local talent recruitment initiative, along with many employee development programs. She is a University of Michigan and DePaul University Law School alum.


Doug Curtis and Eric Fischer recently were promoted to partner at BDO’s Grand Rapids office.

Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors announced it merged with Muskegon-based Conn Geneva & Robinson CPA and Consultants.


Tawas City-based The Michigan Municipal Treasurers Association announced Jeff Case, associate director, Independent Bank, and Stephanie Griffin, associate liaison, Chemical Bank, joined its board of directors.


National Nail announced its CAMO DRIVE tool and CAMO EdgeClips received the Pro Tool Review’s prestigious 2019 Pro Tool Innovation Award in the Accessories and Fasteners category.

Walker-based Altus, a mobile sit-to-stand workstation manufacturer, received Claflin Medical Equipment’s 2019 Vendor Partner of the Year. CME is an Authorized Reseller for Altus that has sales and service coverage nationwide. 


A Black Knight client for eight years, Flagstar Bank renewed its contract for the MSP loan servicing system. MSP provides the functionality, scalability and ongoing compliance updates to support Flagstar's servicing and home equity business. Adding Black Knight's Proof of Claims to its default suite helps Flagstar ensure the servicer, attorney or an approved third party consistently follows filing processes according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court rules and regulations.

United Federal Credit Union appointed Michael Fernandez as branch manager of its Benton Harbor branch.

West Michigan Community Bank hired Angela Chiu as retail loan originator in Zeeland and surrounding areas.


Kristyn DeNooyer joined SpringGR as site coordinator.


LiveWall Outdoor Living Wall System in Nunica installed a two-sided, 425-square-foot living wall for the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s new Central Substation in the city’s historic REO Town neighborhood. Each of the two sections measure 21 feet, 4 inches by 10 feet, 3 3/8 inches and fits into specially recessed frames built into the substation’s brick walls. 


Jeffrey Hoekstra joined Kalamazoo-based Greenleaf Trust as a business development officer. 


B.O.B.’s Brewery in The B.O.B. released its most popular seasonal beer, Peanut Butter Porter, with four total varieties: Original, Barrel-Aged, Coconut and Salted Caramel.

Fennville-based Virtue Cider completed the installation of a 78-kilowatt solar array next to its cider houses, which will enable more than half of its purchased electricity to come from renewable sources. It is the equivalent of 150,000 pounds of CO2 avoided each year.


Karla Black, emergency preparedness coordinator at the Kent County Health Department, participated in a recent Congressional Briefing in Washington, D.C. Black’s presentation and comments were part of the PFAS and Water Protection Briefing with public health experts organized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Black told congressional staffers about PFAS contamination of wells in Northern Kent County and KCHD’s response efforts to understand and mitigate resident’s exposure. KCHD documented more than 700 sites in the county that were contaminated with various levels of PFAS.


Care Resources PACE announced Tracey McKnight joined the organization as chief executive officer.

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Assisted Living Locators announced the launch of its franchise in Grand Rapids, providing hands-on guidance in locating the full spectrum of quality assisted-living options throughout Kent County. Franchise owner is senior care adviser Tom Carabellese.


Mel Trotter Ministries worked with Next Step of West Michigan and Standale Lumber to build 54 custom-made beds for women, so they no longer have to sleep on mats on the floor in MTM’s overflow room.


Experience Grand Rapids announced the economic impact in Grand Rapids via the November meetings and conventions: Total No. of meetings: 29; total attendees: 38,430; total hotel nights: 6,495; and total estimated spending: $10,119,725.95.

The Ottawa County Parks Foundation and Herman Miller Cares formed a partnership, whereby HMC adopted a 2-mile segment that will support the completion of the Idema Explorers Trail along Green Street and 128th Avenue in Robinson Township; construction is slated to begin in 2020. When complete, it will connect the city of Grand Haven to Connor Bayou, the M-231 Bridge, the Spoonville Trail and Riverside Park.


Bloom Sluggett PC was selected as a 2020 Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers for its municipal law work in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.

Foster Swift announced the 2020 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list rated the law firm a Tier 1 law firm in 27 practice areas with the Lansing office receiving 21 Tier 1 ranked practice areas, four for its Grand Rapids office and two for their southeast Michigan offices.

Miller Johnson received a Tier 1 rating in the 2020 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list for 29 practice areas in the Grand Rapids metro area and nine in Kalamazoo.

Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge earned Tier 1 rating in multiple practice areas for its Grand Rapids firm in the 2020 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list.

Troy-based Secrest Wardle, with additional offices in Grand Rapids and Lansing, received a Tier 1 rating in four practice areas in U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers 2020 “Best Law Firms” list.

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP was ranked one of the 2020 “Best Law Firms” by Best Lawyers and U.S. News & World Report. Its Grand Rapids firm received top-tier ratings in multiple practice areas.


D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s announced Jeremiah Hawkins was hired as chief programs officer.


Battle Creek-based Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger, along with Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed, will enable KIPP Ujima Village Academy, a Baltimore middle school, to once again host home games for its title-holding, coed baseball team. KIPP students, coaches and administrators with a game-changing Mission Tiger donation will enable the school to add teams, improve facilities, offer more opportunities to play and bring home its coed baseball squad after years of games played away from home.

Sports Turf Managers Association and Minor League Baseball announced West Michigan Whitecaps head groundkeeper Mitch Hooten, in Comstock Park, was named 2019 Sports Field Manager of the Year for the first time.


Michael Cotter, director of digital products for Feyen Zylstra, was appointed to the Technology Council of West Michigan.

Quantum Leap made Josh Burgess partner.

X-Rite announced its partnership with ON1 software to integrate custom camera profiles utilizing either the X-Rite ColorChecker Classic or ColorChecker Digital SG target along with the X-Rite Camera Calibration software. ON1 is an open system giving photographers control over their photo organization, storage, editing, creative style and how they purchase.

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