Change-Ups: Kalaczinski named MOA’s Educator of the Year


Lillian Kalaczinski, an associate professor for Ferris State University’s Michigan College of Optometry, has been named the Michigan Optometric Association’s 2021 Educator of the Year. Kalaczinski is a 1998 MCO graduate following three years in the pre-optometry program at Ferris. Kalaczinski served as director of vision services at a Grand Rapids-area community health center before joining the MCO faculty in 2015. Kalaczinski also is chief of primary care services at the University Eye Center, and an adviser to registered student organizations unique to the college.


Rehmann won Clearlyrated’s Best of Accounting Diamond Award for providing superior service to its clients for at least five consecutive years. Rehmann received satisfaction scores of 9 or 10 from 82% of its clients, significantly higher than the industry’s average of 43% in 2020.


ddm marketing + communications hired Michael I. Brown as sales and marketing director.

Grand Rapids-based Deksia LLC acquired Roundpeg Inc., a full-service marketing agency based in Indianapolis. The acquisition allows both companies to expand the services they offer clients, with a larger team to accommodate those clients.

Holland-based Boileau Communications hired Chris Kemperman as media producer. Kemperman will support the company’s growing video and multimedia production business.


Abonmarche is the recipient of the 2021 Firm of the Year Award conferred annually by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan for excelling in community engagement, advancement of the engineering profession and ACEC involvement.

American Institute of Architects Grand Rapids announced the following new members or roles: Megan Feenstra Wall(Mathison|Mathison Architects), president; John Rizor (Progressive AE), vice president; Steve Romkema (Fishbeck), new member and secretary; Jade Heiler (Fishbeck), new member; Season Gilliam (GMB Architecture + Engineering), new member; and Anne Doornbos (TowerPinkster), new member.


Michael Catching joined the Grand Rapids Art Museum staff as membership manager.


Owner and president John M. Leese announced Harvey Lexus of Grand Rapids has been awarded Elite of Lexus status for 2020.

The city of Grand Rapids received a 2020 gold medal rating from CityHealth for improving the health and well-being of its residents through policies that make lasting impacts in the everyday quality of life. It also received a bronze medal for earned sick leave policies.

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has been named Airport of the Year in the air carrier category by the Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics.


Arbor Financial Credit Union opened its 12th location at 3961 32nd Ave. in Hudsonville, its third site in West Michigan.

ChoiceOne Bank announced the promotions of Sherri Campbell to vice president, BSA and security officer; Tyson “Ty” Schmidt to assistant vice president, ChoiceOne Bank, registered representative, Infinex Investments Inc.; Tracy Adams to officer, ChoiceOne Bank, registered representative, Infinex Investments Inc.; and Kara Lambourn to administrative officer.

Kalamazoo-based Consumers Credit Union hired Melissa Swetz as a mortgage loan officer in the Kalamazoo market, specifically at the downtown office.

Old National Bank has been recognized by Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, as one of the 2021 World’s Most Ethical Companies.


CD Barnes Construction has honored Kalamazoo-based Esper Electric with its Key To Our Success Award for its efforts on the Kalamazoo Youth for Christ’s new City Life Center, in recognition for subcontractors who exemplify the best in performance, quality, and communication on CD Barnes’ projects.


An eight-person Baker College Cyber Defense Club undergraduate student team recently earned the top spot at the statewide 2021 Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC), part of the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, created by the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security.

Coopersville High School sophomore Shelbie Schoenborn has been nominated has a delegate to the Congress of Future Medical leaders – National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists, an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields.

Student researchers at Hope College in Holland won three regional awards for excellence from the Midwestern chapter of Psi Chi the International Honor Society in Psychology for student-faculty collaborative research projects.


Grand Rapids Community Foundation promoted Ann Puckett to director of IT.

Ken Fawcett, Healthier Communities at Spectrum Health, and Brandy Lovelady Mitchell, Kent Intermediate School District’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, joined Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s 12-member board of trustees.

Hungerford Technologies’ Kimberly Livingston was elected president of Cascade Community Foundation’s board of directors for 2021. Livingston will join CEO Justin Swan to lead the foundation’s new initiatives, including the establishment of endowment funds for Forest Hills-area residents beginning later this year.


Kent County has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2019.

The city of Kentwood hired longtime civil engineer James Kirkwood as its director of engineering and inspections.

The Kent County Health Department has successfully completed a review process to maintain national accreditation status through the Public Health Accreditation Board.


Catherine’s Health Center opened two additional locations during its 25th anniversary: Catherine’s Health Dental Center, 781 36th St. SE Grand Rapids, and Catherine’s Health Center at Streams of Hope, 280 60th St. SE Grand Rapids.

Spectrum Health announced president and CEO Tina Freese Decker was recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of 2021’s Top 25 Women Leaders, the second consecutive year Freese Decker has been named to this list.

The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute and CEO Vanessa Greene are now aided by a 17-member consultative council intent on growing the nonprofit organization in fighting racial and ethnic health care disparities in West Michigan. The diverse group is drawn from all sectors to tackle deeply rooted issues in the local Black and Latinx communities to achieve healthier outcomes.

The Body Mind Being Project announced it is a nonprofit for those in the community that are less financially or culturally capable of accessing education, services and yoga training. Details:

Wyoming-based Metro Health-University of Michigan Health developed a 24/7 home-monitoring program for select COVID-19 patients that allows medical professionals to monitor their progress around the clock.


Kalamazoo-based Wings Event Center has achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities.


Amanda M. Fielder, a partner with Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, has been named a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Bodman PLC announced Brian E. Kersey of the firm’s Grand Rapids office has been appointed co-chair of the aviation law and finance practice group and Lindsay M. Cummings has been admitted as a member of the firm; and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce has appointed Wayne D. Roberts of the firm’s Grand Rapids office as chair of the Chamber’s Tax Policy Committee.

James K. Scheper joined Wheeler Upham P.C. as of counsel.

Keller & Almassian PLC  was regionally ranked as a 2021 Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, as well as Litigation-Banking & Finance.

Mika Meyers PLC Grand Rapids attorney Benjamin A. Zainea was selected as a member of the Michigan Lawyers Weekly 2021 Go To Lawyers.

Rhoades McKee announced Jackie Gordon and Patrick Sweeney were recently elected as shareholders. With over 47 attorneys and three offices (Grand Rapids, Hastings, and Holland), the firm has grown to include 44 shareholders; J.R. Poll has been named chair of the nationally recognized medical malpractice legal team.

Susan S. Linker joined Mika Meyers PLC’s business and commercial, real estate, and trusts and estates practice groups as a paralegal.

Velo Law announced a merger with the law firm of VanHattum & Associates.

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP attorney Ojone E. Ameadaji has been named to the 2020 Lawyers of Color’s Hot List. The Hot List features 100 attorneys of color who are under the age of 40.


Dematic announced the appointment of Michael Larsson as executive vice president. He will be based in the company’s North American headquarters in Grand Rapids.

Flow-Rite hired Angela Paauwe as operations director.

Lacks Enterprises Inc. named Nick Hrnyak its CEO. Richard Lacks Jr. has transitioned to executive chairman of the board; Mike Clover has been promoted to president; and Scott Chaudoir has been promoted to CFO. Kurt Lacks remains chairman of the board.


West Michigan Partnership for Children announced the addition of Nakia Kyler as its first chief engagement and equity officer.


NorthStar Commercial president Steve Millman announced the addition of a new branch in Appleton, Wisconsin, making it the second addition to NorthStar and the first out-of-state expansion.


Byron Center-based SpartanNash was recently honored as a 2020 Gold Plate Awards recipient in the 50-199 stores retail category for its Family Meals at Home campaign to encourage families to stay strong with family meals.


Dewpoint promoted Hunter Scott to sales executive with a focus on the Southwest Michigan region.

Gary Galindo joined Fusion IT LLC as dispatcher and service team lead.

Kent County Board of Commissioners chair Mandy Bolter recently announced she will convene a new Kent County Broadband Subcommittee charged with assessing barriers to broadband service throughout the county, developing collaborative strategies to break down the barriers and identifying federal, state and local funding models to support the strategies.

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