Change Ups: MTM hires rural outreach advocate


Mel Trotter Ministries has formed partnerships with organizations in rural areas to address homelessness in rural Kent County. North Kent Connect (formerly North Kent Community Services) and Cedar Springs Public Schools are two of those organizations. MTM has responded by hiring Steve Tigchelaar as an outreach advocate to build relationships in rural areas. The advocate will connect individuals and families in crisis with resources to help them overcome barriers, such as a lack of housing, finances, transportation, domestic violence and other issues.


TowerPinkster announced the growth of its engineering services to include structural engineering, a result of TowerPinkster’s strategic plan to enhance the firm’s professional service offerings and expand its quality and capabilities. 


Grand Valley State University carillonneur  Julianne Vanden Wyngaard was named president of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. Vanden Wyngaard served as the principal performer and teacher on Grand Valley’s Cook Carillon Tower since its dedication in 1994 on the Allendale campus.

Michigan Ballet Academy announced Irina Vassileni, a well-known instructor and graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and former Bolshoi Ballet Dancer, will join the faculty as ballet mistress.


The City of Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department was recognized by the  Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as a Michigan Business Pollution Prevention Partner; also the Michigan Water Environmental Association recognized the city for starting and maintaining an ongoing program of continuous improvement to reduce the energy intensity and the cost of operating its Water Resource Recovery Facility.

Incoming Kuyper College freshman Allison Dyke is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year from International Essential Tremor Foundation. Dyke was diagnosed with essential tremor at the age of 4. She has been vital to raising awareness for IETF by organizing and leading two ET awareness walks, raising over $2,500. She partnered with Spectrum Health to create an ET support group for West Michigan and worked with the University of Michigan School of Dentistry to create a prototype to help make oral care easier for those with movement disorders. 


Old National Bank announced the additions of Kristy Jones, banking center manager in Grandville, and Julie Kowalewski, private banker in Grand Rapids.


Lutz Roofing Co. Inc. in Shelby Township is the recipient of Firestone Building Products Co. LLC’s 2017 Platinum Master Contractor Award and Inner Circle of Quality Award.

Sean Collinsgru, founder of Premier Outdoor Living LLC, in Palmyra, New Jersey, selected the CAMO Edge Fastening System for all of his deck projects throughout southern New Jersey. CAMO’s system provides an attractive, secure, fastener-free surface solution that replicates the smooth look of indoor flooring. 


Empire Beauty School moved to 3583 Alpine Ave. NW in Walker following the closing of Regency Beauty Institute.

Jon Hankins joined Aquinas College in the newly created position of community relations officer. Hankins will work with Aquinas College Foundation staff, as well as athletic department staff, to help raise funds to support student scholarships, academic and athletic programming, capital projects and campus life activities. 


SpendMend announced the addition of David Hewitt to its business development team.


Long Road Distillers announced it will release Harmony Black Squirrel Malt Whisky, made in partnership with Harmony Brewing Co. and Harmony Hall. This is the third release in the Long Road Beer City Whisky Series, a lineup of whiskies collaboratively made with four local breweries that have helped earn Grand Rapids the title of Beer City, USA.


The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation was ranked fifth in the nation for Gifts Per Capita; 15th in the nation in Distribution Rate; and 93rd in nation for Number of Transactions, according to the 2016 CF Insights survey.


Lt. Governor Brian Calley recently spoke at a Kent County Lead Task Force meeting. The Lead Task Force is chaired by Kent County commissioner Emily Brieve and vice-chair Senita Lenear (Commissioner, city of Grand Rapids), and includes more than a dozen community leaders, as well as health and housing specialists.


Dr. Belen Amat opened Direct Primary Care of West Michigan, 3501 Lake Eastbrook Blvd. SE, Suite 258. Patients pay a monthly membership fee from $10-$75 and have unlimited access to their doctor in person or by call, text and email, with no copays and access to wholesale medications, labs, and in-house procedures like stitches, biopsies, joint injections and EKG's, which are included free with membership. Details:

Dr. Brianna David joined Foot & Ankle Specialists of West Michigan as a podiatrist in its southeast Grand Rapids and Greenville offices. She also treats patients at the Spectrum Wound Clinic.

Hackley Community Care in Muskegon marked its 25th anniversary.

The Kent County Health Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention Action Team and its Academic Health Department are recipients of the National Association for County and City Health Officials’ Model Practice Award for demonstrating how local health departments and their community partners can effectively collaborate to address local public health challenges.

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health physician Jihad A. Mustapha is the first in the U.S. to complete treatment on a patient utilizing the LimFlow Percutaneous Deep Vein Arterialization System. The investigational device is used for the treatment of end-state critical limb ischemia after all other efforts have been exhausted.


Grandville-based MarshBerry announced the hiring of Bob Barber as a talent acquisition manager.


Jeffrey J. Butler, Jordan M. Bullinger and Vickie L. Coe joined Clark Hill PLC’s Grand Rapids office as senior attorneys.


Charter House announced the location of its second Sperry’s Moviehouse in downtown Holland. The movie house will be a part of a two-story, 40,000-square-foot building located on Eighth Street between River Avenue and Pine Avenue in the heart of downtown Holland. The theatre will occupy the entire second floor of the building as well as about 7,000 square feet of the street-level space. The remaining 13,000 square feet of the space will feature other various retailers and dining. 


Cascade Engineering announced the expansion of its automotive business unit with the addition of Pejman Hashemi as director of technical sales for noise, vibration and harshness and acoustics.


Rory Byrne was promoted to senior account executive for Chicago Title’s commercial division.


Dena Crow opened Menchies Frozen Yogurt store at Westhore Mall in Holland.


Designtex introduced Casper Cloaking Technology to keep displays on television screens private. Details:


The Grand Rapids Griffin’s LEGO – I Wanna Drive the Zamboni video won a Golden Matrix Award for Best Music Video at the 2017 Information Display and Entertainment Association conference, held in Philadelphia.


The city of Grand Rapids announced a new contract between Parkmobile LLC and the city’s Mobile GR/Parking Services, which has reduced the customer’s convenience fee 43 percent — from 35 cents to 15 cents when the Parkmobile app is used for metered parking in Grand Rapids.

The Ottawa County Planning Commission is participating in Connect Michigan’s Connected Community program to assess the status of broadband access and adoption with an eye on developing a Broadband Technology Action Plan. For more information, go to

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