Change Ups: Muskegon Chamber names Agents of Change


Front row, left to right: Linda Juarez, Jim Fisher, Chris Burnaw, Ken Krause, John Hanson, Jera Cook and Brett Gilbert. Middle row: Michael Walenta, Leigh Williams, Amanda Shunta, Valerie Hanson and Ed Garner. Back row: Andrew Haan, Al Lowe, Shelley Irwin and Kathy Evans.  

Ten community leaders and initiatives have been recognized as 2012 Agents of Change by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce’s Inclusion and Community Awareness Committee. This year’s recipients: Amanda Shunta; Ed Garner; Debbie Chase and John Hanson, along with Heather Bloom, Al Lowe, Kathy Kauranen and Steve Kauranen; Jera Cook and Brett Gilbert; Jennifer Cross; Kathy Evans; 1 in 21 Steering Committee (Linda Juarez, John Noling, Ken Krause and Jim Fisher); Andrew Haan; Michele and Eric Ringelberg; and Anne and Allan Dake. More information can be found at


Wendell Christoff, co-owner of Litehouse Inc. in Lowell, was re-elected to serve on the 2013 board of directors of The Association of Dressings and Sauces, an international trade association.


Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women announced Victoria Upton is the recipient of its Business of the Year Award. Upton is the owner of Women’s LifeStyle Magazine.

Hope College President James E. Bultman and recently retired Calvin College President Gaylen J. Byker are the recipients of the West Michigan Dutch-American Leadership Award.

Kent County Health Department in partnership with Spectrum Health Betty Ford Breast Care Services Community Outreach Program have received a Spirit of Collaboration Award from the Michigan Cancer Consortium. The award recognizes collaborations that impact cancer prevention and control activities in Michigan.


Consumers Credit Union holiday food drive, which takes place through Dec. 15, has partnered with local food pantries to ensure donations stay in local areas. Donations can be made at CCU offices in Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan, Lawton, Coldwater, Holland and South Haven.

Lake Michigan Credit Union announced the promotion of Bethany Stoffers to branch manager, Byron Center.


Calvin College announced the opening of an on-campus museum that will showcase a world-class mineral collection. Bruce Dice, a 1948 alumnus, gave the college his personal collection of 300 specimens. TheBruce Dice Mineralogical Museum is adjacent to North Hall.

Carlos Sanchez has accepted the position of director of the Latino Business and Economic Development Center, a new Ferris State University initiative. Sanchez previously was executive director of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and diversity specialist for Spectrum Health and diversity programs coordinator for Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

Danielle Fitzgerald announced she has opened a Grand Rapids-based Tutor Doctor franchise. As an educational consultant, Fitzgerald establishes an agreed-upon individual learning program for students that will lead them toward their academic goals by matching the right tutor with a student.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School has named Elizabeth L. Banta director of advancement. Banta has served as director of development for Grand Rapids Public Museum, development officer at DeVos Children’s Hospital and director of alumni/parent relations at Aquinas College.


Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc. announced the addition of Karen Yee M. Pang, mechanical engineer.


Kentwood’s Regal Financial Group announced Terry Hollar, president of Hollar Financial Group, won the inaugural Regal Fall Classic, a competition between Regal Investment advisor representatives that promotes activity and education of advanced investment principles, products and services to the general public.


Judy Sarkozy, owner of Sarkozy Bakery, is the recipient of the William R. Wood Locavore of the Year Award, given to individuals or organizations whose efforts in the past year best exemplify support for local food in Southwest Michigan.


Spectrum Health Foundation has named Davey Mehney board chair and announced the election of Jeff Bennett to its board. Also, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation announced the additions of Peg Breon, Gregg DeWitt, Tim and Laura Feagan and Walter Perschbacher to its board.

Doreen Bolhuis, president and CEO of Grand Rapids’ Gymco Inc., is among the newest members appointed to the Michigan Fitness Foundation board. Bolhuis is a current member of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports.


Mercy Health Partners, Muskegon, announced North Muskegon High School has been awarded an automated external defibrillator for having the highest percent of participating students from all area high schools in student heart screenings over the summer (7 percent).

Michigan Health Ministries of Ascension Health announced the creation of Reverence Home Health & Hospice, a statewide home health and hospice company that will open Jan. 1.

Sunset Retirement Communities & Services announced Rose Garden Homes LLC will become part of Sunset as of Jan. 1. The merger will enable Sunset to offer area seniors additional assisted-living options, and Rose Garden residents will have a greater scope of services.


Foster Swift announced eight of its attorneys were admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorneys from the Grand Rapids office are: Karl Butterer and Thomas TerMaat; from the Lansing office: Charles Barbieri, Eric Doster, Lisa Moore, John Nicolucci and Joshua Richardson.

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP for the third year in a row is ranked among the nation’s most prominent law firms by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers’ 2013 Best Law Firms. Honingman was ranked nationally for 24 of its practice areas and was the only Michigan-based firm ranked nationally for its venture capital and media and First Amendment practices.

Sara A. Nicholson has joined Miller Johnson as an associate in its Kalamazoo office. Nicholson will continue her practice in estate planning and taxation.


Pro-Vision Video Systems announced the addition of Rohn Kunnen, product engineer. Kunnen’s responsibilities include working with the engineering team on new product development, collaborating with suppliers to ensure high production quality, and providing technical support to end users.


Paramount Realty Partners has announced a new location and the addition of a staff member. Nick Vander Wal has joined the real estate company as director of operations. Paramount’s new office space is in downtown Grand Rapids. The company plans to host an open house in early 2013.

Patriot Reality announced the addition of four staff members: Audrey Rynberg and Warren Bender joined as Realtors and Alyssa Johnson and Whitney Van Till are administrative assistants.


Interphase Interiors, the local Haworth dealer, announced Nicole Taylor, a coordinator at the company’s downtown MoDiv space, has been promoted to full-time status and added to the Grand Rapids team as a commercial interior designer.


Geoffrey John has joined Maximize Technologies LLC as an IT support technician.

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