Change Ups: Thrash among those who received LocalMotion Awards


Aleka C. Thrash of ACTPhotoMedia and Naturally ACT is one of nine recipients who recently received LocalFirst’s LocalMotion Awards for helping to build sustainable communities. Thrash’s photography is known for building confidence and self-care by capturing special moments in photographs and promoting natural hair care. Other LocalMotion recipients include Romence Gardens & Green Houses, C2C Galleries, EcoBuns Baby + Co., JoJo’s House of Beauty, LINC UP, Management Business Solutions, Mindful Vinyasa School of Yoga, and Mixed Staffing.


Beene Garter added three partners: Dave Shymanski is a new hire and Rebecca Postma and Trace Bauman were promoted, bringing the total number of partners to 16.


John Fortunato rejoined Williams & Works as its construction engineering manager.


The Grand Rapids Public Museum is the recipient a $99,600 matching grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Studies: Museums of America that will be used to document GRPM’s extensive collection of fashion and accessories by digitizing and making available virtually the remaining 5,600 pieces from the museum’s fashion collection of 10,000 pieces.


The Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce honored the following at its 36th Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner: Manufacturer of the Year, Lacks Enterprises; Retail Business of the Year, Craig’s Cruisers; Service Business of the Year, Valorous Circle; The Daniel McLaren Committee of the Year Award, the Annual Meeting Committee; The Daniel Vandyke Volunteer of the Year Award, Keith Morgan, of All Clean Again; and The Gerald E. Fessell Distinguished Service Award, Terry Merriman, owner, PCO Associates.


Custer Inc. hired Hailey Vollink as an education sales support specialist and Josh Mulka as a facility coordinator.

Joy Fullmer joined Rua Associates LLC as a financial analyst.

Lakeshore Irrigation LLC announced it signed a definitive agreement to purchase the limited assets, namesake, proprietary domains and social media outlets from Aqua-Tec Irrigation of Holland.

Michigan Office Solutions marked its 60th anniversary and will host events throughout the year. Details:

Oliver-Tolas Healthcare Packaging and Mangar Medical Packaging have merged and subsequently will do business as Oliver.

Recruitment Management Consultants promoted Mitch Hoogland to account executive. Hoogland will focus on the Grand Rapids and West Michigan markets.

Varnum attorney Zachary J. Meyer was named to the board of directors for the BBB Serving Western Michigan.


Ellyn Olney joined Bazzani Building Co. as its office manager.


Christina Hornbach of the Hope College music faculty in Holland is a recipient of an Award of Merit from the Michigan Music Education Association.

Dave Felicijan, president of Accu-Mold LLC, was appointed to the Kalamazoo Valley Groves Advisory Board.

Grand Rapids Community College’s Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion Director Domingo Hernandez-Gomez was accepted into the 2017-18 New Leadership Academy Fellows Program, a partnership between the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education.

Otsego Public Schools received two Dremel Idea Builder 3-D printers and filament as part of its school-wide STEAM initiative, from Dremel, a manufacturer of tools for life and learning.

West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology will recognize the following award recipients at its March 29 iBall 2017: Award for Imagination, CARNEVALE, Mike Carnevale, founder and principal; Imagination, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss; and Inspiration, George Bayard III, founder of Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.


Long Road Distillers released a new seasonal gin called MICHIGIN. It was crafted from 100 percent Michigan ingredients, starting with water fresh from Lake Michigan, red winter wheat from Heffron Farms and juniper harvested by hand on Beaver Island.

Love Bites Treatery in Muskegon won $5,000 from the 5×5 Night innovative pitch night at the Muskegon Innovation Hub for its nutrient-dense treats to every animal. Love Bites Treatery intends to use the money to establish a central location in Grand Rapids as a way to collaborate with local businesses to increase shelter donations.

New Holland Artisan Spirits in Holland unveiled new packaging for its family of brands, featuring a custom bottle design, custom cap color and cohesive labeling supporting the complete New Holland Artisan spirits portfolio, including Beer Barrel Bourbon and Knickerbocker Gin.


Freshman state Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, was appointed to chair of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules as well as a member of the House Energy, Military and Veterans, Oversight and Tax Policy committees.

First term state Rep. Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming, was named to the House Appropriations Committee and will chair the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs-Insurance and Financial Services subcommittees, as well as vice chair the Judiciary subcommittee. He also was named a member of the Appropriations subcommittees for State Police and Community Colleges.


Alyssa Veneklase is replacing founding co-owner Karlye McNeely of Gold Coast Doulas as co-owner. Founding co-owner Kristin Revere will continue to run the firm with Veneklase.

IKOR of North Grand Rapids, 890 Three Mile Road NW, offers medical, financial and disability advocacy and life care management services to seniors, individuals with disabilities and those with special needs. Sanford Freed is managing director and Karen J. Vander Laan is a registered nurse advocate. Details:


Bankruptcy and reorganization attorneys Susan M. Cook and Rozanne M. Giunta joined Warner Norcross & Judd LLP. The pair brings more than 60 years of combined experience in all facets of bankruptcy and workouts for individuals and financially troubled companies to the firm. They will practice in the Midland and Southfield offices of Warner Norcross and serve clients throughout the United States and Canada.

Varnum labor and employment attorney Elizabeth Wells Skaggs was appointed to the board of trustees of the nonprofit legal self-help center Legal Assistance Center, which offers assistance in family law, housing and money issues, as well as disputes, probate and small claims matters in Kent County.


Gov. Rick Snyder announced the appointment of Michael Kolinski of Kalamazoo to the Michigan Board of Athletic Trainers.


John Kuiper of Colliers International West Michigan was awarded the 2016 Midwest Real Estate Magazine Hall of Fame Award.

Kegan Russell joined Signature Associates’ West Michigan retail team.


Lee & Birch will open its third location in downtown Rockford in early March at 39 Courtland St.


Collective Idea in Holland hired Mac Fowler as director of strategy and Cam Bass as a software developer.

Open Systems Technologies hired Mitchell Suing, data analytics specialist; Joni Johnson, accounting associate; Aaron Adams, principle consultant; and Brian Hauch, design lead.


The Michigan Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus named Bob Lukens of Muskegon its treasurer for the 2017 calendar year.

The West Michigan Tourist Association published its 100th anniversary edition of the West Michigan Carefree Travel Guide, showcasing the best of what West Michigan has to offer. For more information, visit

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