Change Ups: Wolverine Building project earns awards


Wolverine Building Group’s multimillion-dollar rehabilitation project, Gateway Village in Sturgis, won the Governor’s Energy Excellence Award and The Michigan Battle of the Buildings Award. The 1970s-era affordable housing complex received needed cosmetic and convenience updates; a holistic approach to energy and water conservation; a before-and-after Home Energy Rating System analysis; full conversion to LED lighting; improvements to the building’s insulation, windows and doors; upgrades to HVAC systems; new appliances; and resident education.


Andy Buelow joined Muskegon-based West Michigan Symphony as its executive director.

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum’s 2016-17 fiscal year welcomed 205,803 guests, exceeding the previous record of 195,000 set the previous year.


Doyle & Ogden Insurance earned a 2017 Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award for its volunteerism to make positive change happen in its community. The award includes $5,000 to use toward its community work with Del J. & Jean B. Doyle Family Foundation.

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of its 2017 Diversity Visionary Awards: Small Business Division: Four Star Recipient, Grand Rapids Community Foundation; Three Star Recipient, Kids’ Food Basket; Rising Star Recipient, Center for Arts and Technology, Mind over Music and Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women. Large Business Division: Four Star Recipient, Grand Valley State University and Herman Miller; Three Star Recipient, Rockford Construction; and Rising Star Recipient, Mercy Health.

Jodi Gruner of Byron Center is the recipient of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Front Line Ambassador Award.

The Kent County Purchasing Division is the recipient of the Michigan Public Purchasing Officers Association’s 2017 Agency of the Year Award.

The Michigan West Coast Chamber of the Greater Holland/Zeeland area recognized Jim Hutt of Hutt Trucking Co. Inc. as the 2017 Small Business Person of the Year.

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce announced its 2017 Agents of Change for making a positive contribution to the Muskegon Lakeshore: city of Whitehall (Colby Street); Ann Meisch; Dr. Dale Nesbary; TJ Chappel; Hamburger Mikey; Muskegon Polish Festival; Great Lakes Fresh Market; La Colombe Coffee; and KL Outdoor.


United Bank is collecting blankets at all of its branches through the end of the year and distributing them to those in need through its Blanket the Community project.


Cochrane Supply & Engineering relocated its Grand Rapids branch to an 8,000-square-foot facility at 1058 Scribner Ave. NW due to growing demand in the West Michigan area. 

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce intends to relocate to 250 Monroe Ave., Grand Rapids on March 1, 2018. The building is located across from DeVos Place Convention Center.

SERVPRO of Muskegon welcomed Barb Hermanson to its sales and marketing team.


Rockford Construction announced Brad Mathis, community development director, will serve in an expanded role within the company and lead its health care team as health care project executive.


Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. launched new packaging and recipe for its specialty line of snacks, Lush Gourmet Foods. Packaging features include a breakdown of ingredients, pairing suggestions and pouches that make the line more consistent and approachable.

The House Regulatory Reform Committee unanimously approved state Rep. Tommy Brann’s bill that would allow more retailers to fill and sell beer growlers, and streamline the regulatory process by eliminating the need for these merchants to get an additional license.

The MSU Product Center recognized three Grand Rapids area food businesses at its 10th annual Making It In Michigan conference and trade show with the following awards: Director’s Award, Rebecca Cruttenden of  Clara Cookies; Startup to Watch Award, Andrew Maternowski and Monica Randles of Nutcase Vegan Meats; and Value-added Agricultural Producer Award, Kris and Steven Haitsma of Mud Lake Farm.

New Holland Brewing in Holland released its 20th Anniversary Ale, a beer specifically brewed to commemorate the company’s 20th year in the brewing industry.


James K. Joseph was appointed regional administrator of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and will oversee a six-state region: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.


Cherry Health School’s See to Succeed, a traveling school-based initiative that provides comprehensive, dilated eye exams and corrective eyeglasses to Grand Rapids’ most vulnerable children, has provided more than 14,000 eye examines and over 4,000 pairs of glasses over the past five years.

The following Spectrum Health hospitals were recognized by accreditor of health care organizations, the Joint Commission, as 2017 Pioneers in Quality Data Contributors: Butterworth Hospital; Blodgett Hospital; Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; Kelsey Hospital; United Hospital; and Zeeland Community Hospital.


Guiding Light fed more than 300 people its annual Thanksgiving meal. 

Beacon Hill at Eastgate announced Lindsey Borek was promoted to marketing and communications director, and Sarah Johnson was hired as services and events manager.


Hylant was named one of the Best Places to Work in Insurance by Business Insurance magazine. The privately insurance brokerage firm ranked third in the medium employer category, moving up from fourth last year.


Praxis Packaging announced its first acquisition in company history of Randolph, New Jersey-based Unette Corporation. The purchase expands Praxis’ packaging solutions to include liquid, cream and paste products in tubes, bottles, jars and stick packs.


Smart Vision Lights in Muskegon introduced the LXE300 series, which delivers up to 100,000 lux, making it Smart Vision’s brightest linear LED light. Features include a sealed, IP65-rated metal housing and built-in Multi-Drive driver, allowing the light to operate continuously or in OverDrive strobe mode. The Multi-Drive also protects LEDs from premature degradation and failure caused by excessive heat by regulating the current delivered to the LEDs and by limiting their duty cycle.


Julie Flynn was named news director at WZZM 13.


Jim and Ellen Bruinsma are the recipients of Wedgwood Christian Services’ Doug & Lois Nagel Leadership Award. The Bruinsmas have volunteered for 40 years.

West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology announced the addition of the following: Megan Lorenz, development associate; Gen-Dairec Buchanan, lead production manager; Brandon Copeland, audio production teaching artist; Kali Workman, video game design teaching artist; and Rebecka DeRoos, medical coding instructor. WMCAT also announced it will move to a new building at 614 First St. NW in summer 2018.


The Grand Rapids Fire Department promoted battalion chief Ronald G. Tennant to deputy fire chief, support services.

Silent Observer announced the recipients of its Community Heroes Awards. Law Enforcement Bridge Builder Award, winner, Sgt. Andy Veen – Walker Police Department, finalist Jason Cramer – Kent County Sheriff’s Department; Building Stronger Neighborhoods Award, winner, Sam Evans – Alger Heights Neighborhood, finalist, Kent County Traffic Squad; and Making A Difference Community Award, winner, Marie Cimochowicz – John Ball Area Neighbors, finalist, Wafa Haddad – Noor’s Heaven.


Bradley Co. moved to the Waters Center, at 161 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 308, overlooking Grand Rapids’ Central Business District.

NAI Wisinski of West Michigan announced investment specialist Russ Bono earned the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation. NAI Wisinski now has seven agents who hold the CCIM designation. CCIM designees can help their clients minimize risk, enhance credibility, make informed decisions and close deals.

The Housing Next Leadership Council in Ottawa County hired Ryan Kilpatrick as its first director. 


Meritage Hospitality Group’s Wendy’s of Michigan announced its Change a Child’s Life campaign that runs through Dec. 31 will give customers the option to round up their bill by 50 cents, buy a pin-up for $1 or text “CARE” to 41010 for $10 donations to help provide children with their patient care at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Customers receive coupons for a free small chili, Jr. Frosty and value drink for future visits.

Wendy’s franchisee Meritage Hospitality Group’s fifth annual Coats for Combos coat drive garnered 1,287 coat donations from four markets throughout the Midwest. Schools that will receive coats include Sibley Elementary in Grand Rapids, Comstock Elementary in Kalamazoo, Glenside Elementary in Muskegon, Kennedy Elementary in Manistee and Cedar Springs Public Schools in Cedar Springs. Coats from Holland restaurants will be donated to the Holland Rescue Mission.


Discount Tire opened its second Wyoming location at 392 54th St. SW.

Revolve Records, a shop that sells vinyl records and other music-related merchandise, will open at 453 S. Division Ave. in January 2018. The 2,706-square-foot space is almost double in size its current location at 1606 Fuller Ave. SE.


Schneider Risk Management and Blue Horizons Wellness held a joint open house at 1991 Lakeshore Drive, Suite A in Muskegon. Schneider provides safety and environmental compliance and training services and Blue Horizons offers a full suite of wellness practices.


EarthTronics in Muskegon announced it appointed Matthew Travis as regional sales manager.

SalesPad announced the promotion of Jennifer Jurgens to president.


The Gerald R. Ford International Airport and SpartanNash recently opened the Military Welcome Center near the airport’s Concourse A exit. The space is open for active military, veterans and their families 24 hours a day, and offers refreshments, charging stations, an airport arrival/departure monitor, lounging spaces, veteran profiles and programming, interactive maps and murals where military personnel and veterans can pinpoint where they have been stationed or deployed.

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