Business Journal names 2013 Newsmakers of the Year


The Grand Rapids Business Journal 2013 Newsmakers of the Year gather to raise their awards together. Photo by Johnny Quirin

Who were West Michigan’s top newsmakers in 2013?

This morning’s sold-out event at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park brought together the region’s leaders, decision makers and influencers — those who made the news — as part of the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s Newsmakers of the Year awards, where a dozen winners were honored for their efforts to help West Michigan grow.

The overall Newsmaker of the Year, Derek Coppess of 616 Development, was a dual winner, picking up the Newsmaker honor in the Real Estate/Development/Construction category, as was Rick DeVos, who picked up the Impact Award for Start Garden and the Newsmaker honor in the Arts & Entertainment/Sports category for ArtPrize.

“There have been people who’ve been doing this a lot longer than me,” Coppess said upon accepting the Newsmaker of the Year award. “I look forward to working with a lot of the people in this room and making Grand Rapids a better place.”

The Impact Award recognized DeVos and the Start Garden team for the organization’s long-term economic impact on West Michigan.

The $15-million seed fund already has helped scores of startups move to the next stage of business development, both here in West Michigan and across the country.

“I think we really have huge opportunities here in West Michigan, and we’re happy to be a catalyst in that,” DeVos said. “Thank you for this honor — and now on to bigger and better things in West Michigan.”

The Newsmaker awards recognized significant contributions to West Michigan from individuals during 2013 in 10 industry categories.

The Newsmakers of the Year

Rick DeVos, ArtPrize, Arts & Entertainment/Sports

David Eisler, Kendall College of Art and Design/Ferris State University, Education

Birgit Klohs, The Right Place Inc., Government

Kent Riddle, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Health

Don LeDuc, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Law

Blake Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide, Manufacturing

Elissa Hillary, Local First, Nonprofits/Philanthropy

Derek Coppess, 616 Development, Real Estate/Development/Construction

Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, Founders Brewing Co., Retail

Aaron Schaap, The Factory, Technology

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