Business Journal names Newsmaker nominees


Who are the people behind the headlines that shaped West Michigan over the past 12 months?

They’re newsmakers.

They are the people who continue to push the region in the right direction when it comes to most every business sector from making products and providing services to tourism.

Grand Rapids Business Journal will honor those decision makers Wednesday, Jan. 27, at its annual Newsmakers of the Year breakfast at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Tickets for the event, which begins at 7:30 a.m., are $30 and are available here.

The Business Journal reporters and editors have completed the vetting process and agreed on the nominees in each of the following 16 categories: Arts and Entertainment, Beverages, Economic Development, Education, Finance, Food, Health Care, Law, Manufacturing, Nonprofits/Philanthropy, Real Estate/Construction, Retail, Sports, Startups, Sustainability and Technology.

The top selection from each category will be recognized with an industry Newsmaker award — and from those 16, the Newsmaker of the Year will be selected.

Last year, Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid, took home the Newsmaker of the Year Award.

The top Newsmaker in each category and the overall Newsmaker of the Year will be announced during the event.

2015 Newsmaker of the Year finalists

Arts & Entertainment

David Hooker, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Lorain Smalligan, LowellArts!

Rick DeVos, ArtPrize


Michael Brower, Pigeon Hill

Kyle Van Strien and Jon O’Connor, Long Road Distillers

Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, Founders Brewing Co.

Economic Development

Cindy Larsen, Muskegon Chamber of Commerce, Jonathan Seyferth, Downtown Muskegon, and Ed Garner, Muskegon Area First

Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage

Brian Ryks, Gerald R. Ford International Airport


Teresa Weatherall Neal, Grand Rapids Public Schools

John Dunn, Western Michigan University

Thomas Haas, Grand Valley State University


Sandy Jelinski, Lake Michigan Credit Union

Jason Wenk, FormulaFolio Investments

Dave Ramaker, Chemical Financial Corp.


Rick Scalise, Hearthside

Stephen Herbruck, Herbruck Poultry Ranch

John Bryant, Kellogg Co.

Health Care

Bill Manns, Saint Mary’s Mercy Health, and Deb Lyzenga, Michigan Works!

Rick Breon, Spectrum Health

Kent Riddle, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital


Stephanie Hoffer and Sheila Eddy, Smith Haughey

Doug Donnell, Mika Meyers, and John Anding, Drew Cooper Anding

Gaetan Gerville-Reach, Warner Norcross


Keith Rayborn, Plasan North America

Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos, Amway Corp.

Rick Demuynck, General Motors Corp.


Tami VandenBerg, Well House

Kathy Crosby, Goodwill Industries

Richard M. DeVos

Real Estate/Construction

Mike Mraz, Rockford Real Estate Development

Derek Coppess, 616 Development

David Levitt, Third Coast Development


Darla Sevok, Trader Joe’s

Steven Tanger, Tanger Family Outlet Centers

Scott Wierda, CWD Real Estate Investment


Lew Chamberlin, West Michigan Whitecaps

Bruce Israel, Muskegon Lumberjacks

Matt Roberts, Grand Rapids Football Club


Ryan Vaughn, Varsity News Network

Nathan Owen, Blue Medora

Jeff Courter, Sportsman Tracker


Greg Northrup, Sustainable Partners LLC

Kristen Wieland, Kent County Department of Public Works

Seth Yon, Greener Grads


Mat Nguyen, Worksighted

Meredith Bronk, Open Systems Technologies

Carl Erickson, Atomic Object

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