Coppess cops Newsmaker Award


Derek Coppess of 616 Development talks about the passion he has for West Michigan. Photo by Johnny Quirin

It’s been said it takes a village to nurture something through to completion, but in the case of Derek Coppess, it’s more like a tribe.

The 616 Development founder and managing director on Wednesday was named the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 2013 Newsmaker of the Year for his work with developing the Lofts residential projects throughout West Michigan. Coppess often refers to his communities as “tribes” and strives to get tenants involved in the neighborhoods in which they are locating.

“Oh, my gosh. There should be 100 people up here with me,” Coppess said upon accepting the award. “This is just amazing and I am so grateful.”

Coppess was one of 10 individuals to earn Newsmaker honors in separate industries, with his recognition coming in the Real Estate/Development/Construction category. Of those 10 winners, Coppess was judged by the Journal’s editorial staff to be the overall 2013 Newsmaker of the Year.

The names of the 10 winners, selected from among 30 finalists, were revealed at the sold-out event at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

The winners by category included:

  • 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

Also honored at the event were Rick DeVos and Start Garden, which picked up the Impact Award for the organization’s long-term economic influence on West Michigan.

“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.”

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