Lakeshore hub honoring Innovator of the Year finalists


The 25,000-square-foot GVSU Muskegon Innovation Hub is for entrepreneurs and startups. Photo via

The Lakeshore Innovator of the Year will be named this week.

Five groups/individuals have been selected as finalists for the first-ever award, presented by Grand Valley State University’s Muskegon Innovation Hub.

The award is meant to recognize the “most innovative ideas on the lakeshore.”

The Lakeshore Innovator of the Year will be announced at a ceremony this Thursday at 5 p.m. at the hub in Muskegon, at 200 Viridian Dr.

The free event is open to the public and includes light refreshments.

Lakeshore Innovator of the Year finalists

Matt Pinter, design engineer, Smart Vision Lights

Launched the company, a maker of specialty LED lighting, which has grown over two decades and is undergoing an expansion.

John Bilsky, certified master water specialist

Pioneered a process that helps recycle water used in the auto parts manufacturing process.

Kristin Chmela and Julie Raynor, co-founders, Camp Shout Out

Created the camp that serves as residential training and therapy for children 8-18 who stutter, as well as trains speech and language pathologists and graduate students.

Muskegon Area Career Tech Center machine/engineering class

Instructors: Kathy Van Til and Brent Nummerdor. Students Jackson Huizenga, Liam Johnson, Jacob Loudermilk, Everett Emory, Michael Dixon, Ethan McKenzie and Kyle Morris.

Created a specialized desk designed for a student at Oehrli Elementary in Montague who uses a camera and an iPad to assist with visual and mobility issues.

Rick Smith, president and CEO, HyVIDA Brands

Produced a process to infuse hydrogen, rather than carbon dioxide, into beverages.

Muskegon Innovation Hub

The Muskegon Innovation Hub is a business innovation center that provides business incubation, co-working space, funding assistance, events and programming.

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