Metro Council’s steering committee is in place


Even though Gov. Rick Snyder hasn’t awarded the grant, the Grand Valley Metro Council is ready to go to work.

“In typical West Michigan fashion, we are moving forward in preparation. The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance will be ready to begin work after the holidays, if we are successful in our grant application,” said John Weiss, GVMC executive director.

The West Michigan Prosperity Alliance is ready because its 25-member steering committee has been selected (see sidebar).

Committee members have backgrounds in planning, transportation, education, economic development, work-force boards and business throughout the region.

“The group will work to develop a Regional Prosperity Plan, as well as conduct three large community conversations with stakeholders from the region,” said Weiss.

“Efforts will also focus on developing a list of projects of regional economic significance, which will have great impact on our area,” he added.

Snyder unveiled his Regional Prosperity Initiative last August, an effort that has targeted 10 separate regions in the state. His office named the Metro Council as this area’s fiduciary, a region that covers 13 counties. GVMC applied for a $250,000 program grant in November. The grant is expected to be awarded this month.

Members of the WMPA steering committee

Dave Bee, West Michigan Regional Planning Commission

Sean Dey, West Michigan Shoreline Regional Planning Commission

Steve Bulthuis, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council

Rick Chapla, The Right Place

Kevin Stotts, Talent 2025

Valerie Byrnes, Barry County Economic Development Alliance

Ed Garner, Muskegon First

Randy Thelen, Lakeshore Advantage

Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Muskegon Community College

Fiona Hert, Grand Rapids Community College

Julie Van Dyke, West Shore Community College

Michael O’Connor, Holland-Zeeland Adult Education

Kathleen Sullivan, consultant

Doug Wood, Orchard View Public Schools

Jacob Maas, Kent-Allegan Michigan Works

Debbie Groeneveld, Muskegon-Oceana Michigan Works

Paul Griffith, Michigan Works West Central

Andy Johnston, West Michigan Chamber Alliance

Jim Sandy, Mecosta County Economic Alliance

Roger Stafford, Michigan Department of Transportation

Bill Raymond, Ottawa County Michigan Works

Jim Fisher, Padnos Inc.

Simone Jonaitis, Grand Valley State University

Linda Brand, Model Communities Initiative

John Weiss, Grand Valley Metro Council

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