Nonprofit names director of disaster response services


Bob Laarman. Courtesy World Renew

A local disaster-relief nonprofit has appointed a man with nearly 30 years at the organization as its North American head of disaster response.

Grand Rapids-based World Renew said last month it has hired Bob Laarman, who has been with World Renew since 1984, as director of disaster response services.

Laarman will begin his role on Oct. 3, replacing Andrew Ryskamp.  

“Bob brings relational strength to the job and embodies the vision and values of the organization,” said Carol Bremer-Bennett, director, U.S. World Renew. “We are confident in his leadership and look forward to how he will lead the team for the future.”

Laarman said the role is “a great opportunity that combines many of my skills and experiences, including hands-on re-construction, working with volunteers, networking, fundraising and so much more.”

Laarman’s background

Since joining World Renew in 1984, Laarman has held a variety of roles within the organization.

A graduate of Calvin College, Laarman’s career at World Renew began with an international assignment in Honduras, before he and his wife, Laurie, spent eight years as community development consultants in World Renew’s initial program implementation in Ecuador.

In 1993, Laarman spent four months as the disaster response services coordinator for Hurricane Andrew in Miami, before briefly leaving the organization to become volunteer coordinator and self-help program manager with Home Repair Services of Kent County. While in this role, Laarman recruited and placed volunteers and managed programs to support low-income homeowners with home maintenance.

Laarman returned to World Renew in 1998, where he has served as church relations administrator, constituency relations team leader and associate director of donor relations.

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