Entrepreneur to receive global awareness award

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Bing Goei. Courtesy World Affairs Council of Western Michigan

A local business owner will receive an award for bringing international awareness to West Michigan.

The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan (WACWM) will present the 2022 Hillman-Orr Award to Bing Goei, president and CEO of Eastern Floral and founder of the Goei Center in downtown Grand Rapids.

The annual Hillman-Orr Award honors a West Michigan individual or institution that mirrors the intent of the council’s founding leaders to bring global awareness and international understanding to West Michigan.

According to the council, Goei has been a lifelong leader in welcoming new Americans from every corner of the world to West Michigan.

“Bing Goei’s family … fled an oppressive government and saw America as the chance for a new start with unlimited possibilities,” said Michael Van Denend, executive director of WACWM. “We in West Michigan are deeply fortunate that Bing made his home here to lead us in this worthy pursuit.”

Goei, who was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, was the first Asian American to serve as chair of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and the first to head the Office of Race Relations, an agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

He also was the first director of the Michigan Office for New Americans, established by former Gov. Rick Snyder to promote the entrepreneurial spirit of immigrant communities.

In addition, Goei started the International Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence to boost women- and minority-owned businesses.

Marie Yovanovitch. Courtesy Jennifer Watkins

WACWM also will award the 2022 Vandenberg Prize to former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2016-19.

The Vandenberg Prize honors a national or international leader who has been influential in developing understanding and collaboration on the world stage.

Yovanovitch and Goei will receive their awards during a luncheon at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel on Friday, June 24.

The awards are made possible through the support of The Meijer Foundation, Amway and Bank of America.

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