Workforce agency appoints leaders


Dave Smith. Courtesy West Michigan Works!

A newly formed regional workforce entity has its leadership in place.

West Michigan Works! announced recently that its Workforce Development Board has selected Dave Smith, president and CEO of The Employers’ Association, and Jim Fisher, director of Padnos, as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the executive committee.

Chair appointment

Smith has worked for TEA since 1989 and been involved with workforce issues since 1992 when he began serving on the Private Industry Council. Prior to his current executive committee appointment, Smith also served as board chair for the Michigan Works! agencies serving Kent, Allegan and Barry counties.

Smith said he appreciates the opportunity to serve and looks forward to working with an accomplished group of business professionals.

“While much has been accomplished individually during the past several years, there is more that can be done as we collectively work to make West Michigan a better place to live and work,” said Smith.

Vice chair appointment

Fisher, director of Padnos Aluminum, is currently on the steering committee of the Michigan Region 4 Prosperity Initiative and served as the immediate past chair of the Workforce Development Board of Muskegon-Oceana Counties. He is also the founding president of Talent 2025.

“Since residents regularly cross county boundaries while traveling to and from work, our new regional organization can embrace best practices and provide the best possible resources to support both employers and job seekers,” said Fisher.

The board

As chair and vice-chair, Smith and Fisher will play a role in forming executive committee recommendations.

Jacob Maas, chief executive officer of West Michigan Works!, said during the past two years both Fisher and Smith have served in key roles during the organization’s regional transition.

“We are pleased Dave Smith and Jim Fisher are providing their leadership to the West Michigan Works! Workforce Development Board,” said Maas.

As the four Michigan Works! Agencies transitioned into West Michigan Works! by October, a steering committee selected more than 30 individuals to represent Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Muskegon, Montcalm and Ottawa counties from all existing board members. The executive committee will have 11 members.

Board members

The West Michigan Works! Workforce Development Board includes:

Bruce Adair, Lakeshore Advantage

Mark Bergsma, Berends Hendricks Stuit

Paul Billings, West Michigan Community Help Network

Nora Balgoyen-Williams, Allegan County Economic Development

Ryan Bennett, West Michigan Plumbers Pipefitters & Service Trades

Randy Boss, Ottawa Kent Insurance

Norm Brady, Associated Builders and Contractors Inc., West Michigan Chapter

Cindy Brown, Hello West Michigan

Kenyatta Brame, Cascade Engineering 

John Buchan, Autocam

Cathy Cronick, Michigan Rehabilitation Services

Jay Dunwell, Wolverine Coil Spring

Bob Ferrentino, Montcalm Community College

Jim Fisher, Padnos

Ed Garner, Muskegon Area First

Dave Hatfield, Barry County Chamber of Commerce

Heather Gluszewski, Haworth

Rebecca Herrington, Perrigo

Jon Hofman, Holland Board of Public Works

Win Irwin, Irwin Seating Co.

Roberto Jara, Destination Education

Mark Mangione, West Michigan Plumbers Pipefitters & Service Trades

Scott McClean, New Horizons Computer Learning Centers

Bill Pink, Grand Rapids Community College

Val Putnam, Ottawa Area ISD

Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Muskegon Community College

Michelle Seigo, Department of Health and Human Services, Ionia/Montcalm

Samantha Semrau, Hastings Manufacturing Co.

Dave Smith, The Employers' Association

Dan TenHoopen, Heart of West Michigan United Way, Labor Liaison – AFL-CIO

Roger Thelen, United Way Montcalm-Ionia

Therese Thill, The Right Place

Mark Thomas, Northview Schools

Shana Welch, Mercy Health

Sherry White, Hines Corp.

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