MUSKEGON — With quite a bit of construction, new developments and many changes for downtown Muskegon, one of the area’s business leaders has made a change, as well.
Gary Post retired as president of Muskegon Construction as of June 1.
“I’ve been in the business 35 years, always with Owen-Ames-Kimball and Muskegon Construction,” said Post, who is serving as the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce’s chairman. “I maybe felt it was an opportunity for a little change in direction.”
With a restructuring of Muskegon Construction, an O-A-K company, Post said he thought he would take advantage of the changes and make his exit. Kevin Donovan, who has been with the company for 10 years, has taken over as president.
Despite retiring from Muskegon Construction, Post said he is not in retirement. He and partner Russ Strong, president of Muskegon Office Interiors and Grand Rapids Office Furniture, formed Western Avenue Properties LLC and are getting close to closing with Downtown Muskegon Development Corp. on three buildings at the former Muskegon Mall site. The company is in the process of buying and renovating the Daniel’s Office Supply, Muskegon Savings Bank and Century Club buildings, three of five buildings remaining on the former Muskegon Mall site.
“We have a purchase agreement and we’re in the process of doing due diligence,” Post said.
Post said his involvement in the downtown and being the chairman of Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce — also soon to be located at the mall site — influenced his decision to retire.
“All that timing just seemed to be right for me to step aside — switch gears,” he said.
Along with the three properties, Post said there are other opportunities that Western Avenue Properties may be pursuing downtown. In addition to the company he owns with Strong, Post said he is in the process of setting up a new company through which he would provide development and construction consulting services.
Post said he’s seen a lot of interest in downtown Muskegon, and he wants to make sure the interest stays there.
“I think people are just looking for someone to take that first step to see some things happen.”
Meanwhile, Muskegon Construction’s new president said he is excited to be leading the firm.
“I look forward to the challenges that it provides me,” Kevin Donovan said. “I’ve been in the construction industry for more than 25 years. The efforts recently to right-size the company here in Muskegon has left me with the dubious task of heading up this operation and trying to move ahead with maybe a more ‘lean and mean’ machine, so to speak.”
With a less active market, Donovan said there are some challenges, but he hopes the company will be able to continue to focus on institutional, municipal and specialty construction work.
“We certainly hope that things are picking up a little bit,” said Donovan, a carpenter by trade and a member of the Muskegon Public Schools Board of Education. He also is on the board of the Irish Music Festival and president of the local Muskegon Irish-American Society.
Donovan said he is interested in the development and construction of downtown, of which he said Post is going to be a vital part.
“Gary’s efforts with Western Avenue Properties is a key ingredient, and I think Gary will have a lot of success with that as he moves ahead and hopefully involves us with the endeavors with those pieces of property down there,” he said.
After working with Post for 10 years, Donovan said he will be missed.
“I’ll also move ahead (as a) better person for being under his leadership and tutelage for the past 10 years,” he said. “I think it’s maybe the corporation’s loss and Muskegon’s gain.”