The Many Newsmaking Nominees

    Today’s Economic Club luncheon features more than the usual fare: namely, the Grand Rapids Business Journal 2004 Newsmaker of the Year Award.

    The 10 finalists, named in the introductory story above, are profiled in this site throughout the week, and the site will identify the winner early this afternoon.

    The Journal’s Editorial Board selected the winner from among 10 contenders, but a whole host of nominees were brought to the table for projects that occurred during 2003.

    And while they didn’t attain finalist status, they were part of the fabric that made up West Michigan’s business community in 2003. During its selection process, which was spread out over the course of several meetings, the Editorial Board discussed everything from attorneys and architects to zebras and Zechs Beer. And pantyhose.

    Here are some of the nominees the Editorial Board considered for this year’s honor:

    • The effort behind the new Grand Rapids Art Museum in Grand Rapids.
    • Reestablished cross-lake ferry service between Muskegon and Milwaukee.
    • The joint effort between Steelcase and JCI for automotive seating.
    • Zeeland Hospital’s expansion plans.
    • Retooling of Meijer stores to become more shopper-friendly.
    • Interurban Transit Partnership’s service upgrades and new transportation center.
    • Moch International’s residential housing towers in Monroe North.
    • Ford International Airport’s master plan.
    • Urban housing projects in downtown locales.
    • John Logie’s 12-year run as GRMAYOR.
    • PDRs in Kent and Ottawa counties.
    • West Michigan Strategic Alliance’s land use plans.
    • The office furniture industry’s freefall.
    • Local public companies’ performances in the face of a sagging economy.
    • Pfizer/Pharmacia Fiasco.
    • Life Sciences Corridor funding cuts.
    • Use of biodiesel fuel blends in Grand Rapids city vehicles.
    • A proposed zoo and wildlife park in Grand Rapids Township.
    • West Michigan Center for Family Health’s insurance plan for small firms.
    • Bill’s Pills prescription drug plan.
    • Conduit Healthcare’s move to Grand Rapids.
    • Spectrum Health’s formation of a multi-hospital purchasing network.
    • Formation of the Small Business Technology Development Center.
    • Grand Rapids and Holland chamber president vacancies occurring the same day.
    • Mayor George Heartwell’s plan for Grand Rapids.
    • Bank One’s new attire standards.
    • Headway unions made at West Michigan manufacturers.
    • Local marketing of Zechs Beer as a national brand.
    • Leadership changes at Magna Donnelly Corp. in Holland.
    • Metro Hospital’s whistleblower lawsuit and resulting federal settlement.
    • Holland Hospital’s $46 million expansion plan.
    • DeVos and Van Andel families’ plans for a downtown hotel.
    • The emergence of a new restaurant/shop from the Gilmore Group in downtown Grand Rapids called Bite. It’s the only place you can buy pantyhose downtown.

    While these nominees did not make the Editorial Board’s top 10, they certainly are worthy of honorable mention based on their impact in West Michigan.           

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