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A publication of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce March 2012 | Vol. 12 | No. 03

ATHENA Scholarship Fundraiser

This year marks the 12th year of the ATHENA Scholarship program in Grand Rapids! More than $35,000 in scholarships has been awarded to women in the community. The ATHENA Scholarship program is designed to offer support to women over 30 who are working toward their college degree. These scholarships are unique in that they can be used toward any expense that aids a woman in achieving her academic goals, whether it’s tuition, books, childcare, or Continued on page 2


This Issue

Ribbon Cuttings - 3 Effectively Engage Employees - 6 Upcoming Events - 9 Newsflashes - 10

Workplaces Embracing New Trends Could Lead to Better Business Change is defined by MerriamWebster a number of ways: to make different, to replace with another, to undergo a modification. Life is ever changing and the workplace/workforce is no exception. The way business is conducted has radically changed from 50 or 60 years ago heavily influenced by employees themselves and really the way business is generally conducted. Gone are the days when employees clocked in at eight o’clock in the morning and the whistle blew at five signaling another day is done. There are a number of employees in today’s world working from home, essentially making the office a meeting place where mobile workers occasionally gather to go over projects and meet with senior leaders. The assumption has been that work is a “full-time job.” However, employees are now wanting to sandwich work around other priorities in their lives. The new mentality being that life is first, work is second. Employers have seen this especially with more women in the workforce demanding flexible hours. Another key driving force in this change is that there is a new generation of entrepreneurial graduates who don’t want to work for one employer long term. With employees having different schedules and flex working conditions the traditional chain of command is also changing, creating a more level corporate structure. since employees can be out of the office eight hours a day, superiors can no longer manage in the traditional style. Instead of measuring how their employees work and the number of hours put in, employers are now managing the output of work. As long as projects are completed on time and the outcome is what is desired, employers are becoming more lenient about how long it took to complete the project. Grand Rapids based web marketing and development company, Mindscape at Hanon Continued on page 7

CHAMBER NOTES West Coast Virtual Visit to Grand Rapids Improving Air Service in West Michigan Students from Mark Twain Middle School in Silverton, Oregon could probably give some Grand Rapidians a run for their money when it comes to selling our great city. Kathleen Kelly, a teacher at Mark Twain, visited the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s website when her daughter decided to attend college here. Using the site, Kelly was able to navigate her daughter through her new home base. When she later visited her daughter, she was taken with how amazing Grand Rapids truly is. Before leaving, Kelly bought some postcards to take back to her students for an assignment, which had them pretending they worked for the Chamber. The students were so engrossed in the project that it lead to a hefty unit based on Grand Rapids, and she even had the students inventing catchy slogans to entice people to visit the city. Kelly contacted the Chamber regarding the outcome of the project and shared several of the posters students created. It was a treat for the Chamber to see the students’ feedback on this great city, and who knows, maybe those students could become business leaders in Grand Rapids down the road!

ATHENA Scholarship, from page 1 transportation. If you know of a candidate who may benefit from this scholarship, please encourage her to visit her college or university’s financial aid office or visit Application deadline is May 4, 2012. If you’re interested in donating to the ATHENA Scholarship, or would like a fun night out to support this great cause, then the ATHENA Stylish Soiree Scholarship Fundraiser is for you! Guests can pick up this season’s fashionable accessories while networking, and enjoy make-up touch ups and stress relieving treatments. Funds raised from this event will go towards this year’s scholarships. Date | Wednesday, April 11 Time | 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Location | i3 Business Solutions, 560 5th St. NW Suite #404 Cost | $20 in advance if registered eg by April 9 or $25 at the door Sponsored by:

The Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan (RAAWM) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring “Best in Class” commercial air service and strives to allow for continued economic growth and ongoing improvement in the quality of life for both residents and West Michigan businesses. On February 22, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce co-hosted a breakfast briefing along with RAAWM to provide an update on the status of commercial air service in West Michigan. To date, this strategic regional effort has resulted in improved commercial air service as well as airfare savings of approximately $45 million annually. Dick DeVos, Chairman of the Alliance, said the decision by Southwest Airlines to maintain operations in West Michigan following the merger integration with AirTran Airways represents their confidence in being able to service the region profitably and continues to reinforce the progress that’s already been made by RAAWM and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in regards to improving commercial air service. The Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan strongly encourages members of the Chamber to get involved in this strategic effort initiative by RAAWM. If you would, please consider making a contribution in the following ways: 1) A financial contribution of $2,000 - $10,000 (payable over 2 years) and/or, 2) Provide data related to your company’s air travel (all information will remain confidential and will NOT be shared with anyone) in support of RAAWM’s effort to better understand and communicate the travel patterns of businesses in West Michigan. In regards to either effort to support RAAWM, please contact Andy Johnston at johnstona@grand or call 616.771.0335. To learn more about the Alliance, please visit

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March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast

RIBBON CUTTINGS Congratulations to the following members who celebrated grand openings, anniversaries and new additions! If you have an upcoming groundbreaking, grand opening, product launch event or other reason to celebrate, visit www. to see how we can help. We even bring the giant scissors!

Udecon celebrated the completion of their office renovation and expansion with an open house and ribbon cutting event.

The Rapid celebrated the opening of the Wealthy Street Operations Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Great Lakes Bottling hosted an open house and ribbon cutting celebration at their new state of the art facility.

The renovations are completed at Empire Beauty School. The Chamber joined their team for an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony.

A ribbon cutting was held by H&S Companies marking the completion of their Grand Rapids location renovations.

Congratulations are extended to Metron Integrated Health Systems on the celebration of their 35th anniversary.

Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids broke ground for their new Cascade Goodwill store on Kraft Ave SE.

Newk’s Express CafÊ celebrated the grand opening of their first Michigan location in Grand Rapids.

DPT has tripled their office space and celebrated their relocation with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Chamber News Editorial Policy Articles written by outside authors do not necessarily reflect the view or position of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. The position of the Chamber will be clearly stated. The Chamber reserves the right to reject advertising based on content and does not accept advertising that conflicts with a position of the Chamber. The advertising of products and services in The Chamber News does not necessarily represent endorsement by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber News (USPS 357-010) is published monthly by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, 111 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. p: 616.771.0300 | f: 616.771.0318 | w: Editor: Latricia Trice | 616.771.0332 | Advertising: Leslee Fritz | 616.771.0357 | Second Class Periodical Postage Paid at Grand Rapids, MI. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Chamber News at the address above

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Masthead photo: Downtown Grand Rapids.

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast



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March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast

MEMBERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT The Chamber News helps you get to know fellow members by profiling two organizations in each issue.



Edgeline Resources, LLC describes themselves as the “people stuff” consultants. They help your businesses focus on the people side of the business or organization, so you can focus on doing what your mission directs.

Van’s Pattern Corp. started in the basement of founder Ebel Vander Molen’s home in late 1959. Incorporated in 1960, Van’s has been a steady influence on the machine tool and automotive industries ever since. It is currently located on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids and is considered one of the premier pattern making facilities in the country.

They offer a number of services to help make your business team a stronger one, which include: large group team building events, team coaching and development, personal and executive coaching, executive performance appraisal, individual, management and leadership assessment, leadership development and retreat facilitation. Their approach is experiential and draws upon adult learning practices. Believing that any group is only as effective as the relationships of its members, Edgeline interventions emphasize the interaction between group members while they are completing a task. Edgeline Resources, LLC is widely recognized as specialists in the experiential approach to training and development. They are also an award winning distributer for Inscape Publishing, authors of the DiSC® family of assessments, and have been involved in the facilitation of the Leadership Grand Rapids retreat for the past 20 years. Owner and CEO, Dave Vermilye, values the many benefits of being a Chamber member citing that the CEO Roundtable program has been extremely beneficial. He also states that having an organization looking out for their interests at the state level is reassuring. To learn more about Edgeline Resources, LLC , visit their website at

Van’s Pattern manufactures polystyrene patterns for the automotive and machine tool industry. Essentially, they supply the tool and die shops with the patterns that they require to produce the stamping dies that stamp out the parts to cars. The company works on cars one to two years before they will actually be ready for sale. Majority of their work is automotive and they have produced patterns for parts on Honda, Chrysler, General Motors, Volkswagen, BMW and Toyota vehicles. They also produce machine tool patterns that may go into the construction of a wind turbine, railroad car or a large valve etc. With state of the art computer controlled CNC machines and a highly trained CAD department, Van’s has the experience to meet your pattern making needs. Their reputation for honesty and quality is well known in the industry. In the last three years they have increased employment by 40 percent and added several new CNC’s which has increased their capacity substantially. “I appreciate the Chamber being a force for the business side of the equation in public policy,” said Dan Vander Molen, President of Van’s Pattern Corporation. Visit Van’s Pattern at for more information.

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast


FIVE STRATEGIES TO EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE EMPLOYEES By Alison Brown, Ph.D., CEO – ENCOMPASS EAP & WorkLife Strategies All employers want their employees to be as engaged as possible for various reasons. Research indicates that engaged employees are better performers, better motivated, and as a result help their companies to become more profitable. There are plenty of examples to support this as well – so why doesn’t this condition permeate the workplace? Here are five strategies to effectively engage employees and when they are in place, the workplace will reflect a more engaged culture. 1. Listen to your employees - often they are in the best position to identify efficiencies, waste and other issues that create loss of time, product and of course, money. A classic example is the story of the Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation when in the economic downturn during the 80’s, an employee, who swept floors, ran into the boss one evening and made a suggestion. The idea— to remanufacture engines for cars, during a time when people were financially strapped and having difficulty purchasing new cars— literally secured the company’s future. This also spawned the book, “The Great Game of Business” written by Jack Stack— a great read! 2. Assess the needs of employees regularly - this means that you actively approach garnering a culture of engagement by interacting through supervisors, managers, H.R. and others who may help you to best determine what the needs of employees are, along with what they aspire to. Beyond a conversation that focuses on what happened, or didn’t happen last year, this type of conversation sets the tone for new and different expectations.

Gen X’ers and Millenials have lots of ideas, and the future of your business depends upon them. By giving people the opportunity to experience in-depth learning regarding a variety of jobs within the company, and how those jobs interrelate, their assessment may lead to new products/services. Another great read, “The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation” by Rainer. 4. Reward effort - recognize those employees who are willing to take appropriate risks and then thank them. Buy them a quick cup of coffee. Take them to lunch! Make eye contact and offer a sincere “thank you” for their work. People respond very well to appreciative feedback when delivered in a sincere manner. The reward itself isn’t the focal point – it is the recognition of the person’s efforts and attempts to create something better for your company/organization. 5. Encourage balance - West Michigan has long been known to be a “family friendly” community, yet that doesn’t always effectively translate to today’s lean work cultures. Millenials are not hungry for the same fare served up by many of the baby boomers – family time and activities are a higher priority than long hours at work and longevity with one company/ organization. Most would agree that balance is challenging to attain with multiple demands within our work and personal lives. Providing work/life tools and resources, i.e. access to child and eldercare, along with equitable policies and procedures to strategically convey flexibility, may be the single most important benefit offered by corporations today.

This approach communicates to the employee two important concepts: 1) that they are valued within the workplace and 2) you expect their performance to be at its best, even as it may require further development. This translates into overall better performance and productivity for the company/organization. Many resources for learning and development are available from a variety of sources, ranging from the library to online learning subscriptions, etc.

You can’t attract and retain the brightest and the best, nor engage them, if they are constantly worried about the quality of care being provided to their children or their elderly parents. Flexibility through work/life initiatives is just as important to many newcomers in the workplace as take-home pay or type of work. West Michigan is a great place to work and to live, so work/life policies and procedures are an essential part of employee engagement.

3. Value diversity beyond lip service - our dynamic and evolving global economy and generational differences demand accommodation of differences, but more importantly, that we capitalize on those differences! As new generations enter the workforce, they need to find (and want to create) a place to stand – and they aren’t willing to wait five or fifteen years to do that.

By being intentional to engage employees your company or organization will likely reap the benefits for both the short and long-term.


March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast

Alison Brown, Ph.D., is the CEO of ENCOMPASS EAP & WorkLife Strategies. Her firm provides individual and organizational consult to West Michigan businesses and is certified through WBENC. For more information contact: (800) 788-8630

Using the Chamber to Welcome and Develop Your Talent Nothing is more powerful for business and our community than people – the perspectives they share, the conversations they spark, and the action they take. Encouraging the diversity of our people is the key to creating a community where everyone is welcome and where businesses thrive through new ideas. The Chamber is your ally on the road to creating a more diverse workforce. We work alongside businesses as they welcome, connect, and engage the talent they need. Our inclusion and community leadership programs include: Cultural Experience: This immersive tour is ideal for newcomers and long-time community members alike. Join us in exploring Grand Rapids’ history and best-kept secrets. We’ll learn from shop owners who are meeting the unique needs of their ethnic communities, catch coffee at a bakery that reflects two cultures, and much more. This is a fun way to meet new people and discover the rich stories that are in your own backyard. Multiracial Association of Professionals: For professionals wanting the fast track to meaningful connections and finding roots in West Michigan, MAP is the place to start. MAP offers welcome services for professionals and interns of color who are new to the area, social events for professionals of all backgrounds and more. Leadership Grand Rapids: For more than 25 years, hundreds of alumni from Leadership Grand Rapids have been at the forefront of initiatives that have shaped Grand Rapids into the unique community it has become. Through this 9-month community leadership development program, participants grow

personally and professionally while enhancing leadership skills. They join other current and emerging leaders from diverse disciplines to become immersed in the challenges and opportunities facing our community while developing a comprehensive understanding of our community’s social, cultural, civic, and economic issues. If you are interested in being part of the 2013 class for the Leadership Grand Rapids program, applications are being accepted through May 4, 2012. Emerging Leaders Series: Designed for young professionals in their 20s who have a passion for growing professionally and becoming actively engaged in the community, this program offers a unique mix of community connections, leadership skills, professional development and engagement opportunities. For a complete list of Chamber inclusion and leadership development programs, visit and

New Trends Better Business , from page 1 Mckendry, implemented a more flexible schedule benefiting their employees, but saw that it in turned increased productivity. “We found by going to a four day, ten-hour work week, our employees had more time to focus on projects when they are in the office and really put quality work into them, but that they also benefited from having one more day to recharge and enjoy their own time,” says Pete Brand, Co-Founder of Mindscape. “Employers can’t use the old ram rod way of managing. They need to take care of the talent they have or they will lose them to someone else.” Another major reason for workplace change is due to the continuous change of global companies. There is increasing competition around the globe, which leads to the need of finding talented workers, increase productivity and lower costs. The change even starts in college. Curriculums are changing and becoming more competitive, and students are being taught how to be more entrepreneurial, how to solve complex problems and the need of being able to adapt in an ever changing environment.

Although these changes are being taught at the academic level, this new world of work, continuing education and lifelong learning is a skill current employees will need to possess. They will need to be open to change careers in mid-life. Instead of the whistle blowing at five, employees now answer to vibrations, dings and rings of cell phones and laptops whenever work or life calls.

Attract and Retain Skilled Workers Do you need assistance in attracting and retaining top talent for your growing company? Hello West Michigan can help your organization. This member-based program promotes West Michigan as a place where business thrives and people want to live and work. Its website communicates the economic vitality and quality of life found in West Michigan and presents a positive message for those without prior knowledge of the region. Its online portal for employers allows them to share recruitment best practices, job openings, potential candidates and other resources. Visit for more information.

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast


A Smart Investment: Early Childhood Education By Rick Baker, President & CEO, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce As Michigan continues to emerge from the economic recession, many of the state’s policy makers and business leaders rank increasing Michigan’s competitive business climate as a top priority. We know if we remain committed to education, reinforce our long term workforce development strategies, and control our tax burden by using scarce resources wisely, Michigan will be well positioned to compete in the global marketplace. To create opportunities for business success, we need our legislators to focus on the bottom line and spend each and every penny of our tax dollars as wisely as possible – on programs with a proven record of success. At the same time, as Michigan works hard to diversify our economy and strengthen our business climate, we need to invest in the foundation of a 21st century workforce: our children. For both of these reasons, I and other business leaders in the state are pleased to see attention given to voluntary, evidencebased home visiting programs, which help at-risk children and families. Nearly 25 percent of children in Michigan don’t graduate from high school. Not surprisingly, my colleagues across the state regularly see job applicants and employees who lack fundamental skills, like problem solving and the ability to work in teams. The foundation of these critical skills is built in the earliest years of life, when infants and toddlers are forming relationships with their parents and caregivers. Unfortunately, statistics paint a grim picture for too many infants and toddlers in Michigan. Twenty-three percent of children in our state live in poverty – up from 14 percent in 2000. Our infant mortality rate, or percentage of babies that do not survive their first year of life, is well above the national average. Perhaps most shocking, child abuse and neglect increased 34 percent over the last decade. These results are gut-wrenching. They’re also tremendously expensive – for individuals, families, businesses, and our state. Yet, just as the root of these challenges lies in the earliest years, so does the solution. Michigan offers several programs for those families most likely to experience these challenges, including voluntary home visiting, which matches new parents with trained professionals who provide information and support during pregnancy and through their child’s early years. These programs benefit both mother and child. For example, research on one high-quality home visitation program showed that participating mothers experienced an 82 percent increase in the number of months they were employed by their child’s fourth birthday, while their children were half as likely to be abused or neglected.


March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast

And these early gains are proven to last, building our workforce and saving taxpayers money. Participating children were 56 percent more likely to graduate from high school – making them better prepared for the jobs of the future. The total benefits to society can reach $41,000 per family served – saving nearly six dollars for every dollar invested. That’s a return on investment I can support. By improving the lives of high-risk families, evidence-based programs can help meet the needs of Michigan’s businesses; we can expect to get a better prepared, more competitive workforce, and the state will spend fewer taxpayer dollars down the road. Currently, Michigan doesn’t track where and how it spends all of its home visitation dollars so legislators and taxpayers can’t know if we’re getting the expected returns on public investments. Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyon’s intends to change this by introducing legislation that will require the state to invest in programs with a base of evidence, rigorously monitor programs for outcomes, as well as, track spending. Success in business depends on making smart decisions based on data about what works. Decisions about how our tax dollars are used should be made in the same way. At a time when budget priorities are being debated and dollars are scarce, this bill will help ensure the state invests in programs that produce real results for at-risk children, their parents, the business community, and our state economy. If we want to be able to fill the jobs on which our future prosperity depends, I urge business leaders and policy makers to help create the workforce we need today – and tomorrow - by supporting efforts to direct funding to proven home visitation programs with a track record of success.

Upcoming Chamber events - register today! To Register Unless otherwise noted, register for events at www. Or, call the RSVP hot line at 616.771.0303 (please have your credit card information handy when you call). Questions about events? Call 616.771.0300. Special needs: Vegetarian meals are available, please let us know your dietary requirements when registering. Reasonable arrangements for people with disabilities will be made if requested in advance. Registration and Cancellation Policy: Prepayment of events is required and guarantees a reservation. Cancellations must be received at least two business days prior to an event to be eligible for a full refund. No-shows will be billed.

March 6 - 7 | Facing Racism An intensive, two-day Institute for Healing Racism program that works to eliminate individual and institutional racism. Time | 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (both days) Location | Catholic Diocese, 360 Division Ave. S. Cost | Members: $200/person from nonprofit organizations, $300/person from for-profit. $50 extra for future members.

7 | New Member Connections Begin your involvement with the Chamber by networking with other new members! Time | 7:30 - 9:00 a.m. Location | Kent Country Club, 1600 College Ave. NE Cost | Free for new members (in first year of membership), includes light continental breakfast. To RSVP, contact Mark Allen at or 616.771.0348 (online registration is not available). Sponsored by:

8 | Business Exchange Luncheon Time | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Location | Thousand Oaks Golf Course, 4100 Thousand Oaks Dr. Cost | $18/member-early registration, $23/member after 5 p.m. March 2, $23/future members (may only attend once) Sponsored by:

14 | Grand Cultural Tour Learn more about Grand Rapids’ diverse ethnic and cultural heritage.

Time | 1:00 – 6:00 p.m. Location | Bus boards at Amway Grand Plaza. 187 Monroe Ave. NW Cost | $75/person Sponsored by: 21 | Want a Multi-generation Family Business? Build the Structures to Support it Join the Family Business Alliance for a panel discussion on how to build a successful multi-generational family business. Time | 7:30 –10:30 a.m. Location | University Club (Fifth Third Building) 111 Lyon St NW Cost | Free for FBA Members, $65.00 non-members To register, contact Ellie Frey at 616.331.6827 or

11 | Athena Stylish Soiree Scholarship Fundraiser See page 1 for more details. Time | 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Location | i3 Business Solutions, 560 5th St. NW, Suite #404 Cost | $20 in advance or $25 after 5 pp.m. April 9th Sponsored by:

12 | Business Exchange Luncheon The Chamber’s #1 networking event! Time | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Location | Thousand Oaks Golf Course, 4100 Thousand Oaks Dr Cost | $18/member-early registration, $23/ member after 5 p.m. April 6, $23/future members (may only attend once) Sponsored by:

26 | Public Policy Breafast with Legislators Meet your elected officials and voice opinions on issues that affect your bottom line! Networking and facilitated question and answer sessions offer first-hand information on upcoming legislation. Time | 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Location | Davenport University, 6191 Kraft Ave. Cost | $15/member-early registration, $20/future members Sponsored by:

April 3 | Living on Borrowed Time: Solving America’s Debt Crisis See page 15 for details. Time | 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Location | Ambassador Ballroom, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Ave. NW Cost | $50/Member, $75/future member

5 | Hiring Our Heroes Free one-of-a-kind hiring fair for veterans, servicemen and women currently serving and eligible spouses. Time | 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Location | Grand Valley National Guard Armory, 1400 44th Street NW Cost | Free

19 | Politics & Pints Network with elected officials and learn how you can become more engaged in the political process Time | 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Location | LaFontsee Galleries, 833 Lake Dr SE Cost | $20

23 | Breakfast with Legislators Meet your elected officials and voice opinions on issues that affect your bottom line! Time | 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Location | Amway, 7575 Fulton Street East, Ada Cost | $15/member-early registration, $20/future members Sponsored by:

26-27 | Facing Racism Intensive two-day Institute for Healing Racism Program that works to eliminate individual and institutional racism. Time | 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Location | Fishbeck Thompson Carr & Huber. 1515 Aboretum Dr. SE Cost | Members: $200/person from nonprofit organizations, $300/person from forprofit. $50 extra for future members.

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast


Newsflashes Newsflashes is a feature of the Chamber News that recognizes Chamber members’ new products or services, new or promoted employees and recognition that they have received. E-mail press releases to Deadline: first Friday of each month. Above & Beyond Catering received the “best caterer” award by The Knot for 2012. They are the only W. MI caterer to win the award three years in a row having been selected in 2010 and 2011. Uchebike Nwankwo, M.D., has joined Advantage Health where he will practice internal medicine-pediatrics at the 64th St., Byron Center location. A.J. Veneklasen announced the addition of Dee Dee McCrory to its team. Alexander Marketing has named Lisa Engleman as its newest account director. Don W. Goetcheus has joined Ameriprise Financial as a Financial Advisor in the Grand Rapids office. AngelCare Home Care of GR owner Joyce Lovse has recently been awarded inclusion into The Heritage Registry of Who’s Who of New York 2012. Ken Vermeulen has joined Barnes & Thornburg’s Grand Rapids office as a member of the real estate and environmental law departments. Berends Hendricks Stuit has retained its status as part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the U.S. participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America “Best Practices” Study Group. The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan announced that Eric Mills, Senior Vice President/ Business Banking Market Manager at Huntington National Bank, is the 2012 Board Chair.


The Calvin College board of trustees appointed Michael Le Roy to the position of President. Robert Snider with Canteen Vending Services has been promoted from General Manager to Regional Director. Drew Miller, CBRE|Grand Rapids Managing Director, has joined the Board of Directors of CorNet’s MI Chapter. C/D/H announced that it has achieved Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Silver Competency for Digital Marketing. Lynn Kerber, Regional President of Chemical Bank, has been named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan for 2012. Columbia Logistics Network welcomes Nate Stowe as Senior Accountant . Cornerstone University announces Dr. Martin Hughes has accepted the position of Dean of Undergraduate Education, effective July 2012. Dan Vos Construction hired Dan Staal as a CAD Drafter and promoted Chris Barry and Derek Schwenk to Foremen. The J. William Fulbright Scholarship board and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs announced the Fulbright Specialist Grand Candidacy has been awarded to Davenport University’s Professor of Management, Jack D. Cichy. Discovery Financial announced the recent expansion of its full-service wealth management company in Hastings. DK Security’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Kathryn Kendall, Ph.D., has become the newest member of the Salvation Army’s Turning Point Advisory Council. Dykema is pleased to announce the addition of David W. Palsrok as a Government Policy Advisor in their Lansing office. Echelbarger, Himebaugh, Tamm & Co. announces the firm is a registered

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast

member of the AIPA Government Audit Quality Center. Margie S. Gerencer, CPA has been promoted to Client Service Manager with EHTC. Ferris State University’s presence in Grand Rapids continues to grow with the grand opening for its College of Pharmacy Center for Innovational Learning and Research. The new facility is located at 25 Michigan. The Executive Committee of Foster Swift Collins & Smith for 2012 is comprised of: Michael Sanders, Paul Millenbach, Michael Homier, Jennifer Kildea Dewane, Matt Hrebec and Brent Titus. Full Circle Marketing & Design appointed Amy Heiney as Account Executive. Scott Seifferlein, owner of, is this year’s recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh Award for Advancement of Teaching, awarded to one Ferris State Professional Golf Management alumni. Patrick K. Gill was named President and CEO of Grand River Bank. The Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University has maintained its business and accounting accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. H & S Companies is proud to announce the addition of Susan K. Murray to the H&S Team. Murray brings with her over 29 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant. Jeff Williams joined Hinman as Marketing and Leasing Associate. I3 Business Solutions announces its first place win in a Microsoft national contest by selling the greatest number of Office 365 SMB seats by program tier. I 3 Business Solutions is led by partners Kathy Labozzetta & Mike Ritsema. Mary Hollinrake has been appointed to the Michigan Electronic Recording Commission by Gov. Rick Snyder. Hollinrake is the Kent County Clerk and Register of Deeds. Nancy Mullett has joined Kreis,

Enderle, Hudgins & Borsos as an Associate in the Battle Creek Office. Lambert, Edwards & Associates announces the promotion of Kim Tassie and Amanda Passage to the position of Senior Associate. Both Tassie & Passage previously served as Associates with the firm. Law Weathers announced that Chris Matthysse has been elected a Shareholder of the firm. Matthysse is a member of firm’s estate planning practice group. Lighthouse Insurance Group promoted Robert Heintz to Vice President of Benefits and Mike Boros to Vice President of Business Insurance. Kerri Woolverton, Assistant Vice President of the Lighthouse Title Agency Commercial Unit was awarded the Affiliate of the Year Award by the W. MI Lakeshore Assn. of Realtors.

Miller Johnson is pleased to announce that Mary V. Bauman was recognized as a 2012 Client Service All-Star by BTI Consulting. Bauman is the only woman in MI named as an All-Star. Miller Johnson is pleased to announce that Melissa Neckers was appointed to the Michigan Court Forms Committee’s new Adoption Work Group for a three-year term. Miller Johnson attorney Craig H. Lubben is recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of 25 “Leaders in the Law” for MI. Miller Johnson is also welcomes Kelley E. Stoppels and Tripp VanderWal as Associates in the Grand Rapids office. Northwood University is pleased to welcome Bridget Eklund to their Admissions team. NuWave Technology Partners recently announced that James Ramos will be joining the NuWave team as a Convergence Consultant.

Mary Free Bed Hospital is planning a $48 million expansion that will enchance the continuum of care it provides by upgrading therapy areas, creating all-private patient rooms and consolidating all patients care services under a single roof. The new facility should be completed by late 2013.

Pine Rest is joining an International clinical research study. This clinical trial explores medication that is already approved in some countries to treat adolescents with schizophrenia, and children and adolescents with bipolar, manic and mixed episode with or without psychotic features.

Metro Health recently announced it has hired Mary B. O’Brien as certified family nurse practitioner at the GVSU Campus Health Center in Allendale. Holly Ann Vollink joins Metro’s outpatient center in Rockford as Physician Assistant. To better reflect its mission of providing healthcare to the medically underserved in W. MI, Metro Health Hospital has renamed its Breton Health Center to the Metro Health Community Clinic. Metro Health Hospital has received Primary Stroke Certification from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program. Metro Health has received another national award for its exceptional heart attack care. Metro Health Hospital announced that Ellen Bristol has been promoted to the position of Director of Internal Communications.

Priority Health announced that Guy Gauthier has re-joined the health company as Associate Vice President of State Programs.

Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones recently elected the following lawyers to its Management Committee for the calendar year 2012: William A. Horn, John T. Sperla and Ronald M. Redick.

John Rice has joined the team of real estate professionals at Prudential Preferred, REALTORS. RC Productions recently announced the following promotions: Amy H. Atkinson, President and Jane Savidge, Vice President. Regal Investments Advisors would like to welcome Brian Blodgett and Betsy Ferguson to their staff. Rhoades McKee announced that Thomas L. Saxe will serve as chair of its Construction Law Practice Group. He has also been named to serve as the chairperson elect of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Grand Rapids Bar Association. Scott J. Steiner, Environmental and Real Estate Lawyer at Rhoades McKee, joins other community leaders to serve on a Blue

Ribbon Sustainable Streets Task Force. Daniela Garcia has joined Spectrum Health System as a Specialist in the System Government Affairs department. Leapfrog Group announced that Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital and Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital have earned its 2011 Top Hospital designation. Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. announced that Kyle Travis has been named Financial Advisor in the firm’s Grand Rapids office. In February Tammy Finn from The Arc Kent County joined 150 leaders of the Arc across the country to attend a White House Community Leaders Briefing. This was a remarkable opportunity to meet with the President and policymakers to share insights on how people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families are impacted by national policy. The Right Place Inc. announced it has hired the former city Wyoming Downtown Development Authority Director, Megan Sall, as its newest Business Development Manager. Varnum attorney Joy Fossel and Human Resource Director Carroll Velie have been selected as two of Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential Women in W. MI. Varnum attorney John W. Allen was recently named as a 2012 Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Varnum announced that attorneys Seth Ashby and Gary Mouw have been elected to the partnership. Varnum attorney Linsey Aten was appointed Chair of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the Grand Rapids Bar Association. Matthew D. Zimmerman has been named Chair of the Regulatory Group at Varnum. Rodney D. Martin, the Diversity Partner with the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd has been appointed to serve on the new Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board for the State Bar of MI. Meggan E. Dyer, an attorney with Warner Norcross & Judd has been selected to participate in the inaugural West MI flight of a new Inforum Leadership program.

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Continued on page 12


New Members

Please join us in welcoming the following companies to the Chamber. We encourage you to do business with Chamber members! 101 S. Division Loft Apartments/Condominiums (616) 235-7200

Division Park Avenue Apartments/Condominiums (616) 643-8500

616 Realty Realtors (616) 272-3701

Eastmark Construction Builders/Developers (616) 726-8866

Adam Bird, Photographer Photography (616) 634-1139

ENRG Power Systems LLC Transportation (313) 437-1985

Allen-Hope and Associates Legal Services (616) 855-5400 Alto Precision, Inc. Machine Shops/Machining/Machinery (616) 698-8088 Applebee’s (616) 977-1725 ArtPrize Art (616) 214-7904 Bagger Dave’s Restaurants/Cafes (Loc., Equip., Supplies) (616) 977-4349 Bank of America Banks & Credit Unions (616) 451-7944

Tommy’s Express Car Wash and Oil Change Automotive (616) 285-7014


Roxanne A. Buhl, director MBA-GR Western Michigan University earned certification as a Senior Professional in human resources. Western Michigan University’s Dr. Ali M. Metwalli, Professor of Finance, and Dr. Robert Y.W. Tang Professor of Accountancy and Upjohn Chair of Business Administration, had their paper “Mergers and Acquisitions in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh” accepted for publication in the International Journal of Commerce and Management.

Floorsavers Maintenance and Restoration Floor Coverings & Services (866) 733-9790

Metron Integrated Health Systems Assisted Living/Nursing Homes (800) 542-8621

Great Lakes Chemical Automotive (616) 246-5134

Newk’s Express Cafe’ Restaurants/Cafes (Loc., Equip., Supplies) (616) 956-5980

GSA Property Tax Consultants Consultants (616) 710-4119

Serrano Lofts Apartments/Condominiums (616) 643-8500

Lake Forest Apartments Apartments/Condominiums (763) 545-2556

Smashburger Restaurants/Cafes (Loc., Equip., Supplies) (616) 451-9570

Land & Co. Inc. Apartments/Condominiums (616) 534-5792 LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. Organizing Products/Services (616) 451-9140

Brittanie’s Thyme Beauty Products/Services (616) 788-8375

Jess Povenz has recently joined the West MI Tourist Association as Office Manager Rick Hert, CEO of the WMTA and Film Commissioner for the W. MI Film office has been named to the MI Film Advisory Committee by Governor Snyder.

List True Grand Rapids Realty Realtors (616) 957-0500

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast

Smashburger Restaurants/Cafes (Loc., Equip., Supplies) (616) 575-0070 TerraTrike Sports & Recreation (616) 455-5988 TigerLilly Arabic Language Institute & Service Education (616) 589-1625

Accident Fund Program Puts Money in Your Pocket! The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that 235 members have earned more than $602,000 in dividends through the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America workers compensaTheresa Ross (right) of Accident Fund recently presented tion group program! The Chamber with a check for member dividends totaling $602,800.

The Chamber’s Accident Fund program is offered exclusively to Chamber members and entitles you to five percent up-front savings on your premium, dividend eligibility based on group performance, no minimum premium to qualify and more. To learn more about this member benefit, contact Mark Allen at 616.771.0348 or

The “Waste Less” Journey of Trash By Norman Christopher, Executive Director, Sustainable Community Development Initiative at Grand Valley State University Did you know that that the Kent County Landfill receives more than 1.1MM tons per year of solid waste from a number of sources including residential, commercial, and industrial municipal solid waste (MSW); commercial demolition and debris (CDD); and industrial special waste (ISW) ( As companies and organizations redefine their future goals, objectives, and strategies, one important area of focus is the overall business environmental footprint and more specifically waste. Over the last few years, significant progress has been made in looking at waste as more than just a landfill disposal cost of approximately $35 per ton. Where has the progress been made and what are the process steps an organization can proactively take? •

First, businesses can conduct a life cycle assessment of waste sources across the company’s supply chain including field to gate, gate to gate, and gate to final destination operations.

A natural next step to take, once the baseline data has been determined, is to practice the 3 R’s of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” Reducing waste can be accomplished through conservation and efficiency strategies including the use of Energy Star and GreenGuard certified products.

The waste-less journey of trash continues on with continuous improvement! To view the full article, visit www.grandrapids. org/sustainability.

Member Seminars, Events & Celebrations March Member Ribbon Cuttings celebrations 12 | Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore, 11:00 a.m., 616.784.3341 13 | Buffalo Wild Wings – Downtown, 12:00 p.m., 616.454.9464 30 | Uptown Kitchen, 4:00 p.m., 616.776.2655 15 & 16 | The Blast! Build Your Business Conference & Competition for Women - Women entrepreneurs from the Greater Grand Rapids area will gather for this one-of-a-kind professional development event and business growth competition designed to harness the power of confidence, control and community for women business owners. The event will be held on March 15, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. and March 16, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. The cost is $25. For more information or to register, visit 7 | Speak Up & Be Effective™ - Be an assertive communicator. In this program, you will learn how to think on your feet, project more confidence, manage your nerves, and get your points across. Call Varnum Consulting at 616.336.7058 for details. 9 & 21 | Overview for Planning and Starting Your Own Business – This SCORE workshop covers what professional assistance will be needed, identifying your competition, business plans, what legal entity to incorporate as, marketing research, financing and more. Classes start at 8:30 a.m. and cost $45 for one or two people. Register at 21 & 22 | Speak Up & Be Effective™ - Advanced - Communicate with impact. This two-day program teaches you to communicate with impact through oral presentation skills (including body language and tone of voice). You’ll also learn to create focused, concise and activating message that influence others and to project the style and presence of today’s leaders. Call Varnum Consulting at 616.336.7058 for more details or to register.

April 13 & 18 | Overview for Planning and Starting Your Own Business – This SCORE workshop covers what professional assistance will be needed, identifying your competition, business plans, what legal entity to incorporate as, marketing research, financing and more. Classes start at 8:30 a.m. and cost $45 for one or two people. Register at 18 & 19 | Speak Up & Be Effective™ - Advanced - Communicate with impact. This two-day program teaches you to communicate with impact through oral presentation skills (including body language and tone of voice). You’ll also learn to create focused, concise and activating message that influence others and to project the style and presence of today’s leaders. Call Varnum Consulting at 616.336.7058 for more details or to register.

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast


Renewing Members Thank you to the following companies that renewed their memberships in January. We are glad to have you and your employees as members! 50+ Years of Membership BISSELL Inc. Fifth Third Bank Gordon Food Service Inc. YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids Model Coverall Service, Inc. Watkins, Ross & Co. American Red Cross of West Michigan Deloitte C. D. Barnes Associates, Inc. Price Heneveld® LLP 30+ Years of Membership Employee Assistance Center Eikenhout, Inc. Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Central Michigan Paper Co. Universal Forest Products, Inc. WOOD TV8/WXSP/WOTV American Cancer Society Northwest Michigan Office Restorations, Inc. Life Guidance Services Perforated Tubes, Inc. Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids EPS Security - (Engineered Protection Systems, Inc.) Wolverine Printing Co. Women’s Resource Center Beuschel Sales, Inc. Central States Property Management, Inc. Holland Home Corporate Office Kentwood Office Furniture Micron Manufacturing Co. Van’s Delivery Service, Inc. Fuller Supply Company 20+ Years of Membership The Arc Kent County, Inc. Progress Chemical, Inc. WadeTrim Scarlett, Inc. Buist Sheet Metal Co. Economic Development Foundation - Certified Family Outreach Center, Inc. Grand Rapids Public Library Hedrick Associates Western Michigan Hearing Service, Inc. Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore Grand Rapids Civic Theatre Applied Imaging Area Community Service Employment & Training-(ACSET) Council Diversified Data Services, Inc. Grand River Gastroenterology, PC Nationwide Transportation Services, Inc. Vierson Boiler & Repair Co. Michigan Blood Pine Border Farm Inc. Seal-Tec, Inc. Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan First Park Congregational Church, UCC HBird Technologies, Inc. 10+ Years of Membership AccuServe Corporation Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park MetLife Home Loans Nokomis Foundation Hanon McKendry Inc. Central Michigan University


Heartland Home Health Care & Hospice (4624) Iserv Company Mel Trotter Ministries The Gilmore Collection Formax Manufacturing Corp. The Center for Physical Rehabilitation CB Richard Ellis/Grand Rapids Courtland Software Services, Inc. dba Courtland Consulting Promotional Impact Evans Tool & Engineering, Inc. GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. Ionia County Community Mental Health Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Inc. Marge’s Donut Den, Inc. Knapp Hearing Aids A.D. Bos Vending Services Azkoul Productions, Inc. Bethany Christian Services Country Fresh, LLC ESCO Group, Inc. dba Edge-Sweets Company Falcon Printing Foxbright MBK Corporate Promotions, LLC America’s Transportation Resources, LLC Granger Group Humane Society of West Michigan Mitco, Inc. West Michigan Cabinet Supply Inc 5+ Years of Membership Benteler Automotive Grand Rapids Central Iron & Steel Corp. InterConnect Inc J. Bacherts, Inc. Michigan Industrial Tools Open Systems Technologies Patriot Realty PEC Technologies Thomas M. Cooley Law School Voisard Asset Management Group Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired HL tech solutions LLC Lake Express, LLC - Milwaukee Terminal Performance Partners Consulting, LLC Seoul Garden Sound Post Recording Studios The Chop House Arbor Circle Corporation DeGraaf Interiors, Inc. Ellis Parking Co., Inc. Hope River Ventures National Personnel Associates, Inc. Rockford Ambulance Surefil LLC The Write Way Buist Electric, Inc. Byron Center Manor Cherry Street Health Services Clear Channel Airports Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C. RPM Inc. Specialized Staffing Solutions, LLC The Mutual Fund Store - Grand Rapids Accurate Audio Consultants Architectural Openings & Access Carstar of Rockford Grand Rapids Polishing & Buffing, Inc. Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, Inc. Heritage Funeral Service

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast

Kojaian - West Michigan/Grubb-Ellis Management Services Noordyk Business Equipment, LLC Phillip Elenbaas Millwork Inc. Walgren Company 2+ Years of Membership Addorio Technologies LLC Arie Nol Auto Center, Inc. Grand Arbor Group, Inc Imperial Design Companies MATHORNE LLC McLoughlin Communications & Public Relations Paragon Model Shop Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory South End Community Outreach Ministry - SECOM UPS Above & Beyond Banquets, Catering & Events Cascade Fresh Cleaning Company Criterion Manufacturing Solutions FreedomNet Solutions GR8FR8, Inc. Grand Rapids Lighting Center Inc. Intent Public Relations LLC John Ball Zoological Garden Porter Hills Retirement Communities & Services Proficient Machine & Tool Skywalk Deli Winchester on Wealthy BlueSky Resource Management Boven DeKock Electric Broadmoor Motor Sales Inc. Crop Marks Printing Faith Hospice in the Community Home Care of Holland Home Home Instead Senior Care Indian Trails, Inc. Insphere Insurance Solutions Kerkstra Services Minds in Motion NuWave Technology Partners Quality Auto Service Center R. Smith & Sons Trucking Tolman’s Wholesale Meats West Michigan Glass Block One Year of Membership A&K Finishing, Inc. Discovery Financial, LLC E&M Design Solutions Great Lakes Waterproofing Co Praecipio Incorporated Ross Medical Education Center S. Abraham & Sons, Inc Standard Lifters LLC Anniversary Date Unavailable Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan CBS Outdoor Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids Michigan Coating Products, Inc. Michigan Commercial Space Advisors Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. PNC Bank Raymond James & Associates The Employers’ Association

Living on Borrowed Time: Solving America’s Debt Crisis Please join us for this important event and learn more about what needs to happen to solve this financial crisis. For more information, please visit As a part of the event, Chamber members are also invited to attend the VIP reception beforehand to support Friends of West Michigan Business, the Chamber’s Political Action Committee that is dedicated to supporting pro-business candidates at all levels of government. This event will be limited to the first 100 people and a separate ticket is required. Corporate tables and sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Leslee Fritz at 616.771.0357 for more information on sponsorship levels and benefits. To ensure your company name and logo appears on promotional materials for the event, the deadline for select sponsorships are March 25, 2012. Understand America’s Debt Crisis, Take the Fiscal IQ Quiz!

For too long our federal government has made fiscal promises it cannot seem to keep. The American people are on the hook for over $100 trillion dollars in unfunded promises and $15 trillion dollars in current debt. This equates to over $48,000 for every citizen and $135,000 for every taxpayer, and the number is rising. For the sake of future generations, and our country’s competitiveness, it cannot be ignored any longer.

By understanding America’s debt crisis you can help become a part of a solution. In preparation for our signature event featuring David Walker, we are encouraging our members to take the Fiscal IQ Quiz. Visit to take this quick and simple quiz.

To address this critical issue, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce will host former U.S. Comptroller and current President and CEO of Comeback America, the Honorable David M. Walker, as keynote speaker for “Living on Borrowed Time – Solving America’s Debt Crisis.” The luncheon will take place on April 3, 2012 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. David Walker served under both the Clinton and Bush administrations as the head of the Government Accountability Office. With his straight talk approach, Walker will detail how we accumulated such debt and will provide practical, common sense answers on how to address it.

Add the Chamber to your Marketing Mix! Call 616.771.0357

TRANSFORMATION. NOT JUST GRADUATION. With more than 180 programs that meet Michigan’s immediate needs, locations across the state and the goal of transforming students into professionals who can have an immediate impact, Ferris State University is a force in Michigan’s workforce.

March 2012 | Issue Sponsor: Comcast


111 Pearl St. NW | Grand Rapids, MI 49503


West Michigan Business Day at the Capitol a Success! Sixty members boarded the bus to Lansing for West Michigan Business Day at the Capitol on February 21. During West Michigan Business Day at the capital, our membership showcased their commitments and contributions to Michigan’s economy with lawmakers in Lansing. This year we presented lawmakers with a big thank you for what they have done to improve the business Rep. Peter MacGregor and Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons environment in Michigan and address attendees on bus to Lansing. a reminder to keep pushing ahead in Michigan’s reinvention! The message was well received and once in Lansing, participants took part in meetings with legislators, committee hearings, networking and legislative sessions. The West Michigan Business Expo and Luncheon was once again a huge success as we interacted and networked with over 50 legislators and 150 key staff.

critical to business in Michigan was truly appreciated. I look forward to being part of this trip on an annual basis.” We would like to thank sponsors Amway, AT&T, Blue Cross (L-R) Rep. Roy Schmidt, Andy Johnston and Kim Thomas at Blue Shield of MichiExpo luncheon. gan, Lacks Enterprises, Priority Health, Indian Trails, Meijer and Truscott Rossman for supporting this event. Many important decisions impacting business still need to be made in Lansing and that’s why the Chamber is already planning for another West Michigan Business Day at the Capitol in 2013. Make sure you join us!

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce member, John Roggow, For more information on our advocacy efforts, please contact President of Marshall Plastic Film, joined us at the Capitol, “The Chris Glass at 616.771.0311. or opportunity to meet with representatives and discuss issues

The Chamber News - March  

A publication of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. March 2012 | Vol.12 | No. 03