Page 1

THE CHAMBER NEWS November 2013 | Vol. 13 | No. 11

A publication of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

Infrastructure: Laying the Groundwork for Prosperity Business growth depends on connectivity, consistency and efficiency. A strong infrastructure network sets the foundation for future prosperity. The deliberate prioritization, investment, and management of our infrastructure is critical to ensure a thriving, magnetic community. Backbone for Business Aging infrastructure—whether it’s streets, bridges, sidewalks, broadband service or sewer systems—is a serious concern not only here in West Michigan, but around the state and nation. There are many direct and indirect consequences of neglected infrastructure, including lengthy reconstruction, crumbling roads that damage vehicles, and costly sewer overflows. Ineffective infrastructure reduces productivity, creates unsightly spaces and grows Continued on page 4

Elevating Job Creators, Entrepreneurs, and Innovators

Amway & U.S. Chamber Chairman Steve Van Andel to Speak December 4 Kick off December with the connections and context you need to stay one step ahead and grow your business. Join us for our annual Winter Advocacy event featuring Steve Van Andel, Chairman of Amway and Chairman of the Board for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Van Andel will be discussing entrepreneurship, innovation, and globalization and what West Michigan can do to grow our presence in the global marketplace. He will also talk about his role at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the uncertainty caused by the federal government through the recent shutdown and other policy decisions. Van Andel continues to work on behalf of free trade as vice chairman of the U.S.-Korea Business Council. He is also dedicated to the renewal of downtown Grand Rapids, lending his time and support to the Grand Action Committee, the Van Andel Museum Center, and the Van Andel Institute. Continued on page 3

Join Ann M. Harten, VP of Global Human Resources at Haworth, Inc., for a conversation about the war for talent at Nov. Business Matters. Page 2

Mark your calendar for the final Politics & Pints for 2013 at Founders Brewing Co. Nov. 21. Page 2

Check out this month’s Members in the Spotlight, featuring Columbian Logistics Network and ITC. Page 7

What’s new with fellow Chamber members? Read all about it in this month’s Newsflashes. Page 10

Get the latest on Personal Property Tax Reform (PPT) and how it will provide relief to businesses with tangible personal property. Page 15

CHAMBER News & Notes

Learn Strategies for Winning the War for Talent at November Business Matters Series Join Ann M. Harten, Vice President of Global Human Resources at Haworth, Inc., for a conversation about the war for talent and how companies can best position themselves in the battle for candidates. Ann oversees all of Haworth’s HR activities—including the design and implementation of a global leadership development program. Get informed and stay current while expanding your network of business contacts at the Chamber’s monthly Business Matters series. Date | Tuesday, November 19, 2013 Location | St. George Banquet & Conference Center, 334 LaGrave Ave. SE Cost | $18/member early registration, $25/future member or late registration after Nov. 15 Registration | Visit or call the RSVP hotline, 616.771.0303. Event Underwriter:

We’re Thankful… for Politics & Pints! Don’t just dash off for Thanksgiving celebrations without making a final pilgrimage to the last Politics & Pints for 2013! Stop by for a lager (or other preferred thirst quencher) and share in a little camaraderie and conversation. You may even find something extra to be grateful for before Black Friday rolls around! Date | Thursday, November 21, 2013 Time | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Location | Founders Brewing Co., 235 Grandville Ave. SW Cost | $20 Registration | Visit or call the RSVP Hotline at 616.771.0303. Event Hosts: Event Underwriter:

Stay up to date on the latest news. Follow @GRACC 2

The Chamber News

Like us!

November 2013

Find us!


RIBBON Cuttings

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

Flirt Fitness celebrated their business growth and new location at 5366 Plainfield Ave NE, Suite J.

Behavioral Resources & Institute for Neuropsycholgical Services (BRAINS) hosted an open house in their new location at 3292 N Evergreen Dr NE.

Culligan of Grand Rapids celebrated their 10 year anniversary at 3270 3 Mile Rd NW.

Winter Advocacy Event, from front cover In addition, Van Andel sits on a host of boards for business groups and non-profits, including serving on the dean’s advisory board for the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. This Winter Advocacy program is an excellent opportunity to gain insights from the international and national scene with one of Grand Rapids’ high-profile business leaders shaping today’s business environment. The event is a perfect place to meet new members and area professionals from the Grand Rapids business community— ideal for anyone who is interested in current issues affecting West Michigan business and forming connections with leaders. Date | Wednesday, December 4, 2013 Time | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Location | Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Ave. NW Cost | $50 Chamber Member, $75 Future Member Registration | Visit or call 616.771.0303 Sponsorship opportunities are available for this and other Chamber events. Contact Diane Cisler at or 616.771.0357. Event Underwriter:

Event Sponsors:

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 | Senior Editor & Advertising: Latricia Trice | Copy Editor: AliciaMarie Belchak | Second Class Periodical Postage Paid at Grand Rapids, MI. POSTMASTER: Send Address changes to The Chamber News at the Address above.

Recycle Me

November 2013

The Chamber News


Infrastructure Feature, from front cover a looming debt. Data supports the growing infrastructure problem: Michigan loses $3 million daily in the value of its major roads, and almost 90% of Grand Rapids’ entire street network will fall into poor condition within a decade if nothing is done. Infrastructure development and support is a core service of government and should be a top priority for our state and local elected officials. Governor Rick Snyder has taken a strong stance on Michigan’s most significant infrastructure issues and continues to push the state legislature to work toward a solution for road funding. Governor Snyder is not alone in promoting the need for investment in roads and bridges as West Michigan members of the State House and Senate are also helping drive the conversation forward. Representative Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), Chair of the House Transportation Committee, continues to seek common ground and is now looking for success through smaller steps. Stay tuned for details on possible future proposals as the Chamber continues to work with Lansing on a long-term, responsible solution to road funding. Building Broadband Broadband infrastructure is also an important asset rightly receiving attention. Research shows that broadband expansion is associated with job and population growth—enhancing current internet access or closing missing links supports both businesses and individuals. Connect Michigan (a non-profit working to expand access) is engaging private sector involvement and partners in the state government to create a statewide strategy for implementing what Governor Snyder deemed “the infrastructure of tomorrow.” It remains important for our state and local units of government to prioritize asset management for various types of infrastructure, and for them to receive the vital support of business community partners. Help set the goals for West Michigan. If you know of a potential road or other infrastructure project important to your business and community, please contact Joshua Lunger at or 616.771.0336.

Know someone who goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional service?

Essential Service


The Essential Service Awards recognize the important role that service workers play in our economy.

Expect more from your health plan.

 Nominate an Essential Service Provider who displays • pride in their job

• a positive attitude • a strong work ethic and • punctuality

Download an application form or submit online at DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS: NOV 22, 2013


The Chamber News

November 2013

Breaker Breaker One-Nine, Trucking Jobs Dying on the Vine

By Bridge Magazine

With a fleet of some 60 trucks, Ottawa County-based Luther Logistics is primed to expand. If only it could find the drivers. “I could put four or five people in a truck today,” said Jordan Luther, the firm’s Owner and Operations Manager. “It used to be that we would get four or five people a week in here looking for jobs. Now we are lucky if we get two a month.” If projections are right, the squeeze is destined to tighten in the years ahead. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, national demand for truck drivers is projected to rise by 330,000 jobs by 2020. In 2012, it calculated there were 1.6 million tractor-trailer and heavy-truck drivers in the United States, including 48,220 in Michigan. In 2012, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber surveyed some 30 West Michigan trucking firms and manufacturers to assess transportation priorities. Nearly all cited the need for more qualified truck drivers. “This is one of the top concerns across the board,” said Josh Lunger, the Chamber’s Public Policy Coordinator. “Right now it is a problem. But it is going to be much worse of a problem in two or three years.” Analysts say the shortage affects more than trucking, an industry that employs 180,000 in Michigan, according to the Michigan Trucking Association. It also raises the cost of doing business for manufacturers by slowing deliveries and increasing supply chain wait times. In the long run, that limits job growth and passes on higher costs to consumers. In 2012, analysis by research firm R.W. Baird said that driver shortages were limiting truck capacity and helping push up freight rates by 2 percent to 5 percent. Michigan State University Charles Ballard said any snag in the supply line can be costly to manufacturers. “In manufacturing industries where you are trying to get as close as you can to justin-time production, even a small mess-up in the supply chain can cause big problems,” Ballard said. “With the growth of trucking, trucks ever since the 1920s have been very important to the American supply chain. If there is a problem with trucking, that’s a problem for the whole economy.” Richard Bouwma, Director of Materials for Plastic Plates, a division of Kent County-based Lacks Enterprises, said it is getting tougher to find reliable delivery of its automotive parts products. It uses a variety of firms to ship anywhere from Canada to Mexico. “In the past when we had a delivery to make, it was, ‘No problem, we’ll get it done.’ Now we are hearing, ‘We don’t have a driver available for that particular route.’” While frustrating, Bouwma said it has not added to expenses – yet. “My concern is that three years from now, if we don’t have drivers available, capacity is going to be limited. Prices are going to go up. That’s our concern down the line.” The shortage stems from a confluence of factors that include an aging work force, regulations that limit driver hours and an improving economy that is increasing the demand for freight

while making jobs like construction look more attractive next to driving a truck. “Part of it is demand and part of it is supply,” said Walter Heinritzi, Executive Director of the Michigan Trucking Association. “As the population is getting older, we are getting a lot of retirements in individuals. It’s very difficult to find quality people to replace them.” That may due in part to wages. While some drivers earn well above $50,000, the average truck driver in Michigan in 2012 earned $18.45 an hour with an annual wage of $38,370, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That may sound attractive next to a $12-an-hour manufacturing job. But new applicants first must foot the cost of truckdriving school to earn their commercial driving license – often $4,000 or more – and then face the prospect they may be gone from home days or weeks at a time. William Berenbrock, Vice President of Kent County-based trucking firm WB Haulers & Storage, said inexperienced drivers are virtually forced to take jobs with national trucking firms that require drivers to be on the road for weeks at a time. That’s because local trucking firms often require two years of experience to keep insurance premiums down. “People don’t find that out until after they graduate from trucking school. Then they find out they have to work for a company and be gone for four to eight weeks,” said Berenbrock. Driver turnover reflects that. According to the National Trucking Association, the annualized turnover rate in 2012 for line haul trucking firms exceeded 100 percent. That means the typical driver lasted less than one year. Berenbrock said he would like to expand his business with the purchase of three new trucks. “But that’s on hold until I can find three new drivers. There’s nothing coming down the pipeline.” New federal regulations may add to the shortage as well. Driver-safety rules that went into effect July 1 mean that truckers cannot drive more than 70 hours in seven days. Truckers had been allowed to drive 82 hours under the former rules. With truckers logging fewer miles, that adds to the need for more drivers. Marketing Manager Scott McNiel of E.L. Hollingsworth believes freight companies must do a better job marketing truck driving as a career, then give drivers a reason to stay.

November 2013

The Chamber News



MEMBERS In The Spotlight

The Chamber News helps you get to know fellow members by profiling organizations in each issue.

Since 1896, Columbian Logistics Network, a full service logistics company, has been helping customers lower costs and improve service. Columbian provides high-quality, cost-effective, integrated solutions including warehousing, transportation, food logistics, and manufacturing support. Driven by its core values, Columbian delivers supply chain value and legendary customer service on a daily basis. “A good example that sums our services up in a nutshell is our model of manufacturing support. The goods that you see in grocery stores across the country start from raw materials of every shape and form. Our model supports the receiving and storage of those raw materials, the transportation to the manufacturing facility, storage of work-in-process (WIP) inventory, and the storage, handling, and transportation of finished goods,” said John Zevalkink, CEO of Columbian Logistics Network. Although Columbian is heavily invested in the food industry, they service more than a dozen different market sectors, from granola bars to brake pads. In addition, the company is the only Foreign Trade Zone Magnet site in Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon counties and their asset transportation fleet and warehouse operations teams support more than 20 different manufacturing environments every day. “Our business model fits into the general trend of outsourcing non-core competencies. We exist to allow manufacturers of goods to focus on their “secret sauce,” including R&D, proprietary manufacturing processes, or technology. Those activities that are not a core business function can often be performed in a more thorough, cost-effective manner with Columbian than they can if they are kept in house,” said Zevalkink. A Chamber member since the mid-1960’s, Columbian looks to the Chamber for multiple resources including education resources, business community involvement, networking and activism on behalf of the West Michigan business community at the state level. “Logistics firms in Michigan compete directly with counterparts in Ohio, Indiana, and elsewhere. We frequently see Requests for Proposals that specifically ask about the business infrastructure in the state of Michigan. Our responses to those questions have improved in recent years due to hard work by organizations like the Chamber, the Right Place, and the Snyder administration,” said Zevalkink. “A strong Chamber of Commerce serves as a central clearing house to support the growth and development of organizations across industry and in Grand Rapids, we have that.”

ITC Holdings Corp. is a super-charged, high-powered company… literally. As the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company, ITC Holdings Corp. focuses solely on the high-wire act of owning, operating and maintaining Michigan’s high-voltage transmission facilities and electricity grid. One of the first and only independent electric transmission companies in the country, ITC’s subsidiaries serve a combined peak load exceeding 25,000 megawatts along 15,000 circuit miles of transmission line in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Operating entities in Michigan are ITC Transmission and METC. “Safe, efficient and reliable electricity is a key enabler for economic development efforts in Michigan,” noted Charlie DeVries, Area Manager for Local Government & Community Affairs at the publicly traded company (NYSE: ITC). “It is an important box for site selectors to check before presenting potential locations for new development to their clients.” Since 2003, the Novi-based ITC has invested more than $2.2 billion in transmission infrastructure improvements and capital project maintenance in Michigan. Today, Michigan systems rank in the top quartile of performance among all national systems and are a key enabler for bringing new renewables onto the grid—making Michigan and Grand Rapids attractive places to do business. “When people speak about infrastructure, they often refer to roads, bridges and water supply and forget about the vast infrastructure owned and maintained by utilities which is equally necessary for a modern economy to function,” DeVries continued. A proud sponsor of Politics & Pints and other advocacy events, ITC joined the Grand Rapids Area Chamber in 2007 specifically to support the business community more visibly and to be an active participant building momentum in and around Grand Rapids. “The opportunity to interact with 2,700 fellow members and to support Chamber programs is a way for us to educate businesses on the role ITC plays in the local economy,” said DeVries. “The Chamber’s professionalism and tireless advocacy on behalf of the business community is admirable and effective,” he added. “The Chamber is a key driver of the important culture here that nurtures established companies and warmly welcomes new companies to the region.” Plug in at for more info.

Visit for more info.

November 2013

The Chamber News



More than 25 exhibitors and 150 guests attended the 2013 Minority Business Showcase on October 24 in partnership with LINC and the West Michigan Minority Contractors Association.

Exhibitor Rebound Sports Massage Therapy sharing information about their services with Minority Business Showcase attendees.

Special thanks to Diversity & Inclusion Underwriter Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Event Supporting Sponsors: Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University and Wolverine Building Group.

Home for the Holidays? Attend Rethink West Michigan Thanksgiving is a popular travel season for former West Michigan residents returning to visit family and friends. Hello West Michigan and The Right Place think it is a prime time to remind those folks all that our region has to offer and entice them to relocate here. The Rethink West Michigan event, held on “Thanksgiving Eve,” is a casual, professional networking event where West Michigan companies and area non-profits come together to talk with former residents about career and cultural opportunities. “A lot has changed in West Michigan in the last five to ten years. People who left may not know about the opportunities available,” says Cindy Brown, Executive Director of Hello West Michigan. “Rethink West Michigan gets company recruiters and community members together with prospective candidates to talk one-onone about the great things that are happening.”

Date | Wednesday, November 27. 2013 Time | 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. Location | The Factory, 38 West Fulton, Grand Rapids, MI Cost | This event is free for all former West Michigan residents. Each attendee will receive one complimentary drink ticket and hors d’oeuvres. A cash bar will be available for those wishing to purchase additional drinks. Participating employers will have a designated area at the event. Employers with STEM related positions are particularly encouraged to participate. Sponsorships for this event are available at varying levels and include complimentary promotional areas. Visit for more information or to register. Sponsored by:


The Chamber News

November 2013

Upcoming Chamber Events To Register Unless otherwise noted, register for events at 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.

22 | Diversity and Inclusion Forum

Join the Chamber for a unique opportunity to learn key strategies for diversifying your talent pipeline and growing your consumer base. Time | 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. Location | The Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2500 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49507 Cost | $50 current members, $65 for future members Sponsored by:

November 7 - 8 | 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 | Grand Rapids Community Foundation, 185 Oakes St. SW Cost | Members: $200/person from non-profit organizations, $300/person from for-profit. $50 extra for future members. Register | Email to register Sponsored by:

December 4 | Elevating Job Creators, Entrepreneurs, and Innovators Join us for the Winter Advocacy event featuring Amway and U.S. Chamber Chairman Steve Van Andel . Time | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Location | Amway Grand Plaza, 187 Monroe Ave. NW Cost | $50 Chamber member, $75 future-member Sponsored by:

14 | Business Exchange Luncheon Don’t miss the Chamber’s #1 networking event Time | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Location | StoneWater Country Club, 7177 Kalamazoo Ave Cost | $20/member early registration, $25/member after 5:00 p.m. November 8, $25/future member (may only attend once) Sponsored by:

19 | Business Matters Series

See page 2 for details. Time | 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Location | St. George Conference Center, 334 LaGrave Ave. SE Cost | $18/member-early registration, $25/future member or late registration after 5 p.m. November 15 (includes hot breakfast) Sponsored by:

10 | Business Matters Series

Join us for lunch as Stephen Moore from the Wall Street Journal examines the economic issues affecting our nation including budget, tax and monetary policy. Time | 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (please note time change) Location | St. George Conference Center, 334 LaGrave Ave. SE Cost | $18/member-early registration, $25/future member or late registration after 5 p.m. December 6 (includes lunch) Sponsored by: Inno-Versity Group & Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

12 | Business Exchange Luncheon

Time | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Location | StoneWater Country Club, 7177 Kalamazoo Ave. Cost |$20/member early registration, $25/member after 5 p.m. November 8, $25/future member (may only attend once) Sponsored by:

January 2014 9 | Business Exchange Luncheon Don’t miss the Chamber’s #1 networking event Time | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Location | The Crowne Plaza, 5700 28th St SE Cost | $20/member early registration, $25/member after 5:00 p.m. January 6, $25/future member (may only attend once)

21 | 126th Annual Meeting

Featuring Keynote Speaker Daymond John, from ABC’s Shark Tank. Time | 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Location | JW Marriott Grand Rapids, 235 Louis Campau St NW Cost | $50/member-early registration, $75/future member

The Chamber News Statement of Ownership

21 | Politics & Pints

Cocktails and conversation. Find out what’s hot in business, community, and politics. Time | 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Location | Founders Brewing Co., 235 Grandville Ave. SW Cost | $20 Sponsored by: POLITICS &P


November 2013 November 2013

TheThe Chamber Chamber News News9 9

NEWS Flashes

to its Board of Directors: Thomas Hanley (Wondergem Consulting), Brenda Heacock and Dave Korte (Korte Consulting, PLLC).

Newsflashes is a feature of the Chamber News that recognizes Chamber members’ new products or services, new or promoted employees and recogni- Experience Grand Rapids (EXGR) won tion that they have received. E-mail press releases to two Diamond Awards for Excellence and a Gold Honorable Mention for its Deadline: first Friday of each month. Aquinas College welcomes nine new faculty members, Stephen Barrows, Daniel Cruikshanks, Clark Danderson, Joseph Fox, Tim Henshaw, Bryan Pilkington, Julia Schatz Stevens, Todd Yarbrough and Linda Keway. ASK announces the addition of Joseph Pontius and the promotion of Daniel Mekhayel, Julian Wilson, Paul Silva, Scott Spalding and Jeff Shannon. Over 300 chapter members, legislators, and friends of Associated Builders and Contractors’ Western Michigan Chapter gathered to celebrate the retirement of John Doherty, who has served as Chapter President for the past 42 years.

Cornerstone University welcomes Lori Cook, known as the character “Maranda” on WOOD-TV8, WOTV 4 and WXSP-TV, and Brian Sikma, a developer and broker with Highpoint Real Estate and Development, to the Board of Trustees. Custer is pleased to announce the addition of Kim Lisman to its corporate sales team and the promotion of Brad Laackman to head its growing healthcare division, Custer HealthWorks. Effective in October, Jamie Stiles became the new director of operations for Colliers International West Michigan.

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired will celebrate a century of serving West Michigan clients with their “Denim & Diamonds” Gala Friday, November 8 at Kent Country Club at 6 pm, to RSVP contact Rick Stevens,

CSM Group announced they are one of the recipients of the 2013 101 Best & Brightest Award in Wellness. CSM has received the 101 Best & Brightest Award to Work For™ in eight consecutive years, but this is the first time in the Wellness category.

Baker College officials announced that it has been named a 2013 “Best of the Best” Veteran-Friendly School by DiversityComm, Inc., publisher of four magazines including U.S. Veterans Magazine.

Davenport University is proud to be one of only nine institutions across the United States to be awarded grant funding under the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention: Veteran’s Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Program (VBSN) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth raises $101,235 at “BE GREAT” Gala. For the seventh year in a row, summer camp enrollment at Camp Roger soared – this year topping 1549 campers – proving that this camp’s centennial old traditions for fun and growth have continued to endure. Compass Insurance Agency welcomes James Blaauw, Michael Hoffman, Paul Middel and Daintry Frie. Comprenew is excited to announce the


promotion of Kyle Shoemaker to Vice President of Service.

The Chamber News

The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan (DSAWM) is pleased to welcome the following new members to the Board of Directors: Chad Bice (JW Marriott), Cameron Dolbow (Robert W Baird & Co.), Margaret LaHuis (LaHuis Marketing & Consulting, LLC), Matt Graves (Graves & Co.), Maggie McPhee (The Employers Association) and Bobbie Rohen (Die Cad Group); The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan Foundation, a newly formed arm of the DSAWM welcomes three new members

November 2013

innovative work in public relations, marketing and collaboration from the Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE). The awards were presented at the MSAE 12th Annual Diamond Awards Banquet in Rochester. Congratulations to Express Employment Professionals associate from the Grand Rapids office Katie Kelly, on being named Michigan Employee of the Year for her significant career growth and work ethic.

Foster Swift Collins & Smith, P.C. congratulates Charles Barbieri, Frederick D. Dilley, Matt G. Hrebec, Melissa J. Jackson and Stephen J. Lowney on being named “Lawyers of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America® 2014 for areas of expertise in the Lansing regions. The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) presented its first Live Artfully Dinner, an annual event celebrating the vibrant culture of the West Michigan community, and the individuals whose leadership, support, and collaboration make this culture possible. The inaugural celebration honored David and Judy Frey for their longstanding and personal commitment to the arts and to advancing the Museum’s American art collection. The City of Grand Rapids announces Rosalynn Bliss, Second Ward City Commissioner, was appointed to the statewide Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees Mayor George K. Heartwell welcomed Dr. Giuseppe Lomurno, Perugia City Councillor for Economic Development and Tourism, and Mrs. Daniela Borghesi, Mayor’s Office for International Relations, to Grand Rapids in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of our sister city relationship. The Grand Rapids Public Library,

Student Advancement Foundation and the Grand Rapids Civic Theater launched a community book drive to benefit the Grand Rapids Public students. This book drive will continue through late March 2014. Grand Rapids Griffins are pleased to announce the hiring of Alan Cross as the new Public Relations Manager, Kelsey Perras as Corporate Sales Fulfillment Coordinator, Marissa Malson as Social Media Sales and Marketing Manager and Nathan Hone as Video Coordinator. Grand River Bank is proud to announce the following additions to its growing team of professionals: Jennifer Mann, Controller; Annette Nelson, Human Resources; Kevin Dooley, Mortgage Operations Manager; Anna Martin, Bilingual Mortgage Lender; Amanda Skelley, Mortgage Operations; Tyler Cebulla, Operations Manager; Mary Jo Wycoff, Retail Banking. Hairacy Downtown partnered with the Michigan Chapter of ALS Association for a Cut-A-Thon to benefit the fight to find a cure for Lou Gohrig’s Diease. Holistic Care Approach welcomes Robert Grafton MD as their Medical Director who will expand the practice to include Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and Thermography. Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) is pleased to announce the hiring of Mike DeVries as mortgage loan originator for its Lakeshore region office and Jack Keller as senior commercial credit analyst; LMCU has hired Laurie Cordes as a mortgage loan officer and Marlo Morgan as mortgage loan originator for its Lakeshore region team; Glen Goen has been promoted to Assistant Vice President-Creative Director; Spencer Klukowski was hired as a personal line insurance sales representative for Lake Michigan Insurance Agency (LMIA). Macatawa Bank is pleased to welcome Jodi Sevigny as the Vice President, Marketing Director. Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones PLC celebrates the inclusion of the following

attorneys in the publication of Michigan Super Lawyers 2013 Magazine: Elizabeth K. Bransdorfer, Scott S. Brinkmeyer, James R. Brown, John M DeVries, Douglas A. Donnell, Scott E. Dwyer, David R. Fernstrum, William A. Horn, Neil L. Kimball, Eric S. Richards and Timothy J. Tornga; Crystal M. Jones has joined the team as a paralegal. Miller Canfield announced that 121 of its lawyers have been recognized in Super Lawyers in 2013. Seventy-five lawyers were named as “Super Lawyers” in Michigan. Thirty-nine lawyers in Michigan were named as “Rising Stars”; Special recognition went to Thomas W. Cranmer, whom the publication ranked as the top lawyer in Michigan. Miller Johnson attorney Craig H. Lubben was appointed vice-chairperson of the Attorney Discipline Board (ADB) by the Michigan Supreme Court; 27 attorneys were named as Michigan Super Lawyers and 4 as Rising Stars Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. names Tom Stanek as Director of Kalamazoo Operations to oversee their recently announced Kalamazoo office, scheduled to open in November. Ottawa Kent welcomes Shelli Hall to their outstanding team. G. Joseph Pasman, of Pasman GSC Financial, has earned the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) professional designation from the Richard D. Irwin Graduate School of the American College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Pine Rest Foundation began a three year $1.5 million capital campaign titled, “There’s No Place Like Home” to enhance the lives of residents at Pine Rest Christian Homes. Plante Moran welcomes Mike Van Laan, Dylan Kangas and Nathan Glardon who will all work from the firm’s Downtown Grand Rapids location. Plasan Carbon Composites teamed up with Belco Industries for a custom system installation for the addition of a prime paint line at their Walker facility.

November 2013

Progressive AE has earned the distinction as one of Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies. Revel welcomed Jamie Adams aboard as the agency looks toward a new phase of expansion. Rhoades McKee attorneys Bruce A. Courtade, Mark E. Fatum, John M. Lichtenberg, Paul A. McCarthy, Bruce W. Neckers, Harold E. Nelson and Mary Jane Rhoades were all named Michigan Super Lawyers for 2013.  Thomas S. Flickinger, Emily A. Green and Stephen J. Hulst have also been selected as Michigan Rising Stars. Congratulations to Ryan Cook and Kim Von Kaenel on opening their eighth Snap Fitness location in Portage, MI. Varnum is pleased to announce that 39 attorneys have been honored by Michigan Super Lawyers. 31 have been named 2013 Michigan Super Lawyers and 8 have been honored as 2013 Michigan Rising Stars. Watkins Ross commemorated 65 years of providing expert, personalized service to their clients with an open house for employees, clients, colleagues, and friends at the City Flats Ballroom in downtown Grand Rapids. Congratulations to Kim Dabbs, Executive Director of the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT), on being appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) board. Western Michigan University has recently been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top-tier universities among 281 institutions—173 public, 101 private and seven for-profit— that have national standing and are among the nation’s best; WMU has been named by Washington Monthly as one of the top-50 values among national universities and by the PolicyMic blog as one of 12 top universities offering “the best bang for the buck.” ; WMU was recognized by the U.S. Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs as the only school in Michigan to have adopted a set of strategies considered to be best practices for serving veterans.

The Chamber News


NEW Members

Please join us in welcoming the following companies to the Chamber. We encourage you to do business with Chamber members! AIC Insurance Services Insurance (616) 676-4000 Dave Emmette - Agency Producer

McPherson Lean Partners, INC Consultants (574) 527-7400 Alec McPherson - President

American Heart Association Organizations & Non-Profits (616) 482-1512 Donna Messina - Corporate Events Director

MetaOps, Inc. Consultants (734) 425-1455 Kim Crabtree - President

Synergy Wealth Management Financial/Investment Services (616) 259-0818 Tom Small - Partner

Ameriprise Financial Financial/Investment Services (616) 954-9456 Pat Roy CFP, ChFC, CLU

Michigan Republican Party Organizations & Non-Profits (517) 673-3746 Jon Chulski - Regional Communications Director

Cano’s Broadcasting Broadcasting (Radio/TV) (616) 965-8720 Reynaldo Mayans - Marketing Consultant

Premier Relocations LLC Moving/Delivery (800) 665-4280 Joseph Bjerk - District Manager

Central Payments Financial Group LLC Credit & Debit Cards/Credit Counseling (248) 220-4624 Ted Fuller - Managing Partner Forefront Dermatology Physicians/Medical Professionals (616) 678-2070 Gourmet International, LTD Gourmet Shops & Specialty Boutiques (616) 698-0666 Jennifer Sutherby - Finance and Human Resource Manager

Teleperformance Telecommunications (616) 307-3718 Blaine Lewis - Call Center Manager The Holiday Bar Bars/Grills (616) 456-9058 Todd Wawee - General Manager TN Michigan LC Insurance (616) 717-5686 Dan Cook - Principal & Director of Risk Financing

Superior Stone Products, Inc. Adhesives & Glues (616) 583-0171 Diane Ignatovich - Office Manager

ValPak of Western Michigan Advertising (616) 261-2626 Lia Rain-Jensen - Owner/Operator


get your business

Harold Ziegler Grandville Automotive (616) 897-8431 Ric Conkey - Maserati Manager

Woodland Mall offers a wide variety of affordable on-mall advertising options for local businesses to reach millions of shoppers. Let's work together to create a custom solution that meets your marketing objectives. Contact Terry Leshuk at 616.949.0010 or

Lee & Birch Clothing (616) 233-4001 Kristin Nipke - Partner LegalMatch Attorneys (866) 686-5342


EXCEPTIONAL SHOP P ING Apple • Pottery Barn • J.Crew • The North Face • H&M 28th Street and the East Beltline, West of I-96 • 616.949.0012 A Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust® Property PREIT



The Chamber News

November 2013

Download the PREIT® Mall App

A Governor Who Gets Talent

Member Seminars, Events & Celebrations

A recent study of 100 most populous metropolitan areas ranked metro-Grand Rapids #2 in per capita job growth. As our region’s economy continues to recover, the state’s labor exchange system is challenged to find talent with new and emerging skill sets. It’s the infamous “skills gap” that has been discussed and debated ad nauseam with no viable solutions offered. Until now. Governor Snyder and the Workforce Development Agency have recommended and garnered legislative support for the Skilled Trade Training Fund (STTF) program, running October 2013 – September 2014. The program provides competitive awards for the development and implementation of training that ensures: • Employers have access to a talent pipeline that allows them to compete and grow. • Job seekers have the skills they need to find and retain employment that pays a living wage. The STTF program brings all the necessary players to the table. It is dependent upon strong relationships and collaboration between Michigan Works! Agencies, economic development, and educational/training institutions. And it relies on active participation and commitment from employers. We’ve all learned from past (and expensive) mistakes. During the No Worker Left Behind (NWLB) era, a lot of money was spent on training individuals for programs that we thought were high demand occupations. As it turns out, many of the participants were trained for jobs that didn’t exist. Clearly, employers need to be involved. As part of the STTF program, employers will play an integral role in identifying the specific skill sets, developing the training plan, and identifying available funding and resources to be used. Participating employers must commit to hire participants after successfully completing the training, or in cases of On-the-Job (OJT) or incumbent worker training, retain the employees. Funds may be used to upgrade the skills of current employees if the employer commits to hiring additional employees to fill current or future positions. Michigan Works! is excited to be a partner in this innovative program. With strong support from the Governor and state general fund dollars, we’re poised to leverage existing, though shrinking, federal dollars. West Michigan has several successful economic development organizations. It’s home to dozens of reputable educational and training institutions, and its business community is actively engaged and concerned about the future of their organizations and our region. I think we are headed in a good direction. Employers can learn more about the Skilled Trade Training Funds (STTF) program STTF or by emailing me at


By Jacob Maas, Executive Director, ACSET

Jacob Maas is the Executive Director of ACSET (Area Services Employment and Training Council), the administrative and fiscal agent for Michigan Works! Kent & Allegan Counties and the Community Action Agency of Kent County. At last month’s Business Matters breakfast, he spoke about “Creating an Employer-Responsive Talent Network in West Michigan.” The Chamber is pleased to continue the conversation with this member submission from Jacob Maas.

November 2013 November 2013

Seminars 4, 11 & 18 | Mind Your Business: Brain-based Professional Development by Thought Design –

Offering 90 minute courses that this month will focus on stress management, transforming feedback, design thinking, and effective meetings on Mondays at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The cost is $40 per course (discounted packages available). Registration and details at www.

12 & 13 | Speak Up & Be Effective™ - Advanced –

Learn how to communicate with impact through oral presentation skills and body language to create focused, concise, and activating messages that influence others and project style and presence of today’s leaders. Call Varnum Consulting at 616.336.7070 for details.

14 | Mind Your Business: Brain-based Professional Development by Thought Design - Many

businesses struggle to effectively construct and implement a program that prioritizes employee learning and development. We’re changing that by providing a robust curriculum of 35 courses offered weekly in 90 min. sessions. Attend our FREE reception to learn more. Register at or 616.951.1336.

19 | Speak Up & Be Effective™ - Communi-

cate with confidence! In this program, you will learn how to think on your feet, project more confidence, manage your nerves, and craft messages that are clear, concise and focused. Call Varnum Consulting at 616.336.7070 for details.

December Seminars 11 & 12 | Speak Up & Be Effective™ - Advanced – Learn how to communicate with impact through oral presentation skills and body language to create focused, concise, and activating messages that influence others, and project style and presence of today’s leaders. Call Varnum Consulting at 616.336.7070 for details.

Chamber News13 13 TheThe Chamber News


Thank you to the following companies that renewed their memberships last month. We are glad to have you and your employees with us.

40+ Years of Membership Perfected Grave Vault Co. Spectrum Health E. L. Ladd & Co., Inc. 30+ Years of Membership Contractors Steel Co. First Insurance Enterprises, Inc. Norris, Perne’ & French, L.L.P. STAR Collision CARSTAR Seaman’s Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Co. Berends Hendricks Stuit Insurance Agency Inc. Blue Care Network of Michigan DeWys Manufacturing, Inc. HHS, Health Options Mapes Insurance Agency, Inc. Plante Moran, PLLC Keller Ford-KIA Etherton Enterprises Inc. Forest View Hospital H & H Management & Development Lake Michigan Insurance Agency Masselink Brothers Trucking Service, Inc. O’Grady Orthodontics Schenk, Boncher & Rypma Word Investments, Inc. Youngblood Automation, LLC 20+ Years of Membership CU*Answers Professional Courier Service EMS Grand Rapids Royce Rolls Ringer Co. Holiday Inn Downtown CIG JAN Products Ltd. Foremost Communications, LLC Laurie A. Russell, CPA Associated Insurance Design Flying Dutchman Flags Rosedale Memorial Park Universal Wall Systems, Inc. Lakewood Wastewater Authority Thum Insurance Agency, LLC 10+ Years of Membership Anesthesia Professional Services, P.C. Hughes Management, LC Sutton Club Apartments Ed DeVries Properties, Inc. First Community Bank Kent County Board of Commissioners/Administrator Cintas Corporation H & H Metal Source International, Inc. Kforce Professional Staffing 2/90 Sign Systems, Inc. Essence Restaurant Group Kent Communications, Inc. Progressive Building Services BSI Healthcare Audit Services, LLC Clearpoint Consulting, LLC Gun Lake Community Church Pinnacle Construction Group TACK Electronics, Inc. Alternative Pathways, Inc. BASIC Payroll Plus Edward Jones Falcon Printing PLM Lake & Land Management Corp. Trillium Staffing Solutions AFLAC Bluewater Technologies


The Chamber News

Kuyper College Noah’s Pet Cemetery & Crematory Oxford Place Apartments The Imagination Factory Inc Williams Group 5+ Years of Membership Arivium, Inc. Capital Region International Airport Grand Traverse Resort & Spa Heintzelman Accounting Services Inc. Independent Bank - East Beltline Twinlab Corp. Water Wizard Blythefield Country Club Cascade Charter Township Celerdyne Engineering llc Comfort Suites Grand Rapids North Covenant Developments Dental South Great Lakes Heavy Haul, Inc. LaFontsee Galleries Matthysse, Kuiper, DeGraaf Funeral Directors Meadowgreen Landscapes, Inc. Pondera Advisors LLC Ramada Plaza Grand Rapids Hotel Action Plumbing & Mechanical Agent-X Architectural Concepts Chase Creative Unlimited Coleman+Hughes David’s House Ministries - DO NOT CONTACT Grandville Dental Health Lanny Thodey The Design Forum Inc. West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology WMCAT Activa Travel, LLC Aggressive Tool & Die, Inc. Bistro Bella Vita Information Managers & Associates Langerak Roof Systems Motan, Inc. Specialty Tool & Mold, Inc. Allied Mechanical Services Altus Industries, Inc. Canine & Feline Design II ClearStream Title Kaptein, Dykstra & Company, P.C. T & C Foods, Inc. West Michigan Portable Moving and Storage (PODS) Wiseman LLC/Management 2+ Years of Membership

Ottawa Kent The Concord Group Wireless Zone Accurate Saw Coring, LLC Edify North LLC Grand Rapids Ophthalmology HAIRACY DOWNTOWN Harbor Foam, Inc Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) Insurance Plan Administrators Michigan Masonic Museum & Library National Fertility Support Center Xtend Inc. One Year of Membership Beanilla Trading Co. Bouma Bros. Sales & Service, Inc. Brewery Vivant Crooked Goose Diekevers Roofing DTS Integration Family Christian Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank Firehouse Subs First United Federal Credit Union Meritage Hospitality Group Modular Transportation Co. Nexus Academy Peace Talks Mediation Services Prestige Imports West Michigan Symmetry Training and Fitness The James Fund Twisted Rooster Your Shower Door

Busy Bea’s Services, Inc. Inforum Laser Cartridges Plus LegalShield MEBS Michigan Legislative Consultants Mutual of Omaha Revel The Green Well Activa Benefit Services, LLC Adhezion, Inc. Alles Law American Express Business Travel CityFlats Hotel - Grand Rapids Compass Insurance Agency Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet Lakeshore Office Furniture

November 2013


Personal Property Tax: Clarification Bills There have been a number of tax policy changes over the last few years that have improved Michigan’s business climate—one of which was the phase out of Personal Property Tax (PPT) in Michigan. The PPT was a competitive barrier for Michigan businesses, both regionally and globally. It was a dated tax structure that made it difficult for local governments to assess taxes on tangible, moveable property owned by a company. Chamber staff worked diligently with key stakeholders across the state to pass PPT reform last year, a longstanding priority for the Chamber that removed significant disincentives to business investment and expansion. The PPT reform will provide tax relief to businesses with commercial and manufacturing personal property, while also providing reimbursement to local governments that are dependent on PPT revenue. Under this legislation, portions of the PPT will be phased out over the next 10 years. Small business taxpayers will be exempt from PPT beginning in 2014, manufacturing personal property phaseout will begin in 2016, and all manufacturing personal property will be exempt by 2023. As with any large reform package, cleanup bills are sometimes needed to address issues and ensure the policy functions as it was intended. Senate Bills 489 and 490, sponsored by Senator Brandenburg (R-Harrison Twp.), were recently introduced to address issues raised during summer work groups. The bills provide technical clarifications to the existing law and add procedures and penalties for false claims. Additionally, the bills add due process for taxpayers applying for the small parcel exemption as well as qualified new and previously existing personal property. Most notably the bills amend the small business exemption for commercial and industrial (manufacturing) property where the combined true cash value is less than $80,000. Current law includes an exemption for such property if the combined taxable value is less than $40,000. Senate Bills 489 and 490 passed the legislature this fall and are currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. Additional cleanup bills are expected in the future to address other technical fixes. The Chamber will continue to follow this issue and advocate for a simple, fair, and efficient business tax structure. For more information about this issue or the Chamber’s Tax Committee, contact Allie Bush at 616.771.0311 or

Low Rates • 10% Down • 20 Year Fixed Interest

The SBA 504 loan program provides financing and re-financing of captial projects for small and medium-size businesses. Julie Parker • Program Director 272 E 8th Street • Holland MI 49423 616.392.9633 (p) • 616.392.7379 (f)

the sum of all my hard work is the reason.

is the reason. The right health plan can protect your employees’ health and everything else you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Your Chamber Exclusively Endorses

Find out what thousands of Michigan businesses already know. Visit for more information. INDIVIDUAL PLANS








Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

R021767_GrandRapidsChamberNewsletterAd.indd November 2013


The Chamber News


10/24/13 12:23 PM


111 Pearl St. NW | Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Winning in the New Marketplace: A Diversity & Inclusion Forum Join us on November 22 for an insightful and practical forum focusing on the things you need to know to prepare your business for reaching new, diverse markets and creating an engaging, inclusive company culture that attracts and retains talent. The forum consists of a keynote presentation on multicultural marketing, a community panel of diverse leaders on talent attraction and retention, and a workshop on workplace and organizational culture change to close the day. Keynote speaker Sherman Wright, co-founder and managing partner of awardwinning marketing agency, CommonGround, will take an in-depth look at the new face of business, its diverse customer and employee landscape and discuss ways to effectively compete and win in the new marketplace. Under his direction, CommonGround has developed a stellar reputation for understanding a client’s brand and mining rich, actionable insights. Wright and his company have worked with renown brands such as Coca Cola, Nike, Target, Verizon, Coors, Miller, and Nissan. Consultant Vickie Rosenberg, President of Vickie Rosenberg and Associates, will lead a research-based workshop on organizational culture change and strategies for developing the best responses to the market. Participants will leave with real-world best practices, multicultural marketing identification tools, and results-driven workplace assessments to start implementing new ideas for change right away.

Keynote Speaker Sherman Wright, Co-founder & Managing Partner CommonGround

Our community panel on developing diverse talent connections will include: • LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Professionals Group: Jill May, A founding member • Western Michigan Bengali Cultural Association: Kaushik Nag, Representative • MAP (Multiracial Association of Professionals): Sonya Hughes, Representative If you have ever wondered what diversity and inclusion really looks like or could mean for your business or if you want to know whether you’re ready to grow into new, untapped markets for your brand, then be sure to join us on November 22 for the Diversity and Inclusion Forum. Date | Friday, November 22, 2013 Time | 8:00 – 11:30 a.m. Location | Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2500 South Division Ave. Cost | $50 for members, $65 for future members Registration | Visit or call 616.771.0303.

Workshop Presenter Vickie Rosenberg, President Vickie Rosenberg and Associates 2013 Diversity & Inclusion Underwriter

Event Sponsors

November 2013 Chamber News  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you