Thanks To you, The FuTure looks brIghT.
This yearâ€™s nominees make us feel confident there are even better days ahead for West Michigan. We look forward to seeing what you all accomplish in the years to come!
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Recognizing Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs PUBLISHER
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P U B L I C A T I O N S
140 nominees earn creative claps The 40 Under 40 Class of 2011 marks the second consecutive year to set a record in the number of nominations. Grand Rapids Business Journal is exceedingly grateful for the investment of time and talent in this process and as it is reflected in all 140 nominees and their nominators. It is important, because overall it provides a diverse and all-inclusive portrait of a unique community of talent, dedication and creativity. It demonstrates the strength of the greater Grand Rapids metro area, from the ’burbs to the lakeshore. You will read here the profiles of the Class of 2011, but those not profiled also are heralded here for their talent cited by co-workers and CEOs, as entrepreneurs starting their own businesses and finding ways to use their talents in meaningful ways in their communities. The list may not include some individuals one might consider “obvious” choices, but the Business Journal also gives nod to those who elect not to participate, or “sit out” in one year or another. Thank you every one. A nominee not included among the 40 profiled here is given recognition in this (honorable) mention: Jason Stewart, founder/ owner of All City Kicks, who died this past summer. The Business Journal profiled his business shortly after the 27-year-old earned an exclusive Nike account for his sneaker boutique, skyrocketing his unique and colorful approach to T shirts, hats … and sneakers to a national level. Stewart also was devoted to serving children and teenagers as a mentor, motivational speaker and volunteer basketball coach. Grand Rapids Business Journal has focused specifically on younger community leaders since 1995 with publication of the first 40 Under 40 (from just under 100 nominations). The networking event to recognize and unite the 40 was established the following year. The judges have not previously had so onerous a task as to name only 40 to the Class of 2011. Ask the judges, whose interest in leadership — no, passion for leadership — is greater than the value of a full day set aside for deliberation far from their easterly offices. We are grateful for the time and talent brought to the process by Chris Scharrer and Bob Thomas, both profiled below. (And, yes, the Business Journal staff provided background music via YouTube of the Grand Rapids Lip Dub to the tune of “American Pie.”) Grand Rapids Business Journal will honor the 40 Under 40 profiled here during a networking reception 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2, at the Goei Center, 818 Butterworth St. SW. We invite all the nominees and the general community to attend and celebrate success. More information is available at www.grbj.com. — Carole Valade
About the judges Grand Rapids Business Journal was assisted by a pair of distinguished judges for this year’s 40 Under 40 selection process. Chris Scharrer brings more than 30 years of experience in training, facilitation and program development. She is the owner of New Paradigm Solutions. She has developed and provided training at the local, state and national levels for a variety of audiences and has been nationally recognized for excellence in outstanding programming. She provides workshop presentations, facilitation of organizational strategic planning and cultural change, and manages projects centered around leadership development. Scharrer also serves as the executive director of Leadership Oakland in Oakland County, one of the nation’s leading regional leadership development programs. Bob Thomas is the director of operations for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. As executive director for the Michigan Chamber Foundation, Thomas manages programs including Great Ideas for Michigan, Future Forum and Leadership Michigan. He is the director for the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals and the Council of State Chambers of Commerce. Thomas previously served as assistant to the president and managed special projects and research for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Michigan Chamber Foundation. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Grand Valley State University.
40 UNDER FORTY 2011 | Grand Rapids Business Journal 3
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For 125 years, Aquinas College has inspired students to transform the world by providing a liberal arts education infused with the Catholic Dominican values of prayer, study, service and community. That's the AQ diﬀerence. Aquinas College celebrates our 40 Under Forty alumni.
Robert McCarty ’09 PRESIDENT, THE IMAGE SHOPPE
Kristin Salerno Revere ’02 PRESIDENT, REVERE CONSULTING
Ryan P. Smith ’00 ARGUS FINANCIAL CONSULTANTS
Thank you for making a diﬀerence in our community.
prayer | study | ser vice | communit y
www.aquinas.edu • (616) 632-8900
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Andrew Samrick, 38 Title: Chief Executive Officer Company: Simplicity Partners LLC
rosalynn Bliss, 36
Title: Director/Residential Services Organization: D.A. Blodgett/St. John’s Home It’s apparent that amid the myriad of community initiatives Rosalynn Bliss is immersed in, children are a priority. As director of residential services for D.A. Blodgett/St. John’s Home, Bliss is making a determined difference in changing the lives of troubled and abused youth. The 2nd Ward Grand Rapids City Commissioner serves on the boards of the Children’s Assessment Center, YMCA, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, Grand Rapids Youth Boxing and the Dyer-Ives Foundation. Bliss also works with the Uptown Corridor Improvement District, Kent County Land Bank Authority, Citizens Committee for Parks and Recreation Services and Uptown Corridor Improvement District Committee. Bliss’ earlier involvement with helping children includes serving as a former member of the DeVos Children’s Hospital Child Protection Team and, as a medical social worker, helping develop and implement the Shaken Baby Program at the hospital and a child sexual abuse prevention program at the Children’s Assessment Center. Bliss passes her knowledge and experience to others. She is a certified as a child trauma and loss consultant and an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University’s School of Social Work. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Bliss has earned the Christian Nelson Service to Children Award and the Michigan Professional Society on the Abuse of Children Award. “I am so lucky to have been blessed with having so many incredible mentors in my life,” said Bliss. “My greatest influence, however, is my family, and my oldest sister in particular. She is an amazing person who has always been my mentor, confidante and rock when times are tough.”
Andrew Samrick knows that when something isn’t right, it’s time to pursue other avenues. At age 30, he became president of the processing and distribution firm Mill Steel Co. By 35, “I was miserable.” Samrick remembers it all too well. “The people in the business were wonderful,” said Samrick, “but the pressure of the role was not the right kind of pressure. As a third-generation family business member, statistical probabilities said I was the person who would ruin the business. And in failing, I’d wipe out generations of family wealth in America. Not fun.” A bout with the flu that forced him to become bed-ridden turned his life around. He watched a marathon of “Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares” that depicted the chef helping save failing restaurants and the livelihoods of employees.
The show’s theme inspired Samrick in 2008 to launch Simplicity Tactics, a boutique corporate crisis and turnaround management firm, which provides discreet hands-on support for companies in transition. Since merging with another practice, the company brings greater depth of leadership. Performance and a satisfied customer base have enabled the firm to grow throughout its first three years in business. An expanded focus on serving the private equity sector led Samrick to rebrand the organization as Simplicity Partners. Samrick balances work with his leadership role as chairman of the Global Automotive Network and as a member of the Young Presidents Organization and Michigan’s Next Great Companies. His leadership and fundraising acumen extend to the West Michigan Flight Academy, Metro Health Hospital, the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids, D.A. Blodgett for Children and Grand Valley State University.
Brett VanderKamp, 39
Title: President Company: New Holland Brewing Co. LLC Cleary, Brent VanderKamp believes in blazing new trails. At the age of 24, he cofounded New Holland Brewing Co. LLC in 1996, which eventually emerged as the third-largest craft brewery in Michigan and currently employs 80. His business plan succeeded in selling craft products in 12 states and Washington, D.C., through a distribution network of 27 wholesalers. Last year, he made a bid for state senator in the 30th District, running on a platform that Michigan needs reforming, resizing and a renewed focus, with the creation of new jobs a key ingredient to the turnaround. He was one of 11 “Say Yes to Sunday” campaign leaders who gathered 42,000 signatures to permit Ottawa County voters to decide to allow the sale of beer and wine on Sundays. VanderKamp is a founding member, past president and government affairs committee chairman of the Michigan Brewers Guild, a trade organization representing more than 75 Michigan breweries. He volunteers his time with the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce, chairs the Ottawa County Republican Executive Committee’s Finance Committee and is chairman of the faithbased nonprofit Jubilee Ministries, which focuses on revitalizing the core-city of Holland. Current projects include housing renovation; Midtown Campus, which includes the Midtown Center, a nonprofit and business complex, and Midtown Village; and the Renaissance Building, located off 17th Street in the Southshore area, which is supporting local businesses Way Cup Cafe, West Michigan Lapidary, Pat’s Fresh Flowers and Holland Lock and Safe.
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C ON GR AT U L AT I ON S ! h
C H A D TUT TLE
CEO of Sunset Retirement Communities & Services
SUNSET’S STAFF & BOARD OF DIRECTORS WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXAMPLE OF INTEGRITY
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Chris Beckering, 30
Title: Director of Business Development Company: Pioneer Construction
Greg raad, 37
Title: CEO Company: Nederveld Inc. Greg Raad learned about responsibility at an early age. As a 21-year-old custodial single father of a 3-year-old girl, he managed work, school and parenting at a time when most people his age had far different agendas. So it should be no surprise that the leadership of engineering, surveying, planning and environmental firm Nederveld Inc. took a chance on a then-23-year-old and promoted him to manager of its Holland office in 1997. Just shy of 10 years later, that “green” kid ascended to the CEO’s job at the firm and since then has led it through some of the most turbulent times in the history of the local real estate market. “The real estate industry has seen its share of challenges since 2006,” he said. “Nederveld has undergone a transformation over this time by pushing forward into a market segment that is still within the engineering field and related to building and property, but using expertise related to analysis of failures.” Forensic engineering, fire investigation and high-definition laser scanning are the firm’s new areas of expertise while still maintaining strengths in land planning, civil engineering and land surveying. “Managing a shrinking market and shrinking company in one market segment and a growing company within a different market segment during the first few years as CEO was a challenge and accomplishment,” he said. Raad gives back to the community as a board member with the Visser Family YMCA and a volunteer with Kids Hope USA and Fair Haven Reformed Church. But his best accomplishment is simple: “Raising this little girl into a young lady and managing an expanding professional career.”
Chris Beckering enjoys taking a swing at the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Literally. He is chairman of Drive Out Stigma Golf Outing, an annual benefit held in June that raises much-needed funds for the Mental Health Foundation, whose mission is to create and sustain a community that supports people with mental illness. Suicide in Kent County is the third leading cause of death in children ages 15 to 24. An equally sobering statistic: 79 percent of children affected by mental illness never receive treatment. “We have a high suicide rate of teens in Kent County, and the Mental Health Foundation has a number of programs to make a difference,” he said. Beckering, director of business development for Pioneer Construction, is a strong supporter of the local Republican Party’s movers and shakers. As chair of its finance committee and former vice chair of the building committee, Beckering oversaw the renovation of a 6,000-square-foot warehouse at 727 Lake Michigan Drive NW, which now serves as the permanent site of the Kent GOP’s headquarters.
“I have a passion for good policy and the Republicans’ principles align with my core ideology, and the only way to make a difference is to get engaged,” said Beckering. “I believe in smaller, more efficient government, and I believe in individual responsibilities and freedoms.” Beckering’s professional memberships include the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan and the West Michigan chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors.
Chris Muller, 40
Title: President Company: M Retail Solutions Chris Muller is determined to put the “rapids” back in the Grand for everyone’s enjoyment. Muller is president and co-founder of Grand Rapids Whitewater, a nonprofit volunteer group comprised of individuals, paddling clubs, fishermen and businesses dedicated to helping Green Grand Rapids achieve the dream of creating a safer, more exciting river experience. Why is that needed? A brief history lesson. In the early 19th century, the rapids flowed along the riverbed stretching from Sixth Street to Wealthy Street, which has a fall of nearly 18 feet. Now the river is serene because, for more than 100 years, companies along the shoreline harnessed the rapids through the use of dams, power canals and tail-races. A kayaking enthusiast, Muller intends to revitalize the Grand River. Grand Rapids Whitewater received DDA and private funding to commission an engineer to design a new Grand River. Muller is president and founder of the retail real estate company M Retail Solutions. Clients include Lowe’s Home Improvement, Neighborhood Restaurant Group, LVLX Level 10, Ben & Jerry’s, Five Guys, Qdoba, Kate Spade, Eco, Miele, Harley Davidson and Loeks Theaters. Muller has represented big box retailers in a multi-year and multi-state expansion, fast casual market penetration and rollout, restaurant group concept growth and implementation, and fashion and specialty mall and street retail expansion. Muller also spreads his love for the outdoors through working with cycling advocacy programs and a bicycle racing program, Kent County Citizens Committee for Parks and Recreation Services, Grand Rapids Bicycle Parking Working Group, as well as LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church facilities committee and its Creation Care committee.
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dan tomaszewski, 39
John Bultema, 40
It can be a hopeless feeling when a person’s once-reliable personal computer crashes. It’s also disquieting for parents who wonder about the best way to keep their kids safe when they’re online. Dan Tomaszewski resolves both apprehensions. In 2007-2009, Tomaszewski’s Computer House Calls partnered with Habitat for Humanity to establish efforts to educate parents about keeping their children safe while online by setting up new computers for Habitat homeowners that included training families how to use Cyber Safety for Kids initiatives. This awareness included Cyber Safety for Kids seminars, and underwriting child safety seminars hosted by the Children’s Assessment Center that helped parents better understand the good and bad of the “digital playground.” Tomaszewski also has discussed cyber bullying and cyber safety at various speaking engagements.
John Bultema is the exact opposite of the Texan axiom, “All hat and no cattle.” Bultema distinguished himself as the youngest president in Fifth Third Bank’s history. That promotion in 2006 is one of several professional career paths that Bultema has adroitly learned to follow from those who took note of his leadership potential. “I had many people who believed in me,” said Bultema. “And I worked hard to validate their faith in my abilities. As a result, I learned a lot about myself and grew professionally. That growth prepared me for leading the bank’s entire business banking line of business.” Bultema has forged a reputation as a civic leader. His community involvement extends to serving on the boards of the Grand Valley State University Foundation, Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, Ada Christian School Foundation, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids and West Michigan United Way.
Title: President Company: Computer House Calls/Green Light Business Technology
He has parlayed his experience with computers by leading rebranding efforts and web development for the Jenison Chamber of Commerce and spearheaded the development of auction software for Holy Redeemer Parish. Tomaszewski served as table captain for the Children’s Assessment Center’s annual fundraising luncheon to comfort sexually abused children and their families. He’s also made donations of laptops, printers and free support to the Jenison High School girls basketball team.
Title: Executive Vice President Company: Fifth Third Bank
daniel Williams, 32
Title: Principal Organization: Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy Daniel Williams is outspoken in his belief that education is the gateway to a better life. And it’s not limited to students. The principal of the Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy fans that farreaching influence to include communities around the world. He thinks of one student in particular who helped to hone his belief in the power of education. Born in prison to incarcerated parents in Detroit, the young female student initially was raised by her grandmother until the woman died of cancer while the student was in high school. She preserved, worked hard, and graduated. That taught Williams a lesson about the potential in all regardless of circumstances. “I believe that all children from all backgrounds, of every race and socioeconomic status, and in every situation are capable and deserving of a high quality education,” said Williams. Williams’ success started at a jobs fair in Detroit with an “off-the cuff” conversation with the principal of the University Prep Academy in Detroit, which led to a job interview and a new career. He worked from 2003 to 2005 as the internship director, and then director with principal support for the Detroit Advantage Academy, positions that included organizing schoolwide programs for parents, teachers and students and developing an after-school program for at-risk boys to address their emotional and social needs. Then he was asked in 2008 to take Detroit Advantage Academy as an educational model to Grand Rapids with a new school start — an accomplishment he is most proud to have achieved with an enrollment of 300. Williams passes his knowledge and experience to students as a tutor and on field trips and provides parents with assistance in resume writing and job interviewing skills and employment searches.
He credits his father for being unsatisfied with status quo. “He encouraged me to always reach for more, to work hard and treat people with respect,” Bultema said. “No matter what my job is, no matter the customer I’m serving, no matter what organization I’m trying to help, those qualities continue to serve me well. Those are traits I try to live by today.” It’s that legacy Bultema and his wife, Tiffany, intend to pass along to their children, Johnny and Brooke. “While my children are still quite young, I take great joy and pride in watching them learn and grow and seeing what they have and will become,” he said.
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ross timyan, 23
Title: Chief Crusader Company: Crystal Clean Auto Detailing LLC
Jessica Ann tyson, 39 Title: Founder Company: Events by Jessica Ann
Jessica Ann Tyson measures success with a clear-cut guideline: Her ability to give back. Her benchmark is executed in a myriad of ways that have charted the course of people’s lives and businesses’ success. The full-service event planning agency she founded in 2003, Events by Jessica Ann, pays a stipend to interns who demonstrate a desire to learn the event-planning line of work, and gives referrals to businesses that provided excellent service. Tyson devotes her time as a board member of the Wyoming Kentwood Chamber of Commerce and the West Michigan Community Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation. Helping to avert foreclosure on homeowners’ mortgages, Tyson is chair of the Home Repairs Service of West Michigan, as well as vice president of the Girls Choral Academy and chair of Experience Grand Rapids Diversity Advisory Council. When speaking of accomplishments she’s achieved, Tyson steers clear of referring to herself. When listing her biggest professional break, Tyson wrote: “When our company had saved up enough money to start a scholarship fund.” “We are most proud of our signature events that we have created for our community’s enjoyment, such as The Mixing Pot, a multicultural community festival held in Rosa Parks Circle, the Legacy Ball held at JW Marriot, the United Multicultural Parade and the Minority Professional Business Tour at Huntington Bank.”
Before he became “chief crusader” of Crystal Clean Auto Detailing LLC, Ross Timyan worked as a lot attendant for a local car dealership. That’s a fairly big leap in responsibility, one Timyan willingly accepted with his company that cleans and does minor repairs to get cars in shape for dealerships and private owners — all within a 24-hour turnaround time. The one-stop shop provides its customers with the convenience of having their vehicles returned to them cleaned and lot ready, which includes uploading photos to dealers’ websites. Crystal Clean also has set itself up to be the go-to business for the climate-controlled storage of cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles and much more.
Timyan’s business includes airport valet service, providing the dual benefit of saving customers the expense of long-term parking while their vehicles are serviced. His company standards and can-do attitude earned Timyan this year’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. “It was extremely rewarding to be recognized in a room full of such esteemed, deserving people,” he said. “As an avid entrepreneur since the eighth grade, it was the most gratifying professional break I’ve experienced thus far.” Even with his early success, Timyan doesn’t hesitate to divert praise where it’s due. In July, Professional Car Washing and Detailing magazine conferred the Most Valuable Carwasher of the Year Award to Crystal Clean’s Detail Supervisor Chad Cornell, selected from more than 100 applicants across the United States. “I have been extremely fortunate to have had considerable recognition personally, but the sweetest by far was to see Chad, who is so deserving, be rewarded for his dedication and hard work,” said Timyan.
dante Villarreal, 34
Title: Regional Director Organization: Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center Dante Villarreal is an unabashed trailblazer. Once a migrant farmer in his younger years, Villarreal became the first in his extended family to enter college, where he eventually earned a master’s degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University. “That has positively impacted my (three) siblings and extended family at large, paving the way for others to follow in my footsteps,” said Villarreal. “I enjoy assisting many entrepreneurs who want to start and grow businesses here in West Michigan and being able to make a direct economic impact here in our region.” With a penchant for paying it forward, he today is an adjunct instructor at GVSU’s Seidman College of Business, teaching courses in business and entrepreneurship. Getting to his current position as regional director of the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center required him to take focused steps professionally. He’s held stints as regional manager for Telamon Corp., accountant for the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and, before becoming MI-SBTDC’s regional director, served as its business consultant, providing counseling, training, research and advocacy to small business owners. Making a difference in his community extends beyond paid positions for Villarreal. He’s helped to create and shepherd the growth of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and also serves on the board of Neighborhood Ventures. He has served on the boards of the West Michigan Minority Contractors Association, the Regional Alliance for Diversity in Public Purchasing and Hospice of Holland.
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Proud to salute John Bultema, Tracey Hornbeck and all the 40 Under Forty business leaders.
53.com Fifth Third Bank, Member FDIC.
Live: 6.125” x 8.875” Trim: 7.125” x 9.875”
Project Manager: deb volk Studio Artist: freelance
Equal Housing Lender.
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ryan P. Smith, 33
Title: Owner/Partner Company: Argus Financial Consultants
Kerri reinbold, 35
Title: Co-Founder Company: The Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse A knee injury that sidelined Kerri Reinbold from her love of running became an opportunity she may have never considered before. When her knee was strong enough, she enrolled in her first yoga class, gave birth to twin sons Abe and Jake in 2007 and, in 2010, met Baron Baptiste, founder of Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. His personal instruction, plus the example her husband, Chris, demonstrated with his own start-up business, spurred Reinbold to open the Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse. It was serendipity that enabled Reinbold to learn from Baptiste, one of yoga’s greatest teachers who instructed her how to teach yoga. “A phone call was placed on my behalf to get me to a sold-out training with Baron Baptiste,” said Reinbold. “Had I not attended this training, the Funky Buddha studio would have been put on hold or potentially would not have happened at all.” Funky Buddha is the first hot power yoga studio in Grand Rapids. It expanded its space last year to accommodate the nearly 1,000 students who walk through its doors weekly. Emboldened by its success, Reinbold plans to open multiple locations across West Michigan. Hot yoga, health and healing are the foundations of Reinbold’s business. Teaching students to access their power and follow their dreams is her passion. Reinbold’s zeal for yoga includes teaching a free class in Wilcox Park Sunday evening to about 100 people, as well as instudio fundraisers for The Giving Gardens and Rays of Hope for Haiti.
Ryan Smith credits his early success to one of his partners who formerly was his sales manager at another company. He was instructed to fire Smith. “He was getting pressure from the powers above him to let me go,” said Smith, who is the founding member of Argus Financial Consultants. Instead of showing the then-24-year-old Smith the door, his friend put his own position on the line and kept him on. Nine years later, they are partners in a financial planning business, Argus Financial Consultants, which has tripled its revenue and doubled the number of employees since opening in 2006. The firm’s name is based on a hero from Greek mythology, Argus, said to have 100 eyes. It was from this extra vision that he derived his special talent of being a sleepless, watchful guardian. The name Argus represents diligence, vision and vigilance, all of which are characteristics Smith wants his firm to embody.
Smith, who began his financial services career in 2000 after earning his bachelor’s of science degree in business administration and Spanish from Aquinas College, went on to earn his Chartered Financial Consultant and Chartered Advisor for Senior Living designations from American College, and is a certified financial planner professional. When not helping his clients achieve their financial goals, Smith supports the local community through his work with the Grand Rapids Lions Club and the Grand Rapids chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He’s also a financial management instructor for the Inner City Christian Federation, coach for the Grand Rapids Area Soccer Association, member of the Grand Rapids Economics Club, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Our Lady of Consolation Parish and past board member of the Aquinas College Alumni.
P. Haans Mulder, 37
Title: Shareholder Company: Cunningham Dalman PC P. Haans Mulder counts himself fortunate to live and work in Holland. The way he sees it, being able to practice business law coupled with his volunteerism is an optimal fit to meet the needs of his community. “I share this perspective and it has allowed me to pursue my profession and community activities with a much greater passion than I would if I lived in a community that didn’t have this approach,” he said. His numerous community involvements include Lakeshore e2e, which means, “entrepreneur to entrepreneur,” and is a partnership between Lakeshore Advantage and Holland Young Professionals. He also sits on the board of trustees and investment committee for the Community Foundation of Holland/ Zeeland and is a mentor and advisor to startup tenants at Lakeshore Advantage Business Garden. Mulder is chairman of the economic development portion of Leadership Holland Plus. Mulder challenges himself running marathons and has done so in eight cities across the United States, including Boston, Detroit, San Diego, Dublin, Ohio, and Grand Rapids. He also excels at conveying success stories and positive events in Holland and West Michigan through social media called News To Note via Facebook. Mulder is a member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Taxation, Real Property, Business Law, Probate and Estate Planning sections, Elder Law and Disability Rights’ sections, and National Association of Elder Law Attorneys.
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Gretchen deVault, 37
Kristin revere, 37
Gretchen DeVault knows the fear of failure can paralyze people from following their dreams. She isn’t one of those people. “I have never feared the risk of instability involved in starting and running a business,” said DeVault. “I’ve seen my family’s businesses both succeed and fail. I’ve seen the ups and downs. I’ve watched the businesses both as they boomed and as the customers dried up. For me, the possibility of creating a business from a vision became a passion; one that I think was born from seeing the many businesses created by my family.” DeVault is co-owner of DVQ Studio, a strategic communications company that works exclusively with nonprofits and businesses with a social mission. While passionate about DVQ Studio, that doesn’t straitjacket DeVault’s expressed intent to work outside the typical silos that creatively and intellectually confine some. She’s known for asking the deeper questions and pushing for smarter ways of living and working.
Kristin Revere knows money holds the power to shape the future of people’s lives. That is a key reason Revere earlier this year founded her own company, Revere Consulting, with an emphasis on fundraising, special events, publicity, and marketing and advertising. Revere acquired her expertise as a communications analyst during her stint with the Michigan House Democrats, which included performing research and assisting member offices with constituents’ calls and town hall meetings, and working as regional finance director for Andy Dillon’s campaign for governor of Michigan. She is the former finance director of the Michigan Senate Democratic Fund, which developed strategies for individual and PAC fundraising, as well as planning all caucus fundraising events.
Title: Co-Owner/Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Company: DVQ Studio; The Icicles
For creative spice, the self-professed social change junkie is guitarist/singer/ songwriter for the retro-futurist indie pop band The Icicles, which showcased itself with two songs featured on national and international commercials for Target and Motorola. The band has toured the United States, Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom. DeVault serves as co-chair of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network of Greater Grand Rapids, which organized and hosted this year’s national conference in Grand Rapids that drew more than 200 young nonprofit leaders nationwide. She is a board member of the Advertising Federation of West Michigan.
Title: Owner Company: Revere Consulting
Sarah rooks, 39
Title: President Company: Watermark Center Sarah Rooks wants to make Muskegon an in-demand destination for moviemakers. Rooks is president of Watermark Center in Muskegon, a real estate development firm that collaboratively works with local, regional and state officials to revitalize dormant areas of Muskegon. Revitalization efforts include Watermark 920, a 10,000-square-foot event and conference center instrumental in bringing the film industry to Muskegon. Plans are in the works to develop movie studios in the former Shaw-Walker furniture factory. “I absolutely love my hometown and I am proud to be a part of the revitalization of Muskegon and the Watermark and being able to transform the millionsquare-foot former Shaw-Walker furniture factory. We just completed our second phase and opened Watermark 920, an event center, and now are working on a $60 million, 350,000-square-foot movie studio.” Rooks gives of her time to the Muskegon Film Festival, Watermark Property Management Association, Mainstreet Advisory Board and Muskegon Summer Celebration. She coordinated and supervised all children’s activities for the Muskegon County Air Fair and Muskegon Irish Festival. She’s had her hand directly in the production of a movie. Rooks scouted and managed all locations for Modercine’s feature film, “Offspring,” which included production coordination. Rooks embodies the axiom that variety is the spice of life. She is a member of a roller derby team in Muskegon, the Skee Town Skirtz, and participates in the sport with her teenage daughter. Rooks volunteers her time for the Unity Festival, Taste of Muskegon, The Greater Muskegon Women’s Club, Rotary of Muskegon County, Parties in the Park, and the LST 393.
Revere’s community endeavors support her varied interests. She serves on the MomsBloom special events committee and is a volunteer for Girls on the Run of Kent County, a youth development program that combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls. She also organized Milk for Thought and Grand Rapids Latch On earlier this year. Revere is former vice chair of Progressive Women’s Alliance, a founding member who brought the White House Project to Michigan, and a steering committee member for the Michigan Political Leadership Program that raised money through its annual fundraiser and recruited talent for its fellowship program. Revere has no single person who has influence her life; rather, she feels fortunate to have had many strong female mentors who have taken her under their wings in business and in politics. 40 under forty 2011 | Grand Rapids Business Journal 13
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Jeﬀrey t. Lambert, 40
Title: President and Managing Partner Company: Lambert, Edwards & Associates
Scott erickson, 23 Title: Owner/Partner Company: Status Creative
It’s clear Scott Erickson doesn’t need to ride on someone else’s coattails to achieve his entrepreneurial ambitions. He credits Grand Rapids for providing the fertile ground young go-getters demand to achieve their dreams. “Grand Rapids is where I found myself,” said Erickson. “There’s no telling where I’ll end up, but it’s sure to be a fun ride.” So far, that ride has already taken Erickson to work as executive producer and producer of The Grand Rapids Lip Dub Video. The film was a rejoinder to the now-infamous Newsweek article that listed Grand Rapids as No. 10 in a top-10 list of dying U.S. cities. Erickson’s lip dub eventually was featured on ABC World News and won high praise from movie critic Roger Ebert, who declared it the “best music video ever made.” He counts Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter as an important influence in his life. “He’s a man who grew up in the slums of Brooklyn, and created an empire through his art — his words and his music,” said Erickson. Erickson gives of his time as a founding member of the Juice Ball Initiative, creating and producing Juice Ball events to benefit Kids’ Food Basket, and serves on the advisory committee of the Michigan Film Festival. He is a social media advocate for Until Love Is Equal, a grassroots organization based in West Michigan, which is dedicated to protecting personal liberties and civil rights regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Erickson’s community involvement also extends to roles with Rock the Rapids, a music festival that draws nationally known artists.
Starting a business from humble beginnings doesn’t deter Jeffrey Lambert. He co-founded the public relations and investor relations firm, Lambert, Edwards & Associates, in his basement in 1998. Today, LE&A counts itself as a top-five Midwest agency with more than 100 clients in 20 states and five countries. The company’s 12-year track record includes four acquisitions, including Detroit-based John Bailey & Associates in 2009. The combined firm has five practice groups: automotive, consumer, financial communications, health care and technology, and public affairs. It now has offices in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit. LE&A’s track record has prompted Lambert to pass along his public relations expertise. He has addressed the PR Firm Management Summit in New York, the Michigan PR Society conference, the Brandt and Zabrusky lecture series at Michigan State University and the Michigan Bar Business Law Institute.
He was a Midwest finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007, was recognized as one of Michigan’s 50 Companies to Watch in 2010, was named among PR Week’s 40 Under 40 national leaders in 2010, and as PR Practitioner of the Year by the West Michigan Public Relations Society. Lambert’s community involvement includes serving on the executive committee and as marketing chair for Junior Achievement, executive committee and regional board for the YMCA, board member of the Economic Club of Grand Rapids and alumni board for the Michigan State College of Communication Arts and Sciences. He’s also a member of the Young Presidents Organization.
Lorissa Keller MacAllister, 39 Title: President and Founder Company: Enviah
Lorissa Keller MacAllister launched her career as a medical social worker. The health care field should be grateful for her career choice. Since then, her architectural consulting firm has created master plans, strategic plans operational assessments, programs, plans, and sustainable operations integration for the health care field. Her projects range from small remodels to multimillion-dollar new acute care facilities. MacAllister’s expansive array of projects include lead consultant to develop new services and growth of existing services for North Ottawa Community Hospital, lead designer and developer of a tool that tracks improvements of physician practices, and lead designer of a national toolkit for the tier one campaign to create healthier hospitals. From 2003-2010, she was health care strategic business unit leader for Progressive AE, building a health care practice in a regional, full-service architectural firm that employed 120 people. The most notable project was a $34 million, multi-story addition to Spectrum Health Hospitals’ patient unit, ICU and surgery facilities. As a knowledge leader in her field, MacAllister serves on many boards and speaks and publishes regularly on leading edge health-care design both nationally and within her community. She serves as board president for Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center, and works with the Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Symphony boards. MacAllister also is the 249th point of light in President George H.W. Bush’s Thousand Points of Light program.
14 Grand Rapids Business Journal | 40 under forty 2011
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Shelly Klein, 39
Title: Owner/Creative Director/Artist Company: k studio
Malinda Petersen, 40 Title: Founder and Owner Company: MP Talent
Malinda Petersen founded her talent management company, MP Talent, in 2009. Later, the business hit a snag. That’s when Petersen’s motivational juices started flowing. “Upon realizing that the original intention of MP Talent was not going to sustain itself financially, I was able to pivot the business model, re-brand and continue forward with a new iteration that is just beginning to blossom,” said Petersen. Since June 2009, MP Talent has worked in partnership with Grand Rapids Civic Theatre to offer the only film-specific acting classes in West Michigan. MP Talent procured industry professionals (actors Ralph Lister and Alyssa Bauer and producers Patrick Ziegler and T. Smith) to lead workshops and seminars informing new actors on industry protocol. Petersen’s career has revolved around theater, entertainment and education. She is a faculty member of the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre School of Theatre Arts; producer/director of “Motherhood: The Journey,” which served as a fundraiser for MomsBloom; contract event manager for Kids’ Food Basket; and stage manager for Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and Actors’ Theatre. Petersen is a charter member of Manufacturing Media in West Michigan. She continues to serve on the Kids’ Food Basket school liaison committee and is adjudicator of the Grand Awards Committee and planning committee member for the Michigan Film Festival, where she helped define and direct production workshops within the festival. Petersen credits her mother for leading by example in her younger years, during which time she earned a master’s degree and pastoral care certificate while raising four children. “I better understand her choices while I was growing up,” said Petersen.
It’s safe to say Shelly Klein isn’t interested in playing it safe. She’s been a selfemployed artist and designer all of her adult life. That suits Klein, a graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design, just fine. She distinguished herself when she and two other designers created a one-ofa-kind Eames lounge chair and ottoman for Herman Miller Inc.’s 50th anniversary celebration that included designing custom textiles that were exhibited at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. She also created custom textiles for 280 rooms of the Affinia Shelburne Hotel in New York. Klein’s upholstery pattern for her Eames chair — dubbed Everyday People — marked a major step forward in her studio’s evolution. In 2008, editors of Real Simple magazine tapped Klein’s studio to develop a product for the magazine’s 2008 holiday gift guide. Klein’s creative acumen resulted in the Family Series tote bag, which later spawned Family Series pillows sold through national catalog retailers’ Garnet Hill and Uncommon Goods.
Klein is equally willing to shepherd other artists’ creative ideas as a member of the UICA Curatorial Board and instructor for ArtWorks summer mentorship program. An auction of k studio products and artwork has supported UICA, professional design association AIGA, Progressive Women’s Alliance of West Michigan and the Humane Society of West Michigan. Klein credits her mother, Mary Klein, a veteran executive in the Grand Rapids furniture industry, for serving as her studio’s business manager and an essential sounding board for her new designs.
Gary Lee Smith, 26
Title: President/Owner Company: Smith Development and Eclipse Hunting Apparel Gary Lee Smith made his grand entrance into the building industry when he was only 21 years old and still a student at Grand Valley State University. A subsequent business venture is confirmation Smith remains on the hunt for additional entrepreneurial challenges. While a student, Smith earned the distinction of becoming the second largest builder in Muskegon County where he had 18 homes and condominiums under construction at one time. He graduated in 2006 with a bachelor of business administration degree in finance while working long hours managing his construction sites. Today, his company primarily builds custom homes along the lakeshore as well as a handful of commercial buildings that can range up to $3 million. The economic downturn in residential development led Smith to expand to home remodeling the last two years. Smith credits real estate developer Dave Jacobs for mentoring him while in college. Jacobs is the reason Smith decided to earn a college degree in finance, obtain his Realtor and builder’s licenses, and become Jacobs’ property investments builder for residential and commercial properties. In 2008, Smith’s love of the outdoors compelled him to open Eclipse Hunting Apparel. Eclipse has customers worldwide, including South Africa and Australia. “We have since set up a full cut-and-sew facility in Muskegon to manufacture all of our products, which can be purchased at nearly 1,200 Mathews dealers around the world,” said Smith “We also manufacture soft goods for other companies in the hunting industry.” Smith also is the exclusive manufacturer of 3D camouflage jackets for Mathews. Smith shares his knowledge of development as a board member for the West Michigan Lakeshore Tour of Homes, helping promote residential development.
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Brent A. Vander Kolk, 36
Grant Winkelman, 32
In Michigan, unpaid child support averages more than $9.2 billion in support owed. Brent A. Vander Kolk finds that unacceptable. Since 2004, when he was first appointed special assistant attorney general assigned to prosecute felony child support cases by then-Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, Vander Kolk has played an integral part in collecting more than $100 million through the division’s prosecution and collection actions since its creation in 2003. This child support has directly impacted the lives of more than 8,700 children. Vander Kolk’s appointment continues with state Attorney General Bill Schuette. The same year of his appointment as special assistant attorney general, Vander Kolk founded a three-attorney firm whose focus is business and estate planning. His clients’ issues are as varied as Vander Kolk’s legal acumen: from start-up businesses to multimillion-dollar operations in Michigan and Iowa.
Grant Winkelman follows an entrepreneurial legacy his grandfather forged in Detroit. After graduating with honors from the School of Packaging at Michigan State University, Winkelman initially launched his career as a packaging engineer in the aerospace, appliance and office furniture industries. But Winkelman couldn’t ignore his culinary passion. At the age of 28, he became the youngest franchisee of the Zoup! Fresh Soup Co. He continues to serve as founding member of the Zoup! Franchisee Advisory Council with a focus of strengthening and growing the franchise’s brand. The success of his eatery on Cascade Road funded a second location on Byron Center Avenue that’s near the developing M-6 corridor, and eventually another along the Medical Mile in downtown Grand Rapids.
Title: Multi-Unit Franchise Owner/Operator Company: Zoup!
Title: Principal, Attorney and Founder Company: Vander Kolk & Vander Kolk PLC
Vander Kolk has parlayed his expertise in the public arena with other capacities, earlier researching statutes from other states for a set of proposed Michigan divorce reform bills for former State Rep. Joanne Voorhees. He also served as an assistant prosecutor in Kalamazoo County. Vander Kolk is active as a board member and general counsel for the Wyoming Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce and trustee and general counsel for the Wyoming Kentwood Chamber Foundation. He also serves on the board of Brandenburg Capital Management Corp. and Schmid Pipeline Construction Inc.
Mandee rick, 36
Title: Portfolio Management Team Leader, Vice President Company: Huntington Bank Mandee Rick believes the best way to know the heart of a community is to immerse oneself in it. That’s a key reason why the vice president and portfolio management team leader for Huntington Bank has served the past four years on the downtown Grand Rapids Relay for Life committee, a signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The benefit exceeded its goals, including the number of teams participating and dollars raised. “Like many others, my life has been impacted by cancer in that I have seen many loved ones struggle with the disease, and being able to have a small impact in the fight against cancer is a very rewarding experience,” said Rick. Rick puts her energy into other volunteer endeavors. In 2010, she began working on a mentoring program internally at the bank, which was launched in January of this year. As chair of the Huntington Mentoring Committee called EXCEL, she is just wrapping up the committee’s first mentoring season, which lasted for nine months. She now plans to implement the pilot program into Huntington’s regional programming. EXCEL is part of the bank’s Women’s Initiative Committee, of which Rick is a member. She previously served on the Up On The Roof event committee, which raises money for Saint Mary’s Foundation and its patient service programs for those undergoing cancer treatment in Grand Rapids. Her community involvement includes work with Go Red for Women Auction, Schools Hope United Way Investment Council, Grand Rapids Young Professionals and the Van Andel Institute J-Board.
Winkelman immersed himself in the new restaurant as well as the surrounding community. He is a founding member of the East Paris Business Association, which merged with the Cascade Business Association to form the Forest Hills Business Association. Winkelman’s source of pride is knowing that he’s creating more jobs in the Grand Rapids area despite a challenging economy. He’s not one to bark out orders to employees either, but can be found taking orders at a Zoup! counter or retrieving trays from the dining room. “I think I have been able to benefit from the diversity and strength of my parents and grandparents,” said Winkelman. “My maternal grandfather, who grew up on a farm and continued to garden his whole life. My paternal grandfather, who was an entrepreneur. My mother, an artist and great with people. My father, an investor with great business sense.” 40 under forty 2011 | Grand Rapids Business Journal 17
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rachel Mraz, 30
Title: Wealth Management Advisor Company: Merrill Lynch
Chad tuttle, 34
Title: Chief Executive Officer Company: Sunset Retirement Communities and Services Chad Tuttle believes in his ability to lead the $20 million faith-based retirement community Sunset Retirement Communities and Services. But his leadership skills were especially noted by the Grandville Jenison Chamber of Commerce, a merged entity which required many skill sets. Tuttle served as a board member at the Grandville chamber and as president of the Jenison chamber. Earlier this year, Tuttle assumed the CEO position with responsibilities that include leadership of three campuses, two service entities and more than 500 employees. Prior to assuming the CEO helm, Tuttle was Sunset’s human resources director from 2001-2005, and executive director from 2005-2010. In that span of time, he has earned the trust and respect of those who report to him. “Chad has been my direct supervisor since 2007 when I joined the Waterford Place community as the marketing specialist,” said Nicole Swart, now Sunset’s executive director. “Not having worked directly with Chad prior to this, I was eager to see for myself why he is so respected within the organization and his knowledge coveted by peers in the industry. I quickly discovered that the secret to Chad’s success is based on his motivation to help others succeed.” Others also know of Tuttle’s leadership capabilities. In 2008, he was elected as a trustee to the Georgetown Charter Township Board where he helped create a parks plan, attracted grants and worked to improve the township’s water and sewer infrastructure. Earlier this year, he was appointed vice chairman of the Ottawa County Workforce Development Board, in addition to his chamber of commerce activities.
Rachel Mraz’s method for encouraging a next generation of philanthropists to become involved in their communities and in the world is straightforward: Lead by example. Yes, that means she’s been to the mountaintop. Literally. She serves on a national speakers bureau for next-generation philanthropists, is an inaugural Youth Trustee (under 30) for the Council of Michigan Foundations’ board and is the Next Generation Family Foundation liaison for the Council of Michigan Foundations. Internationally, Mraz is organizing an excursion to Costa Rica for a statewide group of next-generation philanthropists in an effort to show the importance of global philanthropy in relation to Michigan’s resources. She recently co-chaired an independent effort that raised funds for an AIDS orphanage in Mhangura, Zimbabwe. Her fundraising method? Climb Mount Kilimanjaro with her husband, Mike.
The mountain-climbing efforts raised enough money to construct a new, multiuse administration building, which will nearly double the orphanage’s student capacity in an area projected to be more than 80 percent HIV positive. “It was an intense undertaking, but the reward of seeing the children’s faces when we went to Zimbabwe and broke ground after the climb made the project something that we will never, ever forget,” said Mraz. She also has put her fundraising skills to use for Opera Grand Rapids, The Eventing Association of Michigan, DeVos Children’s Hospital, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan Women’s Foundation and the Cornell Alumni Association of West Michigan.
tami VandenBerg, 36
Title: Co-owner Company: The Meanwhile Bar/Pyramid Scheme Tami VandenBerg reserves her admiration for people who make bold moves and take big risks to make Grand Rapids a better place to live. This is no armchair veneration. Her work earlier in life in the social services field, with a focus on the mentally ill and the homeless, continues today, even though she switched careers in 2002 when she and her brother, Jeff, purchased an abandoned building and, in 2007, opened The Meanwhile pub in the Baxter neighborhood. VandenBerg, her brother and partner Mark Sellers then embarked on a new establishment, The Pyramid Scheme, a bar and live music venue at 68 Commerce St. SW, which provided 25 new jobs and restored a historic Heartside building that had remained vacate for more than a decade. Celebrated “green initiatives” include salvaging and recycling equipment, furniture and fixtures and the minting of its own “Meanwhile Money currency” in which for $10, patrons received $12 in Meanwhile Money, all of which was featured on National Public Radio. VandenBerg’s passion to end homelessness is expressed as a former board member of the Uptown Corridor Improvement Authority, which added several green initiatives to the project, including public recycling, bike racks and light rail. She’s also worked with Well House and Eastown Community Association. Now VandenBerg is pouring all of her volunteer energies into a single cause: the Grand Rapids Red Project, of which she was appointed chair in 2010. The nonprofit initiative is made up of community members who are passionate advocates and activists in the fight against HIV/ AIDS, hepatitis and the harmful or risky choices that help spread these life-altering medical conditions.
18 Grand Rapids Business Journal | 40 under forty 2011
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thomas W. Cronkright II, 36 Title: CEO/Co-Owner/Vice President/Managing Partner Company: Sun Title, Vets Title, Sun Law Group, Docs on the Fly, Cronkright Ventures LLC, Jade Clothing LLC
Maxine Gray, 28
Title: Candidate Experience and Social Media Program Manager Company: Herman Miller Inc. Some people prefer to deflect recognition for helping to develop the talent of young professionals of color. Maxine Gray sees things in a far different light. Gray shares her business experience as president of BL2END, an acronym for Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions. Founded in 2006, the nonprofit organization instills in leaders of color between the ages of 21 and 35 three initiatives: professional development, community outreach and social networking. “BL2END is by far my most important and satisfying accomplishment since my time in Grand Rapids, because the organization impacts the challenge of the recruitment and retention of professionals of diverse backgrounds in our community,” said Gray. A 2004 graduate of Hope College, Gray considers her staff position as the college’s program coordinator of multicultural life a perfect fit for expanding diversity. “I was instrumental in planning cultural events, participating in committees to improve minority participation at Hope College, recruitment and retention efforts, advising students, and providing leadership opportunities, just to name a few of the responsibilities and roles,” said Gray. Her community contributions also help prepare new opportunities for professionals of color. She has provided strategic counsel and guidance for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, defined and implemented diversity and inclusion strategies for women of all ages and races for the West Michigan Regional Council, and recently joined Varnum LLP’s diversity and inclusion advisory council. Gray honed her communication skills by earning her master’s degree of science communications from Grand Valley State University in 2009.
Thomas W. Cronkright II relishes keeping busy and giving back to his community. He’s accomplished both through a succession of “firsts.” He founded one of Michigan’s largest title agencies, which then launched the nation’s first fleet of mobile closing units. Cronkright also created a distribution platform that transformed the way closing services are delivered. After founding Sun Title in 2005, Cronkright became co-owner/vice president in 2009 of Vets Title, one of the nation’s few service-disabled, veteranowned small business title and settlement companies that offer nationwide services with local-level execution. Vets Title gives one-quarter of its net profits back to veteran-related causes around the country. With a background in corporate law that includes working as an associate attorney for Warner Norcross & Judd LLP and Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC, Cronkright oversees Vets Title’s business development, company strategy, finances and media relations.
Cronkright also is co-owner/CEO of Docs on the Fly Inc., the nation’s first mobile notary company that securely sends and receives documents to a vehicle in real-time. After starting in Orange County, Calif., and expanding into Arizona and Nevada, Docs on the Fly has started franchising its business model this year to independent notaries around the country. Then there’s Cronkright Ventures LLC, of which Cronkright is a managing partner. The company acquires, renovates and leases commercial properties in Rockford. Cronkright assists with vendor management, finance, marketing strategy and customer service for Jade Clothing LLC, a women’s boutique.
Michael Mraz, 30
Title: Vice President of Business Development Company: Rockford Construction Some people ask “why?” Michael Mraz asks, “why not?” It’s that clarion call that motivated Mraz to help raise more than $25,000 to build a new administration building for a children’s orphanage in Zimbabwe last year. The new structure enabled the orphanage to expand its services to help more children in need. The funds were raised with pledges and Mraz’s decision to climb Mount Kilimanjaro before visiting the orphanage. “We have a strong passion for philanthropy, and this effort made me the most proud,” said Mraz, referring to himself and his wife, Rachel. “We were able to meet the children and missionaries, and more specifically, our child that we have sponsored over the past few years.” Mraz serves on the boards of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, where he helped to increase its membership. He worked to raise $1 million locally through the March of Dimes benefit, Signature Chefs Auction. Mraz also works with Metro Health Hospital Foundation, introducing individuals and companies to its new campus, and helps allocate funding to programs within the hospital. He co-founded Culture and Cocktails, which engages the next generation with arts organizations in Grand Rapids through discounted ticket packages and networking events. Helping to renovate 10 buildings as a member of Rockford Construction’s real estate development group is a professional highlight for Mraz. “This helped to fuel my passion for the area,” he said. “Seeing the transformation of the buildings was very inspiring to continue to work in Grand Rapids.” His responsibilities also include all aspects of the real estate development and investment process, including financial forecasting, financing, project management and owner’s representation.
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rob McCarty, 38
tracey Hornbeck, 40
Rob McCarty is happiest when his hands are involved in a myriad of tasks that make his creative marketing firm hum. It’s with a hint of wit that his self-described title is “jack of all.” Sales, accounting, operations and account management are all in his bailiwick, but he balances it with care and respect for the environment, economic vitality and the social welfare of the community. Born from his varied responsibilities are the beautification of the I-196 corridor called the Turner Gateway Project and the Ehlers Transit Partnership. The latter was organized around the belief that modern public transportation builds a healthy community. He’s also part of Grand River Valley Passages, a strategy to preserve and enhance the roadside natural environment.
Tracey Hornbeck infuses her personal and professional life with the wisdom she learned from her mother. Among the salient insights the chief financial officer for Fifth Third Bank garnered is adeptly juggling career, family and volunteer responsibilities. These are not troublesome opportunities, but are deserving of an “OK” approval, Hornbeck maintains. There’s more to that belief than meets the eye. She regards her forward-thinking principals as simple, but not simplistic. Among them: It’s OK to navigate through life in unconventional ways; it’s OK to go sledding with the kids at night before bed instead of after school; it’s OK to eat dinner on the top of the play set instead of the dinner table; it’s OK to work late to get a big project done and the family also will be proud; it’s OK to pack a lunchbox as long as a parent makes it to the ball field; it’s OK to practice spelling homework over the phone while heading to a meeting.
Title: Jack-of-All-Trades Company: The Image Shoppe
His community involvement includes work with the Sustainable Agriculture Forum, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, Go West and the Baxter Neighborhood Association. But Local First, a nonprofit that supports local business ownership in West Michigan by representing nearly 600 local business members, is his most gratifying activity. “It’s not because of what I did, but because of all the people who invested their time, effort and energy to see a new organization and ideas get off the ground,” McCarty said. “To me, that’s the best.”
Title: Chief Financial Officer Company: Fifth Third Bank
nathaniel t. Volkema, 31 Title: Financial Advisor Company: VantagePointe Financial Group
Nathaniel Volkema knows how to stay ahead of the pack. The Financial Advisor for Holland-based VantagePointe Financial Group last year became a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, a sales star award that only 1 percent of advisors are qualified to join. “This has always been my target since I started as an advisor,” said Volkema. “I am extremely proud to be a member of such an elite organization.” He achieved it the old-fashioned way: by earning it. While paying overhead after opening an office in Holland in 2007, Volkema over the next three years grew his business by 100, 43 and 94 percent, respectively. Volkema found overhead to be a motivating force. “When I am paying all the overhead, you start acting like a true business owner,” he said. Volkema extends his can-do attitude to worthy causes as well. He is the treasurer and fundraising chair for the Allegan Ottawa Shrine Club, with responsibilities that include the annual Circus and Magic Show fundraising events to support the Shriner’s organization. He is a member of the Holland Masonic Lodge, which includes running the annual Christmas Tree fundraiser, and a member of the Holland Young Professionals, most recently serving as its president, where he helped to develop and implement a new membership program and initiate the HYP fund with the Holland Zeeland Community Foundation.
Families in general and children specifically are equal passions of Hornbeck’s. She was on the board of the John Ball Zoo at a time when it made one of its biggest expansions and in which her experience in finance and operations resulted in a successful capital campaign. She has also served on the board of the Southeast YMCA, where her financial expertise has helped the nonprofit reach its operational goals so children of all ages can learn the importance of teamwork and fitness. That’s more than OK in her book. “I am proud to contribute to the YMCA because it really is a facility for families,” said Hornbeck.
40 under forty 2011 | Grand Rapids Business Journal 21
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Martin Stein, 39
nathan Koetje, 35
When it comes to running, whether in his personal life or his private equity firm, Martin Stein intends to stay ahead of the pack. Stein has hoofed it in 18 marathons, including three ultra-marathons, in far-flung sectors of the world including Honolulu, Chicago and Philadelphia. That’s in addition to the nine triathlons Stein braved. He placed first in the 1997 Boston Road Club bike race, amateur division. His athletic prowess has benefited others, leading a 20-member AIDS fundraising bike tour of 3,700 miles from Seattle to Washington, D.C. In 2000, he earned a master’s of business administration with a concentration in technology and operations management from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and was selected as one of 48 fellows from a national pool of 500 candidates for the Coro Fellowship Program for its public policy leadership.
Nathan Koetje, chief operating officer for electrical contractor Feyen Zylstra LLC since 2006, has proved his operations management mettle by implementing strategic development that expanded the firm from a local to a national service provider. But Koetje, who earned a master’s degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business in 2006, is not a onedimensional personality. There’s a people side to Koetje as well: He also earned a master’s in social work with a concentration in human services management from the University of Michigan in 1999.
Title: Founder and Managing Director Company: Blackford Capital LLC
Amanda rogalski, 31
Title: Director of Corporate Development Company: viastore systems Inc. As president of the Grand Rapids Young Professionals, Amanda Rogalski doesn’t have to wonder if the network for those between the ages of 21 and 40 is making a difference. “I am most proud when I meet individuals who tell me that they made all of their friends through attending GRYP events or that they found a job through a contact at a GRYP event; that they were or are new to town and that GRYP was the first event they attended in Grand Rapids, or that the organization has allowed them to connect with our community in new and different ways.” Rogalski is director of corporate development for viastore systems Inc., an engineering firm specializing in the organization and automation of warehouses. There, she creates and manages all internal and external communication and marketing campaigns, while she pursues a master’s degree in the science of communication. Rogalski takes nothing for granted. She is viastore’s first marketing staff member, which allows her the freedom to learn, grow and create value for herself and her department. Her success on the business side prompted her to serve on the board of Grand Valley State University Young Alumni Council and the Young Professional Collaboration. She also was on the board of Material Handling Industry of America, Integrated Systems and Sales, and Marketing CEO Roundtable.
Earlier this year, Stein moved the headquarters of his private equity firm in California back to his hometown of Grand Rapids. His many accomplishments include Outstanding Graduate Volunteer Service Awards–Forest Hills Northern High School, class of 1990; Recharger magazine’s Individual Leadership Award in 2003; and Corp magazine’s Michigan’s Economic Bright Spot Award for 2011. Stein is a board member of Key Health, Ameritech Corp. and Staging Concepts.
Title: Chief Operating Officer Company: Feyen Zylstra LLC
david J. Mcfarland, 28
Title: President Company: The Lead Company Inc.
David McFarland worked for a time as a telemarketer for a mortgage company when he was a junior in high school. Then he was laid off. That taught him the value of pressing on in life. “I decided to work for myself,” he said. “Always carry a positive attitude. It can easily make or break a company.” His positive attitude led to the founding of his own telemarketing company in 1999, Odyssey Lead Generation. Within a year, he employed 10 people, and earned $75,000 during his senior year in high school. The National Do Not Call Registry, implemented in 2004, ground his business to a halt. Again he pressed on. He switched business models, renaming his company The Lead Company Inc., with a goal of connecting consumers with an insurance or mortgage professional who is customer-focused. The decision to think of the client before the company is the platform for McFarland’s business. Turning a profit does nothing if the service is rendered useless, McFarland believes. “This year, with only two people, we will hit $20 million in revenues,” said McFarland, who received a bachelor’s in business management from Cornerstone University in 2010. “I am most proud of the fact that, when most people would have given up, possibly filed bankruptcy, or run away, I continued to strive for excellence and made my company successful. Morals and values have taken a backseat to profits in the last decade, and this was not a route I was willing to take.”
Koetje puts his analytical skills to use as chairman of the Grand Rapids Planning Commission, where he collaboratively works with developers, the public and city ordinances to meet the objectives of the city’s master plan. He also is president of the American Subcontractors Association of Michigan and serves as advisory board chairman for the international licensing organization Tegg Corp. in Pittsburgh, Pa. With an eye on mentoring the next generation of business managers and executives, Koetje is a lecturer of business administration for Aquinas College, Junior Achievement and Grand Rapids Public Schools of Hope. Koetje said his father, Dave Koetje, taught him the importance of treating people with respect, how to handle the pressure of leadership and the value of persistence and hard work.
22 Grand Rapids Business Journal | 40 under forty 2011
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A celebration of success. Grand Valley State University and the Grand Valley State University Alumni Association congratulate our alumni and faculty named to the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” list. We’re pleased to have given our alumni a rich education experience that prepares them for positions of service and leadership. And we appreciate the opportunity to provide our faculty with a teaching environment that fosters personalized instruction, real-world research, and individual student success. gvsu.edu/GRAND | (616) 331-2025 Chris Beckering, Pioneer Construction
Mandee Rick, Huntington Bank
John Bultema, Fifth Third Bank
Amanda Rogalski, Viastore Systems Inc.
Gretchen DeVault, DVQ Studio
Gary Lee Smith, Smith Development and Eclipse Hunting Apparel
Maxine Gray, Herman Miller Inc
Chad Tuttle, Sunset Retirement Communities and Services
Nathan Koetje, Feyen Zylstra LLC Rob McCarty, The Image Shoppe
Dante Villarreal, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center
Haans Mulder, Cunningham Dalman PC
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CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR ALUMNUS
Congratulations to Greg Raad on his recognition as a “40 Under Forty” honoree from the Grand Rapids
AND TO ALL OF THE
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40 UNDER FORTY
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CONGRATS FROM THE NHB TEAM, BRETT, ON YOUR
UNDER FORTY HONOR!
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