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Talent

After completing an assignment in sixth grade that had him rifling through the help wanted ads in the local newspaper to find the job of his dreams, Pete Brand knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur.

As a father of five, Charlie Lott has a lot going on. Still, on top of his commitments to his family, Lott continues to give his time and professional skills to D.A. Blodgett — St. John’s.

Given the intense national competition for talent, employers can ill afford to ignore any pool of potential employees, no matter the challenges they may bring to organizations.

When Lori Slager saw a need in the community for a creative literacy program, she took action.

John Wheeler has roots firmly planted in the Grand Rapids community.

Rather than send workers from West Michigan to the east side of the state or to out-of-state training centers, one local program aims to offer those opportunities closer to home.

2008 was a year nearly every organization would like to forget, including Cornerstone University. The faith-based institution of higher education was suffering its third straight year of declining enrollment. Tuition revenues plunged, while the stagnant economy crimped donations.  Then Joe Stowell arrived. 

Through his efforts to guide the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding out of financial hardship, Jeff Agar has helped bring more alternative therapy options to children and adults with disabilities in West Michigan.

A coalition of law firms working to increase diversity within the legal community will seek to brand Grand Rapids as a destination for minority and female attorneys.

Sustainability isn't just some esoteric concept for Rob McCarty. It's a philosophy by which he runs his business, and he believes in it so strongly that he focuses his volunteer efforts around it as well.

They say in Hollywood that there's the movie you write, the movie you shoot and the movie that's left when all the edited clips have been swept from the cutting room floor. Similarly, there's a large local audience waiting in line to see the final version of the Compass College of Cinematic Arts saga.

Corporate clients might be singing the blues when they approach attorney Mark Smith for legal counsel, but they might not know that he can be found on the radio spinning blues tracks as a volunteer programmer on WYCE.

Max Shangle just celebrated his third decade at Kendall College of Art and Design, the last two years as dean of the college. The experienced furniture designer and design consultant said he is invigorated by the state of change at the college. He believes Kendall is poised to make a statement through its new president, the newly renovated Historic Federal Building and the three new degree programs in design collaboration, fashion studies and medical illustration. "Kendall really is ready," Shangle told MiBiz during a wide-ranging interview about design's role in business, the nature of design education and more.

BIG RAPIDS — Ferris State University joins the ranks of institutions of higher education intentionally focusing on entrepreneurship with the creation of the Entrepreneurial Institute, which launched last fall. 

The institute is the brainchild of Ferris First, a group organized by the university's Strategic Planning Commission and Resource Council.

When Erhardt Construction Co. set out to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the company's management team wanted to do something other than throw a big party. Instead, what Ben Wickstrom and the team developed was a plan to make a statement of gratitude to the community that has supported the company in its five decades of growth.

"Rather than talk about ourselves, we want to celebrate the community," Wickstrom said.

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