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Andy Balaskovitz

Andy Balaskovitz

 
 
Managing editor, covers energy, policy and economic development.

Twitter: @ABalaskovitz
Email: [email protected]

Steelcase Foundation President Daniel Williams is one of 19 people in the country selected for a fellowship to help address intergenerational poverty.

After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, smaller family-owned businesses are generally better positioned to overcome labor and supply chain challenges than non-family-owned companies. 

An oil and gas pipeline expert testifying in a permitting case involving Enbridge’s Line 5 says state energy staffers are downplaying the risk of a potentially catastrophic explosion within a proposed tunnel that would carry oil and propane beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Nonprofit leaders and researchers say maintaining donor relationships is perhaps the biggest ongoing challenge for organizations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues surging and creating distance between funders.

Last month, Autocam Medical Devices LLC graduated its fourth class of CNC machinist apprentices under a program that’s meant to lure young professionals to the skilled trades. John C. Kennedy, president and CEO of the contract manufacturer of medical devices, is using the program to grow his talent pipeline while the company is on the verge of a major expansion. Autocam Medical is in the process of building an additional 100,000-square-foot facility in Kentwood that will support 250 new jobs and roughly double the company’s workforce. Kennedy recently talked with MiBiz about building a talent pool amid an ongoing skilled trades shortage, as well as his leadership principles that helped guide the company through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roughly a week after lawmakers passed a $1 billion program to incentivize major advanced automotive projects in Michigan, state energy regulators followed suit today by approving special electricity rates to support such industrial projects.

Economic development leaders and elected officials have mobilized in recent months to attract major advanced manufacturing projects after Ford’s announcement of $11.4 billion in battery and assembly projects in Kentucky and Tennessee. The Right Place Inc. President and CEO Randy Thelen called it the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” foreshadowing multiple new economic development efforts statewide. Thelen recently discussed potential new incentives, as well as labor market forces that are shaping his outlook for the year ahead.

Since its founding in 2001, East Lansing-based Stellar Broadband (formerly Spartan Internet) has grown to service nearly 150 Michigan communities with high-speed 1-gigabit internet service.

If there’s any certainty about 2022, it’s that Michigan policymakers will have billions of federal dollars to distribute for infrastructure and economic development. 

Few industries saw a nearly complete tanking in business like airports did with passenger travel during the early stages of the pandemic. However, Gerald R. Ford International Airport has since rebounded to about 80 percent of pre-pandemic travelers, and officials continue to pursue an aggressive capital investment strategy in the years ahead.

The Grand Rapids-based Women’s Resource Center experienced a surge in demand for its services at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For nearly four decades, the Literacy Center of West Michigan has been embedded with communities to improve literacy skills of children and adults.

While major utilities often garner headlines as power generators and providers, electric transmission companies are often behind the scenes as the critical infrastructure that moves power to customers.

Officials with specialty vehicle manufacturer The Shyft Group Inc. say they are making progress on their electric vehicle chassis design while eyeing organic growth and more acquisitions in the coming years.

A little more than a year after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered Enbridge to shut down the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, the state retreated on its key lawsuit seeking to close the twin pipelines.

WALKER — Developers from Lansing and Farmington Hills are partnering on a $23 million transaction to purchase Green Ridge Square retail shopping center in Walker.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive directive setting priorities for millions of dollars Michigan is poised to receive under the federal infrastructure bill for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Officials with three major West Michigan health systems reported Friday that their hospitals are at, or near, capacity with COVID-19 patients, test positivity rates are at record highs, and worker fatigue is at its worst levels of the pandemic.

Michigan’s two largest investor-owned utilities seek to play a more active role in economic development — particularly in luring advanced manufacturing facilities to the state — with plans to offer new electricity rates for large expansion projects.

As the new leader of Kalamazoo-based Urban Alliance, Chris Pompey wants to take more creative approaches to overcoming generational poverty. Pompey, who’s been with the organization in various roles since 2018 and was named permanent executive director last month, sees opportunities to lead more social enterprises that help people find meaningful work.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued an executive directive calling on state agencies to work with the Legislature to spend tens of millions of dollars that Michigan is set to receive for broadband internet under the new federal infrastructure law.

Regional economic development organization The Right Place Inc. is expanding its services to two new West Michigan counties while working with existing partners to develop full-time business attraction efforts.

Karen Tracey is set to become the majority owner of The Image Shoppe Ltd., a Grand Rapids-based brand marketing firm she helped form nearly two decades ago.

GRAND RAPIDS — U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters are calling on the Department of the Interior to swiftly issue findings on the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians’ petition for federal recognition, which has been in process for 27 years. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Increasing corporate concerns over climate change and growing energy management awareness is fueling growth for Foresight Management. 

Sunday, 07 November 2021 17:15

Editor's Notebook: Poking the utilities

The state Legislature has been active in recent weeks on energy bills being championed by West Michigan lawmakers. 

BIG RAPIDS — Ferris State University has exceeded its $115 million goal in the Now and Always comprehensive fundraising campaign seven months ahead of its official close.

A coalition of energy businesses and clean energy advocates is calling for a $600 million investment of federal pandemic relief funding into clean transportation initiatives.

Michigan’s two largest investor-owned utilities have launched an “education campaign” as clean energy advocates tout the potential economic benefits of community solar energy and as lawmakers consider bills on the topic that the utilities oppose.

Kent County is moving forward on plans for a roughly $370 million sustainable business park which public works officials hope will resolve the region’s fragmented and disjointed organic waste management infrastructure.