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Andy Balaskovitz

Andy Balaskovitz

 
 
Managing editor, covers energy, policy and economic development.

Twitter: @ABalaskovitz
Email: [email protected]

Sunday, 30 January 2022 18:54

Report: Cryptocurrency donations among top nonprofit trends to watch in 2022

The rapidly growing cryptocurrency phenomenon is emerging as a key fundraising tool for nonprofits that can sustain giving in new ways while also bringing in a younger demographic to philanthropy.

Sunday, 30 January 2022 18:20

Venue operators balance ‘free for all,’ optimism in latest pandemic chapter

For some West Michigan music and entertainment venues, the approaching two-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic is a crossroads. For others, it represents a finish line after having endured the worst.

Sunday, 30 January 2022 18:02

Startup eyes major ‘infrastructure play’ with renewable energy-powered cell towers

Brighton-based startup has lofty goals to help build out a nationwide 5G network that combines renewable energy, high-speed telecommunications and advanced mobility.


Sunday, 30 January 2022 18:00

West Michigan projects shut out of lucrative federal grant program

Late last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce named 60 finalists across the country that each could be eligible for up to $100 million in grants to support regional economic development initiatives. 

Tuesday, 25 January 2022 13:31

GM announces $7B electric vehicle initiative in Michigan with backing of state incentives

LANSING — General Motors, alongside top statewide elected leaders in Lansing, today announced separate multi-billion-dollar investments in Michigan that officials say will help to make the state a global leader in electric vehicle manufacturing.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022 16:53

Greater Muskegon Economic Development seeks new leader as restructuring continues

Muskegon County’s economic development organization is seeking new leadership as the firm continues a restructuring focused on attracting new corporate funders and coordinating strategic planning in communities.


Tuesday, 18 January 2022 14:32

New state law seeks to streamline electric transmission projects, though critics worry about competition and costs

Legislation signed into law late last year by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer aims to speed up the process for building certain electric transmission lines in Michigan, which a major operator says is crucial in helping to facilitate the clean energy transition.

Sunday, 16 January 2022 18:29

Steelcase Foundation president selected as Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow

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

Sunday, 16 January 2022 18:14

Family-owned businesses feel better positioned to adapt in pandemic

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. 


Thursday, 06 January 2022 09:20

Pipeline expert testifies that state agency is downplaying Line 5 tunnel explosion risk

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.

Sunday, 02 January 2022 18:47

Nonprofits focus on donor relations as COVID surges create distance

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.

Sunday, 02 January 2022 18:00

Med device manufacturer remains optimistic about building talent pipeline

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.


Wednesday, 22 December 2021 14:41

State regulators approve special electric rates for Consumers, DTE to lure major automotive projects

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.

Monday, 20 December 2021 11:01

Economic developer: Time for Michigan to ‘punch back’ on competitiveness

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.

Sunday, 19 December 2021 18:05

Stellar Broadband leads the race to high-speed internet

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.


Sunday, 19 December 2021 19:00

Historic federal funding influx forces decision making by state, local policymakers

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. 

Sunday, 19 December 2021 18:15

From boom to bust to boom again: GR airport regains footing

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.

Sunday, 19 December 2021 05:15

Pandemic poses daunting challenges to bringing women back to workforce

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


Sunday, 19 December 2021 17:00

Nonprofit overcomes pandemic setbacks to deliver ongoing, new literacy programming

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

Sunday, 19 December 2021 12:58

Transmission operator sees key role in economic development, EV charging

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.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 16:47

The Shyft Group makes progress on EV chassis, eyes acquisitions and organic growth

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.


Friday, 10 December 2021 17:12

Tribal leaders say state’s consultations on Line 5 are lacking

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.

Monday, 06 December 2021 19:31

Boji Group, Bacall Companies buy Walker retail center for $23M

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

Monday, 06 December 2021 12:57

Whitmer directive sets goals for federal electric vehicle charging funding

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.


Friday, 03 December 2021 16:27

Mercy, Spectrum, UM Health-West at or near capacity with COVID-19 patients

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.

Friday, 03 December 2021 16:00

Consumers, DTE seek special electric rates for large development projects

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.

Sunday, 05 December 2021 13:53

Kalamazoo nonprofit leader gets creative to overcome generational poverty

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.


Monday, 29 November 2021 15:56

Whitmer directive lays out priorities for millions in federal broadband internet funding

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.

Sunday, 21 November 2021 18:50

The Right Place expands economic development reach to Mason, Mecosta counties

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.

Sunday, 21 November 2021 15:05

GR brand marketing firm transitions to majority woman ownership

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.


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