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Q&A (100)

Last month, GHSP Inc. officially opened a new 7,000-square-foot technology hub at 6 Sherman Ave. in Grand Haven, where the company will offer its automotive and appliance engineering teams more freedom and flexibility to innovate. The Grand Haven-based GHSP, a division of JSJ Corp., recognized that it must create products outside of its traditional scope if it wants to remain globally competitive. After just a few weeks at the hub, the company already has started working on a new technology that it will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. GHSP Chief Engineer Ian Sage spoke with MiBiz about the planning and strategy that went into creating the tech hub.

Q&A Diana Schad: CEO, Family Business Alliance

Written by | Sunday, 24 June 2018 14:00 |
Q&A

New Jersey native Diana Schad is now leading the Grand Rapids-based Family Business Alliance as its CEO. The former Washington, D.C. lawyer — whose husband, Matt Schad, runs the family-owned Nucraft Furniture Co. — believes that family-owned businesses tend to operate very differently from other companies and therefore require specialized advocacy and research. Schad spoke with MiBiz on these topics, as well as her desire to diversify the Family Business Alliance’s membership. 

Q&A: Stacie Behler, Meijer Inc.

Written by | Sunday, 29 April 2018 15:45 |
Q&A

Stacie Behler wants to see more women in top leadership roles at West Michigan companies and nonprofits. The Meijer executive in charge of public affairs and corporate communications — and the retailer’s former senior legal counsel — was recently honored by the Michigan Women’s Foundation with its Woman of Courage and Achievement award. The statewide organization focuses on accelerating women’s entrepreneurship, developing the next generation of women leaders and furthering policy issues relevant to women in the state, including a campaign to end the backlog of untested rape kits in Detroit. In accepting the award, Behler put particular emphasis on the mentoring and development of young women and nurturing more female business leaders. She discussed the topics before a crowd of more than 800 people in mid April when she received the award, as well as in an interview with MiBiz following the luncheon ceremony. 

As a veteran long-form journalist and the deputy editor of Leafly, a marijuana-focused news organization, Bruce Barcott closely tracks the states and municipalities legalizing cannabis and the various issues that come along with it. Barcott will be the guest speaker at an event  in Grand Rapids on Friday, April 20 hosted by marijuana consulting firm Canna Communications LLC. Prior to his talk, Barcott spoke with MiBiz about several of the industry trends he’s watching, as well as what states should be doing when it comes to regulating recreational marijuana, an initiative that’s likely to appear on Michigan’s November ballot.

Since last fall, Jen Bradshaw has engaged clients of Holland-based Paragon Recruiting in monthly virtual focus groups to share ideas and best practices. Recently, she asked participants how they attract and keep talent, a top issue for all employers in today’s tight labor market and one that’s especially acute for the technology sector Paragon serves. The clients told her that workplace culture and perks — such as paid training and certification, unlimited paid time off, flexible hours, and variety in the tasks and projects employees are assigned — often matter more to people than wages. Bradshaw spoke with MiBiz about the findings.

Kalamazoo-based Zeigler Automotive Group ranked as the 62nd largest dealership group in the U.S. with 15,090 new car sales in 2017, according to an annual ranking in Automotive News. Last year, the company generated $1.08 billion in revenue with 23 stores in West Michigan and the Chicago area and one it just sold in New York. Despite projections for slowing auto sales nationally, President Aaron Zeigler said the dealership group has experienced a strong start to 2018 with sales up more than 20 percent in January and February and with business on track for an all-time company record month in March. “It isn’t even close,” he said during a recent interview at the new Zeigler Motorsports store in Comstock Township. He spoke with MiBiz about the car dealer business and his company’s success through an intentional focus on leadership training. 

In 2016, reporters from The Indianapolis Star began publishing the “Out of Balance” investigative series that looked into years of sexual abuse allegations involving the USA Gymnastics organization. The investigation helped uncover the crimes of Larry Nassar, an athletic doctor at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University who is now serving essentially a life sentence for child sexual abuse and child pornography charges. Since the proceedings started, more than 250 former patients have said Nassar abused them. Marisa Kwiatkowski, one of The Indianapolis Star reporters who helped to expose Nassar, graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2005 and previously worked for the Grand Haven Tribune. Kwiatkowski returns to her alma mater on March 26 to discuss her involvement in the series at an event at Loosemore Auditorium. She spoke with MiBiz about the need for strong investigative journalism and other topics.

After nearly 20 years, Rob Collier plans to leave the role of president and CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations, which is based in Grand Haven. But before Collier departs the position by the end of 2018, he’s still got “a lot of mischief that has to be created yet this year.” In his final months, Collier says he hopes to focus on a couple of key policy issues that are top of mind not only for the Council’s nonprofit and foundation membership, but also for its corporate philanthropic partners. In an interview with MiBiz, Collier also talked about how to prepare the next generation of leadership at the Council.

Q&A: Paul Vander Heide, Owner of Vander Mill LLC

Written by | Sunday, 18 February 2018 20:05 |
Q&A

Vander Mill owner Paul Vander Heide has helped put Michigan cider on the map. The growing Grand Rapids-based hard cider producer makes more than 250,000 gallons a year and sells its portfolio of brands in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. With his election as president of the United States Association of Cider Makers during CiderCon this month, Vander Heide wants to help professionalize and grow the overall opportunity for the diverse cider industry. Over a couple rounds of ciders at Vander Mill’s Grand Rapids taproom, he spoke with MiBiz about the next steps he would like to see for his company, the USACM and the industry as a whole.

With a multi-million dollar gift to Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business to open a financial wellness center on campus, Todd Sanford wants to raise financial literacy and also bring more people into the field of financial planning. Like many business sectors right now, financial planning faces a growing talent shortage. Sanford, the founder and CEO of Sanford Financial Services Inc. in Portage, spoke with MiBiz about how the Sanford Center for Financial Planning and Wellness hopes to address the talent shortage when it opens this fall.

Q&A: Ryan Kilpatrick, Ottawa Housing Next

Written by | Sunday, 21 January 2018 13:08 |
Q&A

Ryan Kilpatrick hopes to lend his experience in economic development to a new housing initiative in Ottawa County. After four years as a senior community assistance specialist at the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Kilpatrick departed from the organization this month to become the first executive director of Ottawa Housing Next, a public-private partnership tasked with bringing more affordable housing options to Ottawa County, the state’s fastest growing municipality. Before making the transition, Kilpatrick spoke with MiBiz about how the organization hopes to tackle the need for affordable housing in the lakeshore community.

Like so many other industries, the nonprofit sector is being disrupted. But it’s not technology or automation that is sparking change. Instead, it’s young donors who are shaking up philanthropic giving and how nonprofits operate. MiBiz spoke about emerging disruption in the sector with Michael Moody, co-author of a new book called “Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors are Revolutionizing Giving.” Moody will be the keynote speaker of NextGen Nonprofits, a new MiBiz event for nonprofit executives, staff and board members on Jan. 24 in Grand Rapids.

On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expects to vote on whether to put an end to net neutrality, a group of regulations that forces internet providers to enable public access to all content or applications. As the issue gains national attention, MiBiz asked David Tarrien, an associate professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, about who wins and loses if net neutrality is struck down. Tarrien teaches introduction to law, advanced writing, and research and writing, among other subjects.

The retail industry has been on a wild ride for 2017, both in West Michigan and nationally, as around 5,000 stores reportedly closed up shop. As such, many industry experts believe this year saw e-commerce take its biggest bite out of traditional brick-and-mortar retail. But as retailers gear up for the holiday shopping season, William Hallan with the Lansing-based Michigan Retailers Association contends the broader industry will continue to evolve. Hallan, who projects a strong holiday shopping season this year, spoke with MiBiz regarding his membership’s outlook for the rest of 2017 and beyond.

Q&A: Tim Parker, President of Grand Angels LLC

Written by | Sunday, 26 November 2017 15:58 |
Q&A

Angel investors offer a potential option for an entrepreneur behind an innovation or startup business who needs capital to take off. Michigan now has 10 angel investment groups, including Muskegon Angels and Holland-based Grand Angels, which this summer formed an affiliate in Kalamazoo, Ka-Zoo Angels, and looks to add others around the state. The 10 groups combined had more than 340 members at the end of 2016. MiBiz spoke with Grand Angels President Tim Parker about what angel investors seek in an investment prospect and the advice for startup companies that may be considering an angel investment.

Dr. Bill Pink is Grand Rapids Community College’s 10th president, replacing Dr. Steven Ender who retired in May. Pink has been with GRCC since 2015, having served as the college’s vice president and dean of workforce development. Prior to GRCC, Pink was vice president of academic affairs at Oklahoma State University. An educator for 25 years, Pink’s background includes an associate degree from York College in Nebraska, a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University, a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. Pink spoke with MiBiz about the need for GRCC to stay relevant for employers and how the college is designing courses to make that a reality.

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