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Q&A (100)

Q&A: Jerry Davis, professor, University of Michigan

Written by | Friday, 30 September 2016 14:15 |

Over the last 20 years or so, several of America’s institutional corporations have vanished for a number of reasons, ranging from bankruptcy to a shifting technological landscape. University of Michigan professor Jerry Davis thinks that pattern will continue. In his recent book, The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy, Davis contends that our existing political and economic systems aren’t set up to handle a future where everyone is a self-employed entrepreneur in an on-demand economy. Before a talk at Grand Valley State University, Davis spoke with MiBiz about how intrinsic corporations are to American culture and why their diminishing power could lead to an “apocalypse” scenario. 

Q&A: Rich Wolowski, Incoming CEO, Gordon Food Service Inc.

Written by | Sunday, 18 September 2016 17:25 |

As Rich Wolowski prepares to be the first non-family member to assume the role of CEO at Wyoming-based Gordon Food Service Inc., he says he’s laser-focused on maintaining the company’s customer relationships. Wolowski, who continues to serve as president and COO until Nov. 1, will oversee a growing company with 17,000 employees spread around the United States and Canada and annual revenue reportedly in excess of $11 billion. Wolowski spoke with MiBiz about preserving the corporate culture at GFS and his desire to maintain the organization’s small company feel during a period of growth. 

After three years leading CK Technologies LLC,  a manufacturer of heavy truck components, Christina Keller has been named president of the Cascade Business Team, a group of four businesses under Grand Rapids-based Cascade Engineering Inc. Now Keller will oversee Cascade Engineering’s Automotive Americas, Cascade Cart Solutions, Innovative Plastics Technologies and Noble Polymers groups, which span the automotive, recycling and plastic polymer industries. As she steps into her new position,  Keller spoke with MiBiz about her plans for those businesses and discussed the role of women in West Michigan’s manufacturing industry. 

Mika Meyers PLC attorney Mark Nettleton has been appointed to a one-year term as the chair of the Public Corporation Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. In this position, Nettleton will lead the 600-member group that includes attorneys who represent municipalities, townships and other government bodies, and the various boards and public authorities established by those entities. The Public Corporation Law Section informs its members on important changes to the law and other developments that could affect their clients. The group also advocates for municipalities in the state Court of Appeals, Michigan Supreme Court and on the federal level. In his own practice at Mika Meyers in Grand Rapids, Nettleton focuses on public finance law and general representation for municipalities. He spoke with MiBiz about his new role and pending headwinds faced by municipalities. 

Having started in April as managing director of Holland-based NewNorth Center for Design in Business, Jason Kehrer believes there’s opportunity to expand the nonprofit’s mission to K-12 education. While the “unconsulting” firm typically focuses on applying design thinking to business, government and nonprofits, NewNorth Center has turned its attention to working with teachers, administrators, students and family members at Godfrey Lee Public Schools in Wyoming, as well as other schools. Kehrer thinks that the design-centered thinking approach that’s popular with many private sector organizations has significant crossover appeal for the changing public education sector. Kehrer spoke with MiBiz on how this is playing out. 

West Michigan’s Advanced Manufacturing Expo is going big for 2016. 

Marketing and rebranding the Port of Muskegon — the only natural deepwater commercial port on West Michigan’s coast — continues to be a priority for public and private stakeholders across the region. The goal: Creating a regional logistics hub offering a variety of transportation options to better move goods. Much of the work is overseen by Muskegon-based West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC), a four-county planning and development agency. Last month, the group hosted Port Day to showcase their efforts to the business community. MiBiz spoke with WMSRDC’s Executive Director Erin Kuhn to discuss the group’s efforts. 

Businesses and nonprofits all around Grand Rapids are turning to Kirk Eklund and the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) for new solutions to age-old problems. Eklund doesn’t have all the answers himself, however. Instead, he helps businesses approach the challenge from a different angle with human-centered design. Using empathy, experimentation and storytelling, the solutions can often be found in the people you’re designing for, Eklund says. He spoke with MiBiz about how the philosophy informs his approach to problem solving.

Last month, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council, commonly known as the Great Lakes Compact Council, unanimously approved a request from the city of Waukesha, Wisc. to use Lake Michigan as its source of drinking water. Because Waukesha was in a county that straddled the Great Lakes Basin, it needed to request permission for the diversion as outlined in the 2008 Great Lakes Compact, which was designed to manage and protect the freshwater system. The review process forced Waukesha, the first city to make such a request, to scale back its initial diversion proposal and to design its system such that all water is returned to Lake Michigan. The Alliance for the Great Lakes advocated that conditions be placed on Waukesha’s request to ensure the diversion did not cause environmental harm. Molly Flanagan, the group’s vice president of policy who also helped negotiate the original compact, spoke with MiBiz about the process and what the ultimate approval means for future diversion requests.

If you’re someone who feels especially compelled to help out your coworkers when they ask for assistance, you may want to rethink always saying yes. New research from Russell Johnson published in the Journal of Applied Psychology finds that helping colleagues when they come to you with work-related problems can be mentally draining, especially when you’re acting on multiple requests in a single day. The kicker: The draining effect is worse for people who care the most about the plight of others. Johnson, an associate professor of management at Michigan State University, spoke with MiBiz about his research, its implications and his advice for helpers and help-seekers alike. 

Q&A: U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint

Written by | Sunday, 12 June 2016 15:32 |

Having represented his hometown of Flint in Congress since 2013, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee remains focused on fixing the ongoing water crisis in the beleaguered city. Like many, Kildee believes the situation is indicative of what can happen when basic infrastructure gets ignored. As Kildee calls for those long-term investments, his name continues to pop up as a potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate in two years when current Gov. Rick Snyder’s term is up. Kildee spoke with MiBiz at this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference about his political aspirations and the need for government to invest in infrastructure and public education.

Q&A: Jason Notte Columnist, MarketWatch

Written by | Sunday, 29 May 2016 11:52 |

As the author of the Beer Goggles column for MarketWatch, Jason Notte shares his insights on the $22.3 billion U.S. craft beer industry. Based in the craft beer hotbed of Portland, Ore., Notte often engages industry execs in conversations about the highs and lows of the business, both via his column and on Twitter, where he uses the handle @notteham. Earlier this month, Notte spoke with MiBiz about the state of the industry and where Michigan’s brewers fit in the national conversation. 

As he assumed the presidency of the Michigan State Medical Society for the next year, Dr. David Krhovsky preached of the need to “put patients in the center” of the state’s health care system. An anesthesiologist and vice president of medical affairs at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Dr. Krhovsky succeeded Dr. Rose Ramirez, a Belmont family physician, as the elected leader of the 15,000-member Medical Society. He spoke with MiBiz about the Medical Society’s top priorities for the year and the changes occurring today in medicine and health care.

Fresh off last month’s 2016 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism, new reports from Michigan State University and Longwoods International show a significant return on investment for the state’s tourism industry. Travel Michigan, the state-run tourism marketing division, says the long-running Pure Michigan campaign is working, despite criticisms from some organizations. Dave Lorenz, the agency’s vice president, spoke with MiBiz about the role of tourism in Michigan and how Travel Michigan needs to react to issues in Flint and Detroit. 

A sociologist by training, Jeff Dwyer served in tenured positions at the University of Florida and Wayne State University before being appointed in 2006 as the senior associate dean at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. Now Dwyer plans to use the knowledge he’s acquired in those positions to lead the MSU Extension, an organization charged with helping individuals, communities and businesses access the resources available through the university. Following his appointment as director on April 4, Dwyer spoke with MiBiz about his long-term vision for the MSU Extension and how he plans to grow the 600-person organization to play a larger role in the state. 

As an investigative reporter with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Curt Guyette led the way in uncovering the Flint water crisis. The longtime print journalist and former editor of the Detroit Metro Times has continued to report on a daily basis about the ongoing outreach to Flint residents and the alleged cover-up. MiBiz spoke with Guyette about his reporting and the role of government accountability.

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