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Q&A (100)

After spending over 20 years as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Leslie Bellavance decided to transition from teaching into a leadership role. That led the veteran educator to positions at James Madison University in Virginia and Alfred University in New York, and she now comes to Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.

Since taking over as president of Kalamazoo-based Zeigler Auto Group in 2002, Aaron Zeigler has grown the company’s network of automotive dealerships to encompass 20 locations spanning West Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and New York. Sales for the dealer group grew from $650 million in 2013 to $850 million last year, and the company is on pace to exceed $1 billion by the end of 2015, driven largely by acquisitions and new franchises, Zeigler said. In recognition of that growth, Ernst & Young Global Ltd. named Zeigler as one of its 2015 Entrepreneurs of the Year for Michigan and Northwest Ohio. Zeigler spoke with MiBiz about his outlook as M&A activity continues to heat up in the industry.

As the senior political columnist for the Washington, D.C.-based conservative publication The Washington Examiner, Tim Carney writes regularly on the entanglements of business and government.

The headlines about acquisitions, expansions and outside investments — and even bankruptcies — provide proof that the West Michigan craft beer industry has started to mature. That’s not surprising for Bart Watson, the chief economist at the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association.

Q&A: Tom Mathison, Rotary Club of Grand Rapids

Written by | Sunday, 01 March 2015 22:00 |

Eight Grand Rapids-area Rotary Clubs united to launch a first-ever promotion for new members. The effort involves billboards that went up late last month featuring local Rotarians, radio ads that began airing this week, social media and a special website at, said Tom Mathison, the founder and principal at Mathison | Mathison Architects LLC and president of the Rotary Club of Grand Rapids.

Q&A: Frank Foster

Written by | Sunday, 01 February 2015 22:00 |

Former State Rep. Frank Foster, R-Petoskey, lost his seat last fall in a primary challenge. The reason: He introduced a bill that would add protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people to the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, a measure supported by many businesses and associations as a means to improve the state’s talent attraction efforts.

Jake Wood created Team Rubicon, a California-based nonprofit organization that has launched 82 missions in disaster zones across the globe and has grown to include 25,000 past service members.

Business Leaders for Michigan heads into this week’s CEO Summit focused on longer-range issues than when the organization first came together five years ago.

As a former executive at Toyota, Dennis Cuneo has firsthand experience in the intricacies of the automotive industry supply chain in North America. He started with the company in 1984 and later became senior vice president in 2001, overseeing the expansion of Toyota’s manufacturing operations.

A group of business and political leaders had the opportunity to meet with Kazuyuki Katayama, the Consul-General of Japan in Detroit during his Aug. 12 trip to Grand Rapids.

Q&A: Jonathan Wilson, Muskegon County

Written by | Sunday, 17 August 2014 22:00 |

As the recently appointed economic development coordinator for Muskegon County, Jonathan Wilson aims to leverage the area’s assets to further grow investment. Wilson will also staff the Muskegon County Port Advisory Committee, represent the county on the local Workforce Development Board and create partnerships with a number of people and organizations across the region. The Grand Valley State University graduate has a background in marketing and business development. Wilson spoke with MiBiz about the challenges and opportunities of his newly formed position.

Q&A: Justin Herd, Entrepreneur

Written by | Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:41 |

Like most students living on a limited budget, Justin Herd ate a lot of noodles in college. And that means he washed a lot of bowls, which he hated doing. So Herd came up with the “OneBowl” that you can use to cook, strain, eat and then store the leftover pasta.

Q&A: Ken Krayer, Kendall College of Art and Design

Written by | Wednesday, 18 June 2014 21:48 |

As a veteran of office furniture companies, Ken Krayer will look to create a bridge between industry and higher education in his new role as director of business engagement at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.

With the automotive industry back above pre-recession production levels, the state of Michigan wants to ensure that the momentum continues. To oversee the state’s efforts, Gov. Rick Snyder in September appointed auto industry veteran Nigel Francis as the state’s first senior automotive adviser.

Q&A: Bing Goei, Director, Michigan Office of New Americans

Written by | Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:58 |

When Bing Goei received a recent call from Gov. Rick Snyder’s chief of staff, he was already in the process of transitioning out of his role as CEO of Eastern Floral and Gift Shop because he planned to turn his attention to a business incubator for entrepreneurial immigrants.

Q&A: Seth Starner, NewNorth Center for Design in Business

Written by | Sunday, 02 February 2014 14:38 |

When Seth Starner applies design to the innovation process, he attempts to find whole new models of doing business. After serving as Amway’s manager of innovation for over a decade, he’s stepping into the role of president of the NewNorth Center for Design in Business, a Holland-based nonprofit.

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