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Q&A: John Shagonaby

Written by | Tuesday, 14 February 2012 09:35 |

Gun Lake Casino celebrates its first year of operation on Feb. 10. John Shagonaby, CEO of the Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Authority, talked with MiBiz about the tribe’s experience in that first year. Shagonaby, a 1997 graduate of the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University, spoke recently at the WMU Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Program. He served on the tribal council of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians for 12 years and has worked for the tribe 15 years.

The project is possible in part because of Jean and John Nieuwenhuis, owners of Van’s Delivery Service Inc., a third generation trucking, warehousing and logistics company in Grand Rapids. The Nieuwenhuises serve on the five-member board of directors of Elves & More and provide the planning, facility, logistics and manpower for a successful delivery of bicycles to more than 1,000 youngsters.

State and national economic climates are the top concerns of Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce members in 2012, according to the results of an annual survey.The rising cost of health care and state and municipal budget management rounded out the top five concerns in the survey, which helps the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce set advocacy priorities for the year.

As small business owners adapt to a new tax system in Michigan, a recurring question Dan Lynn hears from clients is whether they should change how their business is organized. Should they switch, for instance, from a c-corp to an s-corp or an LLC?

Q&A: Packaging is G-R-REAT

Written by | Tuesday, 31 January 2012 10:59 |

Cheryl Gilliam, a 1982 graduate of the Michigan State University School of Packaging, has more than 30 years experience in packaging for the food and medical industries. The Portage resident holds seven U.S. patents. Gilliam is senior packaging engineer at the Kellogg Company, where she works on the Tony the Tiger brand. An endowed scholarship in Gilliam’s name is awarded to School of Packaging students. Gilliam, an All-American in track and field and winner of 13 Big Ten individual championships, is also president of the MSU Varsity Alumni “S” Club.

Rather than give up on some of the city’s more challenging pieces of real estate, Battle Creek Unlimited is hoping an innovative incentive program will get developers to take notice.

TEDx events returning in 2012

Written by | Monday, 23 January 2012 15:41 |

Entrepreneurs looking to surround themselves with other innovative thinkers take note: TEDx events are returning to West Michigan. TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” that organizes a system of talks, events, and conferences that have become popular in recent years. Recently, independently organized TEDx events cropped up in several cities in West Michigan, including Holland, Grand Rapids and Muskegon.

Helping vets build businesses

Written by | Monday, 23 January 2012 11:06 |

Returning military veterans have always been faced with the dual challenges of returning to civilian life and finding a job when they arrive home from serving in America’s wars.

Thousands of ex-military people are facing those challenges again as U.S. military action ends in Iraq. Like many of their civilian counterparts, some are deciding to start businesses and create their own jobs rather than trying to find one.

Veterans opt to become entrepreneurs

Written by | Monday, 23 January 2012 09:38 |

Justin Bajema was “blown up in an ambush” in Iraq. He underwent eight surgeries during six weeks of being hospitalized, and that was followed by some intense rehabilitation and extensive soul searching about “what the next step was going to be.”

We recently polled several area green building experts to identify the industry trends and issues they see affecting West Michigan and the world in the near future. Here, in no particular order, are our findings:

One of the most gratifying things I do this time of year is to say “thank you.” I don’t mean just saying thank you to the kind person who just held the door open for me as the snow whipped in my face or to the person who drove 20 miles out of their way to return my iPad that I accidentally left on my seat on a recent plane trip. Those are regular, everyday “thank-yous” that we all should be making without hesitation.

Crystal Ball 2012: More on Small Biz

Written by | Wednesday, 04 January 2012 19:00 |

I believe our economy will continue to inch — and I do mean inch — forward in 2012. However, the inching forward by small businesses — my world — will be dependent upon the financial health of consumers. Translation: Job security and home ownership are critical to this financial health

File early. File often. That motto serves as the new mantra for inventors with the September passage of the America Invents Act, the first major U.S. patent legislation reform in 60 years.

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