The newly formed Northwest Michigan Rural Housing Partnership has tapped Sarah Lucas as its executive director. Lucas, who also serves as director of community development at Networks Northwest, a 10-county public regional planning agency, talked with MiBiz about the issues that make workforce housing virtually impossible to build in communities that continually get overlooked by state and federal programs.
J.D. Collins became state director of the Grand Rapids-based Small Business Development Center in mid-December. He spent years at larger organizations — Fifth Third Bank, Amway, Spectrum Health — working as a technologist and innovator “before I really found my niche.” Collins also ran his own consulting firm, Collins Innovations LLC, and was chief innovation officer at a heavy equipment technology startup.
Marketing Grand Rapids as a place for young people to live and work is becoming increasingly important to the local economy.
A West Michigan brewpub in planning has agreed to change its name as part of a settlement in a trademark infringement case brought by Railtown Brewing Co. last August.
The economy in Northern Michigan may differ greatly from West Michigan’s, but leaders in both areas of the state have started to grapple with a common challenge: a lack of affordable housing. As in the greater Grand Rapids region, the inability of workers to find available affordable housing has reached crisis levels across the northern Lower Peninsula, in both rural markets and in cities like Traverse City and Petoskey.
A bipartisan group of former lawmakers and Lansing political veterans today proposed a 47-cent increase in the state gas tax to fix Michigan’s roads.
Independent Bank Corp. this week reported net income of $9.9 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2018.
Grand Valley State University economist Paul Isely still believes the U.S. economy could dip into a recession within a year, although West Michigan is likely to experience a “soft landing.”
Oliver Healthcare Packaging has expanded with a deal for a supplier of medical device packaging on the West Coast.
A subsidiary of a China-based manufacturer of electromechanical actuators plans to invest $2 million into a new headquarters facility on the lakeshore.
Westshore Design LLC plans to add customers in new markets with the acquisition of a Moline, Mich. electronics manufacturer.
Chemical Financial Corp. would extend further across the Midwest with the proposed merger with Wayzata, Minn.-based TCF Financial Corp.
Reforming Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system remains a high priority in Lansing after a proposal during the 2018 lame-duck legislative failed to gain the support needed to pass. State House leaders this month, soon after convening the new legislative session, formed a special committee to look at no-fault reform, and the first bill introduced in the Senate offers a basic outline for reforms.
KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan University plans to launch an online program designed to improve the ability of I.T. professionals to protect against and mitigate hacks and data breaches. The eight-week, online certification program from WMU’s Haworth College of Business and College of Engineering and Applied Sciences starts in March and consists of four courses in high-demand cybersecurity specialties.
HOLLAND — Acquiring the assets of a Charlotte-based plastics molder gave Clarion Technologies Inc. a broader customer base, added manufacturing capacity and the ability to move production closer to clients. The Holland-based Clarion Technologies acquired certain assets and a book of business from CNI Plastics LLC of Charlotte. Clarion Technologies redeployed the production equipment acquired in the deal to its facilities in Greenville, Mich., Anderson, S.C., and Garland, Texas.
GRAND RAPIDS — A private investment group has purchased a downtown commercial office building at 61 Commerce Ave. SW for $4 million, MiBiz has learned. An investment group affiliated with Byron Center-based E5 Ventures LLC bought the five-story, 28,245-square-foot commercial office building from ProCare Corporate Headquarters LLC. The transaction closed on Jan. 14.
KALAMAZOO — Private equity-backed Beacon Specialized Living Services Inc., a provider of specialized residential health care services, has expanded into Minnesota. The deal for Saint Paul, Minn.-based Owakihi Inc. marks the for-profit Beacon’s first foray outside of Michigan, according to a statement.
BYRON CENTER — Rural wireless provider FreedomNet Wireless was acquired by an Indiana-based internet provider The deal for Byron Center-based FreedomNet, which serves rural areas mostly south of Grand Rapids, near Fowlerville and in Southwest Michigan, expands La Porte, Ind.-based Surf Air Wireless LLC’s coverage area north into West Michigan, according to a statement.
ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. posted record earnings for the fourth quarter.
Former Herman Miller Inc. President and CEO Brian Walker joined Detroit-based private equity firm Huron Capital as a partner in charge of strategic leadership for portfolio companies.
Mercantile Bank Corp. recorded strong earnings and loan growth to end 2018, a trend executives expect should continue into 2019.
Heavy truck industry supplier SAF-Holland Inc. has acquired a majority stake in a company that manufactures automatic tire pressure management systems.
Foresight Management has acquired Grand Rapids-based Building Performance Team Inc., expanding the company’s in-house services in energy modeling and building commissioning.
A corner commercial building along the East Fulton Street corridor in Grand Rapids is under new ownership.
NORTON SHORES — A company that moved out of Norton Shores before its tax abatements expired is now suing the lakeshore community and fighting the city’s demands for repayment of nearly $1 million.