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GRAND RAPIDS — Along with welcoming new leadership, the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute is preparing to launch a major initiative later this year to bring greater diversity to the region’s health care workforce. Micah Foster became executive director in January at GRAAHI, a 17-year-old nonprofit organization that works to promote parity and eliminate racial disparities in health care. Foster succeeded Shannon Wilson, who in December joined Priority Health as director of Medicaid outreach and quality after leading GRAAHI for eight years.

Emmanuel “Manny” Toribio has been chosen as the next city manager of East Grand Rapids following the retirement of Brian Donovan, who served in the position for 25 years. Currently, Toribio is the assistant director of facilities planning and management at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Before that, he served for three years as city administrator for Prairie City, Iowa, and six years as city planner for Des Moines.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan earned $605 million on operations in 2018 across all of its businesses amid enrollment growth and continued moderation in premiums for small business health coverage.

Saugatuck Brewing Co. plans to acquire Kalamazoo-based Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing, pending various regulatory approvals.

Industry trends increasingly are blurring the lines between philanthropy and business. As government funding to address issues such as food insecurity, homelessness and poverty continues to shrink, requests to funders are increasing as the nonprofit sector seeks to fill those service gaps. The result from this growing trend is perhaps most visible in philanthropic support of economic development efforts, often through significant investments.

Pabst Brewing Co. appears to be jumping into the spirits product category with the help of a West Michigan brewery and distillery.

Metro Health-University of Michigan Health launched the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab program for patients with heart disease.

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Covenant HealthCare plan to develop a $40.7 million rehabilitation hospital in Saginaw.

A $44 million hotel development in downtown Kalamazoo has secured project funding from the state of Michigan.

A project to construct townhomes in the city’s Michigan Oaks neighborhood gained financial support from the state on Tuesday.

After three generations of family ownership, Grand Rapids-based Amstore Corp. will permanently cease manufacturing operations at its headquarters, MiBiz has learned.

Stryker Corp. has completed the acquisition of Arrinex Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based medical device company that developed a treatment for chronic rhinitis.

An appeals court ruling upheld the ability of employers to withdraw job offers to people who failed a pre-employment drug test, even if they are a legal user of medical marijuana. In a case involving the City of Lansing and its utility, the Lansing Board of Water and Light, the Michigan Court of Appeals this week ruled that employers may withdraw a just offer from prospective at-will employees.

Medbio LLC, a West Michigan-based manufacturer of injection moldings, assemblies and packaging for medical device and biotech industry, has acquired AIM Plastics Inc.

Private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners moved deeper into the marine transportation business with an investment in Muskegon-based Andrie Inc.

Manufacturing holding company Andronaco Industries Inc. plans to relocate its Conley Composites LLC subsidiary from Oklahoma to a new location in Kent County.

MARNE — McCann Industries Inc. will expand to Michigan with a new facility currently under construction in Marne. The equipment and construction supply sales company hopes to open the new location in September, said James Maioho, Michigan branch manager for McCann.

DOWAGIAC — The non-gaming arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians had acquired a majority stake in Enmark Tool & Gage Co., a Southeast Michigan precision machining company. The tribe’s Mno-Bmadsen business investment arm closed on the deal on Feb. 1, according to a statement.

After nine months of investigation, the U.S. Department of Commerce submitted a concealed national security report on Sunday that prompted an immediate backlash from the auto industry.

Developers hope to begin construction this summer on housing and commercial space at a former church on the west side of Grand Rapids.

Universal Forest Products Inc. is acquiring the assets of a Grand Rapids-based wood panel components manufacturer.

A drug developer rooted in Southwest Michigan and backed by investors across the region may pursue an initial public stock offering that could net up to $86.2 million to support further development and commercialization.

The association health plan two business groups formed last fall for small Michigan-based employers has recorded strong enrollment in its early months. TrascendAHP — created in October by the Lansing-based Small Business Association of Michigan and Warren-based Michigan Business and Professional Association — enrolled about 300 small businesses through January. Those companies account for more than 1,400 contracts between TranscendAHP and their employees for health coverage.

GRAND RAPIDS — Legislation expected to be reintroduced this session could address the question of whether downtown residential property owners should help pay for the services currently funded only by assessments on commercial businesses. Although former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed similar legislation, lawmakers could revive bills this year that would allow local taxing authorities to decide whether residential owners in business improvement districts should also pay the assessments that commercial property owners pay. 

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Feb. 17, 2019.

GRAND RAPIDS — The company that owns and operates the HopCat craft beer bar chain has secured another $6 million in capital it will use to open three to four more locations in 2019 and 2020, MiBiz has learned. In confirming BarFly Ventures LLC’s latest round of fundraising, founder and owner Mark Sellers told MiBiz approximately $5 million of the funding came from one new investor while $1 million came from Sellers himself. The company is still in the process of raising another $1 million from existing investors to reach its $7 million goal.

GRAND RAPIDS — A proposed contract between Start Garden Inc. and the Grand Rapids SmartZone would put in place new goals for fostering local tech startups. Rather than focusing on certain activities, the proposed contract establishes outcomes such as adding 10 new tech startups annually to the SmartZone service area, with six of those companies over two years owned by minorities or women, and providing service to 15 startups a year through its business incubator on Pearl Street in downtown.

As the Trump administration prepares to roll back emissions regulations that push cars to be cleaner and more fuel efficient, it may also set the stage for a political battle that could create a rift in the U.S. auto industry. After several months of comment and a possible setback from the 35-day government shutdown last month, the newly finalized fuel economy rules are due from the administration by March 31. However, following the publication of the proposed changes, California and eighteen other states announced that if less-stringent fuel economy rules are enacted, they will sue the government — which may lead to a period of prolonged regulatory uncertainty.

MUSKEGON — A lakeshore fabrication shop hopes to capitalize on explosive growth in the U.S. craft distilling industry by offering custom Michigan-made stills and other equipment. NexGen Mechanical Solutions LLC founder Scott Whitaker, a pipefitter by trade, over the last 13 years developed a niche in serving the region’s distilleries, including New Holland Artisan Spirits in Holland and Muskegon-based 18th Amendment Spirits Co.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS — The partners behind Wonderland Distilling Co. want to position their spirits as a connection to the outdoors culture in West Michigan and a link to the water that surrounds it. The startup distillery has already signed a lease and has started construction on production space in Muskegon Heights and expects to submit its federal licensing paperwork in the coming weeks, said Allen Serio, Wonderland’s chief marketing and sales officer.

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