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In wrapping up her first “whirlwind” year as mayor of Grand Rapids, Rosalynn Bliss aims to build off of the work she started as she looks ahead to 2017. In the new year, Bliss hopes to move the needle on initiatives related to affordable housing and addressing long-standing racial disparities in the city. Additionally, the mayor believes that 2017 will be the year where visible work commences on restoring the rapids to the Grand River. 

2016 wasn’t an easy year for Gov. Rick Snyder. But even with Democrats’ near-daily calls for his resignation because of the ongoing Flint water crisis, the businessman-turned-politician still maintains his trademark “relentlessly positive” attitude. With about two years left in his second term, Snyder told MiBiz he remains focused on skilled trades training and tackling issues related to the state’s beleaguered infrastructure. 

As coal-fired power plants in West Michigan harbor towns along Lake Michigan get decommissioned, cities like Holland and Muskegon have worried they’ll lose out on federal dredging support, the allocation of which is based on meeting a tonnage threshold for commercial freight at each harbor. That’s why Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga from Michigan’s Second Congressional District was happy to get funds to continue dredging as part of the most recent federal funding initiative.

If you approach Republican U.S. Rep. Justin Amash with requests for favors for projects in Michigan’s Third Congressional District, he wants you to know that you’re likely wasting your time. As a staunch supporter of limited government and defender of civil liberties begins his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Amash is more than happy with the economic growth happening in the district he represents. But that doesn’t mean he’s about to start earmarking federal dollars or doing one-off favors for the area’s business community. In an exclusive interview with MiBiz, Amash said his job is to defend the Constitution and fight for liberty for all citizens, a position he acknowledges could put him at odds with fellow Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump. 

As they worry about talent and uncertainty, executives from a cross-section of industries voiced optimism in the pro-business policies pushed by President-elect Donald Trump. 

The Legislature’s 2016 lame-duck session was marked by both bipartisan agreement on tough policy issues as well as contentious attempts to solve ongoing state problems that nonetheless split along party lines.

President-elect Donald Trump will enter office in January with an economy that experts say is stable and growing, but one that could probably do better.

Economists expect Michigan to maintain economic growth in the coming year, albeit at a slower pace that will further tighten labor markets.

In speaking with hundreds of business executives over the last couple of months, we heard plenty of different phrases to describe their overall bullishness: All-time record year. Double-digit growth. Expansion. New markets. New products.

Members of the DeVos family are increasing their investment play in the craft beverage industry with the acquisition of a majority interest in a Newaygo County maker of hard ciders, MiBiz has learned.

The downtown Muskegon area could soon see its first new market rate apartments in years.

Heightened volatility in order patterns coupled with uncertainty in the global economy and geopolitical environment contributed to flat performance at Herman Miller Inc.

A combination of increased sales and growth by acquisitions over the past year resulted in strong performance for Neogen Corp. in the second quarter of its 2017 fiscal year.

Steelcase Inc. reported flat earnings in its third quarter, but still met analyst predictions and the guidance the company issued earlier in the year.

After acquiring Wisconsin-based Bemis Manufacturing Company in October, Custom Profile Inc. will now relocated the company’s operations to West Michigan.

Gabriel North America, a manufacturer of upholstery fabrics based in Denmark, plans to open its first North American sales and manufacturing office in Grand Rapids.

Tim Brown, president and CEO of Palo Alto, Calif-based IDEO has joined the board of directors at Steelcase Inc.

Two organizations representing independent physicians in West Michigan will become one on Jan. 1.

Developers of an apartment project along the Grand River north of downtown Grand Rapids secured state backing.

Developers expect to begin construction early next spring on a $52.7 million office and residential project in Kalamazoo that could create a “tipping point” for downtown development.

Westpack LLC, a manufacturer of protective industrial packaging, has been purchased by Rich Wilson, a 20-year veteran of the packaging industry.

Medical device manufacturer Stryker Corp. expects to invest $130 million to build a new R&D campus in Portage.

Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. will consolidate its operations under one roof in Grand Rapids with the purchase of the former American Seating building at 601 7th St. NW

The Michigan Legislature on Thursday passed a pair of sweeping, bipartisan energy bills that just days before had divided business groups over whether the policy changes would negatively impact ratepayers.

Sigma Machine Inc. plans to invest $27.8 million in an expansion project that will increase the company’s presence in the Midlink Business Park in Comstock Township.

Holland-based New Holland Brewing Co. and Los Angeles-based Pabst Brewing Co. have announced a deal aimed at increasing New Holland’s sales and distribution.

Metro Health and the University of Michigan Health System say they’ve reached a final affiliation agreement.

Spartan Motors Inc. has acquired Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. of Snyder, Neb. in a deal that will position Spartan as the fourth largest manufacturer of fire trucks and components in North America.

With President and CEO Peter Kjome departing in February, the Grand Rapids Symphony has appointed Peter Perez as interim president and CEO.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Dec. 12, 2016: 

• M&A: Blue Wolf Capital Partners LLC, a New York-based private equity firm, has acquired the North American operations of New Zealand-based Tenon Limited. The company will be based in Grand Rapids and operate under a new name, Novo Building Products LLC. Novo is a manufacturer and distributor of speciality building products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. is preparing to bid on a military contract that could result in it producing the Saucony brand of athletic shoe at its Big Rapids facility.

A longtime downtown Grand Rapids deli has expanded.

The West Michigan Auto Auction received the first Auction of the Year award from the National Auto Auction Association last month for “its excellence in community service,” according to a statement.

ProSlot Ltd., a manufacturer of slot car parts, recently closed a deal to transition leadership after its current owners decided to retire.

HOLLAND — Children who attend the Little Hawks Discovery Preschool often get an insider’s view of their environment simply by getting outside. 

State House lawmakers killed a Senate bill earlier this month that would have provided sportsman’s clubs an exemption from state and local property taxes.

LOWELL — The early excitement built up over a renewable energy facility in Lowell had begun to fade roughly a year ago, and formally ended on Dec. 1 when local officials moved to permanently cut ties with its operator.

The University of Michigan Health System’s acquisition of Metro Health appears on track to close in the near future.

Metro Health Hospital and two hospitals owned by Spectrum Health were ranked among the nation’s top hospitals by The Leapfrog Group, a national health care quality and safety advocate.

Michigan hospitals serving distressed areas tend to earn lower quality scores. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Three years after opening a local lending office, Horizon Bank plans to begin developing a branch network in the Grand Rapids market.

Tim Parker wasn’t actively looking for a new opportunity when he came across a LinkedIn posting that intrigued him.

By and large, 2016 made for a record year for many in West Michigan’s commercial real estate and construction sectors. 

NEW TROY — After a large bet on the oil and gas industry went south several years ago, Vickers Engineering Inc. struggled to position itself for growth. 

After months of depressed oil prices, West Michigan manufacturers with operations in the oil-and-gas industry could soon experience a reprieve. 

KALAMAZOO — The U.S. Air Force could rely on satellites designed by Western Michigan University students to diagnose issues with high-tech propulsion systems in space.

WYOMING — Stakeholders looking to redevelop one of West Michigan’s most storied industrial sites and attract high-quality manufacturing jobs have brought on a new partner.