M&A Award Profiles

Despite their strong ties to smartphones and virtual communication, Gen Xers and Millennials still crave face-to-face interaction, and the philanthropic sector is taking note.

With a new executive at the helm, Center for Women in Transition experienced its own share of change in 2017.

Building a strong foundation for the community involves bricks and mortar, in addition to providing funds focused on health and human service issues.

The $14.5 million acquisition of 177 homes in the Grand Rapids and Lansing areas required a “leap of faith” from Ryan VerWys and his team at the Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF).

Leaders of Extended Grace are working to put their hands out for more than money to fund their organization.

Read Muskegon grew out of an informal group of volunteers providing one-on-one literacy tutoring, but the organization in recent years has shifted gears to boost its visibility and impact in the community.

MiBiz presents the fourth-annual West Michigan’s Best-Managed Nonprofit Awards. This year, we received a record number of nominations for the awards, which were solicited in three organizational categories separated by annual revenues and one honoring professional achievement. 
Here are the winners and finalists: 

Unlike many public and for-profit companies, nonprofits sometimes need to pump the brakes in their quest for growth.

Conversations with donors about estate gifts can be long and drawn out affairs, but executives at the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area found a way to make those discussions easier and netted $30 million in the process.

Thomas Zmolek considered a career in photojournalism, but life experiences and a summer science institute during high school led him down a different path, one that still put him on the forefront of social change over the last 40 years.

The active M&A market in West Michigan shows no signs of slowing down for the foreseeable future. For the executives and advisers honored in the 2017 MiBiz M&A Deals and Dealmakers of the Year Awards, that’s a sign that the local economy remains strong — and that companies and private equity firms will continue to have ample dry powder for transactions in the years ahead.

The active mergers and acquisitions market shows no signs of slowing down for the foreseeable future. 

After steering Spartan Motors Inc. through a series of changes that helped the manufacturer return to profitability, Daryl Adams knew the timing worked to take the next step in the company’s growth strategy.

With three acquisitions and two exits under his belt in the last year and a half, Martin Stein continues to drive a steady pace of deal activity at Blackford Capital.

In his 28 years in practice, attorney Jeff Ott has worked on almost 70 transactions, nearly a dozen of which involved Chemical Financial Corp.’s acquisitions of other banks.

While advising on more than two-dozen transactions over a 12-month period, Dustin Daniels saw firsthand the growth of private equity’s role in mergers and acquisitions in West Michigan. 

The family-owned Middleville Tool & Die Co. found itself in a precarious position in the last couple of years leading up to December 2016. 

A phone call Ranir LLC CEO Rich Sorota got in early 2016 offered an opportunity: Multinational medical device and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. wanted to sell its Rembrandt teeth-whitening product line. 

The 2014 sale of a Baltimore, Md.-based optical practice to a Los Angeles private equity firm was one of two industry deals that led to an opportunity for the partners at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology PC.

Nearing $10 billion in assets after a series of smaller community bank acquisitions, Chemical Financial Corp. last year needed to pursue a deal larger than any it had contemplated before.

For its first acquisition following the transformational deal that created SpartanNash Co., the grocery retailer and distributor opted to buy a company that positioned it in a related high-growth market.

After experiencing explosive growth over the better part of a decade, executives at Muskegon-based KL Outdoor LLC knew they needed a partner to continue that pace of expansion into the years ahead. 

For Mark Sellers, the magic number of sorts is $300.

For Tracy Larsen, the work of evaluating and closing deals continues to push ahead even in the face of global tumult and a general sense of economic uncertainty. 

In what he describes as a “good year,” Michael Jones was involved in closing 20 transactions in late 2015 and the first half of 2016 that had a collective value of $1.5 billion. 

Mike VanGessel likes to talk about the “why” behind his company’s decision to invest in the long-neglected west side neighborhood of Grand Rapids.

It’s been a busy year and a half for David DeBoer.

When Service Express Inc. (SEI) sought a buyer in 2015, owners Michael McCullough and Ed tenHaaf were just looking to retire. 

Jim Engen started Netech Corp. 20 years ago with five employees.

Martin Stein always noticed Grand Equipment Co. alongside I-196 when he drove through Hudsonville.

When Tom Fehsenfeld decided to retire from the family business he led for the past 40 years, he found himself in a position familiar to many manufacturers exploring succession options. 

When Remos Lenio and Philip Blanchard set out to acquire their first company under a newly formed firm, the partners knew they had one chance to confirm what they saw as an unexplored market niche. 

While Bloem LLC had been hunting for in-house production capacity that would allow it to grow, the company found its solution in an unlikely place: an unsolicited email from one of its largest competitors.

Buying or selling a business or putting together a major deal is not the time to get cheap.