Published in Talent

People in the News: Oct. 24, 2022

BY MiBiz staff Sunday, October 23, 2022 06:00pm


  • Gracious Grounds, a nonprofit, independent housing organization in Grand Haven for adults with unique disabilities, has named Liz Nienhuis as its new executive director. Nienhuis comes to Gracious Grounds from the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, where she served as a senior program manager and built partnerships with schools and nonprofits in Wayne County. Nienhuis replaces David Burdo, who served as executive director for three years and stepped down in May. Nienhuis has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Michigan State University and recently relocated to the lakeshore from Royal Oak.
  • Grand Rapids-based Refugee Education Center has named Meg Derrer as executive director after serving in an interim position since March. Derrer, who formed her own consulting firm in early 2019, previously served as executive director of the Hope Network Foundation and in marketing and communications positions at Aquinas College and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. The Refugee Education Center was founded in 2006 by Somali Bantu refugees and has provided local services to more than 5,000 refugees over the past 16 years. “I am grateful to become part of a fantastic team that works tirelessly to support refugee families in their journey to becoming fully participating members of West Michigan,” Derrer said in a statement.

  • Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore (GSMISTS) recently announced a pair of executive changes: Cindy Johnson was named director of fund development while Alexa Denhof was named chief financial officer. Johnson, a Grand Valley State University graduate, will oversee fund development for contributed and in-kind resources to GSMISTS, a council of the national organization that comprises more than 30 counties in West and Northern Michigan. Denhof will direct and coordinate the day-to-day aspects of the organization’s financial operations. A graduate of Loyola University in Chicago, Denhof has previous experience working on combating food insecurity in southern California.


  • Michael Verhulst was appointed to a board position on the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA), the quasi-public entity that oversees operations of DeVos Place, DeVos Performance Hall and Van Andel Arena. Verhulst has served as executive vice president of strategic growth for Acrisure Benefits Group since April 2022 after holding executive positions at Rockford Construction Co. and Wolverine Building Group. He also was the president and owner of Summit Landscape Management Inc. for nearly 16 years. Verhulst was sworn into the CAA board position on Oct. 7 for a term that expires on Dec. 31, 2024. He holds other board positions at Grand Valley Metro Council, Priority Health, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Symphony, Gerald R. Ford International Airport and Experience Grand Rapids.


  • Southwest Michigan economic development organization Cornerstone Alliance has named Kristen Patzer as director of the agency’s Women’s Business Center, which provides technical and financial assistance to women-owned small businesses. Patzer joined Cornerstone Alliance in June 2020 as an accounting executive associate before transitioning to manager of the Women’s Business Center (WBC), and brings more than 20 years of nonprofit administration experience to the position. The WBC also named Jackie Yates as manager to help oversee operations. Yates brings more than a decade of experience in working with minority and underserved populations.


  • Union Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Union Financial Corp. that operates full-service offices in several Grand Rapids-area communities, has named Teddi McEachern as vice president and director of branch banking. In the role, McEachern will lead a team overseeing consultative sales discussions, customer service and operations. She comes to the position after nearly 20 years at Fifth Third Bank, where she served in various roles, most recently as regional business development manager. McEachern will be based at Union Bank’s Ada branch.

  • Chicago-based financial advisory firm CohnReznick LLP recently added two people in Grand Rapids to the company’s Transaction Advisory Services practice. Ryan McCaslin joined as a partner in the practice and has 20 years of transaction experience in industries including distribution, restaurants, retail and technology. He has led both buy- and sell-side due diligence projects for corporate and private equity clients on M&A deals ranging in size from $5 million to $1 billion. Collin Kooy joined the practice as a director and has five years of experience on the buy- and sell-side of M&A deals. He also served as finance director for Serra Automotive, a large automotive retail group based in Southeast Michigan.


  • Corewell Health has named public relations veteran Rob Zeiger as its vice president of communications and community relations, effective Sept. 26. Zeiger will report to the chief marketing and consumer experience officer of the health system, which was recently renamed from BHSH System following the merger of Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health. Zeiger most recently served as the interim vice president of marketing and communications at the American Egg Board, and previously served in executive communications roles at Royal Caribbean, the Philadelphia Eagles, Amway Corp. and Weber Shandwick.

  • Dr. Kimberly Hatchel has taken on the permanent role of chief operating officer at Bronson Healthcare’s Bronson Methodist Hospital after serving in an interim capacity since June. Hatchel’s appointment comes after a nationwide search to fill the position. With more than 30 years of experience in health care, Hatchel previously served in executive roles at health systems in Florida, Kentucky, Texas and Las Vegas. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee and a doctorate in nursing from Vanderbilt University, and is an associate professor at the University of Texas-Arlington.
Read 1824 times Last modified on Saturday, 22 October 2022 12:26