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As bankers look ahead to 2016 within their industry, they’re faced with adapting to the tastes of today’s tech-savvy customers, not to mention dealing with costly federal regulatory burdens enacted in the wake of the recent economic crisis.

While airport executives invest in providing better customer service, the broader aviation industry faces a looming pilot shortage, leading to a period of uncertainty for facilities managers, communities and economic developers as they wait to see how airline carriers respond.

Stakeholders in West Michigan’s commercial development industry say 2016 will look much like 2015, particularly in the increasingly popular urban multifamily housing market.

The office furniture industry today faces a complex, challenging future. Company executives must manage their operations amid increasing margin pressure and an influx of imported products and new regulations, all while running short on talent.

Beware the Cadillac tax

Written by | Monday, 21 December 2015 12:16 |

Set to take effect in a little more than two years, the 40-percent federal excise tax on the value of benefit-rich health policies that exceed a certain threshold may affect far more employers than initially believed.

Nonprofit experts in West Michigan and beyond are monitoring a major national charitable endeavor, the announcement of which has earned both criticism and praise.

Executives offer their outlook on 2016

Written by | Monday, 21 December 2015 00:32 |

For each Crystal Ball edition of MiBiz, we ask executives around the region to share their outlook for the coming year for their company, their industry and the state. Here’s what they had to say.

Economists expect Michigan’s economic resurgence to continue in the new year and push unemployment lower, although job growth in the manufacturing sector may peak as the auto industry’s rebound from the Great Recession plateaus.

If any meaningful policy changes at the state level are to happen in 2016, they will likely come at the bookends of the Legislature’s session, observers say.

A sentiment survey commissioned in mid-November found widespread satisfaction among respondents about the state’s direction and expectations that the Michigan economy will either hold steady or improve over the next year.

The annual year-end Crystal Ball edition from MiBiz has been an ever-evolving concept since it was first introduced in 2007. Underlying each iteration was a desire to look ahead, to provide valuable information to readers as they develop business strategies for the coming year.

An experienced economic developer and business leader, Marie Briganti accepted a leadership position at Battle Creek Unlimited in April.

While the economy will continue to grow into the new year, it will be at a more tempered rate than in 2015, primarily because of less job growth in the manufacturing sector than in the past, says Paul Isely, the associate dean of the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce members share concerns over energy, health care policy and talent development, and those are the issues the organization will focus on in 2016, according to Andy Johnston, the group’s vice president of government and corporate affairs.

Q&A: Herm Baker, Owner, Vertigo Music

Written by | Sunday, 20 December 2015 23:37 |

As owner of Vertigo Music, a new and used music store on South Division Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids, Herm Baker has weathered tectonic shifts in how people listen to music, not to mention major changes to the commercial landscape in the surrounding Heartside neighborhood.

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