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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.

As West Michigan’s agriculture sector wraps up a strong year, industry leaders plan to focus on several issues heading into 2016.

Beth DeWilde expects hiring in West Michigan’s technology sector to continue at a strong pace in 2016.

Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of Grand Rapids-based The Right Place Inc., weighs in on the changing economic development landscape and how the organization intends to keep West Michigan competitive.

Consumers Credit Union COO Scott Sylvester expects the good fortunes to continue in 2016 for both the industry and Consumers Credit Union, which has about $650 million in assets and nearly 67,000 members through 16 offices in West Michigan.

The growth of private health exchanges and the migration of more employers to self-insured health benefits are the key trends Michigan Association of Health Plans Executive Director Rick Murdock is watching for 201

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