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As senior editor for the last six and a half years of the Monday Morning Quarterback trade publication, Rob Kirkbride travels the world covering the business of the office furniture industry. He sat down with MiBiz to discuss the state of change in the industry and what to look for in the coming year.

The heads of West Michigan’s chambers of commerce are anticipating another year of growth for many of their members in 2014 — albeit with some concerns.

The real estate and development industry along with the related construction and design sectors continue to claw their way back to recovery.

Politicians and economic developers in Michigan want to make sure that the state has an educated workforce, but the leaders of universities in West Michigan said they are not getting the financial support they need to make this a reality.

Bankers say they’re seeing greater confidence in the marketplace among business owners and consumers in West Michigan. In particular, manufacturing is hot right now and the housing market is coming back. They say 2014 could bring back the potential for a return of spec housing development.

Issues ranging from managing the implications of the Affordable Care Act to ushering in a sea change in the economic model for health care weigh on the minds of industry executives as they prepare for 2014.

Despite positive projections for the coming year in terms of overall sales and growth, West Michigan manufacturing executives say they are feeling uncertain.

For Cummings, 2013 was a year of witnessing work from the past 25 years finally coming to fruition. With a handful of property acquisitions, tenant build-outs and downtown renovation projects, CWD’s partners continue their focus on suburban retail and urban office mixed-use developments.

2014 Outlook: Randy Rua, Rua Associates LLC

Written by | Sunday, 22 December 2013 20:28 |

Rua Associates works on both the buy-side and sell-side of mergers and acquisitions, primarily with small- to medium-sized manufacturers. His best advice for both buyers and sellers: Plan ahead to reduce the chance of surprises and setbacks in a transition.

As changes to Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law remains on the legislative agenda for 2014, the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital CEO hopes lawmakers can arrive at a final bill that works for everyone.

2014 Outlook: Gregory Ioanidis, ITC Michigan

Written by | Sunday, 22 December 2013 20:25 |

ITC continues to rebuild its electric transmission lines across the state, pouring approximately $3.2 billion into upgrades in Michigan and other Midwestern states since 2003.

Sieger advocates that state government should consider reinstating the charitable tax credit for the Michigan income tax. It was a tool foundations and other nonprofit organizations used for years that “made a difference in the number of donations,” she said.

While Rockford has seen plenty of success in its first 26 years, VanGessel is focused on the next 26 years and isn’t about to let the company rest on its laurels. That has the CEO thinking about how the firm can continue to innovate in the industry and further support its in-house talent.

Formerly an executive in commercial real estate, Hunderman made the transition to Kerkstra Precast in September after owner Greg Kerkstra decided to take a more “visionary” role as chief executive officer.

Welch agrees with economic outlooks for higher U.S. GDP growth in 2014 that will bode well for Michigan’s economy, particularly manufacturing, exports and tourism. There are, however, what he calls some wild cards for the economy next year.

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