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With more than two decades of experience in the financial world, Kerschen serves as co-managing director of the Michigan Accelerator Fund-1, which in 2012 closed on $15.1 million to invest in early stage, Michigan-based businesses.

The economic development organization Battle Creek Unlimited helped attract $195 million in private investment this year that resulted in the creation of more than 600 new jobs.

An entrepreneur and community activist, VandenBerg was part of a team that helped launch one of the mainstay establishments in Grand Rapids – The Meanwhile – and one of its popular music venues – The Pyramid Scheme.

Having joined MCC in 2009, Nesbary has helped the institution grow its outreach to the business community, including offering training programs to suit the talent needs of employers.

In 2011, Olivarez, an Aquinas College alum, became the school’s seventh president after having served in leadership roles at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and Grand Rapids Community College.

Ron Kitchens, CEO, Southwest Michigan First

Written by | Sunday, 23 December 2012 23:50 |

Over the past year, Kitchens has helped forge new alliances for regional economic development stretching from Battle Creek to Benton Harbor. The new larger regional area should help the group’s marketing be more effective in attracting business to the region, he says.

The Grand Haven manufacturer will post record sales and profits for 2012 and the company expects another record year in 2013, says Jacobson, who joined the family-owned JSJ in 1986.

Haas maintains the university is committed to improving its program offerings and infrastructure investments, while keeping down costs for students.

Klohs says The Right Place has seen a “marked increase” in the requests for information and requests for proposals from site selectors considering West Michigan this year, a trend she fully expects to continue in 2013.

Alticor Inc., the parent company of global direct-selling giant Amway, set a record with more than $10.9 billion in sales last year, the company’s sixth consecutive year of sales growth and its second in a row in which U.S. sales increased.

Matthew Haworth, Chairman, Haworth Inc.

Written by | Sunday, 23 December 2012 23:33 |

Office furniture maker Haworth, which had sales of $1.38 billion last year, successfully initiated a zero waste to landfill policy that made the company $1.4 million. Haworth took over the family-owned company from his father, Dick Haworth, in 2009.

A 34-year veteran of the nonprofit sector, Sieger leads the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, which in its 2012 fiscal year granted more than $11 million, including $844,000 in scholarships.

After having to significantly reduce the size of the bank through the economic turmoil, Price sees Mercantile perhaps returning to growth in 2013.

Don Shoemaker, Principal, Franklin Partners

Written by | Sunday, 23 December 2012 23:24 |

While his company was initially involved mostly in industrial real estate in West Michigan, Shoemaker and Franklin Partners this year expanded their portfolio to include downtown Grand Rapids properties.

Aaron Zeigler, President, Zeigler Auto Group

Written by | Sunday, 23 December 2012 23:17 |

Even at the low point of the auto industry, Zeigler’s company was on a roll, debuting stores in West Michigan and in the greater Chicago area. The results have been positive.

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