MEDC launches $1.5 million grant program to prep industrial sites for development
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has unveiled a new program it says will help communities attract businesses to available properties across the state.
Q&A: Larry Shaffer, City Manager, Portage
The city of Portage provides municipal water to 95 percent of its 48,500 residents. As such, City Manager Larry Shaffer said clean water is a fundamental aspect of keeping residents safe. Most of the up to 5 million gallons of water produced daily comes from groundwater.
Boomer retirements force emphasis on government succession planning
Jennifer Orme applied to be the human resources director for the city of Holland after hearing about the job on Facebook. The city’s next request took her by surprise: They asked her to send in a hard copy of her resume.
Q&A: Graci Harkema, Diversity and Inclusion Director, Founders Brewing Co.
Graci Harkema wants to break the craft beer industry’s bearded white male stereotype. In January, she became diversity and inclusion director at Founders Brewing Co., where she’s working to give employees opportunities to “be their authentic selves and achieve their goals.” Her hire followed a pair of controversies at Founders.
Grand Rapids receives 90 medical marijuana business applications
Ninety applicants must now await a lottery drawing to see when the city of Grand Rapids will consider their plans for medical marijuana-based businesses.
Kent County, The Right Place partner on sustainable business park
GRAND RAPIDS — The Kent County Department of Public Works and The Right Place Inc. have announced a development partnership for the Kent County Sustainable Business Park. The Department of Public Works announced last year it was issuing a request for information to seek potential tenants for the proposed business park on about 200 acres that it owns in Byron Township and Allegan County, adjacent to its South Kent Landfill.
Q&A: Emmanuel “Manny” Toribio, City Manager, City of East Grand Rapids
Emmanuel “Manny” Toribio has been chosen as the next city manager of East Grand Rapids following the retirement of Brian Donovan, who served in the position for 25 years. Currently, Toribio is the assistant director of facilities planning and management at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Before that, he served for three years as city administrator for Prairie City, Iowa, and six years as city planner for Des Moines.
Construction equipment supplier McCann Industries expands to Marne facility
MARNE — McCann Industries Inc. will expand to Michigan with a new facility currently under construction in Marne. The equipment and construction supply sales company hopes to open the new location in September, said James Maioho, Michigan branch manager for McCann.
Legislation could push residential property owners to pay for downtown services
GRAND RAPIDS — Legislation expected to be reintroduced this session could address the question of whether downtown residential property owners should help pay for the services currently funded only by assessments on commercial businesses. Although former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed similar legislation, lawmakers could revive bills this year that would allow local taxing authorities to decide whether residential owners in business improvement districts should also pay the assessments that commercial property owners pay.
Firms more active in recruiting for construction trades
When Steve Huizenga seeks to recruit the next generation of tradespeople, he stresses to young candidates that the industry is “not your grandpa’s trade” anymore. Huizenga, president of Allied Mechanical Services Inc., a Grand Rapids-based mechanical contracting firm, said promoting the technology used in the construction trades has been key in recruiting men and women to join his company.
REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Attracting young workers from outside GR remains a priority
Marketing Grand Rapids as a place for young people to live and work is becoming increasingly important to the local economy.
Q&A: Dr. David Karowe, Professor of biological sciences, Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University Professor David Karowe, Ph.D. has dire predictions for what will happen if people across the globe fail to take swift action to replace fossil fuels with green energy. While climate change affects systems globally, it will have real effects on the West Michigan region and its economy, according to Karowe’s predictions, which are informed by his years of research on the effects of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide in plants.
Allegiant Air announces $42.8 million base at Grand Rapids airport
Allegiant Travel Co. is expanding its footprint at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport with the opening of a $42.8 million base.
Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Al Vanderberg, Ottawa County Administrator
Multiple initiatives and projects in Ottawa County next year will focus on retention and attraction of people to the area, according to County Administrator Al Vanderberg. With the lowest unemployment rate in Michigan (2.5 percent in December), the talent shortage is affecting companies on the lakeshore. Most projects Vanderberg is watching have some tie to the future prosperity of the county.
Crystal Ball 2019 Outlook Q&A: Mark Guzniczak, Strata Business Services
Strata Business Services LLC is a “specialized small business solutions company” that focuses on investments in the medical marijuana sector in Michigan and other states. As of Dec. 6, adult-use recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan after voters approved Proposal 1 during the midterm election.
Bill to transfer Muskegon prison property heads to governor
MUSKEGON — A bill to transfer a lakeshore prison property to the state’s land bank is heading to the governor.
Kent County commissioners consider dissolving Land Bank
The Kent County Board of Commissioners is considering dissolving its agreement with the Kent County Land Bank Authority.
Hope College names new president
Hope College has announced Matthew Scogin as its 14th president.