Here is the MiBiz People in the news report for April 25, 2022
- Grand Rapids-based health plan Priority Health has appointed Shannon Wilson as its first vice president of population health and health equity. After serving as vice president of Priority’s state markets, east, Wilson will be responsible for quality improvement in the company’s Medicare, Medicaid, commercial and individual lines of business. She also will oversee the health plan’s population health and health equity strategy while maintaining her position as executive director of the Total Health Care Foundation, which formed in 2020 as a partnership with The Children’s Foundation. Wilson previously served as executive director of the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, vice president of the Alliance for Health and with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
- Lakeshore Advantage Corp. President Jennifer Owens was named among the top 50 economic developers in North America as part of a list compiled this month by national consulting firm Consultant Connect. The top 50 professionals were selected via nominations by their colleagues for excellent practices, innovation and success in building the communities they serve. Owens will be featured on Consultant Connect’s social media for her success at the Zeeland-based economic development firm, which serves Ottawa and Allegan counties.
- The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce named Attah Obande as vice president of business and talent development. In this new role, Obande will oversee the direction of business growth-related initiatives as well as the development, inclusion and business services teams and programs. Obande previously served as the director of dream fulfillment at SpringGR, where he oversaw the entrepreneur development program that works to expand intellectual, social and financial capital for entrepreneurs with limited access to resources.
- Food solutions company SpartanNash Co. recently appointed two new vice presidents to oversee information technology and business strategy. Yu Ying Seah was named vice president of I.T. global applications, where he will develop and drive the company’s applications roadmap and oversee the delivery of business system initiatives, including its conceptualization, execution and maintenance. Prior to joining SpartanNash, Seah was the senior director of I.T. applications at SC Johnson for five years. Seah holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the National University of Singapore. He has lived and worked across the world, including in the U.S., Chile, Spain, Netherlands, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. The company this month also named Peter Anjorin as vice president of strategy and business development to drive strategic planning and growth initiatives and play a key role in mergers and acquisitions. Anjorin previously spent 13 years in a similar role at Whirlpool Corp. and led product strategy for the company’s North American refrigeration business. Anjorin earned a master’s degree in business administration from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Calvin University.
- West Michigan native Erin Murphy has been promoted from marketing manager to marketing director at the West Michigan Tourist Association, effective in June. Murphy holds degrees in communications and business from Hope College and previously worked with the Alzheimer’s Association and Walk to End Alzheimer’s events across the region.
- Grand Rapids branding and digital marketing agency The Image Shoppe Ltd. has named Julius Rogers as director of business development and Claire Bennett as traffic coordinator as part of the firm’s expansion. Rogers has spent more than a decade of his career in banking and digital marketing to generate growth for B2B and B2C businesses, while Bennett previously worked in marketing for a cannabis firm.
- United Federal Credit Union has named Dave Satek as its Southwest Michigan commercial loan officer. Satek will be responsible for providing business lending expertise via financial counseling and product awareness to assist credit union members. He also will generate investment-quality business loans by taking loan applications in support of United’s loan growth objectives. Since 2015, Satek has focused on banking solutions for business owners in Southwest Michigan, and has more than 35 years of experience in commercial and mortgage lending. Satek holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Dominican University.
- Daniel Schoonmaker is one of several new appointees to the Michigan Community Service Commission. A political independent from Grand Rapids, Schoonmaker was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to represent experts in the delivery of human, educational, environmental and public safety services to communities. He will serve the commission between March 18 and Oct. 1. Schoonmaker also is executive director of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Aquinas College.
- Western Michigan University has named Dr. Remzi Seker as its next vice president for research and innovation that would be effective July 1, pending Board of Trustees approval. Seker currently serves as vice president for research and doctoral programs at Florida-based Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which experienced 52-percent growth in externally funded research expenditures in the past three fiscal years. Seker is an expert in aviation and aerospace cybersecurity and helped launch multiple related programs at Embry-Riddle. Seker has served in previous faculty roles at the University of Arkansas, Texas Tech University and the University of Alabama.
- Grand Rapids native Todd Sytsma was promoted to director of Kawasaki Engines’ original equipment manufacturing department. In this role, Sytsma will lead Kawasaki’s customers in commercial and residential landscaping equipment, light industrial and other U.S. markets. He joined the team, which has a facility in Cascade Township near Grand Rapids, in 2016 as a sales manager and was later promoted to lead the OEM department in 2020. Sytsma will continue to oversee department operations and provide guidance to the team’s sales managers, administrators and coordinators.
- Affinity Mentoring, which provides one-on-one mentoring for students at Grand Rapids Public Schools and Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, has named Sharalle Ankrah as its new executive director. Ankrah has served as an educator within GRPS Charter Schools and a director of after school programming in addition to leading other mentoring organizations. A Detroit native, Ankrah is a Grand Valley State University graduate in English for secondary education.
— Compiled by Hannah Brock and Andy Balaskovitz
Meijer exec Behler transitioning to VP role at GVSU
Longtime Meijer Inc. executive Stacie Behler is transitioning from public affairs and communications in the private sector to higher education.
Effective July 1, Behler will be Grand Valley State University’s new vice president and chief public affairs and communications officer as well as secretary of GVSU’s Board of Trustees.
Behler will transition from her role as group vice president of public affairs and communications at Meijer, where she has spent more than 20 years. At Meijer, Behler also served as senior legal counsel. Behler also previously served as executive director of the Meijer Foundation, where she counseled the Meijer family in their philanthropic endeavors.
To Behler, her new role isn’t a drastic change, but rather a new way to connect with her community.
“Those skills, and the network that I have created, will transition and translate pretty well into my work at Grand Valley,” Behler said. “I get to help tell the stories of faculty and students and families and (the) community impacted by Grand Valley — not unlike (how) I’ve been able to be a part of telling stories about customers and team members and community for Meijer.”
Moving into higher education is a dream come true for Behler, who received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University. As a first-generation college student who has held a job since age 14, Behler’s personal goal is to have a positive effect on students at GVSU that same way others have had on her career.
“My goal would be to look back on however long my career at Grand Valley is, and feel like I was able to impact students like I was a long time ago, and make access to college seem possible and real and achievable,” Behler said.
— Reported by Hannah Brock