A roundup of promotions, new hires, advancements and award winners in West Michigan.
- Michigan Future Inc., a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank based in Lansing, has named Patrick Cooney as vice president. Cooney is rejoining Michigan Future Inc. from Poverty Solutions, an initiative by the University of Michigan to prevent and mitigate poverty through partnerships with communities and policymakers. At Poverty Solutions, Cooney oversaw the Partnership on Economic Mobility between the University of Michigan and the City of Detroit. Cooney holds degrees from Boston College and the University of Michigan, worked as a Teach for America corps member and taught middle school math in New York.
- Cheryl Schuch, who has served with Family Promise of Grand Rapids since 2009, has been named CEO of Family Promise National, the national chapter of the organization that works on homelessness reduction. During her time leading the Grand Rapids chapter, Schuch helped to grow the affiliate to be one of the largest nationwide with revenue and assets exceeding $10 million. In her new role that starts March 1, Schuch will oversee more than 200,000 volunteers across 43 states. Schuch grew up in Kalamazoo and attended the University of Michigan.
- Lakeshore Advantage Corp., a nonprofit economic development organization serving Allegan and Ottawa counties, has appointed two new members to its board of directors. Phil LaMothe, plant manager of Fairlife, and Nick Nykerk, CEO of Lakewood Construction Co., will each serve three-year terms beginning this month. LaMothe has more than a decade of experience in food processing, and previously worked for Gerber, Nestle and Leprino Foods before joining Fairlife. Nykerk has more than 20 years of experience in the commercial construction industry and is the chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors of West Michigan.
- Festival of the Arts has named Missy Summers as its new executive director. In her role, Summers will work with the Festival of the Arts board and hundreds of volunteers to execute the 54th celebration in early June. She comes from both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, including working as the chief rural officer at Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes. When accepting the role, Summers noted her passion for volunteering, including serving on the board of Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and the Association of Professional Fundraisers of West Michigan.
- McShane & Bowie PLC has named business and corporate attorney Nicholas Heinz as a partner in the Grand Rapids-based law firm. Heinz, who has practiced at McShane & Bowie since 2021, brings experience in corporate counseling and middle market mergers and acquisitions. His specialties include forming new companies, preparing operating and shareholder agreements, advising on employee matters, succession planning and contracts. Heinz earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law. Heinz also previously served on the legal team at global insurance brokerage and fintech Acrisure LLC.
- The Michigan Soybean Committee has tapped Ben Steyer as its new CEO. In this role, Steyer will lead efforts to ensure the continued growth of Michigan’s soybean industry through market development, research priorities, outreach initiatives and management of industry programs. Steyer was previously the executive director of 1-800-SWEEPER, a co-op of independently owned and operated power sweeping companies. He grew up on a grain farm in northwestern Ohio and launched his career working for a family-owned seed company.
- Sierra Club Michigan has named Elayne Elliott as chapter director of the 55-year-old environmental advocacy organization. Elliott became interested in environmental justice as a teenager and went on to intern for the National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club’s Detroit office and the city of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. She then worked full time as Williams College’s sustainability coordinator and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s public spaces coordinator. Elliott holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Emory University.
- Kellogg Community College has named Paul Watson II as its seventh president. Watson has served as interim president of KCC since April 2022 and joined the school as vice president of instruction in January of 2019. Watson has more than two decades of experience in teaching and administrative work, and holds degrees from Drexel University, the University of Rochester, Syracuse University and Houghton College.
— Compiled by Margot Amouyal.