- Robert Wheeler was named the new CEO of Kalsec Inc., a Kalamazoo-based certified B-corp that produces a variety of flavor-enhancement products for the food and beverage industries. Wheeler succeeds Dr. Scott Nykaza, who will retire on Dec. 31 after 23 years with the company. Wheeler joined Kalsec in 2015 and brings to the leadership role 28 years of experience in the food ingredients and flavor industry. The company board also named Julie Heine as president and chief commercial officer to guide Kalsec’s strategic direction and customer experience, and oversee commercial and R&D objectives. Heine has been with Kalsec since 1995 in various roles, starting as a lab tech and graduating to leading global commercial teams.
- Rick Allor has joined Kentwood Office Furniture Inc. as general manager of the furniture dealership’s Lansing and Detroit offices. Allor brings extensive experience in the contract furniture industry with prior roles at Staples Business Advantage, Interior Dynamics and the Allor Group. A full-service dealership with manufacturing capabilities, Kentwood Office Furniture became an employee-owned company in 2013 and represents more than 150 contract furniture and architectural product manufacturers.
- Tom Long was named lead independent director of Wolverine World Wide Inc.’s board, effective Nov. 4. Long has served as a company director since 2011 and also currently serves as chairman of the compensation committee. Before retiring in 2015, his 30-year career included stints as CEO of MillerCoors LLC and president of The Coca-Cola Co.’s Northwest Europe division.
- Gun Lake Casino has named Brian Johnson as vice president of finance and administration, bringing nearly 30 years of financial experience to the role. Johnson worked in multiple accounting positions before entering the gaming industry, overseeing casinos’ financial and administrative operations. Those include roles at Hyatt Gaming Management, Majestic Star Casino and, most recently, as chief financial officer at MotorCity Casino and Hotel in Detroit. Johnson said it’s “certainly an exciting time” to join the expanding Gun Lake Casino, an enterprise of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi, or Gun Lake Tribe.
- Grand Valley State University has appointed Patricia Thomas as dean of the university’s Kirkhof College of Nursing. Thomas currently serves as associate dean for faculty affairs at Wayne State University’s College of Nursing and will start her new role at GVSU on Jan. 6. The move marks a homecoming for Thomas, who previously served as the Kirkhof College’s assistant dean and associate dean from 2016-2019. She also has held nursing leadership positions at Beaumont Health and Trinity Health.
- Michigan Certified Development Corp. (MCDC) has named Eric Maly as Traverse City-based senior loan officer for the northern Lower Peninsula. In the role, Maly will market the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 Loan program by working with lenders, small business owners and other sources for companies to secure 504 loans. Maly comes to the nonprofit MCDC from Huntington National Bank, where he served as vice president of business banking, and has more than 20 years of experience in commercial lending and health care administration.
- The Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, which serves Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties, has named Marcy Simpson as executive director to lead the organization’s marketing and operations. Simpson succeeds Millicent Huminsky, who recently retired after serving the Council for 37 years. Simpson has worked at the Council for four years following more than a decade of experience at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph. In her new role, Simpson and the Council are developing new marketing programs to draw more visitors, destination weddings and group events to the region’s resort towns and rural communities.
- Kent County named Scott Corbin as deputy emergency management coordinator, effective Nov. 21. In his new role, Corbin will assist in the development and implementation of disaster plans, coordinate local anti-terrorism planning, and ensure key stakeholders are informed about emergency situations and response plans. He comes to Kent Country from neighboring Allegan County, where he recently served as emergency management director. He has previous public safety and police experience in Ohio, and has served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi chair elected president of United Tribes of Michigan
FULTON — United Tribes of Michigan has elected Jamie Stuck as its new president.
Stuck, the elected tribal chairman of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, began a two-year term at United Tribes of Michigan following the organization’s meeting last month.
United Tribes of Michigan is a membership organization open to all federally recognized tribes within the state. The organization provides a platform for the tribes to address issues and advocate for common interests such as sovereignty, treaty rights and Native American culture.
“We’re able to really focus on the situations that have impact on all of our communities, whether that be education or missing and murdered Indigenous people,” Stuck told MiBiz.
The United Tribes of Michigan holds quarterly membership meetings as well as hosts an annual summit with the governor and other state leaders. The organization also maintains close working relationships with the tribal liaisons for each of the state departments.
These relationships allow the organization and its members to push for policies that work in Indian County and to advocate for the best interests of Michigan’s tribal communities.
“When you come with a resolution on an issue that’s adopted by all 12 sovereign nations in the state of Michigan, that holds a lot more weight than if the individual tribes act on their own,” Stuck said.
Stuck has served on the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi tribal council since 2006 and has held the chairperson position since 2016.
United Tribes of Michigan Executive Director Frank Ettawageshik, whom Stuck considers a key mentor, is looking forward to Stuck’s leadership of the organization.
“He is very engaged on the local, state and national levels, and we look forward to working with him on issues affecting Indian Country,” Ettawageshik said in a statement.
As president of the organization, Stuck plans to keep on top of a handful of issues, including treaty rights, education and the legacy of boarding schools. The organization has been steadfast in its commitment to have the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline decommissioned in the Straits of Mackinac.
“Tribal governments like to not only be at the table, but we like to be part of the decision making, we like to be a part of the solution and we like to be part of the implementation,” Stuck said.
— Reported by Joe Boomgaard