People in the News: A roundup of new hires, promotions and awards in West Michigan.
Michigan tribal leader named to first-of-its-kind federal advisory commission
Bay Mills Indian Community President Whitney Gravelle has been named chairperson of a first-of-its-kind federal advisory committee that will open direct lines of communication between U.S. tribes and government agencies.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced the creation of the Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC) late last year to strengthen the federal government’s nation-to-nation relationship with federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.
“What I find to be really beneficial (about the STAC) is giving tribal leaders and nations a seat at the decision-making table,” Gravelle told MiBiz.
The STAC, which first met in late September, is composed of representatives from each of the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs regions who each serve up to two-year terms. The committee is meant to generate tribal input about programs and services offered through the Department of the Interior.
Gravelle says the STAC “goes so much further beyond tribal consulting” by giving tribal leaders an opportunity to help shape policies and offer ways to improve services to tribal communities.
Gravelle brings to the role a perspective of leading the Upper Peninsula-based tribe as well as prior experience as an attorney and chief judge of its tribal court.
“I think for the Bay Mills Indian Community, it’s extremely important we continue to stay involved in issues that impact Indian Country as a whole,” she said. “There’s a lot going on in Indian Country right now, whether it’s related to environmental degradation, climate change, natural resources fights, sacred lands, or droughts and water. Bay Mills will be able to create partnerships with other tribes and elevate those to a higher level and learn from other tribal nations.”
The committee also comes under the leadership of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American woman to serve as a cabinet secretary. Gravelle called Haaland’s perspective “absolutely fantastic.”
“She understands at a greater level than any other official what it means to be an Indigenous person in the United States,” Gravelle said. “When you bring all of that personal experience … you can really understand the impact the Department of the Interior has on tribal nations.”
— Reported by Andy Balaskovitz
- Gerald R. Ford International Airport has named Heather Day as its new human resources director to lead employee-related initiatives that support the airport’s strategic goals and oversee compensation, benefits and employee training. Day served in a similar role at the Wayne County Airport Authority in Southeast Michigan and holds a master’s degree in human resources from Villanova University. Ford International Airport Authority President and CEO Tory Richardson said Day’s “impressive background in human resources, especially in the aviation industry, will develop and grow our dynamic team, which will consequently provide guests with an exceptional travel experience.”
- Byron Center-based food retailer and distributor SpartanNash Co. recently named Nicole Zube as its new chief human resources officer, effective immediately. Zube came to SpartanNash from Kellogg Co., where she served as head of HR in its U.S. commercial division. Prior to Kellogg, Zube worked in various HR positions over eight years at Procter & Gamble. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Northern Kentucky University and a master’s degree from Xavier University. An award-winning grocery executive, Zube also represents the latest change to SpartanNash’s leadership team over the past two years under CEO Tony Sarsam.
- Longtime government official Patrick Waterman will serve as Ottawa County’s deputy administrator after the county board approved his contract on Sept. 27. Waterman comes to the county after 12 years as the city manager of Hudsonville, where he led the city’s downtown revitalization efforts and expanded pedestrian connectivity. Waterman also previously served as community development director in Grand Haven Charter Township for eight years following private sector experience in municipal planning and engineering. Waterman fills the position that was vacated when John Shay was promoted to county administrator in March 2022. He received a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from Michigan State University and a master of public administration from Grand Valley State University.
Union Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Union Financial Corp. that operates full-service offices in several Grand Rapids-area communities, has named Michael Kozak as vice president and commercial banker. Kozak will work with branch management, commercial and customer service teams to build business relationships and also will lead lending efforts for cannabis businesses. Kozak comes to Union Bank with nearly 30 years in the financial industry, including stints in the Chicago area with Huntington Bank and Fifth Third Bank.
- Sparta-based ChoiceOne Bank recently added three new team members in executive, branch and wealth management positions. Christine Zahm was named vice president and private banker in the bank’s west market; Amanda Brooks was named Coopersville branch manager and Tim Shaw will serve as commercial loan officer. Zahm has more than 15 years of experience in private banking and customer service with the former Chemical Bank. As well, Brooks comes to ChoiceOne with 16 years of branch management experience at a regional bank and two years as a loan officer at a Muskegon-based credit union. Shaw joins ChoiceOne with more than 25 years of experience working in education, including as an elementary principal and high school teacher at Grand Rapids-area schools.
- Meanwhile, ChoiceOne Bank CEO Kelly Potes recently received the 2022 Best of Community Banking Award from the Community Bankers of Michigan for his contributions to the local banking industry. Potes has held the CEO position since 2016 and first joined the company in 1984 before rejoining in 2001. Under Potes’ leadership, ChoiceOne has grown to an approximately $2.4 billion-asset bank holding company, up from $560 million in 2015. ChoiceOne Board Chairman Jack Hendon called Potes’ “distinct” leadership style “quiet, kind and very strategic.”
- Warner Norcross + Judd LLP has named experienced lobbyist Berton Brown to the law firm’s government advocacy and affairs practice. Brown, who will be based in Lansing, brings more than 20 years of experience in public policy, strategic planning and fundraising from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Prior to joining Warner, Brown created full-service and bipartisan Brown Consulting Group, specializing in strategic communications, public affairs and medical marijuana consulting. His consulting firm later merged with Kelley Cawthorne Empower. Brown also has experience as a political staffer for lawmakers in Michigan and Tennessee.
- Dr. Karen Bovid has been named director of the Orthopaedic Surgery residency program at the Kalamazoo-based Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, also known as WMed. A longtime WMed faculty member and physician, Bovid previously served as director of the Orthopaedic Surgery Department’s Medical Student Education, developed musculoskeletal system programming for students and served as an adviser for a student interest group. Bovid grew up in Midland and earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Hope College and a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Michigan Medical School.
- Spectrum Health Lakeland Heart and Vascular has added Manthan Kimmane to its medical staff to see patients alongside 10 cardiology physician specialists and advanced practitioners in Coloma, Niles and St. Joseph. Kimmane has worked for Lakeland since 2011 as a registered nurse in the emergency department, infusion center and vascular access team. Kimmane earned a master’s degree in nursing from Maryville University in St. Louis and is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. “I look forward to caring for individuals in a new manner as a cardiac nurse practitioner, where I’ll focus on managing and treating disease of the heart, blood vessels, and circulatory system,” Kimmane said in a statement.
- Lakeshore Advantage Corp., the economic development agency serving Ottawa and Allegan counties, is receiving global attention for its Industry 4.0 awareness campaign. The International Economic Development Council recently recognized the organization’s Industry 4.0 campaign with an Excellence in Economic Development award. Launched in 2020, the campaign aims to help local companies adopt advanced technologies to remain competitive. Lakeshore Advantage partnered with other area economic development organizations to compile resources for employers and provide case studies of successful Industry 4.0 transitions.
— Compiled by Andy Balaskovitz