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The premier business awards celebration of the region returns on Wednesday, October 19 to recognize 27 upstanding businesses in West Michigan and present awards to the top finalists from each of the nine categories.

How do we design a workplace, now that non-traditional office space, retention strategies, and remote work need to be taken into consideration? How we view workplaces and the needs of current and future staff has shifted. The perspective toward remote work has pivoted to a more accommodating mindset as employees have increased productivity and work-life balance has tilted toward the positive. With restrictions lifted, market forces have pushed for maintaining at least some form of hybrid schedule as a talent attraction and retention strategy.

There’s a misconception in manufacturing that only large companies can successfully implement Industry 4.0 technology. For everyone else, the technology is too complex. Too time consuming. Too expensive. But a growing cadre of small and medium-size manufacturers are bucking that misconception and proving advanced manufacturing technology can be implemented by all companies, regardless of size. All it takes is an open mind, a champion, and a healthy dose of strategic thinking. 


Michigan is more than just a venue for the Detroit Auto Show – it is a place where the next generation of transportation and mobility is being designed, created and revealed. The automotive industry built its foundation and laid its roots here in Michigan; now, led by innovations in electric vehicles (EV) and assisted driving, we are witnessing a transportation mobility revolution. 

If you’re not adapting, you’re failing. That was the message during this year’s Michigan Contractor of the Year (MCOY) Awards, hosted yesterday evening at the LMCU Ballpark in Comstock Park. 

With more than 4.3 million registered nurses in the United States, nursing staff are most often the front-line caregivers in every aspect of the healthcare industry. In 2022, nationwide nursing levels and staffing at health systems are in crisis



Inflation is the highest it’s been in decades, which impacts our entire Michigan business community. But while costs on nearly everything else seem to be rising, Consumers Energy is here to help businesses reduce energy waste, lower energy costs and even cash in on rebates that can be invested back into your bottom-line. 

As businesses gather an increasing amount of consumer information, consumers’ concerns about who knows what about them are becoming more pronounced and businesses’ legal obligations regarding that data are becoming more complex.

Michigan summer has arrived, and so have opportunities to save on your business’ energy bill. So, let’s talk about them! I’m Charles, your friendly hometown energy expert - and I’m here to talk about energy as a strategic resource. 


There is no shortage of information available regarding industry 4.0 technology. Small and medium-size manufacturers curious about these technologies can often find themselves drowning in a sea of whitepapers, blogs, vendors, sales calls, and other information – making it too overwhelming to even begin their journey. While each of these pieces of information has its place, sometimes it’s most effective for manufacturers to cut through the murk and hear a fellow company’s story. 

GRAND RAPIDS, MI—April 2022 marked 60 years in business for architecture and engineering firm Progressive AE. The firm’s theme for the year is “A Year of Gratitude,” as they look back on the partnerships and communities they’ve had the chance to serve over 60 years. 

Building a house is expensive. Buying a house is expensive. Maintaining a house is expensive. It’s all just expensive. And what’s worse is that on top of it all sits an expensive insurance policy that can be difficult to understand. 



The practice of education is ever-changing. New technology, pedagogy and demands for a trained and educated workforce continue to change and evolve. But the combination of demographic declines and post-pandemic challenges – and opportunities – are radically shifting the way K12 school districts and higher education campuses are thinking about space and where, when and how learning best occurs.

If a new coworker asked you what experiences are the epitome of Grand Rapids, what’s the first thing you’d recommend?

Michigan has flipped the script on business growth over the past decade. In 2011, the state lost 12,000 net businesses; in 2019, Michigan created 2,000 net businesses. Also, prior to the pandemic, Michigan outperformed its Midwest peers in 10-year, five-year and three-year job growth metrics. The state also added roughly 15,000 more automotive jobs.


On August 31, 2022, the American Subcontractors Association of Michigan (ASAM) will celebrate the 12th Annual MCOY Award Celebration at the home of the Whitecaps, Lake Michigan Credit Union Ballpark. MCOY recognizes Michigan’s general contractors and construction managers with a track record of best practices, professionalism, and collaboration within the trade contracting community. 

Though it may have revolutionized production, the “just in time” mentality does not extend to talent. In the current labor market, manufacturers are finding that many workers are not walking through the door with all the necessary skills they may need. With that in mind, many companies are enhancing their training and development efforts to prepare their workforce for the factory of the future. 

From cobots to data collection and analysis, Industry 4.0 is changing the way small and mid-size manufactures think about and grow their businesses. 


Regardless of industry or seniority, virtually every member of the workforce shares one commonality: onboarding.

Here’s a sobering thought: Every underground piping system - in every building and all of the connections there in-between - installed before and during the 20th century, is rapidly approaching the end of its useful lifespan. 

Organizational excellence is more than a phrase – it is a culture that attracts AND retains an exceptional workforce. All employers are seeking ways to recruit qualified employees and reduce unwanted turnover during today’s tight labor market yet there is no “quick fix” approach to this long-term issue.


You’ve worked hard to build your business, equip it with a team of high-performing individuals, and ensure your compensation and benefits package adequately protect your business from what’s come to be known as “The Great Resignation.”

Your business needs to move, but the availability of existing buildings is dismal, and you can’t find the right fit to meet your immediate and future needs.  So, you decide to build.  Now you’re faced with rising construction costs, labor shortages, supply chain issues, and long lead times that wreak havoc with your timeline and budget. How do you navigate this very real and intimidating situation?

Making room for new buildings often involves tearing down old facilities. At Rockford Construction, we drive sustainability in all our projects, and reclaiming and recycling building materials is an important aspect of building demolition.


First of a three-part webinar series focuses on preparing for the manufacturing workforce of the future

The 2022 Health Care and Human Resources Summit will dissect the state of our health care system through a business lens and expand on previous topics to include the latest information on hiring, health care, wages, benefits, and more.

I imagine if you are reading this article, you might be struggling to retain new employees and to fill your open positions. You are not alone, and it is going to get worse. The Manufacturing Institute has estimated that between 2018 and 2028, half of all open job positions in manufacturing will go unfilled, (2018).


Capital is vital to any business, whether it’s just getting started or looking to grow. How you fund your business can have a huge impact on your operations and ability to take advantage of new opportunities.

Some days your supply chain can feel like a moving target. From managing volatility in supply and demand, to staving off inflation, to complying with carbon emissions regulations, you never know what challenges your supply chain might face on a given day. Each one can throw a wrench in your planning, supplier relationships, profitability and more.

The Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building is a monumental development for the City of Grand Rapids. Inside, groundbreaking research and discovery will help drive innovation in the healthcare sector. Outside, human lives will be improved significantly thanks to the work of tenants like BAMF Health, who will provide world-class health treatment for various types of cancer and diseases using advanced medical equipment. Overall, together with the other buildings that make up the Grand Rapids Innovation Park along the city’s Medical Mile, the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building will help contribute to more than $300 million in economic impact to Kent County each year.


In manufacturing, product is the endgame. 

The year is coming to a close and the holidays are upon us.  That means annual traditions of family, food… and stressful holiday shopping.

The Grand Rapids Chamber’s Diversity & Talent Summit returns on Tuesday, November 16 with speakers who will examine the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in business. From neighborhood storefronts to global enterprises, implementing solutions to create more inclusive environments for employees and consumers will position businesses to strategically navigate the ever-changing marketplace long-term. Participants can expect to hear success stories, get caught up on the latest community DEI metrics, and explore systems thinking as an approach to embed DEI in business, education, health care, and beyond.   


AmCon Novi Advanced Design & Manufacturing Expo Suburban Collection Showplace - Novi, MI November 9-10, 2021

Here’s a question for all Accounts Payable (AP) managers and treasury professionals: How often do you think about payments after you’ve made them?

For family owned businesses, planning is the key to ensuring a smooth and successful transition of the business to the next generation. A thorough and well-documented plan is a gift to your family and your employees, and helps to safeguard the future of your family business.


When BAMF Health opens in June 2022 in the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building on the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids, it will be home to the world’s most advanced molecular imaging clinic, radiopharmacy and theranostics clinic, providing world-class health treatment for various types of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiac disease and much more.

The Grand Rapids Chamber is thrilled to announce the return of the EPIC Awards Gala on Monday, October 25 at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids.

Nonprofit, not-for-profit, and charity are all general terms for organizations that exist to serve the public good rather than make money for their owners. They can take a wide variety of forms, including places of worship, private schools, homeowners’ associations, amateur sports leagues, public welfare organizations, community development programs, and many more.


Considering that the vast majority of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck and 40% struggle to cover a $400 emergency expense, it’s no wonder why so many employees consider themselves functionally uninsured despite being covered by their employer’s health plan. The standard employer-sponsored health plan comes with a nearly $8,000 out-of-pocket expense.  And, when an employer’s price tag to purchase that insurance for a family now exceeds $20,000 a year, no HR professional likes to hear that their employee “benefit” they offer has become an employee “liability.” 

Leading and succeeding a family business is complex.  Untangling what’s family and what’s business for the good of both is one of the greatest challenges of family enterprise. But, when they work together to their full potential the opportunities for family, business, and community are endless. With the help of Family-Owned Business Institute of Grand Valley State University and adaptations of several online resources, The Family Business Alliance has established a Family Business Continuum to help family businesses in West Michigan understand the distinct axes of the family business model and improve the opportunity for multi-generational success. 

The struggle of attracting, retaining, and developing talent within the manufacturing industry is not a new phenomenon. Businesses in this sector have been grappling with how to overcome this challenge for decades. While the pandemic has exacerbated the issue, a widening skills gap and a significant portion of the labor pool reaching retirement age has long fueled the talent shortage manufacturers are facing today.   


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —Eventually, every manufacturing executive runs into a situation where the longstanding processes that have driven their business and systems are outdated and in need of change. But properly managing those changes for the benefit of the organization can often present a challenge, particularly in times of volatility or crisis. 

Every year at the ATHENA Awards Celebration, the Grand Rapids Chamber gathers to celebrate those who embody, encourage, and promote the inclusion of women. Join us on Wednesday, September 29 at the JW Marriot Ballroom to recognize the recipients of the 32nd Annual ATHENA Awards as they are added to this list of legendary ladies.

Brandi Llamas had a choice to make for her five children that would have a profound effect on their future.


11th Annual MCOY Awards honors West Michigan’s construction industry 

The Lakeshore Innovator of the Year Award was created by the Muskegon Innovation Hub at Grand Valley State University as a way to honor and recognize the many creative innovators found in West Michigan. This amazing group of people is responsible for the tremendous increase in growth and improvement in the quality of life that has taken place in this part of the state over the past decade.

Experts advocate for a holistic approach to pain management and recovery for those experiencing work-related pain