• For Immediate Release Contact: Sarah Evoe
    MICPA, 248.267.3712
    Mary Ann Sabo
    Sabo PR, 616.485.1432

    MICPA to Provide Education about Business Process Mapping
    Training to Focus on Improving Business Process in CPA Firms

    Troy, Michigan, January 2, 2018 – The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants is hosting an educational seminar to help companies understand the importance of process mapping, and how to do it.

    Business Process Mapping to Achieve Organizational Goals is scheduled for Jan. 24 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Michigan State University Management Education Center, 811. W. Square Lake Road, Troy. The program will guide attendees through analyzing the way an organization operates and assist with identifying opportunities to make improvements.

    Joan Pastor, an expert in organizational change, will deliver the keynote. The president of JPA International Inc., Pastor is only one of five people in the world licensed as an industrial organizational and clinical psychologist. She is known to lead dynamic discussions that help attendees understand how to streamline business processes. Pastor will focus on developing leadership skills to analyze, understand and improve how an organization conducts business.

    “Business process mapping can benefit organizations to influence positive change,” Pastor said. “More than just using diagrams and work-flow charts, the training will provide change-analysis tools, which are a key component for progress.”

    Registration is $429 for MICPA members and $579 for non-members and available by visiting micpa.org.

    About MICPA
    The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants is the leading statewide professional organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the value of the CPA profession. Our more than 18,000 members work in business, education, government and public accounting. Established in 1901, MICPA members serve as trusted advisors for businesses and individuals while embracing the highest standards of professional and ethical performance. For more information, visit www.micpa.org.

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  • For Immediate Release

    Contact: Mary Ann Sabo
    Sabo Public Relations, 616.485.1432

    Warner’s One Book, One Firm Initiative Goes to the Movies

    Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 16, 2017 – Attorneys and staff of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP will attend a special screening of Marshall, a newly released movie based on the early life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Long before Brown v. Board of Education, Marshall was a young attorney working for the NAACP. The biopic explores Marshall’s role in the trial of an African-American chauffeur accused of the rape and attempted murder of his white employer. Reginald Hudlin, the film’s director, told the New York Times he wanted to focus on a single case early in Marshall’s career “that really sums up that era of his life.”

    Attorneys in the firm’s Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Holland offices will see the film on Thursday, Oct. 19. The firm’s other five offices will view the film at local theatres on different days.

    The movie night is part of the law firm’s ongoing diversity and inclusion initiatives, which include an annual One Book, One Firm discussion, lunch-and-learns and other initiatives throughout the year.

    “Thurgood Marshall was a ground-breaking figure in our profession and our country,” said Rodney Martin, Warner’s diversity partner. “His early work in this little-known case shaped not only his career, but the civil rights movement in the 1960s. I look forward to meaningful discussions about Marshall and its relevance to the rhetoric of our country today.”

    About Warner Norcross
    By providing discerning and proactive legal advice, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP builds a better partnership with its clients. Warner Norcross is a corporate law firm with 216 attorneys practicing in eight offices throughout Michigan: Grand Rapids, Southfield, Midland, Macomb County, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Holland and Lansing. To learn more, visit www.wnj.com, follow us on Twitter @WNJLLP or connect on LinkedIn.
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  • For Immediate Release
    Contact: Elliott Groh The Job Post, 616.214.7991 or Mary Ann Sabo Sabo PR, 616.485.1432

    Guiding Light’s Job Post Creates $2.5 Million Economic Impact, Provides 1,000+ Jobs, Substantial Opportunities
    Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 2, 2018 – As it wraps up a successful second year, The Job Post has placed more than 1,000 individuals in full-time jobs since its inception, creating a $2.5 million economic impact on West Michigan.
    The Job Post, which operates as a social enterprise of Guiding Light, is a hiring and recruitment firm that provides job placement services for individuals who are temporarily unemployed or are seeking career advancement. The services are designed to provide opportunities for individuals to re-engage in the community and secure a steady income.
    “When we started this program two years ago, we were very intentional about the way we wanted to operate,” said Stuart Ray, executive director at Guiding Light. “We help companies by providing an excellent workforce, we help individuals by finding them fulfilling work and we help our community with the money earned through The Job Post by reinvesting it into Guiding Light’s programing.”
    The Job Post operates on a model similar to other staffing agencies, but sets itself apart as a social enterprise. All revenues generated from its placement work are returned to Guiding Light to support the Back to Work and Recovery program.
    The Job Post now has four full-time experienced recruiters who identify and place candidates for partnering companies in manufacturing. Candidates who are selected to fill positions then operate on a temporary employment basis for 90 days with the opportunity for full-time, permanent work and the eligibility for benefits, health insurance and a 401(k) at the end of the 90-day period.
    Candidates who utilize The Job Post have a solid chance at immediate full-time work. By contrast, many other temp-to-work opportunities can take months – or even years – to transition off the staffing agency payroll.
    Additionally, The Job Post offers several incentives to potential candidates, including a $100 bonus for no absences during the first 30 days of employment; a $100 bonus for minimal absences during the first 90 days of employment; as well as providing resources necessary to perform the job, some which may include bus passes, safety clothing, proper shoes, etc.
    “We have done a good job finding the right companies who are conscientious about their employees,” Ray explained. “At some places, individuals may have to be a contract worker for two years or more before getting a full-time opportunity.
    “Our goal is to help find an effective match among individuals and companies so the fit is seamless from day one. If someone has the desire to work and is physically able to work, we will take care of the rest to make it happen.”
    The Job Post draws participants from throughout the West Michigan community. While advertising efforts on social media and placements on job websites are used as recruiting tools, The Job Post gets most of its participation from foot traffic, job fairs and referrals. Additionally, individuals who participate in Guiding Light’s programs also utilize The Job Post.
    On average, candidates placed by the organization make on average more than $11 per hour, but can earn anywhere from $10-14 per hour for general labor and $18-25 per hour or higher for skilled labor. Further, The Job Post offers a quick turnaround time, with some candidates walking into the company to apply and walking out with a job in less than two hours—a unique characteristic for a hiring and recruitment firm.
    Perhaps the biggest difference of The Job Post from other hiring and recruiting firms is found in its financial operations. While other staffing agencies make profit from the candidates they place, The Job Post uses the small fee earned from placing candidates and puts the money back into Guiding Light, benefiting the individuals who utilize the organization’s programs and furthering its mission to provide recovery and re-engagement for those living at society’s margins.
    “The growth this initiative has seen since its beginning – but especially in the last six months or so – has been incredible,” Ray said. “We are aiming to help individuals transform their lives and build up the courage to make meaningful changes by re-engaging with society—which is exactly what this program is all about.”
    About The Job Post
    The Job Post is a full-service hiring firm, the only one of its kind in the city of Grand Rapids. It is a social enterprise embedded within Guiding Light, meaning all profits earned go directly back in to the mission to support its programs. The Job Post specializes in part-time and full-time employment placements, direct hire and project hiring services for job-seekers. They provide comprehensive identification and background checks including thoroughly investigated work histories, references and drug testing. Employees placed through The Job Post are also provided with resources like transportation or other prerequisite necessities, such as boots or uniforms. Each employee placed through The Job Post is held accountable to high standards and 80 percent of current hires are men and women within Kent County.
    About Guiding Light
    Founded in 1929 as the West Fulton St. Mission, Guiding Light has grown into a robust recovery and re-engagement community designed to help those living at society’s margins fulfill their God-given potential. Through its Back to Work, Recovery and Iron House programs, Guiding Light works with men struggling with addiction and homelessness to return back to society.

  • For Immediate Release

    Lyndsey Hicks, Woodland Mall
    Holly Wolniakowski
    Sabo PR, 517.802.8156

    Woodland Mall Unveils New Home for Santa on Nov. 11
    Arctic Forest Anticipated to be a Magical Experience for All;
    Guests Can Enter to Win VIP Experience with Santa Before His Public Arrival

    Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 1, 2017 – Woodland Mall invites children of all ages to welcome Santa when he arrives from the North Pole on Saturday, Nov. 11.

    West Michigan’s signature shopping destination will bring a new home-away-from home for Santa this year, named the Arctic Forest. The Jolly Ol’ Elf will arrive at 10 a.m. as the kickoff to SantaFest, a celebration of everything wonderful about the holiday season.

    Children and families can enjoy holiday-themed activities, including holiday ornament decorating, holiday tote coloring and a DJ with live music and games, through 1 p.m. Members of PREIT Perks, the mall’s reward program, will enjoy extra perks, such as holiday face-painting and skipping the line to Santa.

    Although this is a free event, tickets are required; register at www.shopwoodlandmall.com/holiday.

    Guests who stroll through the Arctic Forest will admire nearly a dozen decorated trees stretching up to 22 feet, travel around snow-covered islands, and under icicle archways. They’ll spy a snow angel and meet Ursa, an enormous 12-foot polar bear.

    At the end of the forest will be the man in red himself, seated in a larger-than-life holiday ornament. Mall guests will notice a brighter holiday shopping experience, with updated holiday décor throughout the mall and outdoors.

    “This time of year is really magical, and we’re excited to help spread the holiday spirit with our new decorations,” said Lyndsey Hicks, Woodland Mall marketing director. “The new Arctic Forest is breathtaking, and we guarantee it will spark the imagination of adults and kids alike.

    “We’re confident that Santa will really enjoy his new home – and that guests will enjoy this special kickoff to the holiday season.”

    Woodland Mall will be hosting a special VIP experience prior to Santa’s arrival on Nov. 11, which will include a meet and greet with Santa and a sneak peak at the new Arctic Forest. Anyone can enter to win the VIP experience by guessing the correct answer to how many lights are on Ursa, the giant polar bear.

    The winner will also win a $250 shopping spree at Woodland Mall, a special gift from Santa, holiday goodies and more. The contest opens Wednesday, Nov. 1 at www.shopwoodlandmall.com/win.

    SantaFest kicks off Woodland Mall’s holiday season. In addition to shopping, Woodland Mall will host a series of events for the upcoming season, including an exclusive PREIT Perks Member Weekend filled with fun and perks for members of the mall’s rewards program, a Star Wars themed collaboration with the Salvation Army, pet photos with Santa, pet adoptions with the West Michigan Humane Society and, of course, special shopping deals on Black Friday.

    The mall will be closed on Thanksgiving, so that employees can spend the holiday with their friends and family. Opening dates and times for Macy’s and JCPenney can be found on their websites.

    Woodland Mall will have special holiday hours to ensure that guests are able to get all their shopping completed before the holiday. The Woodland Mall website has a full list of updated hours.

    Woodland Mall is currently undergoing an expansion which includes the addition of Von Maur expected to open in 2019. The new holiday decor is part of the major redevelopment taking place at the mall.

    About Woodland Mall and PREIT
    PREIT (NYSE:PEI) is a publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns and manages Woodland Mall and other quality properties in compelling markets. PREIT’s 23 million square feet of carefully curated retail and lifestyle offerings mixed with destination dining and entertainment experiences are located primarily in the eastern U.S. with concentrations in the mid-Atlantic’s top MSAs. Since 2012, the company has driven a transformation guided by an emphasis on portfolio quality and balance sheet strength driven by disciplined capital expenditures. Additional information is available at www.preit.com or on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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  • For Immediate Release
    Contact: Brian Greenleaf

    East Grand Rapids Communications, 906.221.9174


    East Grand Rapids City Commission Appoints
    Diana Schad to fill Vacant First Ward Seat


    East Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 7, 2017 – At its Monday, Feb. 6 meeting, the East Grand Rapids City Commission unanimously voted to approve Diana Schad as the new first ward commissioner.

    Schad will fill a seat vacated by Phillip Skaggs, who was recently elected to the Kent County Commission.

    “I am so excited for the opportunity to serve the residents of East Grand Rapids,” Schad said. “We are lucky to live in a vibrant City that celebrates community, diversity and inclusion. I hope to bring a balanced and open-minded attitude as I begin my role with the Commission.”

    A native of New Jersey, Schad brings a diverse background to her new role on the Commission. Shortly after graduating college at Rice University in Houston, she worked in public relations and event planning before applying to law school at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. While there, she met her husband, Matt. The couple eventually moved to Washington D.C., where she worked in the law firms of Covington and Burling, LLP and Mintz Levin.

    Shortly after her daughter Abby was born, Schad and her husband decided to move back to his native West Michigan to get involved with his family business, Nucraft Furniture.

    “We originally landed in another community in the area, but decided fairly quickly to move to East Grand Rapids, where Matt grew up, because there was just something missing,” Schad said. “Now, whether walking through Gaslight Village or taking a hike around the lake, we know that we made the right decision. There is just something special about our community.”

    Since moving to East Grand Rapids, Schad has taken an active role in the community. A former member and past president of the Wealthy Elementary PTO, she believes education is critical to the health of the community. In addition to her work in schools, she is active in the greater Grand Rapids community. A graduate of Leadership Grand Rapids, Schad now serves on the Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities board.

    “Diana will be an immense asset to our community through her service on the City Commission,” Seibold said. “Her legal background brings a skillset to the Commission that we currently don’t have. Couple that with her passion for our community, we are confident that Diana will serve the residents of the first ward – and the entire City – with the utmost enthusiasm and professionalism.”

    Schad will officially begin her roll as commissioner at the Monday, Feb. 20 meeting.

    “I look forward to connecting with the staff, commission and residents of East Grand Rapids to learn how I can support – and enhance – the strong quality of life we are fortunate to have in our community,” Schad said.

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  • For Immediate Release

     Contact: Starla McDermott

    Guiding Light, 616.451.0236, ext. 20


    Mary Ann Sabo

    Sabo PR, 616.485.1432

     Guiding Light Turns Vacation Weekend into Vocation Weekend

    Weeklong Events Will Highlight $13.5 Million Annual Economic Impact of Job Placement

     Grand Rapids, Michigan, August 21, 2017 – This Labor Day, Guiding Light will turn the traditional end-of-summer vacation weekend into vocation weekend to highlight the significant impact it is making in West Michigan with its job placement and recovery programs.

    Last year alone, the downtown Grand Rapids-based nonprofit created a $13.5 million economic impact through the more than 600 men and women who have gained employment through its innovative programs. These include:

    • Back to Work, a path that provides full support for those who are homeless and looking to re-engage in the workforce
    • Guiding Light Recovery, a transformative program that provides the time, space and place to heal from addictions
    • The Job Post, an in-house hiring and recruitment firm focused on placing those who are temporarily unemployed or seeking career advancement

    “We felt it was the perfect opportunity to go back to the true roots of Labor Day and honor the contributions our men have made to the local economy,” said Stuart Ray, executive director. “Guiding Light has taken significant strides to turn the concept of the traditional recovery mission on its head by providing our men with the tangible tools they need to re-enter society.”

    Back to Work provides a short-term stay for men who are employed or seeking full-time employment, allowing them to save money while they look for permanent housing. Men utilizing the program are often homeless and unable to find employment due to factors such as a lack of transportation, equipment or addiction.

    During their stay, they receive job coaching, training in techniques for searches as well as access to a mentor for advice and encouragement. To help address barriers that prevent men from working, Guiding Light’s facilities include a computer lab, which is used for job searches, email communication and resume preparation. The organization also provides transportation to men going to job interviews.

    “Regardless of their past, we want to show the men in our program that they have the potential to find long term employment and a successful future,” said Starla McDermott, development director. “This means breaking down barriers and helping them to find it within themselves to make meaningful changes.”


  • A voice filled with gusto and passion fills the room as if Wagner himself was conducting the performance.

    However, in this performance, a faithful audience pining for the high-note is exchanged with a jury furiously scribbling notes and an orchestra’s crescendo is replaced by the pitter-patter of keys as a stenographer transcribes the proceedings. And in lieu of a diva’s final bow? A fierce litigator gives her final defense for a client who has alleged to have been less than honorable.

    And a performance is what it is – at least according to lawyer-by-day, opera-diva-by-night Madelaine Lane. In a relatively short period of time, Lane has managed to build a successful law career while launching herself into the opera world – taking on engagements from Georgia to Germany’s Rhine Valley.

    On May 13, Lane will bring her “by-night” career to Carnegie Hall in a special performance with the New York Lyric Opera Theatre.

    “I have always liked being in front of people,” Lane says. “That’s where I feel most alive and where my talents lie – it’s what attracted me to both a career in law and opera. Being a trial lawyer is almost like performing in an opera – it’s a performance and you must play your part well.”

    Though she chose law when it came to college, music had always been a part of her life. Lane’s journalist mother took her to cover an audition at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre when Lane was five-years-old. She was too young to perform, but she was smitten. She tried out again the following year and snagged her first performing role at the age of 6 as a rabbit in Wind in the Willows

    In 2007, Lane successfully launched her legal career, focusing on white-collar criminal litigation with the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she is now a partner.

    A few years later, Lane turned back to music as a way of expressing emotion and finding an escape from her busy legal career. Her first major operatic experience was with Opera Grand Rapids and its production of Madama Butterfly, where she sang the Cousin.  Soon after, she debuted as Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème with the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra.

    “It’s been an incredible experience to have my opera career begin to take off,” Lane said. “Practicing law and performing opera have always been two dreams of mine so it’s been a bit surreal to have an outlet to fulfill both of my passions.”

    During her Carnegie Hall debut, Lane will sing Countess in the famous Sull’aria, or Letter Duet, from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, a role she recently debuted in Grand Rapids with the West Michigan Opera Project. The concert, which begins at 8 p.m., will take place in the Weill Recital Hall and feature scenes from operas by Puccini, Verdi, Gounod and others.

    “Having the opportunity to perform at a hall so prolific in the music community is an incredible experience for me as a performer,” Lane said. “Having been born in New York City, Carnegie Hall’s significance has always been deep within me – so this is, quite literally, a dream come true. I was so honored to get the call from the Lyric Opera and am very excited for the performance.

    “It’s going to be a wonderful evening.”

    You can see Lane’s performance of Sull’aria with the West Michigan Opera Theater here: https://www.facebook.com/jlouisecoe/videos/862128017223446/.

  • For Immediate Release

    Contact: Brian Greenleaf

    East Grand Rapids Communications, 906.221.9174


    East Grand Rapids Completes Tree Inventory

    Study Will Allow City to Manage Urban Canopy More Effectively

    East Grand Rapids, Michigan, August 9, 2016 – The City of East Grand Rapids recently completed an inventory of trees located within public spaces including out-lawn areas, public parks and Gaslight Village.

    Over the course of several months, Ohio-based Davey Resource Group collected and analyzed the inventory data to give an assessment of each tree location, size, species, condition and recommended maintenance activities. The study was conducted to promote and preserve the urban forest and improve the management of public trees in East Grand Rapids.

    This is the first time the city has systematically inventoried its trees.

    “One of the signature characteristics of East Grand Rapids is our robust urban canopy,” Mayor Amna Seibold said. “This study was an important step in ensuring that we are managing our resources appropriately so we can continue to enjoy the aesthetic and environmental benefits our trees bring.

    “Not only did we want to preserve our urban forest, but we want to maintain it for the next generation of East Grand Rapids residents.”

    A number of highlights came from the study, including:

    • The total value of public trees in the city is $7.4 million
    • 7,082 trees and 31 stumps were inventoried
    • 44 percent of the city’s urban forest is in the “established” category, which is between nine and 17 diameters at breast height
    • The overall condition of the tree population is good

    Another highlight is the tree population provides approximately $883,776 in these annual benefits:

    • Aesthetic and other tangible benefits, valued at $276,361 per year
    • 15,245.3 pounds of pollutants removed, valued at $42,858 per year
    • 4,410,593 pounds of net total carbon sequestered and avoided, valued at $33,079 per year
    • 1,251.2 megawatt-hours and 169,572.8 therms of energy, valued at $261,150 per year
    • 9,975,209 gallons of storm water, valued at $270,328 per year


  • Cascade Township Introduces Fire Chief Candidates

    Five Candidates Will Participate in the Interviewing Process


    Cascade Township, Michigan, Oct. 9, 2017 – Cascade Township has started its final interviewing process with the top five candidates from its nationwide search to fill its vacant fire chief position.

    The new fire chief will be responsible for leading the more than 30-member department, which provides services to the more than 18,000 residents of the Township. Candidates in consideration include: Gregory Ginebaugh, Adam Magers, David Pelton, Todd Stevenson and Kenneth Van Hall.

    “Out of the more than 30 applications we received, these candidates were the best of the best,” said Township Supervisor Rob Beahan. “Each of them bring a wealth of experience and something unique to the table, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to secure one of them as our new fire chief. We certainly hope our community takes time to participate in this process.”

    On Oct. 14, candidates will participate in interviews hosted by the Township beginning at 9 a.m. Interviews will take place at the Wisner Center, located at 2870 Jack Smith Ave SE, and will be open to the public. At 6:30 p.m., a public meet and greet will follow, also taking place at the Wisner Center. An offer is expected to be made to one of the following candidates in the following week.

    Gregory Ginebaugh

    Ginebaugh is the current deputy fire chief for the City of Kentwood Fire Department. He has served in this role since 2013, and has held numerous positions with the City of Kentwood Fire Department since 1982, including on-call and full-time firefighter, fire inspector, acting fire marshal, lieutenant/inspector and captain. He is a resident of Grand Rapids.

    His related professional experience includes working as an emergency planner for Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering, Inc.; a contractual instructor for Michigan State Police Emergency Management Homeland Security Training Center; and as a non-resident programs instructor for Center for Domestic Preparedness. He holds several licenses and certifications, and has participated in related specialized training. Additionally, he serves on several committees and associations, including the Western Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs, Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs, among others.

    Ginebaugh obtained his bachelor’s degree in fire science from Lake Superior State University. He also holds an associate degree in fire science from Kalamazoo Valley Community College and an associate degree in general studies from Grand Rapids Community College. Most recently, Ginebaugh graduated from the Eastern Michigan University School of Fire Staff and Command Executive Leadership Program, obtaining a certificate of completion.

    Adam Magers

    Magers currently serves as the battalion chief for the Battle Creek Fire Department. He has held this role since 2003, and has worked in the department since 2002. Additionally, Magers is the technical sergeant/assistant chief of operations for the fire department’s 110th attack wing, where he is responsible for managing fire department operations for 25 soldiers in the Michigan Air National Guard, in both stateside and deployed locations.

    Magers holds several certifications and licenses through the Department of Defense, the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, the State of Michigan and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He also was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal and Air Force Achievement Medal for his actions while deployed to Iraq and Kuwait to provide fire protection to the U.S. Air Bases in 2007 and 2013, respectively.

    Magers received his bachelor’s degree from Hope College and his associate degree in fire protection from the Community College of the Air Force. Most recently, Magers graduated from the Eastern Michigan University School of Fire Staff and Command Executive Leadership Program. He resides in Battle Creek. 

    David Pelton

    Pelton currently serves as a captain, basic emergency medical technician, fire inspector and training officer for the Allendale Fire Department, where he has worked since 2010. Prior to these roles, Pelton worked as a lieutenant and rescue diver for Georgetown Township Fire Department; a part-time firefighter, EMT-B and fire inspector for Plainfield Township Fire Department; and a firefighter and medical first responder for City of Walker Fire Department. Before entering into the fire service in 2001, Pelton worked at several companies as a prepress technician and scanner operator. He currently resides in Jension.

    Pelton holds several certifications nationally, as well as through the state of Michigan and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in fire science from Lake Superior State University and his associate degree in fire science from Lansing Community College.

    Todd Stevenson

    Stevenson is a lieutenant for the Cascade Township Fire Department, a role he has held since 2014. Prior, he served as a both on-call and full-time firefighter for Cascade Township, where he has worked since 2007. He has also served as a paraprofessional for students with autism for Kentwood School District.

    Stevenson holds several certifications and has participated in numerous professional development activities. Some of these include certification as a firefighter I and II, and participation in a Fire Chief 101 Leadership Seminar.

    He received his master’s degree in organizational leadership from Waldorf University and his bachelor’s degree in fire science administration from Waldorf University. Stevenson is a resident of Grand Rapids.

    Kenneth Van Hall

    Van Hall is the current training and EMS captain for Delta Township Fire Department. He has held this role since 2013 and has worked for Delta Township Fire Department since 2008, serving as a firefighter and paramedic. He also works as a lieutenant and on-call firefighter for Cutlerville Fire Department, a role he has held since 2001. Prior, he served as a senior paramedic, field training officer and special response team member for American Medical Response, as well as a paramedic, field training officer and emergency dispatcher for Life EMS, Inc.

    Van Hall holds several certifications and professional affiliations, including Western Michigan Fire Chief’s Association, International Society of Fire Service Instructors, among others. He has also received several awards throughout his career, most recently the 100 Club of Greater Lansing Professional Excellence Award.

    He obtained his bachelor’s degree in fire safety engineering technology from the University of Cincinnati, with minors in fire service administration and emergency medical services administration. He also received his paramedic certificate from Davenport University. Van Hall resides in Byron Center.

    The final interviewing process began on Oct. 2, and requires candidates to complete a physical assessment as well as a managerial skills assessment focused on several categories, monitored by three fire chiefs from around Michigan.

    The selected candidate will ensure Township policies, ordinances and laws are being followed, and will also be responsible for the department’s operating budget, recruitment and hiring, and mutual aid relationships with other municipalities and townships.

    The department has been seeking a fire chief since April 2017. During this time, Lt. Ron Rowland served as interim chief and assumed responsibilities for day-to-day operation of the Township.

    About Cascade Township

    Home to more than 18,000 residents, Cascade Township is committed to serving the public by providing the finest community services possible with respect, efficiency and integrity. With the Thornapple River at its heart, Cascade Township is recognized as an excellent place to live, work, recreate and raise a family. For more information, visit http://www.cascadetwp.com/.

  • New Mixed-Use Development Planned for Downtown Grand Rapids
    Orion Real Estate Solutions to Lead Team to Bring “Game-Changing” Mixed-Use Project to Central Business District

    Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 9, 2015 – A new business partnership will enhance the skyline of downtown Grand Rapids with the addition of a new mixed-use development.

    More detailed plans will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2016 for the new project, which is slated for the corner of Ottawa Avenue and Lyon Street.  Orion Real Estate Solutions will partner with Midtown Properties – Pearl & Ottawa LLC and DTN Management to build a “game-changing mixed-use development” in the city’s Central Business District.

    The law firm Warner Norcross & Judd LLP intends to be the anchor tenant in the project, which is slated to open in 2019.  Concept Design has been selected as the lead architect for the project.

    “Orion Real Estate Solutions has spent 14 months creating a concept that satisfies a number of objectives and delivers what we know to be a game-changing mixed-use development in Grand Rapids’ Central Business District,” said ORES President John Wheeler.  “We have an incredible opportunity with Midtown Properties and DTN Management, and our team is now focused on a detailed pre-construction schedule, finance procurement and design features that align with our anchor tenant’s strategic goals and business initiatives.

    “We thank Warner Norcross, Concept Design, the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. for their commitment and dedication to what will become an economic inspiration and a home to many for decades to come.”

    Michael Ellis, president of Midtown Properties, noted: “I am pleased that after a complete and exhaustive search, Warner Norcross has identified the Ottawa-Lyon corner as the location it would like for its new offices.  Its decision will serve as the catalyst for an exciting multi-use development on the entire site.”

    The project is expected to include:

    • Two large towers on the corner of Ottawa and Lyon, which is currently the site of an Ellis Parking lot
    • Market-rate residential apartments and condominiums
    • Corporate offices, including the new headquarters of the region’s largest law firm
    • Retail
    • Convenient and plentiful on-site parking to accommodate tenants and visitors

    “This new mixed-use development will be a welcome addition to downtown Grand Rapids,” said Mayor George Heartwell.  “The development team has been thoughtful in its initial design of the project, taking care to ensure it will provide a tremendous mix of office, retail and residential with ample new parking in a facility that complements the current cityscape.

    “We appreciate the continued investment in making the Central Business District an excellent place to live, work and shop.”

    Work has begun on a preliminary site plan and architectural renderings for the development, which the developers intend to unveil in the first quarter of 2016 – along with more specifics about square footage and cost.  Talks have already begun to secure additional tenants, which the developers hope to begin announcing at that time.

    “Since our law firm was founded more than 80 years ago, Warner Norcross has always had offices in downtown Grand Rapids,” said Managing Partner Douglas E. Wagner.  “We are extremely excited to be part of this development, which will allow us to design space that can be customized to better suit the changing needs of our clients, attorneys and staff.

    “As the largest law firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, we are committed to maintaining a strong presence in the Central Business District – and this new development will allow us to do just that.”


    Orion Real Estate Solutions:  ORES is a full-service real estate development firm founded by Orion Construction executives, Gary Postma and John Wheeler in 2011. The firm provides an array of development services, including financing, land procurement, design coordination and construction management. ORES partners have more than 60 years combined experience in urban core redevelopment, neighborhood revitalization and ground-up development/construction management. Notable projects include the completed $30 million Port Huron Double Tree Inn and Blue Water Convention Center, the $45 million Arena Place and the recently completed $15 million Grand Villages “Greek Village” in Allendale. Visit www.orionbuilt.com.

    Midtown Properties – Pearl & Ottawa LLC:  The Midtown Properties family of companies owns several Grand Rapids-based parking properties that are operated by Ellis Parking.  Michael Ellis is committed to supporting downtown development by providing attractive, accessible facilities that support a vibrant central business district.

    DTN Management:  A Michigan corporation, DTN Management Co. is a recognized leader in the real estate industry throughout the Mid-Michigan area, locally owned and operated for more than 40 years.  Through various partnerships, DTN Management Co. owns and/or manages properties whose value exceeds $1 billion.  The portfolio consists of more than 110 individual properties, including more than 7,700 rental apartments and in excess of 600,000 square feet of commercial/office space.  For more information, visit www.dtnmgt.com.

  • Hokanson Debuts Deco Collection for Residential Interiors

    Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nov. 23, 2015 – Hokanson, a brand of Scott Group Studio, debuted its new Deco Collection for residential interiors.

    Deco Collection, which is Hokanson’s first collection under Scott Group Studio, combines traditional Art Deco motifs with an updated and modern perspective. Characterized by bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation typical of the era, the collection features five new patterns that can be completely customized to match any client interior.

    “This collection is a culmination of thoughtful study, creative collaboration and quality design,” said Hokanson Creative Director Gabe Lanza. “We tried to stay true to the characteristics and qualities of art deco interiors, but make the collection accessible for the modern client.”

    Blending wool with silk and lurex accents, the Deco Collection features a luxe palette of steel and muted tones.

    “The tones of this collection reflect the industrial nature of the ’20s and ’30s,” Lanza said. “The Art Deco period was a time of growth, building and new design. This collection is an homage to that.”

    About Hokanson

    A brand of Scott Group Studio, Hokanson specializes in ornate, traditional designs that reinterpret the lessons of decorative history.  The company works in exotic yarns to produce sophisticated designs in unexpected combinations of textures and fibers.  Its products can be found in residences in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Asia.  Hokanson has an in-house team of artists who work with clients to translate their visions into beautifully designed carpets and rugs.  For more information, visit www.scottgroupstudio.com.

  • World Affairs Council of Western Michigan Announces  2016 Great Decisions Global Discussion Series

    Exclusive Presentations on Foreign Policy Debut Feb. 1, Run Through March; Amway and Wolverine World Wide Will Host Live Interactive Webcasts in March

    Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 18, 2016 – Global migration, climate change, cybersecurity, genocide prevention and normalizing relations with Cuba are a few of the dynamic topics being explored as the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan launches its 2016 Great Decisions Global Discussion Series.

    Discussions will take place Feb. 1 through March 28, and feature scholars and experts from around the corner – including George Heartwell and Bing Goei – and around the world – including an Arab cartoonist, American ambassador and former CIA agent.

    “The rhetoric surrounding issues from the presidential campaign to immigration seems particularly shrill this year – and the amount of misinformation circulating gives us pause,” said Dixie Anderson, executive director of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan. “We see Great Decisions as a welcome antidote to this trend, allowing experts to lead a civil discussion about global issues that affect people in every corner of the world – including those living right here in West Michigan.

    “Our format allows people to draw close and gain a personal perspective on some of the most pressing issues of the day.  As the longest-running discussion series in West Michigan, we make it possible to hear from an impressive group of scholars, researchers and policy makers without ever leaving Grand Rapids.”

    The series kicks off Monday, Feb. 1 with Isra El-beshir, representing the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn. Her presentation, titled “It Isn’t Funny: A Political Cartoonist in the Arab World,” will focus on the political “khartoons” of Khalid Albaih, a Sudanese Muslim living in Qatar. Albaih’s politically charged work rose to prominence in the early stages of the Arab Spring protests of 2011.

    El-beshir will discuss how Albaih utilized social media to quickly become an artist of the revolution.  As his work was shared online and in the streets across Arab nations, he gained international prominence – and feared for his safety. His continuing relevance as an artist is apparent as he thoughtfully tackles issues such as the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the Saudi-Iranian crisis and the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.

    Each of the eight presentations scheduled for 2016 will also feature an extensive question-answer session that allows speakers to present and then take questions from the audience.

    The series will also feature the following:

    Monday, Feb. 8: “Migration to Michigan: Challenges and Opportunities.” Presented by Bing Goei, the former owner of Eastern Floral who now leads Michigan’s Office for New Americans will discuss how Michigan receives the third-largest share of refugees entering the U.S., and its implications for the state and its people.

    Monday, Feb. 15: “Climate Change: Local Solutions to Global Problems.” Presented by George Heartwell, the former mayor of Grand Rapids will focus on his recent experiences at the Paris Climate Conference and discuss the role local communities can play in addressing climate change.

    • Monday, Feb. 22: “Never Again: The U.N.’s Role in Genocide Prevention.” Presented by Dr. Brett O’Bannon of the Conflict Studies Program at DePauw University, this segment will explore whether we should rely on the United Nations to play a key role in the prevention of mass atrocities.
    • Monday, Feb. 29: “Our Allies in the Middle East: The Future of Kurdistan.” Presented by Dr. Jessie Clark, a geographer at the University of Nevada-Reno, attendees will learn what current regional and internal state conflicts in the greater Kurdish region mean for the future of Kurdistan.
    • Monday, March 14: “Is Korean Reunification Possible?” Hosted by Dr. James Person of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., this presentation will discuss whether North and South Korea might ever be able to reconcile differences and emerge once more as a unified country.
    • Monday, March 21: “ISIS: What We Don’t Know.” Patrick Skinner, a former CIA case officer and currently with The Soufan Group of New York, will bring a fresh perspective to address the dangers ISIS poses to U.S. interests.
    • Monday, March 28: “Cuba and the U.S.: What Does the Future Hold?” Ambassador Charles Shapiro, formerly coordinator for Cuban Affairs for the U.S. Department of State, discusses major steps recently taken to normalize relations with Cuba, given the restoration of diplomatic relations in July 2015.

    For more information on sessions, dates and times, as well as detailed information on speakers, visit http://www.worldmichigan.org/great-decisions-discussion-series-2016/.

    Amway Corp. and Wolverine World Wide, Inc. will host live, interactive webcasts in March for employees.  Both West Michigan-based companies have strong international presences and have been longtime supporters of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan.

    In addition to strong participation from West Michigan’s business community, approximately 100 college students will take the series through their respective political science or international departments.  Hope College in Holland joins the World Affairs Council as an educational partner this year.  Northern Michigan University in Marquette will also have students participating in this year’s series via a webcast.

    Other participating colleges include Aquinas College, Davenport University, GRCC, Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Montcalm Community College and Western Michigan University.

    Discussions will be held at the Performing Arts Center at Aquinas College, 1607 Robinson Road SE, Grand Rapids.

    Cost to attend is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. No reservations are needed. World Affairs Council of West Michigan’s educational partners and corporate members attend free, as do students, faculty and staff of the schools listed above. Tickets are available at the door.  Free parking is available at Aquinas College.

    Complimentary email memberships are available to those who sign up in advance of or at the event by emailing office@worldmichigan.org. Email members are entitled to the member pricing of $10 for Great Decisions events. Membership lists are only used internally and are never shared or sold.

    World Affairs Council of Western Michigan offers curated news and commentary on international topics from some of the world’s leading media outlets.  The “World News” section on worldmichigan.org is updated each Wednesday with 10-12 articles drawn from The New York Times, The Guardian, The Economist and other news organizations.  Anderson said the offering allows those strapped for time to find objective “news they can use” with one click.

    The World Affairs Council is the local sponsor of these eight current foreign policy topics as determined by the New York City-based Foreign Policy Association.  The Council has sponsored the series for more than 50 years.

    For more information on the event, visit www.worldmichigan.org or phone 616.776.1721.

    The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan, in existence since 1949, is dedicated to educating people in western Michigan about other countries and cultures of the world, as well as providing a forum for discussion of critical foreign policy issues.  It is a non-partisan, non-advocacy educational non-profit organization.  With 60 member companies and almost 2,500 members, it’s considered one of the best Councils in the national network of 100 World Affairs Councils.  www.worldmichigan.org

  • BriAnne McKee Named Executive Director of Habitat Kent

    GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, December 16, 2015 — After an extensive national search, the Habitat for Humanity of Kent County board of directors has appointed BriAnne McKee as executive director.

    McKee brings more than a decade of experience to her new leadership role, most recently serving as the director of volunteer services before stepping into the position as interim director. She joined Habitat Kent as a mortgage application specialist in the homeowner services department in 2012.

    More than 100 individuals applied for the position during the two month long search to find a successor for Mary Buikema, who left earlier this year.

    “We are very pleased that Bri is stepping into the executive director role,” Habitat Kent Board President Larry Erhardt Jr. said. “The hiring committee selected her after completing a national search. Bri was the top choice in a pool of exceptionally strong candidates from affiliates around the country as well as from local non-profit and for-profit professionals in the community.

    “Bri’s enthusiasm and clear direction will build on Habitat Kent’s incredible momentum as we continue to provide affordable home ownership opportunities to families in Kent County.”

    McKee has spent the past decade working at housing agencies, including the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Salvation Army Booth Family Services and, most recently, the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness. She has a master’s in social work from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s in social work from Western Michigan University.

    McKee is active in the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Community Leadership and serves on the board of directors for Network180.  She was a finalist for both the 2015 ATHENA Young Professional Award and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year.

    “I am humbled and thrilled to serve as executive director of Habitat Kent,” McKee said. “Habitat Kent is a strong organization, with many tools already set in place that will help ensure our continued success.  I am looking forward to leading the team in continuing our work to facilitate affordable home ownership and neighborhood revitalization. We are also kicking off some of the biggest projects in our organization’s history, including Plaza Roosevelt. I am eager to work towards this success with our staff, our volunteers and our board of directors.”

    In October, Habitat Kent announced its most ambitious project to date – Plaza Roosevelt, which aims to enhance the physical, service and social environments of the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood on Grand Rapids’ Southwest Side. It is a comprehensive redevelopment project that will invest more than $20 million to reinvigorate one square block bounded by Rumsey Street, Grandville Avenue, Graham Street and Century Avenue in Roosevelt Park.

    While the project will not formally launch until 2017, Habitat Kent has begun convening conversations about Plaza Roosevelt with community organizations and neighborhood residents and will curate the various projects and initiatives that fall under this broad community umbrella.

    The organization’s neighborhood revitalization efforts will continue over the next two years on the West Side. These efforts will include home building, rehabs, repairs and neighborhood beautification projects.

    About Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

    Established in 1983, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County is committed to the mission of serving God, building hope and transforming lives through neighborhood revitalization and homeownership. In its 32-year history, Habitat Kent has served more than 450 families and has now served 200 more through the successful completion of its two-year Building Blocks Campaign to revitalize Grand Rapids’ West Side.

  • Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo Returns to Lansing Celebrating 16 Years!
    Health, Fashion & Style, Fitness and Home Ideas Will be Focus of Show Slated for Feb. 5-7

    Lansing, Michigan, January 14, 2016 – For the 16th year, Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo will return to Lansing, featuring ideas for women’s health, fashion and style – and giving women something to feel good about.

    The 2016 Expo is slated for Feb. 5-7 and will be held downtown at the Lansing Center. This year’s lineup features products, services and seminars that aim to provide a weekend of education, entertainment and enjoyment for women of all ages.

    As the largest single consumer event for women in the region, the three-day Expo will feature more than 275 women-owned and women-focused businesses. This Expo will also include a wealth of health information and resources – all accessible to women in one place.

    This year, the lineup of stage presentations, events and seminars will feature:

    • McLaren Greater Lansing, which is returning as a sponsor to host 20 booths. This year, McLaren is offering free health care screenings including blood pressure, sleep disorders, diabetes and stroke risk assessments, body mass index, joint pain assessment and others.  Physicians and nurses will be available to answer attendees’ health care questions throughout the three-day show.
    • Melinda Myers, garden expert, television and radio host, author and columnist, hosted by Birds & Blooms magazine. A nationally known garden expert, Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She has written more than 20 gardening books including “Small Space Gardening” and “Michigan Month-to-Month Gardening.”  Myers also hosts the internationally distributed “How to Grow Anything” DVD series, including the latest “Food Gardening for Everyone” DVD set by The Great Courses Teaching Company. She will be onstage.
    • Cynthia Silveri, passionate colorist and author.  Silveri is a natural colorist. Her presentation “Relax with Coloring” will take place on the Main Stage all three days of the Expo and will feature coloring tips and techniques. Silveri’s unique coloring books and creations will also be available for purchase.
    • Lisa Rose, herbalist, forager and published author, hosted by Capital Area District Libraries. Rose is an urban farmer, gardener and guide. When she is not in her own gardens or kitchen, Rose can be found in the fields and forests leading foraging plant walks and teaching classes on edible and medicinal wild plants. She will share her knowledge on herbal cold and flu care and her special recipes for homemade root beer and magical chai tea. Rose will be on the Main Stage daily, and her book and other herbal products will be available for purchase.
    • Taylor Taylor, singer-songwriter, hosted by Capital Area District Libraries. Taylor will perform on stage and meet and greet fans on Saturday. Taylor is a young Lansing native with a jazzy pop style. She started performing at local open-mic nights and was recently named Musician of the Year by indi.com.  Taylor’s popular single, “Right Here,” showcases her writing talent, guitar skills and warm vocals.
    • Rock Your Hair, which is making another stop in Lansing on its national tour. Based in Malibu, California, Rock Your Hair is the latest big thing in the world of professional hair care. The Rock Your Hair team will deliver big volume, endless hair styling ideas and demonstrations on-site at the Expo. This feature is sure to be fierce and fun – and a hair changer.
    • Meijer, which returns with its popular Healthy Living Area and Cooking Stage. Meijer dietitian Tina Miller and other speakers will share cooking tips, recipes for easy meals and other ideas and solutions for healthy family life and living.
    • Wine & Canvas, which will feature on-site painting class fun with talented instructors who will guide participants step-by-step as they create their very own works of art. No talent or experience is necessary.
    • The Go Red for Women Extravaganza, which will take place on National Wear Red Day on Friday. The Go Red for Women movement, in affiliation with the American Heart Association, will paint the town red. Women are encouraged to Go Red for Women by wearing red fashions to show support for women fighting heart disease.

    “Women’s Expo is the equivalent of spring break for women – it’s an opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled weekend with friends and to focus on feeling good and living well,” said Denise Kolesar, president of Kohler Expos, which promotes the event each year.  “For many women in Mid-Michigan, this is a destination weekend that allows them to connect with friends and family while pampering themselves.”

    As in previous years, the Expo’s Main Stage will feature live presentations on a variety of topics throughout the weekend while the Cooking Stage will focus on families and healthy eating. Local and regional experts will offer engaging and entertaining presentations and demonstrations on a variety of subjects, including remedies for cold and flu season, coloring, kitchen herbs for wellness, easy family-friendly recipes, healthy eating and more.

    Other highlights of this year’s expo include:

    • A wide range of traditional and natural women’s health and wellness products including AdvoCare Elite Nutrition, Carico, Plexus weight loss, body wraps and vitamins
    • Health and wellness services that include therapeutic and relaxation massage, acupuncture, stress and energy evaluations, spinal analyses, reiki, facials, chiropractic, dermatology, orthodontics, dental, hearing and eye care and nutrition response testing
    • Beauty services and products, including Arbonne, Avon, BeautiControl, Prédiré Paris Moroccan argon oil, Cigma hair tools, Onsen Skincare, Makeup Eraser, brow threading, cosmetic surgery, body contouring and wraps, Botox, varicose vein management and skin solutions, teeth whitening and more
    • Vacation destinations, including Orlando, Florida, Peacock Road Tree Farm and other Pure Michigan options from convention and visitor bureaus around the state
    • Exercise and fitness offerings, including the THRIVE experience by Le-Vel, Pure Barre, physical therapy, fitness clubs, personal fitness training, exercise machines, medical weight loss and nutritional supplements
    • Leisure and lifestyle products and activities including coloring, painting, reading, bird watching, psychic reading and pet services
    • Herbal products for natural healing, pain relief and weight loss including essential oils, aloe, sage and sweet grass
    • Educational resources and advisers for college
    • Legal and financial services for family law, domestic and veterans affairs, injury, estates and tax planning, elder law, trust administration, probate law, tax, finance, retirement, insurance, loans, mortgages, investments and tax planning
    • Home improvement and maintenance services for windows, bathrooms, roofing, siding, sunrooms roofing, insulation, gutters and gutter guards, custom built kitchen cabinetry, bookcases, mantles, granite quartz countertops and plumbing
    • Home accents and accessories, including linens, mattresses, candles, pain-free pillows, upholstery and monogrammed items
    • Clothing, accessories and jewelry, lingerie, body wear, bra fittings, scarves, bags, totes, belts, wigs, hair extensions and accessories, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and custom jewelry
    • Home-based businesses, including Pampered Chef, Norwex, Tastefully Simple, Pure Romance, Thirty-One Gifts and Tupperware
    • Food that includes gourmet treats such as Ranier fruit, wine frappe, juice, candy, fudge, caramels, dips and sauces, cookies, chocolate, cheese, sausage and jerky, coffee, chai tea and hot chocolate, cheese balls, barbecue, cheesecake, salsa, cake and cupcakes, spices, soups and rubs

    The Expo is slated to run 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb 7. Advance tickets are $7 each and are available at all area Meijer stores. Admission at the door is $9 for adults and $7 for children ages 6-14.  For more information, visit www.kohlerexpo.com.

    About Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo

    Celebrating its 16th year, Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo offers a balance of education, entertainment and enjoyment in an event tailored for the lives of busy women. More than 275 women-owned and women-focused businesses will display a wide range of products and services targeted specifically toward women. The Expo also features demonstrations and presentations on such topics as healthcare and wellness, finances, business opportunities, beauty, fashion, education, travel, fitness and home remodeling. McLaren Greater Lansing is the main sponsor for this year’s Expo along with Capital Area District Libraries as Expo host. WLNS NewsCenter 6 and LSJ Media are media sponsors for the event. Additional information is available at www.kohlerexpo.com.

  • The Arc Kent County Introduces the Assurance Plan for Parents of Children with Special Needs

    Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 19, 2015 – The Arc Kent County is introducing the Assurance Plan – a comprehensive lifetime advocacy program for parents of loved ones with special needs.

    Designed to oversee the care of loved ones with special needs when parents no longer are able to, the Assurance Plan offers peace of mind to parents – and security to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. It is modeled after a program in Southeast Michigan with a 30-year track record of success.

    The Assurance Plan is tailored to the specific needs of families. Specialists at The Arc meet with each family to develop an individualized plan that offers consistent follow-up and regular connection with the loved one to ensure needs are met, such as:

    • Bills are paid
    • Doctor appointments are kept
    • Meals are prepared
    • Transportation is arranged
    • Work schedule is maintained
    • Fun activities are scheduled
    • Family members are kept in the loop

    “Parents of children with special needs often worry about what will happen to their loved one when they are no longer able to care for them,” said Tammy Finn, executive director of The Arc. “The Assurance Plan give these parents confidence that their loved one will be safe, happy, healthy and living as independently as possible.”

    The Assurance Plan offers such fiduciary services as well as trustworthy financial oversight, health monitoring, advocacy, training and support, among many other services.

    To enroll in the Assurance Plan, families must join The Arc and reside in Kent County. There is no age requirement for children and parents. The cost of the plan is based on the level of services needed and determined once the individualized plan is developed.

    The Arc – in partnership with Legacy Trust, a professional trustee and wealth management company – can also assist families with setting up a special needs trust to cover the costs of the Assurance Plan.

    The Arc Kent County

    The Arc began in 1947 when five families in Kent County joined forces to create a child care cooperative for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For the past 70 years, The Arc has worked with other proven organizations in West Michigan to ensure that all people realize their dreams of having employment, education and meaningful relationships while living independently within their community. For more information, visit www.arckent.org and follow us on Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/TheArcKentCounty and Twitter – twitter.com/TheArcKent.

  • MICPA Announces 2017 Awards


    Troy, Michigan, Oct 2, 2017 – The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants has named the winners of its 2017 annual awards that recognize professionals who have made a lasting impact in their industry and in their communities.

    The winners will be honored on Monday, Oct. 9 at the MICPA’s annual awards dinner. The evening begins with a reception at 5 p.m. followed by dinner and the awards program at 6 p.m. at the Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield.

    “This year’s award recipients stand out because of their passion – for the profession, for their colleagues and for future generations,” said Peggy Dzierzawski, president and CEO of the MICPA. “These individuals consistently go above and beyond to provide exceptional leadership as CPAs. We are delighted to honor the many contributions they have made to the MICPA and to the profession.”

    Among the awards that will be presented include:

    • Paul J. MacDonald, vice president of finance, Detroit Red Wings – Distinguished Achievement Award. This award is given to CPAs who have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievement, leadership and service in areas such as commerce or industry, governmental or public service, education and civic or social endeavors. MacDonald, of Commerce Township, started with the Red Wings as controller in 1992 and his role expanded as the sport grew. During his tenure with the Detroit Red Wings, he has become an integral part of the team, overseeing $100+ million budget and managing daily operating functions. In 2008, MacDonald was inducted into the American Institute of CPA’s Business and Industry Hall of Fame. He has served on the boards of various nonprofit organizations, including eight years with the MICPA.
    • Stephanie W. Bergeron, chief executive officer and president of Bluepoint Partners – Public Service and Distinguished Service Awards. Bergeron founded the financial consulting firm Bluepoint Partners in 2004. While maintaining her role as CEO of the company, she also served as the first female president of Walsh College, a role she retired from in 2017. Bergeron has been an active member of the MICPA, where she served as board chair from 2015 to 2016 as well as on several committees and task forces. In 2013, she received the MICPA’s Woman to Watch Award, which recognizes women who participate in public or community service and demonstrate leadership to impact the profession and their community.
    • Paul A. Glantz, Proctor Financial, Inc. and Emagine Entertainment Inc., – Distinguished Service Award, honoring those who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the CPA profession. Glantz has lead Proctor as president since 2007; prior to that, he served as the chief financial officer. He is also well known in the community for his role as CEO of Emagine Entertainment, where he has played a leadership role since the first Emagine Theatre opened its doors in 1997. In addition to being active with the MICPA, he also volunteers with organizations like Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan and the Detroit Chapter of Variety International.
    • Douglas G. Bohrer, Plante Moran – Diversity and Inclusion Award. As the Diversity Council chair at Plante Moran, he implemented firm-wide strategies related to identification, hiring, development and promotion of diverse talent through initiatives that embrace those from different backgrounds, experiences and cultures. Bohrer is on the board of directors for the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council and chairman of its Minority Business Enterprise Certification Committee.
    • Victoria A. Mundinger, Rehmann – Emerging Leader Award. Mundinger, of Farmington, began her career at Rehmann, where she is currently a tax manager. She is a graduate of Walsh College and has been involved with the MICPA since 2012. Mundinger is a member of the MICPA President’s Advisory Council and served two years as chair of the Emerging Leaders Task Force.
    • Kimberly N. Ellison-Taylor, American Institute of CPAs board chair – Outstanding Visionary Award. Ellison-Taylor is an advocate and champion of the profession with a long history of volunteering. Currently, Ellison-Taylor is the global accounting strategy director for the financial and professional services industries for Oracle America. Her previous roles with the AICPA include serving on the organization’s Audit and Finance committees. She is also a past chair of the Maryland Association of CPAs. Ellison-Taylor currently lives in Maryland, where she is very active with Maryland Association of CPAs.

    About MICPA

    The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants is the leading statewide professional organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the value of the CPA profession. Our more than 18,000 members work in business, education, government and public accounting. Established in 1901, MICPA members serve as trusted advisors for businesses and individuals while embracing the highest standards of professional and ethical performance. For more information, visit www.micpa.org.