Party Hearty

May 6, 2002
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There are parties for pleasure, for profit and for power.

PeterSecchia's soirees definitely fall into the latter category.

The outgoing (in both senses of the word) chairman of Universal Forest Products last month hosted a birthday bash that city commissioners are still talking about. And not very nicely, either.

Vice President DickCheney, among others, beefed up the guest list. So, too, did Michigan State University President and long-time friend Peter McPherson. So it should come as little surprise, then, that Secchia's alma mater, his beloved MSU, featured Cheney as the commencement speaker for last Friday's 1 p.m. undergraduate convocation ceremony. Probably a little more than coincidence.

Secchia recently provided his home for a little breakfast fundraiser for a GOP State Senate candidate, and well over 100 showed, some standing in the 39-degree, rainy weather while queuing up to the door.

Secchia notes that the draw was a black Republican, Kentwood Mayor and state senate candidate BillHardiman. Even Gov. JohnEngler deemed the mission important enough to attend; such unabashed enthusiasm is usually postponed until after the primaries. Further, GRBJ has learned that 34+ stalwart GOPers have already donated the maximum $1,000 allowed per individual to see Hardiman succeed.

  • The mimosas must have been pretty good; Secchia now finds himself on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Board of Directors. As a gubernatorial appointee.

Ironically, he was put on the panel to represent "retirees" over the age of 62. Sure, Secchia is absolutely the poster boy for the golden-years set. Secchia's running mate in the over-62 category is none other than GeorgePerles, CEO of the Motor City Bowl and former head football coach at MSU. He, too, is a gubernatorial appointee.

And if you don't think the Blues post isn't one that requires political savvy, think again. Check out the stories on health care insurance premiums in the front section of today's Business Journal. The Blues battle is heating up. As Pink would say, "Let's get this party started."

  • Speaking of parties, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. held one in Lansing Tuesday to hand out its annual economic development awards. Alongside the Pfizers and Four Winns Boats of the world was Grand Rapids Business Journal, but this time not in a reporting capacity. The Journal picked up the award for excellence in business journalism. To put that in perspective, the previous winners of the statewide award were Crain's Detroit Business and WJR Radio in Detroit. The Journal was the only winner, among 13, from the west side of the state.

Publisher JohnZwarensteyn, Editor CaroleValade-Copenhaver and Managing Editor TimGortsema accepted the plexiglass trophy, which was earned on the strength of work turned in by reporters DavidCzurak, AnneBondEmrich, KatyRent and MarkSanchez, Assistant Editor ScottPayne, Copy Editor DonnaFerraro and Clerk DianneVolotta

Congratulations to a hard-working crew that really understands the concept of business reporting.

  • Congratulations also are in order for Second Chance Body Armor Inc., of Central Lake, which will be presented on May 7 with the World Trader of the Year award from the West Michigan World Trade Association.

Second Chance is the world's leading manufacturer of anti-ballistic and personal body armor.

"This is a confirmation of a decision management made several years ago to establish a global presence, in response to a growing demand for Second Chance products from world law enforcement," said MarkPickett, vice president of sales and marketing. "As a result, we've been able to establish a solid foothold in European and other markets."

WMWTA officials credited Second Chance's global growth strategic plan, despite "the sluggish global economic climate of the past couple years."

While the economy has slowed over the last couple of years globally, the need for Second Chance's products in certain parts of the world certainly has increased during that time period.

  • Finally, there's one more reason to party right here on Ottawa NW.

JimZawacki, president and owner of GR Spring and Stamping, is a finalist in the Small Tier category of the John G. Thodis Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Award program, recognizing businesses with 500 or fewer employees. Zawacki will be honored for his contributions to the manufacturing industry May 14 at the Michigan Manufacturers Association's annual legislative and executive reception in Lansing.

GR Spring and Stamping helped launch a renewal of industrial activity in the North Monroe Business Association with its plant relocation in 1997. Zawacki currently serves as president of the Spring Manufacturers Institute and will become president of the Precision Metal Association this year. Locally, he's president of the North Monroe Business Association and helped start the Manufacturing Council at The Right Place Program.           

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