Virtual Designers And Real Time Winners

May 28, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — Eight winners were recently named across seven categories in the the area's first Community Media Center (CMC) and SageStone Inc. Web site design competition.

CMC named the winners in the arts & entertainment, commerce, community, education, government and health areas, while SageStone honored young adults with the teen community design award.

“We’re happy to provide some well-deserved exposure to some of Grand Rapids’ best Web sites — and not just for artistic design, but for functionality, as well,” said Dirk Koning, CMC executive director.

Here are the categories, the winners and the winning Web sites:

  • Arts & Entertainment: (Tie) Stoneware Tile and United States Crafts
    Sites: www.stonewaretile.com and www.unitedstatescrafts.com.
  • Commerce: WOOD TV8
    Site: www.woodtv.com
  • Community: Heritage Academies
    Site: www.heritageacademies.com
  • Education: Calvin College
    Site: www.calvin.edu
  • Government: City of Grand Rapids
    Site: www.ci.grand-rapids.mi.us
  • Health: Kent County Health Department
    Site: www.co.kent.mi.us/health

Catholic Central High School was a repeat teen-design winner, having taken top honors in last year’s stand-alone competition, which was also sponsored by SageStone.

The school’s winning designers were Travis LeFleur, Nate Seis and Patrick Tobin.

“They did a fabulous job. They did their site on college recruitment, and how students can find information about colleges,” said Carolyn Reminga, marketing solutions director for SageStone. “They actually linked together information about colleges and financial aid, and really just built a cool site.”

The criteria differ in the teen-design competition.

In contrast to the other categories, high schoolers can’t enter an existing site into the contest. They had to design one and then write a paper and make a presentation on their work.

This was the second consecutive year that SageStone sponsored the teen-design award.

“Our expansion of the contest, to recognize existing Web sites, occurred this year,” said Koning.

“There was so much good work done by these high school students that we took an amalgam of all their design efforts from a year ago and, with a $12,000 grant from the Grand Rapids Youth Foundation, we allowed the winning students to mesh all of the design elements into an actual living, breathing Web Site.”

The address for that site is www.eblingo.org, which will be updated soon with the best from this year's teen-design competition.

Koning told the Business Journal that the competition was important because the Internet has become a daily tool for everyday life. He added that recognizing those who put together sites was a way to improve the information available to users.

Another meaningful facet of the competition was that it served as a fundraiser for the CMC, a nonprofit organization. The proceeds from it go to the Media Center’s Digital Divide campaign, a three-point program that tries to get everyone virtually involved.

The effort includes a “Web on Wheels” van, funded by Ameritech Inc., that will take Internet access and computer training to low-income residents throughout the city.

The Media Center, at 711 Bridge NW, operates GRTV, WYCE-FM and Grand Net.

SageStone is an e-business software consulting and technology firm located at 618 Kenmoor SE.

SageStone President & CEO Keith Brophy is one of the six local finalists for the Ernst & Young statewide entrepreneur-of-the-year award.

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