Muskegon Project Earns Newsmaker Award

January 16, 2003
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Grand Rapids Business Journal’s Newsmaker of the Year Award went to the Muskegon SmartZone and Siemens Corp.’s fuel-cell project on 34 acres of lakefront property.

The build-out is expected to reach more than $50 million in the coming years and, in partnership with Grand Valley State University, produce alternative energy sources that could have worldwide impact.

The award was presented during a special luncheon today at a Downtown Rotary meeting in Grand Rapids.

Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington, David Mielke, dean of GVSU’s Seidman School of Business, Chris Kelly, a partner in the law firm of Parmenter-O’Toole, Mike Kirby of Siemens Corp., and Todd Battle of Muskegon Area First accepted the award.

Warmington reiterated that the partnership among the principals was key to the effort, and he likened that partnership to a winning Super Bowl team.

“We realize it takes a team and teamwork to win a game like this. Leadership and partnerships were really the key to this whole cooperative effort.

“We’re pleased that Grand Rapids and West Michigan is beginning to recognize what we call ‘our little piece of paradise.’”

Muskegon’s Lakefront SmartZone, now known as Edison Landing, will be a high-tech business park with the centerpiece being Siemens’ $34 million fuel cell generating plant.

Approximately 250 people attended the event, which took place at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, and spontaneous applause broke out when the winner was announced from among 10 finalists, almost all of which were represented at the ceremony.

“The willingness of Parmenter-O’Toole’s law partners to assist in Muskegon’s rebirth, and the unprecedented investment of both Siemens Corp. and Grand Valley State University in new fuel-cell technology and in Muskegon, will profoundly impact this region for the long-term,” said Business Journal Editor Carole Valade-Copenhaver.

The other finalists included Metropolitan Hospital, Magna Donnelly Corp., Kent Health Corp., Blue Bridge Ventures, Hund-Fink Acquisitions, Grand Rapids Community College’s M-TEC center, Lansing’s Cooley Law School and Western Michigan University, Mercantile, Macatawa and Community Shores banks and Spectrum Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The winners were presented with a commemorative Business Journal front page and cut glass medallions.           

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