Kregel Landed Chamber Award

February 18, 2003
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Grand Rapids Business Journal is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a little history of its own. Throughout the year, the Journal will revisit significant events that occurred each week 20, 15 and 10 years ago. For longtime Grand Rapidians, this is a chance to test historical trivia. For newcomers, it's a chance to "catch up" with everyone else.

20 Years Ago

  • Bob Kregel, president of Kregel Inc., was selected Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Council of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. Kregel publishes religious and theological books in English and Spanish and operates a bookstore at 525 Eastern Ave. SE. Kregel Publications purchased Publicaciones Portavoz Evangelico of Barcelona, Spain, as part of the new Spanish publication division of Kregels. Harold Kregel, founder and director of Publicaciones Portavoz Evangelico, left Barcelona to become director of the Spanish language division in Grand Rapids.
  • Grand Rapids Junior College announced record fall enrollment for 1982 of 9,207 full- and part-time students, an increase of 3 percent over the previous fall. Other changes included Earl Mandeville, former assistant principal at Central High School, becoming director of financial aid at GRJC. He replaced Elias Lumpkins, who was appointed dean of student services.
  • WGVC-Channel 35 raised $373,447 in its most recent membership drive. That was $53,000 over goal and placed WGVC eighth among 113 public broadcasting stations conducting similar drives nationwide.

15 Years Ago

  • Michigan lost out on another major automotive installation. Hyundai Motors announced plans to build a $15.7 million regional office and parts distribution facility in Aurora, Ill., west of Chicago.

The 370,000-square-foot facility would serve a 14-state region from Ohio to Montana. Hyundai, Korea's largest auto manufacturer, joined Nissan and Toyota in building major installations in Aurora, one of the upscale suburbs located in the Fox River Valley.

  • Robert Price, owner of WZZM-TV, fired Jack Hogan and Jim Riekse, under whose management the station had won six UPI Station of the Year awards. Price reportedly also stripped the station of all but the most obligatory news and public affairs reporting programming.

Riekse headed the station's investigative unit and Hogan was the station's first local news director, having served in that capacity for a quarter century.

  • In light of all the corporate M&A and consolidation activity that had been making so many headlines, Roger Mock, of Development Enterprises, 2 Fountain Place, reported that he will introduce a new board game called The Wall Street Raiders at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

Mock developed the game locally for national and international distribution, but also prepped a Michigan-oriented version.

  • Autodie Corp's board of directors was expected to approve a proposal from John Kennedy, the firm's former chief financial officer, to buy Autocam, a wholly owned Autodie subsidiary. Kennedy resigned from Autodie because of the potential conflict of interest that his offer to buy Autocam would have created.

Replacing Kennedy as CFO was Timothy J. Wiggins, senior manager of the Detroit office of the accounting firm of Deloitte Haskins & Sells.

  • Construction was scheduled to begin on an $84 million downtown riverfront complex called Riverview Center.

The project was to be constructed on the west bank of the Grand River, where Sullivan's Riverview Furniture once stood. The first phase of the project was to be a 12-story, 196,000-square-foot building with a glass and marble façade.

According to Robert Grooters, owner of Robert Grooters Development, two 20-story glass towers would be constructed at either end of the main building within 10 years.

Rent for the complex was tentatively set at $20 per square foot, slightly more than the average $14 to $17 per square foot that was typical of Class A office space here.

  • American Seating Co.'s recently announced renovation would allow the firm to incorporate a new manufacturing process that officials said would boost its competitiveness in the systems office furnishings market.

The firm, located at 901 Broadway Ave. NW, owned a hodge-podge of about 25 buildings. American Seating planned to demolish several of the old structures and to replace them with a modern single-story plant.

All told, the new building and renovations to older buildings would involve about 350,000 square feet of manufacturing space. American Seating, at that time just beginning its second century, originally produced classroom furniture. It sold the last of its classroom lines in 1985 in order to focus on the expanding market for systems office furniture. Company President Edward Clark said the $10 million project was essential for the company to remain competitive with industry giants Steelcase and Herman Miller.

  • Auto industry layoffs and plant closings raised Michigan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 10.2 percent for January, compared to 7.6 percent last year and 8.7 percent last month.

The unemployment rate — which found 454,000 Michigan people out of work — was at its highest level since September 1985.

  • Alfred Glancy, chairman of MichCon, said customers would notice no difference in service if Primark Corp. of Virginia went ahead with plans to spin off the company.

Speaking before the Grand Rapids Economic Club, Glancy said the spin-off would create two companies and two sets of stock where one now exists and that the two would be worth more than Primark was.

The spin-off would entail selling MichCon to shareholders. Primark shareholders would receive about one share of MichCon for each two shares of Primark that they own.

Ten Years Ago

  • State Rep. Ken Sikkema, R-Grandville, introduced legislation that would help small businesses comply with state and federal air pollution laws.

Sikkema claimed the complex requirements of the new federal Clean Air Act placed a particular burden upon small businesses that often lack the technical or financial resources to meet new regulations.

Sikkema's office said his proposal would create a Michigan Small Business Clean Air Assistance Program in the Department of Commerce to help small firms reach compliance with regulations.

  • Despite state budget constraints, Grand Valley State University said its recently announced expansion of its downtown Grand Rapids campus was contingent on the availability of $30 million to $40 million in state funding.

The plan called for a 14-acre site west of U.S. 131 to be developed into a new business school, graduate library, student commons and parking.           

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