The Right Choice

February 21, 2005
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What goes around comes around, and in this case that's a very good thing for the business community.

Twenty years after the late JayVanAndel founded the organization, The Right Place Inc. has announced that his son, DavidVanAndel, has agreed to serve as its board chairman and continue the organization's work of retaining and expanding business that was started by his father.

"This is an exciting and challenging time in our regional growth and development," David Van Andel said. "As our life science and other technology-focused industries continue to grow, it is critical that we have a cohesive strategy for developing the infrastructure, work force and supply chains to support them. My father's vision to engage the business community to create a singular focal point for regional economic development is as valid today as it was then. I believe we can renew that focus to transform this region into the innovation center it needs to become. The Right Place is well positioned to lead that transformation and I am pleased to work with this board to guide that process."

Jay Van Andel's assistance some two decades ago actually put the local organization at the forefront of the economic development movement, and that vision has been paying dividends ever since.

"The Right Place is one of the most senior organizations of its kind in the country and one of the reasons for that is the leadership we have been fortunate to enjoy," said Right Place President BirgitKlohs. "I am grateful to our immediate past chair, DannyGaydou, David Van Andel and all of the others who have served on our board. But more importantly, I join the rest of the community in expressing my deepest respect and gratitude to Jay Van Andel for his leadership, his kindness and his philanthropy. He will be deeply missed."

If business firepower and name recognition mean anything (and we're sure they do), Right Place has assembled quite the executive leadership team. A quick check of the roster shows Van Andel; Vice Chairman BrianHarris, president and CEO of H&H Metal Source; Treasurer JimDunlap, president of Huntington Bank-Michigan Region; JeanneEnglehart, president of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce; LarryErhardtSr., chairman of Erhardt Construction; JohnFynewever, managing director and senior vice president-operations of Irwin Seating Co.; Gaydou; JohnKennedy, president and CEO of Autocam Corp.; Klohs; and MichelleVanDyke, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank-West Michigan.

And just in case that's not enough business know-how to convince prospective firms that West Michigan is, indeed, the right pPlace, the organization has signed up a few noteworthy new directors, as well.

These include SamCummings, president of Second Story Properties; JoeErhardt, GRACC chair and president of Erhardt Construction; CurtisHolt, city manager of Wyoming; CraigSturken, chairman, president and CEO of Spartan Stores; BrianWalker, president and CEO of Herman Miller; SeanWelsh, regional president of National City Bank; and JohnWheeler, CEO of Rockford Construction.

What, DonaldTrump wasn't available?

  • Little did we know that the Business Journal is part of some local history. For several years, a local printer set up shop where our offices currently sit at 549 Ottawa NW. In fact, on really warm, muggy days, you can still … well, never mind.

Anyway, that firm, The Etheridge Co., is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Back in 1889, T.S. Etheridge came into the West Michigan printing picture as an employee of the West Michigan Printing Co. After brief stints at a couple of other printing companies, T.S. joined LorenGibbs and AbrahamHolverstott in 1904 to form the Gibbs-Holverstott-Etheridge Printing Co. Gibbs stayed only a short time, Holverstott became a salesman for a supply house and, in 1905, the concern became The Etheridge Co.

Since then, the company has been catering to designers, giving careful attention to each project, the expertise and tools to bring each designer's vision to life and the ability to put on paper what the designer imagines, precisely as the designer imagines it.

In 1989, London-based Wace PLC bought Etheridge as its first U.S. printing company. In 1990, Wace purchased A.P. Johnson Co., another premier printing company in Grand Rapids, and merged the two operations under the Etheridge name.

A.P. Johnson was another long time west Michigan printing company having been established (originally as the Grand River Times) in the mid-1800s.

Since July of 1997, The Etheridge Co. has been part of Consolidated Graphics, the largest combined sheetfed, digital print, half-web and web printer in the United States.

"Our customers look to us to provide more than the mere equipment on which their design will be reproduced," said President BarryHeydenberk. "They are seeking a partner with whom they can collaborate to transform vision into reality using all of the communication solutions available through The Etheridge Coy."

And it doesn't hurt if that partner has a century in the business.

  • Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?

Longtime Grand Rapids Magazine contributing editor BillWheadon and DaleHall, a longtime actor, director and Grand Rapids arts scene supporter, are debuting a new play called "No Problem."

The original comedy was written by Wheadon and will be performed beginning June 16 at the Crooked Tree Arts Council in Petoskey.

Hall, who is executive director of the Crooked Tree Arts Council, will direct the play.

  • Talk about irony. In its March edition, sister publication Grand Rapids Magazine published the last Fresh Hops column from the late DirkKoning, who died on Feb. 10 (see page 4). The column, which celebrates the virtues of Irish stout, ends with a popular Irish pub toast: "May you be a long time in heaven before the devil knows you're gone."

Well said.    

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