Thanks Again

June 13, 2005
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No matter how it’s pronounced, in the business world “entrepreneur” is a term held in high esteem.

Thursday’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards proved as much, with the business community celebrating the accomplishments of many of its own.

This year, the sincerity of the winners and their passion for what they do highlighted the evening.

“We need to give back to the communities once we have taken from them,” said Abonmarche Group CEO RonaldSchults when describing how success works both ways.

WilliamDeary, CEO of Great Lakes Home Health and Hospice, likened his leadership role in the company to that of an orchestra conductor.

“Think about it,” he said. “A conductor is the only one in the orchestra who doesn’t make a sound. Everyone else does the work.”

But it was BingGoei, president and CEO of Eastern Floral & Gifts, who put the evening in perspective.

“This could happen to someone like me only in America, the greatest country in the world,” said Goei, visibly fighting his emotions.

Thanks for reminding everyone of that.

  • Why would anyone in Grand Rapids care about the construction of a building on the West Coast for an international cruise line?

Because of the green, of course. Actually, make that two types of green.

Wells Fargo & Co. announced last week that it has provided $43.7 million in financing for the construction of a “green building” in Springfield, Ore. The building will be used as a customer service center for Royal Caribbean Cruises.

“The green building movement is a national phenomenon that is good for all our stakeholders and is strongly supported by the public sector, and it is definitely gaining momentum in the private sector,” said BillMcGee, vice president of Wells Fargo Commercial Mortgage, Grand Rapids. “We’re seeing building professionals who understand and appreciate the environmental benefits of green building technology, plus more and more developers are implementing energy saving and other green building strategies.”

Grand Rapids is one of the greenest cities on the continent, in terms of construction, and it’s no coincidence that the loan originated from the Wells Fargo office here. It’s also no coincidence that the developer is from here, too.

The center was developed by Grand Rapids-based Workstage LLC and is expected to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification based on such qualities as sustainability, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and fresh air, innovation of design and compatibility with the atmosphere, energy efficiency through use of natural daylight and bio-diesel, and appropriate use of materials and resources.

Workstage was tabbed for the project based on its national reputation for green building and eco-sensitive philosophy. It strives to develop projects that generate less pollution, use less landfill space and consume 15 percent to 25 percent less energy than traditional buildings.

Approximately 1,000 Royal Caribbean employees will use the center, beginning next year, and it’s a good bet that only a small percentage of them will know where Grand Rapids is.

That’s OK. You can thank us later when you realize that where you work contributes to your overall better health.

  • Now that the rest of the country is catching on to green buildings in the commercial sector, Grand Rapids again is on the cutting edge in environmentally friendly building—but this time it’s in the residential sector.

And you can thank local environmentalist PeterWege for that.

The first LEED-certified residence in the world was scheduled to be blessed yesterday when the rectory at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church was unveiled.

The priest’s residence, located at

1776 Acacia Ave. NW
, is tabbed “Villa Verde” and was built by MikeVanGessel’s Rockford Construction Co.

VanGessel said the standards for LEED certification for residential building have not yet been finalized by the U.S. Green Building Council, so this house was constructed according to commercial standards, setting the pace for residential standards.

Wege said he had wanted to have a green house built for quite some time, and saw the opportunity present itself at St. Anthony’s where extensive renovations would have been needed on the previous priests’ residence. So the Wege Foundation came through with a grant that made it possible to demolish the old rectory, recycle most of the materials and build the new green rectory on the existing foundation.

“It is very apropos that this first ‘green’ house be built at a Catholic church as a sign to the world of respecting the gift of the environment as a gift from God and calling us all to a new way of thinking when constructing new homes,” said Fr. MarkPrzybysz, pastor at St. Anthony’s.

  • If the evenings sound a little sweeter this week, you can thank GrandValleyStateUniversity’s JulianneVandenWyngaard

The school’s carillonneur professor, Vanden Wyngaard was instrumental in bringing the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America’s 63rd Annual Congress to Grand Rapids

Both Vanden Wyngaard’s leadership role in extending the invitation to the GCNA board and the availability of the two GVSU carillons helped to secure the conference.

The Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau named Vanden Wyngaard a Hometown Hero for her efforts in bringing the prestigious North American meeting to Grand Rapids

Recitals will be performed at the Beckering Family Carillon on the downtown campus at 7:30 p.m., Monday, June 13; at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 15; and at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, June 17. In addition, a recital will be performed at the Cook Carillon on GVSU’s Allendale campus at 4 p.m., Thursday, June 16. These concerts are open to the public and will take place rain or shine.     

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