AIAGV showcase event takes place this week

March 23, 2009
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The Grand Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will hold its Honor Awards program Saturday evening at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. The event honors the top individuals, projects and designs from the past year and celebrates the “great work and design excellence” of its members and their clients.

“With this as our cornerstone, we are creating the foundation for building public recognition of the profession through our stronger promotion of architecture to the public,” Greg Metz, AIAGV president and principal in Lott3Metz Architecture, told Business Journal reporter David Czurak.

Metz pointed out that Saturday’s event will mark the second consecutive year the chapter will award the David D. Smith Humanitarian Award, which is presented to a member of the Grand Valley community who represents community service and leadership and elevates awareness of architecture and the built-environment through the creation of enduring places, according to Metz. The award is named in honor of David D. Smith, a former chapter member and architect for the Grand Rapids Public Schools.

The Honor Awards program will begin with an art reception showcasing members’ submissions for this year, along with award submissions from previous years. The awards ceremony is followed by an “afterglow” reception. Reservations are due by Thursday. Tickets are $50. Call 691-7545 for information. The event starts at 6 p.m.

Med students meet their match

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine held a “Match Day” reception Thursday at Grand Rapids Medical Education & Research Center for 34 fourth-year med students in Grand Rapids. They were among nearly 30,000 applicants, including more than 15,000 U.S. medical school seniors, who learned Thursday which hospital or clinic they had been “matched” with to continue their medical training or residency, and where they will spend their next three to seven years of residency training.

According to the National Resident Matching Program, this was the largest match in history: 29,890 applicants participated — 1,153 more than last year, and 4,500 more than five years ago. More than half the participants in this year’s match were U.S. medical school seniors — 15,638 — or 400 more than in 2008.

“We saw an across the board increase in match applicants this year, particularly among U.S. medical school seniors,” said Mona M. Signer, NRMP executive director. “This is likely the result of medical school expansion across the nation in anticipation of a future physician shortage — existing medical schools have increased their class sizes and new medical schools are in development.”

More funds for research

One of the big topics always on the minds of those already in or entering the medical field is cancer research. John E. Niederhuber, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute, was in town Wednesday to speak on the topic of “Cancer as an Organ System: The Tumor Microenvironment” at the Van Andel Institute as part of the institute’s Han-mo Koo Seminar Series. Under the economic recovery act, NIH will receive approximately $10.4 billion for use in fiscal 2009 and 2010, of which $8.2 billion is earmarked for research. NCI will receive approximately $1.26 billion of the $8.2 billion.

Niederhuber said the stimulus package allows NCI to fund more research grants and stop the negative drain on funds that inflation has caused.

Spreading its wings

Dan DeVos has finally added BMW to the Fox stable of auto dealerships, keeping family members in the pipeline for their well-known Beamer preferences. Fox Grand Traverse is the new name of the former Grand Traverse Auto dealership in Garfield Township near Traverse City. The sale of Grand Traverse Auto, one of that area’s oldest dealers, was confirmed in January but subject to approval by the auto companies whose product lines are sold through the dealership, including Ford, Mazda and BMW. A purchase price was not disclosed.

Grand Traverse Auto dates back to 1911 when it was established by Milton Bryant, a brother-in-law to Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford. It has been owned by the Sleder family since 1964. It added the BMW line in 1982 and became a Mazda dealer in 2004.

DeVos started the Fox chain in 2000 that now includes 18 dealerships representing 31 brands.

A year to celebrate

Pervez Musharraf, former president of Pakistan, spoke at the World Affairs Council of West Michigan’s 59th anniversary dinner at the Amway Grand Plaza just a couple of months  ago, but it wasn’t the end of anniversary celebrations for the organization this year. Musharraf’s visit had been delayed from last fall so the 60th anniversary of the council will be marked with another prominent dinner speaker Oct. 7. Executive Director Dixie Anderson has worked diligently to finally snag Thomas L. Friedman, a world-renowned author and journalist whose topic, “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” is also the name of his latest book, a sequel to his best-selling “The World is Flat.” Friedman joined The New York Times in 1981 as a financial reporter specializing in OPEC- and oil-related news and later served as the chief diplomatic, chief White House and international economics correspondent. A three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles reporting the Middle East conflict, the end of the cold war, U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy, international economics, and the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat. His foreign affairs column, which appears twice a week in the Times, is syndicated to 100 other newspapers worldwide.

Taking the next step

The University of Michigan will co-host a community workshop to address strategies to offset automotive-related plant closings and layoffs in West Michigan at 9 a.m. March 31 at Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center. The workshop, to focus on funding opportunities for potential economic projects and proposals in West Michigan. It will include breakout sessions offering network opportunities with community leaders, organizations, federal and state agencies and nonprofit foundations. To attend, RSVP by Friday to Carmen Wells Quigg at carmenw@umich.edu or (734) 998-7016.

Decision time

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson infiltrated West Michigan last week to speak during the Michigan Economic Solutions Summit at DeVos Place hosted by the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millrights. He strongly suggested he might be one of the “solutions” to the state’s ongoing woes, and vowed to make an announcement on a potential run for governor in the next few weeks.

Among the other potential candidates for the governor’s seat is Congressman Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland. There were some whispers here last week that Hoekstra is leaning toward not running for the office. Stay tuned.

They’ll be floored

Beginning in Amasa in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula over the past weekend and concluding Wednesday at Ford Field in Detroit, the official made-in-Michigan by Connor Sport Court International Inc. game floor of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Final Four is traveling through Michigan to a variety of locations.

The tour had a stop scheduled for this morning from 8-9 a.m. at Van Andel Arena.

The floor was custom made for the Final Four in a 100,000-square-foot facility in Amasa. Connor Sport Court employs nearly 100 workers and is a primary source of jobs in the Amasa area.

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