Dan Vos Construction wins debut COTY Awards

October 4, 2010
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The American Subcontractors Association of Michigan named its Contractor of the Year during its new awards event held Thursday at the Goei Center.

Dan Vos Construction Co. topped the list of 10 nominees. The family-owned company has been in continuous operation in West Michigan since 1951.

“We can’t be successful without all of you subcontractors,” a stunned Dan Vos, vice president of the firm, told the audience of 330 people as he was presented the bronze award that was designed by Ken Bing, president of Town & Country Electric, and crafted by James T. Faasen, an artist from the Holland area. It features nine figures in hard hats, lifting an I-beam as they follow a general contractor.

Receiving honorable mention recognition at the event were Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. and Erhardt Construction. Other nominees were Granger Construction Co., Lakewood Construction, Pioneer Construction, Rockford Construction, The Christman Co., Triangle Associates and Wolverine Building Group.

According to Linda Vos-Graham, president of Vos Glass Inc. and vice president of the local chapter of ASAM, the COTY Awards give the ASAM membership “an opportunity to nominate and recognize general contractors or construction managers who exhibit best practices, professionalism and collaboration with Michigan’s subcontracting community.”

ASAM members can nominate award candidates through online voting. The candidates were scored for performance in several criteria, including bid ethics and practice, safety, job-site supervision, communications, schedule coordination, project relations, lien processes, administrative procedures, payment terms and quality workmanship.

Nate Koetje, president of the local chapter of ASAM, told the audience, “The COTY awards is different from other awards in the construction industry in a number of ways. What makes this award particularly unique is its criteria and selection process. The (awards) recognize the soft stuff, stuff that is hard to get your arms around: things like bid ethics, attitudes, work environments, culture and collaboration.”

Koetje noted the award “can’t be won through marketing or lobbying, but is earned over time through action and commitment. It is given to those that work with you every day. You have clearly done something right.”

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell was the event’s guest speaker.

ASAM is dedicated to providing services and benefits to subcontractors, suppliers and service providers to help them become more successful. It is the local chapter of the American Subcontractors Association, an organization of 5,500 member companies. Through member meetings and networking, ASAM provides educational opportunities and valuable information for subcontractors throughout Michigan.

ACG event soars

Interest in the Oct. 14 Association for Corporate Growth Western Michigan annual dinner meeting was cranked up a notch last week when Southwest Airlines announced plans to acquire AirTran Holdings for $1.4 billion.

Why is that of such intrigue for ACG dinner attendees?

The event offers an opportunity to hear Bob Fornaro, CEO of AirTran Airways, comment on the sale, share the growth story of his company, and explain why the airline chose West Michigan for new air service earlier this year.

AirTran Airways began daily, non-stop service from Gerald R. Ford International Airport to Orlando and Baltimore in May of this year. It has since expanded service, offering flights to Ft. Myers and Tampa. AirTran’s entry into the West Michigan market has been met with support from local business leaders who have faced high airfares, shrinking flight availability and inventory. The allure of the popular Southwest Airlines franchise lowering its landing wheels inGR offers even more optimism.

The Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan said it was “encouraged” by last week’s announcement by Southwest Airlines to acquire AirTran Airways.

“This proposed acquisition works to validate the West Michigan market’s need for and willingness to support the presence of a true ‘network’ low-cost carrier,” the alliance noted in a statement. “We are pleased that Southwest also recognizes the same key qualities in AirTran that we did in identifying the best fit for our region — a customer focused, competitive and profitable air service provider.

“In the coming months, we look forward to seeing how this acquisition will impact our region and how the Air Alliance may continue its efforts to improve the quality of commercial air service for the residents and businesses of West Michigan.”

Tickets for the Oct. 14 ACG evening event at the JW Marriott are $90 for members and $125 for nonmembers. They can be acquired at acgwmich.org.

Dressing for success

Inforum, a networking group for professional women, and fashion experts at Leigh’s of Breton Village have designed an event to benefit Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, and also to teach Inforum members and their guests “how to use fashion to combine their unique personalities at work while maintaining a professional and appropriate style.”

The event will be held Wednesday at Leigh’s, 1942 Breton Road SE. It begins with networking at 5 p.m. with an Inforum/Goodwill presentation at 6 p.m. and a program by Leigh’s at 6:15 p.m. Cost is $25 for Inforum members and $40 for nonmembers. Reservations can be made at www.inforummichigan.org/events/fall-premiere-dinner-event

Inforum and Leigh’s are requesting attendees to bring gently used business attire for Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids. One of Goodwill’s primary objectives is to provide job-training and placement programs to assist people with barriers to employment. Providing career-appropriate clothing is an integral piece in the mission, according to Goodwill.

Inforum members and guests will be educated by fashion consultants at Leigh’s as they team up with audience volunteers to show examples of attire appropriate to their specific industry and age. They will also show tips on how to add basic accessories to update any outfit.

Some valuable zingers

The Employers’ Association, a local not-for-profit provider of human resource solutions, is focused on how to help employers do things right. That’s the idea behind TEA’s sponsorship of Wednesday’s event highlighting the efforts of Zingerman's, a family of small food-related companies and entrepreneurial ventures located in the Ann Arbor area.

Zingerman’s has become widely known for setting the standard for great customer service in the specialty foods industry. This success has come from combining an innovative service philosophy with practical working systems, all of which Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman's co-founding partner and CEO, will share in a workshop at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College.

The event, held during National Customer Service Week, begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m. It costs $75 for TEA members and $95 for nonmembers. To register, call (616) 698-1167.

Zingerman's approach has been successfully applied in a wide variety of businesses and nonprofits that are committed to improving the quality of their customer service, including banks, insurance agencies, health care providers, museums, libraries and non-food retailers.

New Chamber president

The Wyoming Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce has appointed Ken Malik as its new president /CEO.

“The board of directors and staff of the Chamber are so excited about the opportunities ahead, not just for the organization, but for the businesses and the community. We are looking forward to working with Ken,”said board chair Norine Mulvihill.

Malik has more than 30 years of business experience with manufacturing and service companies in consumer electronics, office equipment, contract office furniture and industrial distribution. He also has had P&L leadership responsibilities in both domestic and international markets, including a five- year foreign assignment based in Paris, France as president of Europe for Haworth Inc.

“Our local area businesses have been enduring economic challenges for some time and I am optimistic that they will exit the recession more competitive and be positioned for growth,” Malik said. “I base this on meeting the Chamber members whom I have interacted with during the interview process. I am impressed with their passion, commitment and energy and look forward to working with all the members to accomplish great things.”

A welcome reception will be held for Malik at the Wyoming Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Business Expo on Oct. 28 from 5-8 pm at Celebration Cinema South, 1506 Eastport Drive SE. The event is free and open to the public.

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