Street Talk

Street Talk: These eight are the real MCOYs

Float a loan?

August 1, 2014
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What it really comes down to is this: Who plays nice in the sandbox?

The American Subcontractors Association of Michigan is hoping to find out with the fifth edition of its Michigan Contractor of the Year Award honoring general contractors that excel in the field.

The catch is that the industry’s subcontractors get to vote on the award, which essentially recognizes which of the big boys play nice.

ASAM released the names of the eight finalists last week. The companies in the running are: The Christman Co., Dan Vos Construction, Elzinga & Volkers, Erhardt Construction, Owen-Ames-Kimball, Pioneer Construction, Rockford Construction and Wolverine Building Group. Fifteen companies were nominated.

Voters will score the candidates on bid ethics and practice, safety, jobsite supervision, communication, schedule coordination, project relations, lien processes, administrative procedures, payment terms and quality workmanship.

“It’s a pleasure to recognize the companies that bring such exceptional levels of quality and dedication to their profession,” said Ken Misiewicz, president of ASAM.

In the past couple of years, rising demand for residential and private sector work has led to major growth in the Michigan construction industry, Misiewicz said. In 2013, construction employment increased 6.5 percent across the six West Michigan metropolitan statistical areas.

The MCOY Award will be presented during a ceremony Oct. 16 at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

Judge judges

The Grand Rapids Bar Association has completed its review process concerning the contested judicial race for the State of Michigan, 63rd District Court on tomorrow’s primary ballot.

Refreshingly, there is no endorsement involved.

Voters will select two judges from a slate of six candidates: Brent Boncher, Charles Boekeloo, Andrea Crumback, Jodi Jernigan, Jeffrey O’Hara and Rock Wood. The Bar Association’s evaluation of these candidates was announced last week by James S. Brady, chair of its Judicial Qualification Committee.

Brady said a committee of 15 Bar Association members undertook the task of evaluating the candidates. The committee evaluated each of the candidates’ legal ability, including scholarship, analysis, judgment and clarity of thought and expression; trial experience; integrity; judicial temperament, including being open-minded, even-tempered, fair and impartial; health; communication skills; ethical standards; and several other relevant factors.

The candidates earned the following ratings: O’Hara, exceptionally well qualified; Boekeloo, Crumback and Wood, well qualified; and Boncher and Jernigan, qualified.

Brady said the review process should not be construed as any type of endorsement but is simply “an overall evaluation of each candidate’s qualifications for the judicial office he or she seeks.”

Still, it’s good to know the association rates each of the local candidates as “qualified” or better.

Party favors

The area’s group for young professionals is marking a milestone with a special event.

Grand Rapids Young Professionals will host its first annual gala to celebrate 10 years of connecting young professionals in the area. The event will be held at McKay Tower in downtown Grand Rapids from 5:45-9 p.m., Sept. 4. Following the gala, an afterglow party at CitySen in the JW Marriott will begin at 9:30 p.m.

“GRYP has become a place where people meet their friends after work, where they make new friends, where they get involved in the community, and they continue their educational growth. As we turn 10 years old, GRYP wants to celebrate what our young professionals have to offer as the next leaders of Grand Rapids,” said Nicole Rodammer, GRYP president.

The keynote speaker is Meijer Inc. President J.K. Symancyk, the youngest person to hold the title in the company’s 80-year history. Symancyk will share his personal story about transitioning from a young professional into his current role, Rodammer said.

GRYP also will recognize five exceptional professionals from the area who embody creativity, passion, personality and professionalism. The award categories are: Raising the Bar, Social Media Maven, Community Improvement, Community Advocate and Young Professional of the Year. GRYP is currently seeking nominees. The deadline for submissions is midnight, Thursday, Aug. 14.

“It has been amazing for me to see how GRYP has continued to grow over the years. As long as young professionals continue to see the importance of this organization and the opportunities it can provide, I have no doubt that this group will remain strong long into the future. And 10 years later, that makes me very happy,” said Josh May, GRYP founder.

Retired retry

OK, Craig Clark is NOT retiring from Clark Communications because, as he says, he IS too young.

Clark said the confusion probably arose from a facetious post on his Facebook page alluding to remodeling his beach house. Wait, Craig has a beach house? Oh, never mind. (Jenny Griffin did get a promotion, though!)

Santa’s helpers

The Art Van Santa Parade presented by the Grand Rapids Jaycees wants to supersize its annual event, but first it needs a little something under the tree.

The Jaycees have unveiled the Community Grant Challenge, a fundraising program to bring a new “Grand Rapids Themed Santa Float” to downtown. Organizers hope the new float will bring another “wow factor” to the parade’s main attraction — Santa Claus himself. 

Every November, more than 20,000 spectators line Monroe Avenue to celebrate a century-long tradition in West Michigan: the kickoff to the holiday season and the first real glimpse of Santa.

“We want the community to really embrace and own a piece of the parade,” said Melissa Greko, Jaycees president. “Santa and his float are the grand finale and should be amazing. The Parade Company has created a float that really represents Grand Rapids and brings the awe and wonder of Santa before our very eyes.”

She said the new float will utilize the vintage sleigh that has been a part of Santa’s float for nearly a century. The new design incorporates the city as Santa’s sleigh and eight new regal reindeer carry him high above the Grand River over the iconic Blue Bridge.

The Jaycees have secured a portion of the funding; however, $25,000 is still needed. The Jaycees are asking community members and businesses to help.

“Funding must be secured by mid-August before we can begin construction” added Greko. “We set up a gofundme site and have added a sponsorship package option if businesses want to be more involved.”

She said the Jaycees have worked with title sponsor Art Van Furniture and gold level sponsors such as ITC, Express Employment Professionals and WOOD TV8 to bring a “Macy-style” hometown parade. In the past five years, Greko said the parade has “supersized” with large professional floats, cold-air balloons up to 20 feet tall, Clydesdale horses, a Disney-celebrity grand marshal, more bands and more performing acts.

More information is available at www.santaparadegr.com.

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