Human Resources

Business Journal names Newsmakers of the Year

January 27, 2016
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David Hooker
David Hooker. Photo by Johnny Quirin

The Grand Rapids Business Journal handed out 17 Newsmaker awards this morning in front of a full house at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Newsmaker of the Year awards were handed out in 16 categories, and David Hooker, president and CEO of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, was named the overall 2015 Newsmaker of the Year.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden last April, during its 20th year of operations.

The garden celebrated the anniversary with the dedication and installation of Chinese artist Ai WeiWei’s “Iron Tree” sculpture.

This month, it was announced that 2015 also marked Meijer Gardens’ best year for attendance, with 775,000 guests visiting the attraction.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Hooker said. “It certainly reminds me of how fortunate I am to work at a place bearing the Meijer family name, particularly Fred and Lena. And Fred’s no longer with us, but he’s had an enormous impact on my life, and Lena continues to have an enormous impact. The inspiration that they give, their generosity, their kindness — is fantastic.”

Before a sold-out crowd, the Business Journal honored leaders, innovators and influencers in West Michigan for their efforts to help the region continue to flourish.

The Newsmaker awards recognized people across industries who made significant contributions to West Michigan in 2015.

The Newsmakers of the Year

Arts & Entertainment

David Hooker, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park


Kyle Van Strien and Jon O’Conner, Long Road Distillers

Economic Development

Brian Ryks, Gerald R. Ford International Airport


Teresa Weatherall Neal, Grand Rapids Public Schools


Jason Wenk, FormulaFolio Investments


Stephen Herbruck, Herbruck Farms

Health Care

Bill Manns, Saint Mary’s Mercy Health, and Deb Lyzenga, Michigan Works!


Doug Donnell, Mika Meyers, and John Anding, Drew Cooper Anding


Rick Demuynck, GM


Richard M. DeVos

Real Estate/Construction

Mike Mraz, Rockford Real Estate Development


Darla Sevok, Trader Joe’s


Matt Roberts, Grand Rapids FC


Nathan Owen, Blue Medora


Greg Northrup, Sustainable Partners


Carl Erickson, Atomic Object

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