Construction and Human Resources

Construction firm implements leadership transition

July 6, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
Text Size:
Wolverine Building Group execs
The outgoing leadership duo at Grand Rapids-based Wolverine Building Group flanks the firm's new leadership duo: from left, Mike Kelly, Aaron Jonker, Curt Mulder and Dick VanderZyden. Courtesy Wolverine Building Group

A local construction firm said today that it is implementing an 18-month leadership transition that’s been “several years” in the making.

Grand Rapids-based Wolverine Building Group said that the firm’s current co-presidents and co-owners, Mike Kelly and Dick VanderZyden, will step down and serve as co-chairmen through the end of 2017.

Curt Mulder and Aaron Jonker have been named co-presidents of the firm, effective immediately.

“After more than 37 years working for Wolverine, and the last 20 as a co-owner and co-president, it is time to begin to transition the leadership to the next generation,” Kelly said. "We have been working to ensure a smooth transition for a number of years, and we have every confidence in the next generation of ownership that they will build upon what has been done for the past 77 years and will expand on its current abilities.”

Kelly and VanderZyden will also sell their ownership of the firm to Mulder and Jonker, effective January 2018.

The new pair will be the fifth generation of owners at Wolverine Building Group, which was founded in 1939 as Wolverine Tile Company.

VanderZyden will remain with the company as chairman for an additional two years after the 2018 ownership change.

“Mulder and Jonker have the experience, passion and necessary skills to lead this company to continued growth and success,” VanderZyden said. “I’m excited to see where they take the company in the future.”


Having been with Wolverine Building Group since 2007, Jonker specializes in multi-unit construction and historic renovations.

His involvement in Wolverine projects includes the 101 South Division Lofts and Durant Hotel.

He currently sits on the board of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and Living Stones Academy.

“I appreciate the trust that Mike and Dick have placed in us and look forward to working with Curt and the rest of the incredible team here to continue building on the solid foundation of success that they have created for Wolverine,” Jonker said.


Mulder has led a variety projects since his employment at Wolverine Building Group began in 1998, including multi-family, health care, manufacturing and industrial projects.

“Mike and Dick have been such an important part of this company’s history,” Mulder said. “I’m honored to have had the opportunity to work with them and learn from them for nearly two decades. Wolverine is in a strong position currently, and I plan to continue working with Mike, Dick and Aaron to ensure that the company continues to be a leader in the construction industry.”

Recent Articles by Pat Evans

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus