Inside Track

Profiles of individuals who are leading West Michigan organizations.


Inside Track: Entrepreneur’s ideas bloom after grounding flight school

Ryan Mast digs into the flower planter industry with acquisitions, new products and retail locations.

April 29, 2016
When he started college, Ryan Mast intended to become an airline pilot, but instead he took off as an entrepreneur. Read More

Inside Track: Long and varied career leaves Lemley something to offer students

Triangle Associates vice president knows there is a lot more to construction than just swinging a hammer.

April 22, 2016
Paul Lemley has worked on so many different kinds of projects throughout his life, people often ask, “Wait, are you 100 years old?” Read More

Inside Track: Preserving a historical legacy

Rachel Lee, director of East Hills Council of Neighbors, has a passion for the neighborhood she also calls home.

April 15, 2016
The director at the East Hills Council of Neighbors sees the importance of preserving historical and architectural character during neighborhood revitalization. Read More

Inside Track: Wassink’s wild ride is nowhere near its end

Chicago’s cutthroat advertising world and a little advice from Jeff Foxworthy resulted in Kantorwassink co-founder’s arrival in Grand Rapids.

April 8, 2016
Despite heading up a major account at one of the largest advertising firms in the world, Wendy Wassink was frustrated. Read More

Inside Track: Entrepreneur finds satisfaction in working for others

With two startups of his own, at the moment Spencer Blanchard is more interested in growing someone else’s startup.

April 1, 2016
Spencer Blanchard is a business owner who became so popular with his clients, he ended up working for them. Read More

Inside Track: Attorney is still reaching for the stars

After failing to become an astronaut, Martin Axelrod’s career trajectory has been anything but boring.

March 25, 2016
The faulty O-ring that caused the space shuttle Challenger to explode in 1986 stifled Martin Axelrod’s lifelong dream and changed his life forever. Read More

Inside Track: Former lifeguard immerses himself in new CEO role

From pool lifeguard to executive positions in several cities, Scott Lewis has had a lifelong career with the YMCA.

March 18, 2016
Scott Lewis is one of the newest members of the Grand Rapids community, having moved here in January to take on the role of president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. Read More

Inside Track: A knack for hospitality blossomed into marketing Tulip City

Sally Laukitis, executive director of Holland CVB, loves the connections that bridge her community and its visitors.

March 11, 2016
For more than 22 years, Sally Laukitis has welcomed travelers who come through her office door in downtown Holland looking for information, and for 12 and a half of those years, her pug Lucy — the unofficial Holland mascot — has drawn a following all her own. Read More

Inside Track: Pearson finds the road to success isn’t straight, but it’s always scenic

When designs on architecture didn’t pan out, Tony Pearson turned to real estate. Now he is CAR’s Realtor of the Year.

March 4, 2016
Tony Pearson accidentally sold his first house when he was 19 years old. Read More

Inside Track: Van Dyke answers the call for nonprofit leadership

Thirty years in banking gives new Heart of West Michigan United Way president an edge.

February 26, 2016
Ever since she was a little girl, Michelle Van Dyke wanted to own a bank. Read More