Big Nod For WO Student

July 7, 2008
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Wanted to let you know that Rixyness Rodrigues, a senior from West Ottawa High School in Holland, was honored at the recent Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards ceremony in Chicago. Rodrigues was one of three students from the Midwest who received the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship awarded for their understanding of entrepreneurism. Rodrigues is actively involved in Junior Achievement.

There were no other Michigan award winners in the program that recognized winners for the Entrepreneur of The Year award in the Midwest area. A West Michigan event was not part of this year’s activities, although Grand Valley State University remains listed as a local sponsor.

Regional award winners will be eligible for consideration in the national program. Winners in numerous national categories, as well as the overall national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award winner, will be announced at the awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 15. The awards are the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum.

  • In keeping with its commitment to sustainability and green cleaning, Muskegon-based Nichols will host Greening Michigan Facilities — One City at a Time, a series of workshops in eight Michigan cities. The keynote speaker will be Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group LLC and considered “The Father of Green Cleaning.” He is a leader in the national effort to make cleaning and maintenance practices more environmentally friendly.

“A comprehensive green cleaning program takes integrated pest management and recycling into consideration, and these topics will be included in this series of workshops,” said Nichols’ Marcie Palmer.

A session will be held in Grand Rapids at the Kent Intermediate School District Educational Center, 2930 Knapp St. NE, at noon on July 31.

Nichols’ Green Cleaning Program, which involves a holistic, comprehensive approach to cleaning, includes a selection of environmentally friendly products, ongoing education of customers, and the training of building maintenance professionals and building occupants to better understand their role in the health and safety of their environment. The primary market is customers who have developed formalized environmental and sustainability objectives, including (but not limited to) government offices, manufacturing companies, school systems, colleges and universities, and other commercial and industrial accounts.

The cost for the workshop is $25 per person, which includes breakfast or lunch. Anyone interested in attending may register by visiting the Nichols Web site or by calling (800) 442-0213.

Another example of the efforts of the West Michigan Sports Commission takes place July 18-20, when up to 60 top-ranked wheelchair tennis athletes from five countries — including 15 West Michigan players — will compete at the Midwest Indoor Wheelchair Championships. The International Tennis Federation sanctioned tournament will take place at Rockford’s MVP Athletic Club, 515 E. Division, and is hosted by the Grand Rapids Wheelchair Sports Association. Athletes are competing for $10,500 in prize money sponsored by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

The tournament, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, will feature men and women age 18 and older competing in various divisions, as well as a junior division for teen athletes. Athletes are expected to travel from as far as Australia, Canada and Hawaii. Many hold national and international rankings and are expected to compete in the Paralympics in September in Beijing, China. The top three U.S. men’s open Paralympian athletes Jon Rydberg (Minnesota), Paul Moran (Chicago) and Lee Hindson (Florida) will be in attendance.

  • Memorial Health System of South Bend, Ind., and Nurture by Steelcase, the division of Steelcase Inc. that manufactures furniture for health care environments, announced they have partnered to create a donor recognition experience.

The objective of the One of a Kind program is to give not-for-profit organizations a method for saying thank you to major benefactors — an exclusive, day-long experience behind the scenes at one of America’s most innovative organizations.

That experience includes: an exploration into furniture design with the design team at Steelcase; lunch prepared by an executive chef at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Meyer May House; and an innovative opportunity to design a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture to commemorate the benefactor’s gifts to charity. Additionally, the program will reproduce that creation and present it to the organization the donor helped support.

Diane Stover, Memorial's vice president of Innovation Strategy said, "We proposed this concept to Steelcase and tested it internally and with our donors. We're very excited about having the opportunity to blend our understanding of donor appreciation activities with the exceptional design activities available from the Steelcase team.”

“We are thrilled to work with Memorial to provide this extraordinary experience for people that have been so very generous in supporting the great work of not-for-profit organizations,” said Michael Love, president of Nurture by Steelcase.

  • The Lakeshore ATHENA Award Program, sponsored by The Chamber of Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg, Holland Area Chamber of Commerce, and Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its fourth annual ATHENA Awards. 

ATHENA Award recipients are individuals who: demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession, provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential. Nominations must be completed and returned by July 18.

The award will be presented during a luncheon program on Oct. 7 at Trillium Banquet and Conference Center in Spring Lake.

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