Human Resources, Lakeshore, and Nonprofits

Lakeshore chamber names Agents of Change

November 27, 2014
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A dozen agents of lakeshore change
The 2014 Agents of Change honorees. Courtesy Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce

A dozen leaders at the lakeshore were recently honored and celebrated as Agents of Change.

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Agents of Change are individuals or organizations making an impact throughout the greater Muskegon area with their leadership, actions and initiatives, according to the chamber’s website.

Those recognized have been involved in a variety of projects, ranging from entrepreneurial and outdoor renovation to healthy eating and promoting water recreation.

2014 Agents of Change

Dave Stradal, Muskegon Community College
Linda Meyers, Baker College
Poppy Sias Hernandez, Growing Goods project
Chuck Johnson, Farmers Market campaign
Dave Biesiada, Smash Wine Bar & Bistro
Michelle Harris, The Deck
Mary Sytsema and Dave Van Andel, Shoreline Sport & Spine
Mark Mattison, Lamar Advertising
Natasha Henderson, city of Muskegon Heights
Roger Zuidema, Lake Effect Boating
Martha Ferriby, Hackley Library

The impacts

Both Stradal and Meyers were chosen as Agents of Change based on their work to develop an entrepreneurial culture in their respective academic communities, including their involvement with Emerge West Michigan and exposing students to the industry.

Hernandez was another individual recognized for work in education with the Growing Goods project. As a health educator, Hernandez provides a quality summer school experience teaching life skills, making healthy food choices and core curriculum that includes math and language arts.

Through Johnson’s leadership as chair of the Farmers Market campaign, the committee was able to raise roughly $4 million in less than two years to construct the outdoor market and gain widespread support for the downtown development.

The chamber also recognized Biesiada for creating an outdoor café design, which increased business and foot traffic in the downtown area.

Harris was honored for reinventing a lakefront building to create The Deck, a bar and restaurant destination for visitors of all ages.

To promote recreation on the lakeshore and the boating industry, Zuidema has developed a website and a social media marketing campaign to support and create events on the water. His work also includes encouraging boating industry stakeholders to work collaboratively.

Sytsema and Van Andel were honored for their renovations of a former bowling alley and turning it into a new health care facility, which now provides therapy and preventive wellness services to area residents.

The chamber also recognized other renovation development initiatives: Henderson’s work to restore Mona Lake Park with sports facilities, trails and picnic areas; Ferriby for the $1.1-million upgrade to Hackley Library; and Lamar Advertising’s Mattison for the restoration and beautification of its offices and surrounding outdoor area. 

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