Change Ups

Change Ups: Lakeshore United Way is recipient of GLE employees’ largesse

December 18, 2015
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The United Way of the Lakeshore is among 11 United Way agencies that collectively received $19,993 from the Great Lakes Energy Cooperative’s service area with the help of CoBank, a cooperative lender. GLE employees annually participate in a United Way campaign pledging money from their paychecks. For the second year in a row, the employee contributions received a $5,000 matching grant from CoBank’s Sharing Success Program. Since 1999, GLE employees have contributed more than $240,000 to local United Way agencies and charities.


Beene Garter announced the promotion of Steve Johnson from senior manager to partner. Johnson has more than 15 years of experience in public accounting, all of which have been at the downtown Grand Rapids firm.


First National Bank of Michigan announced the promotion of Daniel E. Bitzer to president and senior lender. Bitzer joined FNBM in December 2011, after spending more than 30 years in the commercial lending business in West Michigan. He successfully led the bank’s expansion into the Grand Rapids market, growing that location to more than $100 million in loans and approximately $57 million in deposits.


Grand Rapids company CopperRock Construction has selected Derek Hunderman to lead and support its growth and organizational health.

Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. announced Gary Peasley has joined its Grand Rapids team as a project superintendent. Peasley is responsible for leadership and direction on-site, and his duties include subcontractor management, schedule control, quality assurance and safety management.


Rockford Brewing Co. marked its third anniversary with a celebration in its Public House adjacent to the Rockford Dam. It included the release of its 2015 Belgian Multigrain Anniversary Ale that’s available on tap, in cask and in 750ml Enthusiast bottles.


Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation received a permanent endowment gift of $160,000 from the Dyer-Ives Foundation to support the foundation’s annual Kent County Poetry Competition and fund the Grand Rapids Poet Laureate program. 

The SpartanNash Foundation has donated $5,000 to Access of West Michigan, one of 19 donations the foundation made on behalf of its 19 distribution centers located throughout the United States. During the year, SpartanNash distribution centers donate products to nonprofits working to end hunger and provide shelter.


An appointment process for selecting a new Second Ward representative to replace Mayor-elect Rosalynn Bliss as commissioner is underway. Interested Grand Rapids residents can submit completed applications and résumés to the Clerk’s Office Jan. 4-15.

The Grand Rapids City Commission has approved changing the name of the city’s Wastewater Treatment Facility to the Water Resource Recovery Facility.

Kent County Animal Shelter announced it found homes for a record-breaking 1,028 pets in 2014, due in part to Bissell Pet Foundation’s support. Bissell Pet Foundation’s annual Blocktail party also helped KCAS fund the renovation and redesign of its cat room.

Paul W. Potter, of Grand Rapids, has been appointed to the Michigan Veterans’ Facilities board of managers. He will serve the remainder of a three-year term expiring Feb. 28, 2017.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $2.5 million to housing agencies in Michigan through the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. West Michigan recipients were: $262,000, Grand Rapids Housing Commission; $137,680, Wyoming Housing Commission; and $117,082, Kent County Inc.


Mercy Health andMercy Health Physician Partners announced the addition of Tamer Katamesh, M.D., to Mercy Health Physician Partners – Shoreline Neurosurgical Consulting.

OptiMed Specialty Pharmacy in Kalamazoo received full specialty pharmacy accreditation from URAC, a health care accrediting organization based in Washington, D.C., that assesses quality standards for the health care industry.

Spectrum Health has created the Richard McNamara Cardiovascular Fellowship Program, a three-year program named after a highly respected Spectrum Health cardiologist with nearly 30 years of service to West Michigan. The program initially will serve three new cardiology fellows per year, with the first cohort expected to start in 2017.

Enviah of Grand Rapids announced Lorissa MacAllister has won the New Investigator Research Award from the Center for Health Design’s Research Coalition. Her project, “Improving Patient Satisfaction and Experience through Supportive Design,” builds on her dissertation about how design factors such as room layout predict patient perceptions of physicians and nurses.


Matt Levin has joined First Steps, an independent advocate for strategic early childhood investments in Kent County, as its communications director.


Varnum announced the addition of attorneys Fermin M. Mendez, Maureen E. O'Brien and William L. Thompson as associates. Attorney Matthew T. Anderson has joined the firm’s trial group as an associate.


The David D. Hunting YMCA recently unveiled its new After School Advantage computer lab, made possible by a $20,000 donation as part of a worldwide program implemented by IGT in 1999 to serve at-risk youth in communities where the company does business.


SaboPR has launched a new website that includes a portfolio of its work and a blog found on its Buzz page. Details:


Grand Rapids Fire Chief Laura Knapp announced her plans to retire, effective Jan. 9, 2016, following a 31-year career with the department. She began as a firefighter in 1984, and then earned a series of promotions: lieutenant in 1992, captain in 1995, battalion chief in 1999, deputy fire chief in 2004 and interim fire chief in July 2009 before being promoted to chief in December later that year.


Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. announced it has acquired North American rights from SPCK Publishing to “Being Disciples: How to Stay Spiritually Healthy” by Rowan Williams, a sequel to his “Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer.”


Grand Rapids company Emerald Leisure Source, a supplier of spas, pools and indoor and outdoor recreation items, announced it has expanded its selection to include hot tubs and spa accessories from Sundance Spas.


Registration for the Feb. 19-21 Meijer State Games of Michigan Winter Games is open. Registration information for the 20-plus sports is available at


West Side Iron and Metal announced its intentions to move from its current location at 300 Straight a 26,341-square-foot building currently under renovation at 215 Hall St. that is projected to be ready in the summer of 2016.


Blue Medora announced the availability of its new vRealize Operations Bundle for FlexPod. The company’s software management bundle enables customers to monitor their FlexPod environment through Blue Medora endpoint management packs tailored specifically to the Flexpod integrated architecture.

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