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Change Ups: JR Automation to build $5.6-million facility

July 15, 2016
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JR Automation

JR Automation Technologies LLC intends to expand in Holland Charter Township with a new $5.6-million facility that will create 250 new jobs in the area over the course of the project. The bulk of the jobs created are in engineering. Since 1980, JR Automation has provided custom automated equipment and services to customers in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical device, pharmaceutical, food processing, construction and more.


Seth Larson has been hired to be the business manager for the Grand Rapids Public Library. Larson previously held accounting positions at the North Carolina Museum of Art and for the town of Morrisville, North Carolina.


The Muskegon Rotary Club announced the installation of President Josh Wallace, McKenzie-Price Agency; board members Kathy Moore, Muskegon County Health Department, and Jane Clingman-Scott, Great Start Muskegon; and Cathy Brubaker-Clarke, city of Muskegon Planning Department.


Ambs Call Center, which has a Grand Rapids-based call center, has been honored with the exclusive 2016 ATSI Award of Excellence by the Association of TeleServices International.

Fleis & VandenBrink’s Process Group Manager Jeff Pugh was named Outstanding Environmental Consultant by the Michigan Water Environment Association. Pugh has been with F&V for five years, was named the process group manager in 2015 and oversees nearly 20 employees at the Grand Rapids office.

JT’s Pizza & Spirits has for the fourth year won a Kent County Health Department Food Safety Award for 2015 for its superior preparation, handling and cleanliness practices.


Mercantile Bank of Michigan announced the addition of Kevin Kelling as a mortgage sales officer to its West Michigan mortgage team. Kelling also serves as president of the West Chapter of the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association.


Spectrum Health and Grand Rapids Community College announced the creation of the GRCC Health Care Professionals Education Scholarship Fund to assist students interested in health sciences or health care careers. The GRCC Foundation will begin making scholarship awards from the fund in the 2017-18 academic year. The amount of each scholarship award will be based on financial need.

Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School is launching a new program called WMU-Cooley’s Center for the Study and Resolution of Conflict that teaches business professionals and law students how to rise above conflict and achieve a “win-win” outcome for them and their clients. It offers seminars and specific undergraduate and graduate-level courses. The center is able to customize courses and seminars as needed by corporations, institutions and government entities. More information


Fleis & VandenBrink has added Rob Berends as a senior project manager and Sam Lipscomb as a lead GIS technician.

Joshua Hunsaker has joined Driesenga & Associates Inc. as an engineering technician in the firm’s Holland-based construction materials testing department. Hunsaker has three years’ experience working for a geotechnical engineering/construction testing company in Poulsbo, Washington. His experience includes working on commercial site development and municipal infrastructure projects.


Hungerford Nichols welcomed Jennifer Onderko as senior manager performing employee benefit plan audits and Steven Brohl as senior accountant joining the tax team. The firm also announced the promotions of Jenn Rogell to manager and April Schulte to senior accountant.


The Ferris Foundation for Excellence announced Archie Manning, a former NFL quarterback and father to Super Bowl-winning passers Peyton and Eli Manning, will deliver the Benefit’s keynote address Nov. 4 at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.

Mary Harper has been appointed to the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s board of trustees, and Dr. Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran retires from the Foundation board, having served since 2007. Wilson-Oyelaran also retired as president of Kalamazoo College.


Allegan General Hospital’s board of trustees has elected Antkoviak & Antkoviak PC partner Matthew Antkoviak to its board.

Dr. Brittany Denison has joined Cascade Hospital for Animals.


The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute has awarded Hope Network president/CEO Phil Weaver the Trailblazer Award in Health & Equity, in recognition of Hope Network’s long standing commitment and dedication to providing services to the Greater Grand Rapids Community.


Debra VanSweden has joined HNI Risk Serves as an account executive in its benefits department.


Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones attorney Mark E. Nettleton has been elected chair of the Public Corporation Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

Miller Johnson’s estate planning group received a Band 1 ranking (1 being highest of 1-5 bands) from the inaugural Chambers High Net Worth Guide. Key individual attorneys were also recognized: Robert Brower at Band 1 and Christopher Edgar and Lauretta Murphy both at Band 2.

The University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center has awarded the 2016 Pamela Pucci Service Award to Varnum LLP attorneys Debbie Palmer, Bonnie Sawusch, Steve Weston and Rick Halpert due to their longstanding commitment and support of the U-M Trauma Burn Center as well as their advocacy for burn survivors.

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP received a Band 1 rating as a law firm, and partners Carl W. Dufendach, Mark K. Harder, Susan Gell Meyers and David L.J.M. Skidmore were recognized as notable practitioners in the inaugural edition of Chambers High Net Worth guide. The law firm also has been recognized by the State Bar of Michigan with a 2016 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence award at the leadership level for its pro-bono contributions.


Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park, a high-ropes and zipline obstacle course at 2121 Celebration Drive NE, announced it is open for its inaugural season. Details:

The Sandy Hansen Shoreline Trail at Millennium Park was recently dedicated. The wetlands boardwalk connects the Hansen Nature Trail to a trail loop surrounding the main lake at the park. Funding for the project was donated in memory of Sandy Hansen, a park supporter who died January 2014.


Columbian Logistics Network announced it hired Hollis Pace as its director of business development.


Nelson Wilner has been named executive director at the engines division of Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA. Wilner has more than 20 years in the marine and recreational vehicle industries, serving with manufacturers of hydraulic, diesel-powered generators and harsh-environment electrical products. He’s also worked in executive capacities in the building products industry and has extensive experience in both consumer and business-to-business activities.

Pro-Vision Video Systems in Byron Center has hired Bill Hale as southwest region manager to its Commercial Group.


Michigan Radio has been recognized with a national Edward R. Murrow Award in the Large Market Radio-News Documentary category for reporter Lindsey Smith’s documentary series “Not Safe to Drink” that traced the history and story behind the Flint water crisis.


Maggie Lancaster has joined the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum as its executive director. Lancaster has been a GRCM volunteer for nearly 14 years, and her background includes working as a history teacher and coach at Jenison High School and women’s basketball coach at Grand Rapids Community College.


Women’s Resource Center has been chosen as one of three organizations in the country to pilot new program strategies to help young people improve their executive function skills through a Developing Executive Function-Skills Building Strategies for Youth & Young Adults grant funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation


Gov. Rick Snyder announced the appointment of Mark Meijer of Grand Rapids to the Great Lakes Protection Fund Board of Directors and the reappointment of Kimberly Kimbrough-Wozniak of Muskegon to the Michigan Board of Nursing Home Administrators.


Sun Title Agency has opened a 3,000-square-foot office that will accommodate as many as six employees at 4600 Ivanrest in Grandville.


AHC+Hospitality has appointed Beau Burnett chef de cuisine of JW Marriott Grand Rapids’ restaurant

The Kent County Health Department announced it has issued 550 Food Safety Awards to 1,750 licensed facilities eligible to receive the award. For more information, visit


Chow Hound Pet Supplies opened its ninth store, at 5811 Byron Center Ave.


Open Systems Technologies announced it is No. 150 in a national IT ranking out of tens of thousands of companies nationwide on technology organization CRN’s 2016 Solution Provider 500 list.


The Detroit Pistons announced the team has named Jon Phelps as general manager and Rex Walters as head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons.


Blue Medora announced the release of the VMware vRealize Orchestrator Plug-in for F5 BIG-IP, which simplifies and automates the process of provisioning BIG-IP software-defined application services and helps organizations to seamlessly provision BIG-IP services as part of the natural workflow of provisioning applications and networks with NSX.


Michigan Festivals & Events Association in Chesaning has launched a new website that provides visitors and members a user-friendly site to explore the festivals and events happening throughout Michigan. For more information, visit

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