Higher Education and Nonprofits

Alumni group produces MSU Means Business

November 17, 2016
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West Michigan Spartans Sparty
West Michigan Spartans is a nonprofit that serves the alumni and friends of MSU and supports the university. Photo via fb.com

An alumni group will host an MSU business event next week — featuring a panel discussion, networking and the group’s Business Person of the Year.

West Michigan Spartans, a nonprofit, will host its 22nd MSU Means Business event on Nov. 21 at the Secchia Center in downtown Grand Rapids, at 15 Michigan St. NE.

There is no cost to attend, but online registration is required.

The event, held in partnership with MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business, will kick off with a panel discussion at 4:30 p.m., followed by hors d'oeuvres, networking and the main program at 5:30 p.m.

The panel will feature Tomas Hult, a professor and director of the International Business Center at MSU, and Jim Teets, president and CEO of Grand Rapids-based ADAC Automotive, as well as other community leaders.

Business Person of the Year

Later in the program, Norman Byrne, founder of Rockford-based Byrne Electrical Specialists, a maker of power and data products, will be honored as the 2016 West Michigan Spartans Business Person of the Year. He will receive the award in recognition of his contributions to West Michigan Spartans.

West Michigan Spartans board member Blake Rosekrans said the award is based on volunteerism and financial contributions.

“He’s done that through his time hosting events and certainly through donating to Michigan State University,” Rosekrans said.

West Michigan Spartans President Elizabeth Burnson said the nonprofit is “excited” about the event.

“It will be a special year honoring Norm, because of his contributions to the West Michigan Spartans and to the Grand Rapids business community,” she said.

Alumni group

West Michigan Spartans was established in 2000 and represents more than 15,000 MSU alumni.

Money raised by the nonprofit throughout the year goes toward Grand Rapids Public Schools, various programs and scholarships at Michigan State University and other community activities. 

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