Change Ups

Change Ups: Wastewater treatment project spurs new investment, jobs

April 21, 2017
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Fairlife wastewater

A collaborative project between Continental Dairy Facilities LLC and Fairlife LLC will add additional on-site wastewater treatment capacity at Continental’s 100-acre dairy processing plant in Coopersville. Support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the city of Coopersville helped pave the way for the $3.7-million upgrade to move forward. The upgrade will result in $173 million in capital investment and create 52 new jobs. Both companies are expanding operations to include new products and product lines. 


Marcel “Fable” Price was named the Poet Laureate of the greater Grand Rapids area for a three-year term. Selected by the Grand Rapids Poet Laureate Selection Committee, the Poet Laureate is an ambassador for poetry, creating programs and projects to foster the writing and reading of poetry by the public. Price also is known as Fable the Poet and works as a writer, teaching artist, performer and motivational speaker. He is the author of Adrift in a Sea of M&M’s, a collection of poems that navigates through mixed-race issues and mental disorders.


Eastbrook Homes is the recipient of Builder Partnerships’ Lee Evans Award for Management Excellence for 2017, in recognition of its sound management principles.

Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney Company Inc. awarded the J.C. Penney at Greenville West Mall with the Founder’s Award for continually exceeding expectations and achieving results that instill a strong sense of pride among the company’s associate teams and the communities they serve.


Consumers Credit Union was selected as the Best and Brightest Midsize Company in the Nation and a Best and Brightest in Michigan.


Matt Laughlin joined SAHR as president and co-owner at its newest location in Grand Rapids opening in May.

York Worldwide Technologies Inc. in Spring Lake announced it acquired Norton Shores-based Blackline Snow Plows and will operate the company as Blackline Bear LLC.


Miller-Davis Co. in Kalamazoo announced Dan Coffman was appointed chief financial officer as long-time CFO Tom Georgoff transitions to retirement.


The Aquinas College Board of Trustees announced Dr. Kevin Quinn was appointed the eighth president of Aquinas College. President-elect Quinn currently is the dean of the Schneider School of Business and Economics at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. His appointment at Aquinas begins July 1. An inauguration ceremony will take place this fall at a date to be announced later.


Long Road Distillers received the following awards at the American Distilling Institute’s Annual Gala held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland: Best of Class Specialty Spirit, Best of Category, a Gold Medal for Long Road Aquavit, a Gold Medal for Excellence in Packaging for Long Road MICHIGIN and Bronze Medals for Long Road Gin and Malt Whisky.

The Michigan Cider Association with support from Experience Grand Rapids recently held the inaugural Cider Week GR, which brought hard cider makers from around the world to Michigan, the second-largest producer of apples in the U.S., for industry events, an international cider competition, local tap takeovers and a festival on the Blue Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids.

New Holland Artisan Spirits garnered the following awards at the American Distilling Institute’s American craft spirits awards ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland: Silver Medal: Knickerbocker Gin; Silver Medal: Zeppelin Bend, American Single Malt Whiskey; Silver Medal: Freshwater Michigan Rum; Silver Medal: Zeppelin Bend Reserve, American Single Malt Whiskey; Bronze Medal: Barrel Knickerbocker Gin; Bronze Medal: Navy Strength Knickerbocker; Bronze Medal: Blue Haven, Blueberry Flavored Gin; and Bronze Medal: Knickerbocker, Ginger Flavored Gin.


Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office K9’s Andy and Blitz received bullet and stab protective vests from the East Taunton, Massachusetts-based nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s Inc. K9 Andy’s vest is sponsored by Andrew Elliott Rusticus Foundation of Michigan; K9 Blitz’s vest is sponsored by an anonymous donor.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek will provide a three-year $300,000 grant toward the city of Grand Rapids’ Racial Equity Initiative intended to create action steps to increase equitable employment and reduce racial disparities in the city, create a digital Racial Equity Dashboard for community transparency and accountability and identify ways for community stakeholders to work together for communitywide impact.


Proficient Machine and Automation Tool in Byron Center changed its name to Proficient Machine & Automation. Details:


The Children’s Assessment Center of Kent County was designated as a Partner in Prevention, awarded by the international Darkness to Light organization. The prevention program was created as a national standard to help communities take child protection seriously by parents and caregivers to prevent child sexual abuse. 

Kelli Smith joined Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women as business development officer. Her addition will allow GROW to expand the microlending programs, as well as assisting small businesses obtain funding that can be used for marketing, inventory and equipment, and also will allow GROW to further enhance programs for business owners.

The Ottawa County Parks Foundation became an official 501(c)(3) organization and recently launched to the general public. With funding support from the Grand Haven Community Foundation, the all-volunteer board of directors developed a strategic plan and will support the Ottawa Parks Commission.


Sabo PR LLC promoted Brian Greenleaf to senior associate.


Gov. Rick Snyder announced the appointment of Steve Kempker, of Zeeland, to the Mental Health Diversion Council; Trina Edmonson, of Wyoming, and Jennipher Wiebold, of Kalamazoo, were reappointed to the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services; Anthony Chang, of Grand Rapids, was appointed to the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission.


Palio Ristorante, 545 Michigan St., NE, Suite 102, recently opened for business. The eatery features Tuscan-style cuisine, including large pizzas made from an industrial gas-fired stone pizza oven, and a wine and beverage list that includes craft beer, hand-crafted cocktails and extensive wine and grappa lists.


Converged Technology Professionals recently provided members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth a night of fun and sports through the donation of their executive suite at Van Andel Arena to watch the Grand Rapids Griffins take on the Chicago Wolves.


Muskegon County Sustainability Office launched a new website and created a new educational and social media campaign to help provide educational materials and outreach on sustainability and recycling efforts in Muskegon County. Arconic Foundation provided the funding for the project. More information is available at:;;;; and


Nathan Anderle joined Open Systems Technologies’ Grand Rapids office as a Configura consultant.

Blue Medora announced CRN, a brand of The Channel Co., has given Blue Medora a 5-Star rating in its 2017 Partner Program Guide, a definitive listing of partner programs from technology vendors that provides products and services through the IT channel.

Vista IT Group announced it was elevated to Gold Partner status in Lenovo’s new Data Center Group (DCG) channel program.


REMBRANDT revamped its website and launched new social media properties and a comprehensive digital advertising campaign. For more information, visit

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