Health Care and Human Resources

Business Journal names Newsmakers of the Year

February 1, 2019
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Tina Freese Decker
Tina Freese Decker. Courtesy Spectrum Health

The Grand Rapids Business Journal has named its Newsmakers of the Year.

Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health, was honored as the overall Newsmaker of the Year at the Business Journal’s awards breakfast today at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Sixteen category winners also were named at the event.

Freese Decker was appointed president and CEO of Spectrum in July 2018, after working for the organization since 2002. She most recently served as EVP and COO.

Pamela Ries, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Spectrum Health, accepted the award in Freese Decker’s absence.

“I’m just so proud of (Freese Decker), because she really has taken our culture to a new level,” Ries said.

Prior to Freese Decker’s new appointment, Spectrum Health announced plans to acquire St. Joseph-based Lakeland Health system in June. The system encompasses more than 40 locations and over 4,000 employees and 450 providers. The agreement was finalized in October.

Additionally, Spectrum opened a new 24,400-square-foot, two-story integrated care facility that provides primary care, pediatrics, women’s health, radiology, labs and outpatient rehabilitation.

The Newsmakers of the Year by category

Arts & Entertainment

Jori Bennett, ArtPrize

Beverages

Kyle Van Strien and Jon O’Connor, Long Road Distillers

Economic Development

George Haga, Ada Village

Education

Dale Nesbary, Muskegon Community College

Finance

Tom Welch, Fifth Third Bank

Food

David Staples, SpartanNash

Health Care

Tina Freese Decker, Spectrum Health

Law

Floyd Gates Jr., Bodman PLC

Manufacturing

Kevin Lobo, Stryker

Nonprofits

Annemarie Valdez, First Steps Kent

Real Estate/Construction

John Wheeler, Orion Construction

Retail

Rick Keyes, Meijer Inc.

Sports

Russ Hines, River Bank Events and Media

Startups

Katarina Samardzija, Locker Lifestyle

Sustainability

Elissa Sangalli Hillary, Local First

Technology

Michael Rutherford, Rutherford and Associates

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