Street Talk

Street Talk: Native son shines

Green fees.

June 28, 2019
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A native son has made his mark on the West Coast, but he hasn’t forgotten about his West Michigan roots.

Vicksburg native Chris Moore made millions in Seattle after founding a company called Concord Technologies that pioneered the “internet fax” concept. He recently was named the winner of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Pacific Northwest region. He also was recognized in the “mold breaker” category for his work with Concord, as well as his involvement as co-founder of Old Stove Brewery in Seattle and the $80 million The Mill at Vicksburg in his hometown.

The development not only remediates a brownfield site and preserves historical buildings, it also fosters job creation and long-term economic stimulation in southwest Michigan.

At the June 14 EY event, Moore thanked his parents for their love and support to help him get where he is. He also acknowledged the award helps recognize a childhood dream of being an entrepreneur: “Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I’ve been able to live my life that way. I’m very appreciative of this recognition of how my life has unfolded.”

The Mill at Vicksburg campus consists of multiple buildings comprising “the mill,” a creek and vacant land spread out over 100 acres around the building. The old mill building is being restored and re-purposed while still preserving the historic architectural character of the structure. Instead of making paper, its 420,000 square feet and grounds will become a mixed-use campus that will include meeting and convention space, multiple indoor and outdoor concert venues, an Old Stove Brewing taproom and brewery, residential and commercial space, outdoor recreation and agribusiness, and a boutique hotel.

Conquer the world

WorldQuest 2019 is in the books, and Steelcase's "Steeling Gold" team powered to victory, ending a streak of WorldQuest wins from the local colleges and universities. Steelcase’s world-aware team members racked up 43 points, meaning they missed just seven of the 50 questions posed across five global categories.

The annual event is hosted by the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan (WACWM), a nonprofit that sponsors 40 programs a year related to global issues, diplomacy and foreign policy.

The academics did not give up without a fight, however, as the Global Knights of Calvin College landed in second with 41 points and a team from the Padnos International Center at Grand Valley State University took third with 40 correct answers.

Rounding out the top five this year were a team of World Affairs Council individual members (the WAC-Es) with 39, and a tie for fifth between Amway and Ferris State University at 38.

In all, 23 teams participated at the 2019 edition of WorldQuest, held at the Eberhard Center at Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus. Teams consisted of six people, who deliberated on each of 50 questions and recorded the team’s vote via remote control devices.

Martha Gabrielse, a JP Morgan Chase executive, and Michael Van Denend, WACWM’s executive director, emceed the event.

An additional award was announced for “Best Team Name,” which went to Warner Norcross + Judd for the second year in a row, this time for “Truth Vader Winsburg.”

“It is fun for us to end a very busy and successful program year with this light-hearted and entertaining event,” said Erica Kubik, WACWM’s director of programming. “With all of the challenges and difficult issues we face globally, everyone enjoys this time of friendly world-knowledge competition, refreshments and networking among other world-interested companies and schools.”

WorldQuest marks the official end of World Trade Week, sponsored by the Van Andel Global Trade Center at Grand Valley State University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service.

Fireworks

The cake at a recent birthday party at Sunset Manor & Villages in Jenison had more than 1,800 candles.

That’s because the third annual Sunset Centenarian Celebration party honored 18 residents who are turning 100 or older this year.

More of Sunset’s residents are “living longer with more fulfilling lives,” said Steve Zuiderveen, president and CEO of Sunset Retirement Communities and Services.

Two years ago, Sunset’s four campuses in Ottawa County combined honored a dozen residents turning 100 or older. Last year, the number climbed to 14.

“Who knows what future years will bring,” Zuiderveen said.

A video at the party captured the voices of those whose histories date back to the horse and buggy days when modern plumbing was scarce, electricity had just come into vogue, and soldiers were just returning from fighting in World War I.

Jake DeWent celebrated his 102nd birthday. Like a lot of his contemporaries, he earned his first dollar working the muck fields of Hudsonville, later earning 75 cents a day as a hired hand for area farmers.

Though he only finished eighth grade, DeWent went on to establish a successful home construction business.

Many of Sunset’s centenarians credit Sunset with providing them a lifestyle of purpose.

“I do think living here contributes to my longevity,” said Hazel Mae Coy, who’ll be 100 in December. “There are so many activities going on here, so you can keep just as busy as you want. I play cards twice a week. And I never miss a Tigers game!”

Ace in the hole

Service Express last month hosted its sixth annual Feed a School for a Year Golf Tournament in Grand Rapids and raised approximately $50,000 to help support kids at or near the poverty line in West Michigan.

The event benefits Kids’ Food Basket by helping the nonprofit send students home with a free, well-balanced evening meal full of nutritious food through its Sack Supper Program. The meals are distributed within classrooms at the end of each school day and during summer programs.

The Sack Supper Program serves children who attend schools where 70% or more of the student population receives free or reduced-cost lunch. It takes around $30,000 to feed one of these schools for an entire year. Currently, Kids’ Food Basket serves 47 local schools through the program, and there are 30 additional schools on the waitlist.

“One in 5 children in Michigan is affected by hunger. We want local students to be able to start their day focused on learning,” said Service Express President and CEO Ron Alvesteffer. “This signature golf event is not only a lot of fun for participants, but the funds raised help meet the nutritional food needs of so many of our kids here in West Michigan.”

Tournament participants enjoyed a variety of competitions in addition to the 18 holes of scramble golf play. Activities included longest drive, longest putt and closest-to-the-pin competitions. An Audi A4 (courtesy of Fox Motors) and $5,000 were up for grabs in the Hole in One challenge.

“Childhood hunger is not fun but changing the world can be. Our communities endlessly amaze me, and I can’t thank all those who participated enough for joining the Feeding A School for a Year Golf Outing. Service Express knows that when children are well nourished, they have the opportunity to succeed in school and life,” said Bridget Clark Whitney, founding CEO of Kids’ Food Basket.

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