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From left: Paul Spaude, Borgess CEO; WMU Medical School Dean Hal Jenson; Frank Sardone, Bronson CEO--community partners in medical school initiative.


Michigan Small Business Charts Course for 2012

Lansing – Michigan’s largest advo- cate for small business today announced its top priorities for the coming legisla- tive session which include tight-fisted budgeting, no tax increases, reforms for government pay and benefits and a no- holds-barred defense against the federal health care takeover. “We made good progress last year with some important victories for small businesses, but now is no time for an end- zone dance,” said Charlie Owens, Michigan State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Governor Rick Snyder is set to deliv- er his State of the State Address on January 18, in which he’ll outline his goals for 2012. Owens gave the Governor and the Legislature an “A+” for taking steps in 2011 that will help small busi- ness provide jobs and he is optimistic that small business priorities will be reflected

in the Governor’s 2012 agenda. NFIB’s top priorities for 2012 are:

Keeping the State’s Fiscal House in Order

Michigan now has a real balanced budget that does not depend on tax increases on small business and avoids the one-time fixes and gimmicks used in the past. But vigilance is needed to be certain that runaway spending, and the urge to finance it with new taxes, do not

make a comeback.

Leave the New Corporate Income Tax Alone

Dumping the dreaded Michigan Business Tax (MBT) and replacing it with a new small business friendly Corporate Income Tax is a major victory

for small business, but special interests will be looking for ways to “tweak” the tax and expand the base or raise the rate.

Fighting the Federal Health Care

2 Michigan Small Business Charts Course for 2012 Lansing – Michigan’s largest advo- cate for small

Takeover in Michigan

NFIB will continue to block any attempt to set up a state health care exchange under ObamaCare until the matter of constitutionality of the federal law is decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. NFIB is the only business organi-

zation challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the United States Supreme

Court. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear NFIB’s suit and a decision is expected in June of 2012.

Eliminate the Personal Property Tax

Ending Michigan’s Personal Property Tax (PPT) will be a top priority in 2012 and we look forward to working with the legislature and Governor Snyder to get it done. However, efforts to

eliminate or reduce the PPT by increas- ing taxes on other businesses will not be supported.

Fight for Small Business in the Road Funding Debate

While NFIB members have been opposed to raising the tax on motor fuels for road funding, several different ideas for funding roads have been proposed instead of an increase in the statewide gasoline and diesel tax paid at the pump. NFIB members will be voting on these proposals on the NFIB 2012 State Ballot Survey and the results will be our

marching orders as this debate unfolds in 2012.

Get State Agencies Under Control

Under the previous administration, overzealous state agencies were allowed to run amok and act as an unaccount-

able “shadow legislature” of unelected bureaucrats. Efforts to get these agen-

cies back in check must continue in

Continue Reining in State Employee Pay and Benefits

Recent successes in bringing unre- alistic state employee wages and bene- fits under control are laying the ground- work for a balanced budget for many years to come, but more needs to be done in 2012 to bring public employee

costs in line with those in the private sector.

No More Forcing Small Businesses to Join a Union

Legislation to halt the practice of forcing small businesses and the self employed to join a union because they accept state payments for services needs to be passed in 2012. If this isn’t

stopped now, private businesses and

individuals could be forced to join unions as a condition of receiving state payments for services and goods provid- ed.

Change Michigan's Hostile Labor Climate

For years big labor has pushed an agenda that has chased jobs and oppor- tunity out of Michigan. While 2011 saw substantial progress in rolling back decades of organized labor influence,

more needs to be done in 2012 to uphold employer rights.

Right-to-Work/Prevailing Wage/Project Labor Agreements

Legislation that outlaws sweetheart union-only "Project Labor Agreements" or PLA's was signed into law in 2011. In 2012 Michigan needs new laws to pro- hibit or prevent local minimum or living wage ordinances and to enact a Right to Work law that will end mandatory union membership in “closed shops.” The

state’s Prevailing Wage Law that forces

  • 2012. companies to pay union wages on state financed construction jobs also need to be repealed.

Protect Private Property Rights

Private Property Rights are the bedrock of our free enterprise system and they are always under attack from overzealous government agencies and local government. The fight against laws and regulations that diminish the use and

value of private property will continue in

Prevent Erosion of Liability Reforms in Michigan

In 1995; Michigan enacted some of the most far-reaching reforms in the country to our legal system that turned back the tide of runaway lawsuits and

  • 2012. jury awards. However, in 2012 the trial lawyers and special interests that want Michigan to become another "legal sys- tem lottery" state with large and uncon- trolled jury awards will continue to find ways to chip away at the progress that has been made. Most small businesses cannot afford to play the legal lottery game and NFIB will be working to pro- tect past reforms and implement new ones.

No Services Tax to Fund Overspending

As the state finally brings spending under control and balances the budget without gimmicks, the tax and spend crowd will be looking for more revenue so it can resume spending. A perennial favorite is expanding the sales tax to services. We will be working again in 2012 to keep this idea off the table.


Employers More Optimistic about 2012

Grand Rapids – “Employers are more optimistic about 2012. The 2012 Economic Trends Survey shows employers’ optimism both for the over- all economy as well as their own busi- ness,” according to Maggie McPhee of The Employers’ Association in Grand Rapids, MI. This comprehensive survey of nearly 2,000 organizations reflects a more optimistic view of 2012 by execu- tives across the nation. Interestingly, the results did not vary significantly by

region or state. One positive exception to this is that the local West Michigan data reflects a higher level of optimism regarding both the 2011 and the 2012 economic picture than the national data. Local data reflects 60% (37% national- ly) of respondents felt 2011 was better than 2010, and 44% (32% nationally) expect 2012 to be better than 2011!

Economy & Sales: Optimistic

An impressive 90% of the execu- tives expect the overall economy will be

about the same or better in 2012 com- pared to 2011 (58% about the same, 32% better). Similar to last year, respondents are more confident about their own business outlook than the overall economy. While 32% anticipate the overall 2012 economy will be better than 2011, 67% of business owners expect increases in their own sales / revenue. Not all respondents were quite as enthusiastic with 23% of respon- dents that anticipate flat sales / revenue and 10% that expect a decrease in sales/revenue. Plans for significant new invest- ments in people, facilities and/or equip- ment are split. 51% say they will not make investments while an optimistic 49% of respondents plan investments to improve service capacity and/or rev- enue in 2012.

Job Creation Barriers:

The greatest barrier to job creation, according to executives, is concerns about further economic decline (59%). The next two greatest response groups

said the biggest barriers are limited con- sumer demand (16%) and excessive government regulations (15%).

Staff Size: Growing A Bit

Although 54% of the organizations reporting do not plan to increase the size of their staff in 2012, nearly 36% of the respondents plan to hire addi- tional staff, with most of those expected during the first half of 2012. These results are similar to last year.

Compensation & Benefits Strategies:

Employer confidence has improved over one year ago with 70% of partici- pating organizations actually giving a pay increase in 2011. This is up from the 59% of participating organizations

that planned an increase in 2011. We see a similar pattern for the 2012 fore- cast. Significantly fewer organizations are delaying or freezing wages (14% in 2012 vs. 20% in 2011) and nearly 66% of those surveyed are planning a pay

increase in 2012 – up 7% from 2011. A minority of the organizations surveyed, 35%, froze or reduced pay as cost cutting measures in 2011.

Continued on page 4

3 Employers More Optimistic about 2012 Grand Rapids – “Employers are more optimistic about 2012. The

WMU School of Medicine Continues a Kalamazoo Legacy


Kalamazoo - Western Michigan University's School of Medicine took another major step toward adding to Kalamazoo's life sciences legacy when the University announced in December that the school will be located on the same piece of land where W.E. Upjohn first built his pharmaceutical company. The new private medical school is a partnership between WMU and Kalamazoo's two world-class teaching hospitals, Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare. The location for the school had been a topic of intense community speculation for months leading up to the Dec. 7 announcement that MPI Research of Mattawan would donate a 330,000-square-foot structure in down- town Kalamazoo to become the home for the new school. "The land has a lot of heritage associated with medicine," said MPI






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Contributing Writers: Duane Culver, Peter C. Brown, Adam A. Holland, Sheila Khatri, Mike Malaney

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research chairman and CEO William U. Parfet at an event announcing the gift. "In 1886, my great grandfather moved from Hastings, Mich., to Kalamazoo, Mich., to start the Upjohn Co. and the first piece of land he bought is the land on which this building is located I'm ... proud of that." According to Dr. Hal B. Jenson, founding dean of the WMU School of Medicine, much of what is envisioned for the new school reflects the innova- tion and entrepreneurial spirit of people like Upjohn, who helped make Kalamazoo a mecca for the life sciences long before the industry became a core economic development field for Michigan. Jenson says there's something intangible permeating the city that will give the school and the doctors it pro- duces an edge.

"There's an entrepreneurial spirit

and legacy that permeates all of Kalamazoo," he notes. "The legacy of W.E. Upjohn and Homer Stryker is very deep and very broad. That's unusual to

have such a rich history. Part of that

legacy is an environment where entre- preneurship and discovery can thrive, and it's that spirit of discovery that will lead to the success of the medical school." Jenson is getting used to sharing good news about the progress and momentum of the medical school, which plans to welcome its first class in fall 2014. He actually began his tenure at WMU on March 22, the day WMU President John M. Dunn announced that anonymous donors had committed $100 million to establish the School of Medicine. It was the largest cash gift to a college or university in Michigan's history--and among the 10 largest ever made to an American public university. "It was a great day for Kalamazoo, but it was also a great day for me, per- sonally, to be able to share in the excite- ment. " Jenson says. "That gift really makes the medical school possible." Jenson, who is a specialist in clini- cal infectious diseases and virology, came to WMU from the Tufts University School of Medicine, where he was a pro- fessor of pediatrics and regional dean for that school's Western Campus. He was selected from among some 60 can- didates whose credentials were consid- ered in a national search for a founding dean. In the months since his arrival in

Kalamazoo, Jenson has become an advocate not only for the medical school, but also for the community that is coming together to leverage its her- itage and capitalize on its assets in edu- cation and the life sciences. What he once saw as a three-party partnership involving WMU and its two hospital partners, he now knows has a critical fourth party in the mix--the Kalamazoo community. More than 300 members of that community, including many in the medical profession, are now part of cre- ating the school and are engaged in planning for curriculum, physical facili- ties, library and IT resources, a simula- tion center, student services, business operations, and communications. Under Jenson's guidance, they're working at an accelerated pace to sub- mit accreditation materials to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in the coming weeks, with a goal of securing initial accreditation and welcoming the first class of 40 to 50 students in 2014.

The school is being launched at a time when a physician shortage is looming, when the science of medicine is changing and when the way medicine is taught is about to undergo a revolu- tion. Building a medical school from the ground up has its advantages in such a climate, Jenson says. "We have the opportunity in Kalamazoo to develop a new approach that is based on what the current envi- ronment is, rather than trying to change a medical school that was based on the environment of 15 or 20 years ago," he notes. The curriculum being built focuses on the early introduction of clinical experiences and having students learn to work in interdisciplinary medical teams from their earliest days as care- givers. A research emphasis and the use of simulation technology for training are two additional ingredients that will be part of medical education at WMU.

Employers More Optimistic about 2012

Continued from page 3

Of the organizations that froze or reduced pay in 2011, 29% plan to com- pletely or partially restore pay to some employees in 2012. These increases are in the form of merit, general or cost-of-living adjust- ment (COLA). Of the organizations that froze or reduced pay in 2011, 33% report a continuation of the pay freeze and 39% are uncertain.

More Cost-Cutting

As executives continue to manage their organizations through the chal- lenging economy, 52% plan to trim costs by focusing mainly on lean / process improvement initiatives during 2012. The top cost-cutting measures planned for 2012 are outlined below. It’s significant to note that relatively few

organizations plan layoffs with just 6% of respondents—comparable to 2011 results. Top Cost Cutting Measures for 2012 Measures Percentage • Lean / process improvement initiatives


• Shift a larger percentage of healthcare costs to employees 24% • Layoffs (permanent reduction in staff) 6% • Reduce paid time off benefits (vaca- tions, personal days, etc.) 4% “Interestingly, 39% of respondents have no cost-cutting measures planned for 2012. This is a 5% decrease com- pared to last year’s survey results. It’s not clear if this is a barometer of employers’ optimism or if it is an indi- cator of how lean companies are operat- ing after past cost-cutting measures,” said Maggie McPhee with The Employers’ Association.

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Collecting Change: additions to Michigan’s Business Tax Laws for 2012

By Duane Culver

Michigan has a long history of tax- ing business however with changes being implemented in 2012, many businesses will now be exempt, providing relief from not only a significant financial burden, but also a complex set of rules, forms, and calculations. Michigan businesses were first taxed under the Business Activities Tax (BAT) passed by the Michigan legislature in 1953 with rates that varied from .4% to .75%. This was a Value Added Tax (VAT) rather than an income tax In 1967 the BAT was replaced with a Corporate Income Tax and an Individual Income Tax. Through heavy debate in 1975, a new VAT law was enacted called the Single Business Tax. The tax rate started at 2.35%, but through several adjust- ments was eventually lowered to 1.9%. The philosophy of the SBT was that all businesses would be taxed equally based

on the value that they added to products or of their services Beginning in 1989, small, low-profit businesses were allowed an alternate cal- culation, based on 4% of their profits, including owner compensation. Eventually this was lowered to 3%, then 2%, then 1.9%. This concept is carried over to our new Corporate Income Tax which is effective in 2012. The state replaced the SBT with the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) effective for 2008. Here they combined two taxes, an income tax of 4.95%, and a gross receipts tax of 0.8%.The MBT maintained an alternative calculation for small busi- nesses, and reduced the number of cred- its, but continued to select certain indus- tries for favorable tax treatment and numerous credits. Beginning in 2012, a new Corporate Income Tax (CIT) of 6% will generally replace the MBT. This new law is simpler in many respects: It broadly applies to most industries and it has only one cred-

it, which acts to preserve an alternative calculation of a 1.8% tax for small busi- nesses. The CIT also does not apply to cor- porations which are taxed as S-corpora- tions, nor to Limited Liability Companies (LLC) which file partnership returns or have elected to be treated as an S-corpo- ration. Although the MBT maintains the UBG concepts, businesses which are treated as sole-proprietorships, rental activities reported on federal Form 1040 Schedule E, partnerships, or S-corpora- tions are no longer included in the UBG. These changes introduce some new tax planning opportunities for many busi- nesses. Other rules which carry over from the SBT and MBT to the new CIT include a provision where businesses with annu- al gross receipts of less than $350,000 generally are not required to file or pay the CIT. Some businesses which have been

awarded certain credits under the MBT are eligible to continue filing and paying taxes under the MBT until their credits are used up or expire. The credits do not carry-over to the CIT. If a business expects to owe more than $800 under the CIT, the law requires estimated tax payments be made quarter- ly. The quarterly estimates for 2012 need to be at least 85% of what is expected to be owed each quarter in order to avoid penalties. With the current changes taking place in Michigan’s business tax laws now is the time for Michigan businesses to have discussions with their CPA regarding how they should best position their business to minimize its overall tax burden.

Duane Culver, CPA holds a Master of Science of Taxation degree from GVSU and is the President of Culver CPA Group in Grand Rapids. He can be reached via email at

5 Collecting Change: additions to Michigan’s Business Tax Laws for 2012 By Duane Culver Michigan has

Finance/Insurance Briefs

Grand Rapids – Echelbarger, Himebaugh, Tamm & Co. PC (EHTC), announces the return of Curt A. Reppuhn, CPA to the firm. After a 16- year hiatus, Reppuhn is re-joining EHTC as a Senior Audit Manager. Additionally, Echelbarger, Himebaugh, Tamm & Co. PC, welcomed Jodi L. VanGorp to the firm as an administrative assistant,

Muskegon - Vicki Anderson has joined Lighthouse Group as Title Settlement Closer for their Muskegon location. Jason Fisher has joined Lighthouse Group as a Personal Lines Insurance Agent in our Muskegon location.

Grand Rapids - Price Heneveld® LLP announced the addition of Kathrin Richards as an associate of the firm. Richards’ practice encompasses patent prosecution involving mechanical and chemical issues.

Grand Rapids – Lynn Afendoulis of Universal Forest Products, Inc. has rejoined the board of directors for Legacy Trust and the Legacy Trust Holding Company. Afendoulis, who is the director of corporate communications for Universal, will serve on the 10-mem- ber board of Legacy Trust, an independ- ent, locally owned trust bank that spe- cializes in wealth management.

Equitable Subrogation in Michigan

by Peter C. Brown and Adam A. Holland, Gallagher Law Firm

In December 2011, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an opinion in CitiMortgage, Inc. v MERS, Inc. that addressed and expanded the doctrine of equitable subrogation in Michigan. The Court held that if the refinancing lender is the holder of the original mortgage that is being refinanced, the new mort- gage can be subrogated to take the posi- tion of the original mortgage and it may retain the original mortgage’s priority over intervening mortgages. The doctrine of equitable subroga- tion arises in the following circum- stances:

Borrower grants a mortgage on real property in favor of the original lender, who duly records the original mortgage. Borrower subsequently grants sec- ond mortgage on the same real property in favor of an intervening lender, who duly records its junior mortgage. Borrower subsequently refinances the original mortgage and grants a new mortgage on the same real property, con- temporaneously applying the proceeds of the loan to pay off and discharge the original mortgage. Although this appears to be a tradi- tional refinance transaction, the problem arises when an intervening mortgage is not paid off and discharged. The ques- tion then arises: Does the intervening mortgage have priority or is the new mortgage subrogated to take the priority of the original mortgage? For nearly the last century, Michigan case law has pro-

vided conflicting answers to this ques- tion.

Unlike most jurisdictions, Michigan Courts have rejected the application of equitable subrogation in recent years. However, on December 15, 2011, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an opinion in CitiMortgage, Inc. v MERS, Inc. and held that the doctrine of equi- table subrogation is available and should be applied if the refinancing lender is the same lender that held the original mort- gage before the intervening mortgage arose and the intervening lienholder is not materially prejudiced by the applica- tion of equitable subrogation. Despite the holding in CitiMortgage, it is important to note equitable subroga- tion will not be available to third-party refinancing lenders that have no preex- isting interest in the property. Therefore, before closing a refinance transaction, lenders and their title insurers should be sure to closely examine the title of the subject property to conclusively deter- mine the existence of any intervening liens. If an intervening lien is of record, the intervening liens must be paid off and discharged. However, in light of the Court’s ruling in CitiMortgage, if an intervening mortgage is missed, a refi- nancing lender may have an opportunity to use the doctrine of equitable subroga- tion in certain circumstances to obtain priority over the intervening mortgage.

For more information on equitable

subrogation or for a

copy of the court

case, please contact Peter C. Brown at

GKentwood – Cornerstone Capital Management will merge with Regal Investment Advisors, LLC . Regal Investment Advisors will assume the management of Cornerstone’s $41 mil- lion dollars in assets under management bringing their total AUM to $264 million dollars. The CEO of Cornerstone, James “Marty” Barnes, will head Regal’s new initiative focusing on managing assets for employees of Universities throughout the country.

rand Rapids – Benchmark Litigation, a guide to America's leading litigation firms and attorneys, has listed Varnum as one of the leading litigation firms in Michigan.Benchmark also acknowledges several individual attorneys. Stephen Afendoulis and William Rohn are rec- ognized as "Local Litigation Star" and Ron DeWaard and Brett Rendeiro are recognized as "Future Stars." Of the ten "Future Stars" named, two are Varnum attorneys.

Grand Rapids - Jonathan J. Siebers, a shareholder with the law firm of Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the West Michigan Chapter of the Michigan Business Brokers Association, and Executive Committee for the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s Real Property Section.

Grand Haven – The Business Times of Northwest Ottawa County has selected Jessica DesNoyers , an attorney in Varnum's Grand Haven office, as one of the Top 20 Under 40 Business Leaders in Northwest Ottawa County.

Muskegon – Meggan E. Dyer, an attor- ney for Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, has been selected to participate in NextUp, a course designed for women early in their careers. The program is a leadership development courses offered by the Inforum Center of Leadership, designed expedite learning to achieve success at a job.

Grand Rapids – Varnum attorney Emily Broderick has been selected by Michigan’s Chief Information Officer to serve as a member of the state’s 21st Century Government Advisory Council.

Kalamazoo - Nicholas J. Spigiel has joined the firm of Kreis, Enderle, Hudgins & Borsos, P. C. as an associate in the Portage office. Mr. Spigiel earned his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate from University of Michigan. His prac- tice is focused primarily on civil litiga- tion, creditors’ rights and real estate.

Grand Rapids – Varnum announced that Grand Rapids attorneys Seth Ashby and Gary Mouw have been elected to the partnership. Ashby is a member of the corporate services and business law group. Mouw is a member of the Litigation and Trial Services Practice Group.

Grand Rapids - Scott A. Hughes has become an associate of Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones PLC. Scott practices civil litigation, as well as environmental and energy and natural resources law.

Grand Rapids - Law Weathers has been recognized on Martindale-Hubbell’s national list of Top-Ranked Law Firms.


Rapids – Echelbarger,

Himebaugh, Tamm & Co. announced Margie Gerencer was promoted to Client Services Manager. Gerencer specializes in Tax, Healthcare Services, and Insurance Planning.

Grand Rapids - Nikole L. Canute and Kimberly M. Large have become mem- bers of Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones PLC. Canute practices in the areas of labor and employment, civil litigation, fraud investigation, fraud litigation and securities litigation. Large is a civil liti- gator, with particular emphasis in the areas of employment, trademark and environmental law.

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India – a Gold Rush for American Service Companies

By Sheila Khatri

The Dutch provided key resources to build America’s railroads in the 1800s. A German fur trader became America’s first multimillionaire. A Scotsman built the great steel company that powered America's industrialization in the 1900s. What role will the United States play in India’s rush to modernize? India is a large emerging economy - growing at the rate of a 3.5 million peo- ple annually. Service companies especially should be motivated by the proverbial gold mine India represents. American financial services, tourism, shipping, and insurance are sectors that tend to compete well in inter- national markets. Moreover, the trend indicates serv- ice exports are growing. In India, growth

in U.S. service exports include areas such as: licenses and royalties; manage- ment consulting; travel and education and engineering services for infrastruc- ture projects. One major challenge is determining where there is the most compelling prof- it-motive The Indian government is planning to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure development during the next five years. This could be an opportunity for busi- nesses that provide project management and engineering services, including architecture and design, energy, and intelligent transportation systems. The education sector is also a poten- tial jackpot. India’s higher education sector has more than 26,000 higher edu- cation institutes - higher than any other country (nearly 14,000 more than the U.S.

Opportunities abound for organiza- tions that can help optimize existing capacity; create new institutes, and facil- itate new models for growth. Similarly, aerospace, automotive, education, energy, healthcare, homeland security and retail are fast-growing high- value markets. In addition, India’s manufacturing sector is undergoing a transition, creat- ing opportunities for service companies that support the manufacturing sector. Sophisticated products are displac- ing traditional Indian exports such as leather, gems, and jewelry. Last year there was significant growth in non-fer- rous metals, petroleum products, trans- port equipment, and manufactured met- als.

It’s important to note that India gen- erally operates in a risk averse business climate. Its legal system is grossly back-

logged, and most businesses are family owned. India is a relationship-driven society, doing business with an Indian company is like becoming a part of the family. While there have been a number of big wins for American companies in India, many markets are still evolving as the country is still undergoing modern- ization and economic reforms creating unchartered market opportunities, ideal for companies with a pioneering spirit.

Sheila Khatri is the Founder of Moti International, Inc. which provides employment and incubation services to companies expanding abroad.

Finance/Insurance Briefs

Grand Rapids – The law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP announced that seven attorneys have been named part- ners: Michael J. Jones; Gregory M. Kilby; Jonathan E. Moore; Daniel C. Persinger; Joe Sadler; Dustin H. Shunta; Justin W. Stemple.

Grand Rapids – Warner Norcross & Judd LLP Partner Scott Keller has been elected president of the Community Circle Theatre board of directors.

Holland – Mark K. Harder, a partner with Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, has been appointed to the State Laws Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

Grand Rapids - Independent Bank announced the launch of Independent Mobile , its mobile banking service. Independent Bank offers free mobile banking to customers through April 30.

Grand Rapids - Lighthouse Insurance Group promoted Robert Heintz to Vice President of Benefits and promoted Mike Boros to Vice President of Business Insurance.

Lansing - Jeremy Mertens joined Gallagher & Associates CPAs, PLC as Manager. He is now serving in the foren- sic and valuation services department of the Firm.




Himebaugh, Tamm & Co. PC welcomed Alex Host to the firm. Host is a Staff Accountant working in accounting and auditing areas.

Grand Rapids – The following attorneys

from Varnum’s Grand Rapids office were included in The Best Lawyers in America® 2012: Stephen Afendoulis, Scott Alfree, Jonathan Anderson, Thomas Bergh, Lawrence Burns, Jon Bylsma, Timothy Curtin, Nyal Deems, Jeffrey DeVree, Ronald DeWaard, Timothy Eagle, Bruce Goodman, Dirk Hoffius, Scott Huizenga, David Khorey, Harvey Koning, Randall Kraker, Thomas Kyros, Richard Lague, Marilyn Lankfer, Michael McElwee, James Mitchell, Daniel Molhoek, Lawrence Murphy, David Preston, William Rohn, Elizabeth Skaggs, Richard Symons, Fredric Sytsma, Larry Titley, Pamela Tyler, Joseph Vogan, John White, Michael Wooldridge, Susan Wyngaarden, Matthew Zimmerman.

Grand Rapids - Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge announced Joseph E. Belsito has been named a new shareholder of

the firm and the 2012 board members:

Ronald A. Schuknecht; Peter J. Boyles; Cindy C. Boer; Charles F. Behler; William L. Henn; William J. Hondorp; Todd W. Millar.





Macatawa Bank








responsibility is to assist clients with





insurance needs.


Grand Rapids - Mary Bauman of Miller


was recognized











Grand Rapids – Perficient, Inc. announced its expansion to Western Michigan, establishing a business-tech- nology consulting team in the Grand

Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing area.

Lansing - Foster Swift Collins and Smith, PC announced the election of three new shareholders: Thomas TerMaat; Jennifer Van Regenmorter; Sam Frederick.

Grand Rapids – The Right Place announced the following appointments to its board of directors for 2012: Brian Donovan; Terry Frewen; Bob Roth; Robert C. Shaver; Blake Krueger. The following current board members were reappointed for an additional three-year term, beginning January 2012: Doug

7 India – a Gold Rush for American Service Companies By Sheila Khatri The Dutch provided

Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly Coming to Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo – Providing high quality medical care and social support for low- income elderly patients living at home is the objective of the Program for All- Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE), recently approved by the State of Michigan to operate in Kalamazoo County. PACE is a unique capitated managed care program that provides community- based care and services for frail elderly who may otherwise need nursing home care. PACE provides comprehensive medical and social services for persons eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, in an adult day care setting, supplemented by in-home and referral services in accordance with each individ- ual’s needs. Currently, there are about 80 PACE programs in the United States of which four are based in Michigan – Battle Creek, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Muskegon. In addition, there are two other programs being started in Berrien and Washtenaw Counties. Due to efforts over the last two and a half years by Kalamazoo PACE Stakeholders, an advo- cacy group of area senior care leaders, Kalamazoo will become the seventh com- munity to offer this comprehensive approach to elder care in Michigan. The Kalamazoo PACE Stakeholders

group is a collaborative comprised of representatives from Bronson Methodist Hospital; Senior Services of Southwest Michigan; Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan; Area Agency on Aging IIIA; Heritage Community; Family Health Center; Western Michigan University; Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies; Ecumenical Senior Center, Kalamazoo Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services; and CentraCare, Inc. Jean Maile, Chief Executive Officer, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, says, “As we came together seeking the best way to meet the needs of seniors in our community, we discovered that for many people with complex, chronic care needs, PACE is an optimal model of care. Having every aspect of care coordinated in one place really helps seniors stabilize their health and allows them to continue living at home for as long as possible. That equates to a much better quality of life.”

Denise Crawford, President and CEO, Family Health Center, adds, “Bringing PACE to Kalamazoo is an important step toward collaborative health management of this area’s high risk, low income, elder population. PACE complements the work we are doing at the Family Health Center for low income individuals of all ages and will certainly

New Technology for Patients with PAD

Wyoming – During the last quarter of 2011, Metro Health Hospital debuted three new devices that could expand the range of treatment options and provide better outcomes for patients with periph- eral arterial disease, or PAD. In late-December, Metro Health physicians were the first in the nation to use the Chocolate PTA balloon catheter by TriReme Medical, Inc. The Chocolate PTA is used to treat complex arterial blockages during the process of plaque removal. In mid-December, Metro Health became one of the first hospitals in the country to utilize the TruePath CTO device by Boston Scientific. The TruePath utilizes a diamond-coated tip to remove dangerous plaque build-up from peripheral arteries. In mid-November, Metro Health became the first hospital in West

Michigan to use the Xience Prime™ drug-eluting stent by Abbott to treat lesions in legs by opening blocked blood vessels. The device features an innova- tive design that is longer than other stents on the market and designed to use below the knee, where vessels are typi- cally smaller. That marks four times in 2011 that Metro Health’s interventional cardiovas- cular team has been either the first in the nation or the first in the region to debut a new, innovative surgical device shortly after being awarded approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, In March, Metro Health became the first hospital in the world to use Cardiovascular System’s Stealth 360°™ Orbital PAD System, a minimally inva- sive catheter device used in arteries to remove plaque and restore blood flow to unhealthy and at-risk tissue.

help many seniors achieve safe, healthi- er living in the familiar surroundings of their own homes.” Robert W. Littke, President and CEO, Senior Services of Southwest Michigan, says, “Senior Services of Southwest Michigan is delighted to be a primary partner in bringing this impor- tant program to our area. As the area’s largest provider of services to older adults we see a significant number of people who could benefit from PACE and we are confident that this model will enhance the continuum of care offered in our community". The Kalamazoo PACE program will be operated by CentraCare, Inc., a non- profit community corporation that has successfully managed a PACE program in Battle Creek since 2009. Rod Auton, Executive Director of CentraCare, says, “We are honored to work with the Kalamazoo PACE Stakeholders to bring this life-changing program for seniors and their families in Kalamazoo. We’ve seen firsthand the positive impact PACE has had in Calhoun County and look for- ward to working with Bronson and other care providers in Kalamazoo County to implement this unique care solution.” In Battle Creek, hospital length of stay for PACE participants is down to 3.8 days compared to the state average of 4.6 days for the dual eligible (Medicare and Medicaid) population. The 30 day hospital readmission rate for PACE par- ticipants is 8.3% compared to 22.0%. Next month, CentraCare will begin redeveloping a 16,000 square foot facili- ty at 445 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Kalamazoo with tentative plans to open it in January, 2013. CentraCare expects to hire 65-70 employees to staff the Kalamazoo site which will have the capacity to serve 225 PACE participants. To qualify for the program, individ- uals must be at least 55 years old, live in Kalamazoo County, certified as eligible for nursing home level of care, and

deemed safe to live at home with the help of PACE services. Typical PACE services include:

Adult day care with nursing; physi- cal, occupational and recreational thera- pies; meals; nutritional counseling; social work and personal care Medical care provided by a PACE physician familiar with the history, needs and preferences of each participant Home health care and personal care All necessary prescription drugs Social services Transportation Medical specialists such as audiolo- gy, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, and speech therapy Respite care Hospital and nursing home care when necessary PACE providers receive monthly Medicare and Medicaid capitation pay- ments for each eligible enrollee, and they assume full financial risk for partici- pants' care without limits on amount, duration, or scope of services. The collaboration and coordination intrinsic to this model of care is what makes the program so successful. According to Rhonda Yellig, Administrative Director of Senior Adult Services at Bronson, “There is currently no service in Kalamazoo that takes such a comprehensive approach to care. But we know from the experience of other communities, and from what CentraCare has achieved in Battle Creek, that the approach works. By bringing all neces- sary resources together and smoothing out transitions of care, better health out- comes can be achieved and expenses reduced as the need for emergency serv- ices and hospital readmissions can often be avoided. PACE is a proven program and we expect it to be a valuable addition to our community.”

88 Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly Coming to Kalamazoo Kalamazoo – Providing high quality

Ferris to Officially Open Pharmacy Learning and Research

Grand Rapids – Ferris State University’s presence in Grand Rapids continues to grow with the grand open- ing celebration for its College of Pharmacy Center for Innovational Learning and Research on Friday, Feb. 3. The new facility, located at 25 Michigan in the heart of Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile, supports the College of Pharmacy’s curriculum, which emphasizes early opportunities to experience professional practice. “When people think of Ferris, they think of Pharmacy. It’s hard to walk into a pharmacy in Michigan and not find a Ferris graduate,” said Ferris President David Eisler. “We are very excited about the opportunities for collaboration with the Van Andel Institute, the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion, the entire Spectrum Health System and others. The dedica- tion will be a great day for Grand Rapids and a great day for Ferris State University.”

9 Ferris to Officially Open Pharmacy Learning and Research Grand Rapids – Ferris State University’s presence

“We want to be near those other health care professionals so as to realize the benefit of inter-professional educa- tion,” said Steve Durst, College of Pharmacy dean. “This center will allow us to concentrate our activities in one location that is a nexus for health care research and practice.”

Ferris is home to the state’s only college of pharmacy outside of metro Detroit and has been graduating phar- macists since 1896. College of Pharmacy graduates play an important role in the profession in Michigan. The Michigan Pharmacy Association’s chairman, presi- dent-elect and eight of nine MPA board members hold degrees or certificates from Ferris’ College of Pharmacy. Collaboration between the College of Pharmacy and Grand Rapids’ health care community was taking shape even before the college began using the 25 Michigan space in January. Ferris’ Pharmacy faculty and students have been working with Cherry Street Health Services on a project to improve the health of patients with multiple chronic conditions, such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. The program has been successful in helping three- quarters of patients with uncontrolled hypertension reach their treatment goals, and has helped others make significant progress. Since as little as 5 percent of patients may account for half of all health care costs, such initiatives improve individuals’ quality of life and organizations’ cost-effectiveness. Ferris’ move to expand learning and research in Grand Rapids will facilitate collaborations, create fresh opportunities

for students and add a depth of pharma- ceutical knowledge to the range of health care expertise contained in the Medical Mile.

“Until now, pharmacy really hadn’t really been represented on the Medical Mile, so when you look at completing the range of health care programs, this is a critical addition for a health sciences cor- ridor,” Durst said. “We want to be near those other health care professions to enhance faculty and student interac- tions, and ultimately best serve the patient.” George Heartwell, mayor of the city of Grand Rapids, is excited about the grand opening and the commitment Ferris State University has to the region. “Ferris State University’s commit- ment to Grand Rapids’ expanding health sciences sector, by opening the College of Pharmacy Center for Innovational Learning and Research here, is yet more evidence of the strength of this public/public partnership,” he said. “I welcome the College of Pharmacy and look forward to future collaborations with Ferris.” The new facility contains class- rooms, a computer laboratory, office space for up to 15 faculty and staff mem- bers, conference rooms and a student lounge. Students will have 24-hour access to the resources of facility. The facility was designed by URS Corporation and furnished by Custer, both of Grand Rapids. Construction was handled by the Christman Company of Lansing. Ferris’ downtown Grand Rapids presence will be expanded this spring when renovation of the historic Federal Building is completed to provide much- needed classroom, gallery and office space for the rapid growth of the univer- sity’s Kendall College of Art and Design. The university also has a strong educa- tional partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, where more than 20 degrees are offered.

Health Care Briefs

Grand Rapids– David Ottenbaker, MD, was named associate chief medical offi- cer for Spectrum Health Medical Group.

Wyoming – The Metro Health Hospital Foundation announced the election of new officers: Carol Karr; Mike Damstra; John Van Singel; Steve Klotz. Additionally the Foundation has approved over $37,000 in grants to sup- port services provided by the Hospital.

Kalamazoo – Bronson Internal Medicine Associates welcomed Madhu Batchu, MD, to their team. She special- izes in preventive care, health education, and chronic disease management.

Kalamazoo – Bronson LakeView Family Care Suite welcomed, Jeffery Libra, MD to their team. Dr. Libra’s spe- cialties include geriatrics and chronic disease management. Wyoming – Metro Health Hospital has received the Silver Performance Achievement Award from the American College of Cardiology Foundation for commitment and success in implement- ing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients.

Grand Rapids - Bob Nykamp, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, was elected to the board of trustees of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems.

Wyoming – Metro Health Hospital received the Primary Stroke Certification from Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP). Metro Health earned the certification after HFAP conducted a review of their stroke program.

Kalamazoo – Bronson Methodist Hospital was recognized as a 2012 Distinguished Hospital for Clinical

Excellence™ . The distinction places Bronson among the top five percent of hospitals in the nation for clinical quali- ty for the fourth consecutive year.

Grand Rapids - Leisha J. Cuddihy, Ph.D., F.L.P., a fully licensed psycholo- gist, has recently joined Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in the behavioral medicine department. Her specialty is behavioral sleep medicine. She’s the only professional in Grand Rapids to offer these services.


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Michigan Concrete Association to hold Winter Conference and Workshop in Grand Rapids

By Jeremy Martin

The Michigan Concrete Association considers its main goal to help in ‘grow- ing and maintaining a healthy concrete industry.’ Part of that means following new MDOT specifications on concrete quality and assurances, such as were imple- mented at the end of 2011. It also means finding innovative approaches to paving issues like finding eco-friendly concrete blends that are more pervious to rain fall or creating progressive methods of cold weather paving; a topic well discussed among Michigan contractors. But another factor in growing and maintaining the industry is bringing all interested parties together for some good old fashioned face time. Tuesday February 14th and Wednesday February 15th will be dedi- cated to the latter as the MCA will be hosting its annual Winter Conference and Workshop at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids. Billed as a ‘comprehensive training program tailored to address the demand-

ing and evolving issues confronting the concrete industry,’ the intensive two day retreat will allow members of the indus- try to network, share new and innovative ideas and come together to decide the future of the profession. “The industry is facing unprece- dented times. High quality and efficient operations are critical survival tools. From techniques to advanced strategic planning, this concrete conference and workshop has something for everyone,” the MCA website states. The educational portion of the con- ference will begin in earnest following an MCA board meeting, a workshop signup session and the welcoming addresses. With the niceties completed day one will be broken into two major categories with workshops, speakers and demon- strations focusing on aggregates during the first session and air quality during the second. The second day will feature a more general conglomerate of topics including; concrete durability, environmental issues, finishing and a discussion of the newly minted MDOT specifications.

“This year’s conference and work- shop will focus on fostering a greater understand of the concrete construction processes necessary in the construction of durable concrete products,” the MCA website states. Dr. Peter Taylor, director of the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center and Dr. Thomas J. Van Dam, prin- cipal engineer of the CTL group will be the featured speakers at this year’s con- ference. Dr. Taylor, an expert on the deterio- ration of joints in concrete pavement and Dr. Van Dam who specializes in pave- ment design, evaluation, materials assessment and sustainability will be around throughout the convention to answer questions and be of service to individuals in need of information. Beyond lecture and networking opportunities, the convention will also feature an exhibition hall where industry professionals will be allotted space to showcase their ideas, innovations and products. The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel will also host the 2012 MCA awards lunch

and annual membership dinner. Registration for the event can be completed through Fees for attending the workshop and confer- ence are $325 for MCA members, $400 for non members and $300 for govern- ment employees working for MDOT or at the city or county level. Or for those looking only to attend either the awards lunch or annual din- ner; tickets may be purchased for $50 and $75 respectively. Opportunities to register for the event, purchase exhibition space or donate sponsorship money can also be found at on the MCA website. Individuals nationwide from all facets of the industry are invited to attend the event. As the MCA website states: “the Winter Conference and Workshop is structured to meet the needs of every participant. From basic construction practices to strategic management strate- gies, attendees will gain a better under- standing of concrete design and practices that lead to sound decisions in the ?eld.”

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The Worst is Behind the Commercial Real Estate Market, Improvements Ahead in 2012

Grand Rapids – The worst is finally behind West Michigan’s commercial real estate market, which can expect to see continued improvement in 2012, accord- ing to an industry forecast released by Colliers International | West Michigan. The largest commercial rest estate firm in West Michigan sees 2012 as a year of increased demand, improved confidence and greater activity for the office, industrial, retail and investment sectors. With the “worst of the down- turn in our rearview mirrors,” Colliers anticipates continued growth – albeit slow in some markets – for commercial real estate in Grand Rapids, Holland and Kalamazoo. Colliers released its 2012 West Michigan Commercial Real Estate Forecast Report, a 16-page proprietary, locally generated, detailed analysis of the region during its annual breakfast meet- ing. Now in its 10th year, the event attracted more than 500 business, gov- ernment and community leaders who gathered to hear a comprehensive review of the 2011 commercial real estate mar- ket, as well as a forecast of market con- ditions for 2012. “West Michigan had a lot going for it in 2011: Growth in population, drop in unemployment and improved consumer

confidence,” said Derek Hunderman, vice president and managing partner of Colliers International | West Michigan. “We were also named the second best place to live by RelocateAmerica. Our side of the state has led the recovery of Michigan – and that has continued to be good news for the commercial real estate market. “We have definitely turned a signif- icant economic and real estate corner and finally have begun our recovery. This will be a long and potentially drawn-out process, but our region’s fundamentals are strong and trending in the right direction.” Highlights of the report, which is available in its entirety to the media, include:

Industrial: 2012 is a year to rebuild reputation and perception. Building owners will choose to be cre- ative with what they have rather than look to build or buy new space. • The just-completed year was a time when market perception trailed reality • Users and investors were cautious in 2011, causing an “under-rated recovery” for the industrial segment • Three quarters of 2011 saw positive absorption of more than 500,000 square feet, including deals involving

Construction Briefs

Grand Rapids - First Companies, Inc. sold 28,000 square feet of industrial space to the buyer Applied Imaging for the expantion of local business by adding room for continued growth.

Plymouth - Joseph Konrad joined Professional Service Industries, Inc.

(PSI) as Environmental Services Department Manager. PSI is an inde- pendent engineering and testing firm.

West Michigan - Signature Associates negotiated the lease of 3,600 square feet of industrial space to JRuiter, LLC for the landlord Georgetown Pine Ridge, LLC, 5,831 square feet of industrial space for the landlord, IPTV-B-C31, LLC to Rollie William Paint Spot and the sale of a 24,480 square foot building for the seller, LN Real Estate, and the buyer, Edward Spyker Properties, LLC.

Grand Rapids – Rockford Construction, and retail incubator, Shops @ Monroe Center & Division, host a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ceremony marks the com- pletion of the retail incubator. MoDiv tenants include: Wolverine Company Store; Haworth Interphase; bokay by Eastern Floral; KITCHEN Sinc; 6.25 Paper Studio; Chai Boutique; Sofia Bella Couture; Vue Design; C-Prime.

Lumberman’s, ATEK Medical, Lacks Enterprises, Lighthouse Foods and R.L. Plastics • That trend has likely ended – at least temporarily – as Amway vacates a large facility in Grand Rapids • The demolition of the former General Motors Plant on 36th Street will make way for approximately 2 million square feet of new, advanced manufacturing space • “Trophy” Class A properties will con- tinue to trade at a premium, while “train wreck” Class C properties will get much less attention Office: Panic is over, but 2012 will look a lot like 2011: Continued flight to quality properties, more interested in downtown and little new construction. • Market is more predictable today than in the last few years • Tenants have flocked to newer, better spaces at less expensive rates than in previous years • Noteworthy leases in 2011 included BDO Seidman, Smith Haughey and Deloitte in downtown Grand Rapids, with new ground-up construction projects for Farmer’s Insurance and Gordon Food Service • The third quarter of 2011 saw the best absorption rate in four years • The suburban office market should continue to see a slow but steady decrease in vacancy rates with improved absorption and slightly increased rental rates. • While rental rates are below historic highs in downtown Grand Rapids, vacancies continue to decrease and rates have stabilized • New office development projects will break ground in 2012, but will be fairly limited Retail: The future is brighter in 2012: Retailers may be done sitting on the sidelines and ready to jump into Grand Rapids. • Historically active markets on 28th Street and Alpine Avenue were contin- ued success stories in 2011

• Landlords are giving fewer incentives due to their economic struggles, which will keep rates stable and low • New retailers and restaurants in 2011 included PF Changs, Smash Burger and Anthropologie • In 2012, CenterPointe Mall will begin a two-year “de-malling” process to trim excess space, consolidate current tenants and add new ones • The former X-Rite headquarters in Grandville will be transformed into a mixed-use retail and office center anchored by Target • Look for new legislation that will make it difficult for online retailers to avoid paying sales tax Investment: Healthier transaction volumes in 2012, with fewer distressed sales and a return to the more tradition- al arm’s length relationship between buyer and seller • In 2011, West Michigan saw a higher percentage of distressed and bank- owned transactions than in previous years • Overall, the market was brighter due to financing availability, seller confidence and investor interest • But prices remained below the average of five years ago due to the higher per- centage of distressed assets on the mar- ket • Recovery in this sector will continue in 2012, spurred by historically low interest rates • Multi-family housing will continue to be the most active property type in 2012 as consumers show continued interest in renting – particularly in urban environ- ments • The industrial segment of this market will continue to strengthen next year, even though office investments remain solidly focused on value-added transac- tions • We anticipate a handful of high-quali- ty, high-profile, lender-owned pieces of real estate will trade hands during 2012.

Holland - Elzinga & Volkers received national recognition for being one of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the country. The information is compiled by the National Association for Business Resources for the organi- zation is 101 Best and Brightest Companies To Work For.

Grand Rapids – The U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter announced the results of its

board officer elections: Kris Ford; Steve Hassevoort; Cheri Holman; Victor Tvedten; Earl Eddy; Lynda Boomer; Scott Veine; Dennis Bekken; David Rinard; Renae Hesselink.

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12 Construction Briefs Rockford - Pathway Homes announced its expantion of its building operations into the
Construction Briefs
Rockford - Pathway Homes announced
its expantion of its building operations
into the Rockford area and is subcon-
tracting 50-70 different home building
jobs for industry tradesmen.
Grand Rapids – Progressive AE
announced that Jim Zwolensky, AIA,
LEED AP has joined the firm as Client
Leader/Senior Project Manager.
Greensville – The Electric Professor
announced the launch of www.theelec- as a way to find infor-
mation about electrical safety and home
improvement tips.
Grand Rapids - Signature Associates has
Dearborn - Khalil S. Taraman, PhD,
President of the SME Education
Foundation Board of Directors, com-
pleted his three-year term on December
31, leaving with accolades and thanks
from board members, donors and indus-
try partners. An announcement of the
new board will be made in January 2012.
• the sale of a 3,120 square foot retail
building located at 1144-1146 Wealthy
Street, Grand Rapids for the tenant,
Grand Rapids - Signature Associates has
Marogil Family, LLC.
• the sale of a 2,300 square foot retail
building located at 11817 US 23 South,
Ossineke to Wish Wash, LLC for the sell-
er, Independent Bank.
• the sale of an 18,920 square foot retail
building located at 2031 28th Street SW,
Wyoming to Lynden Sports Center, LLC
for the seller, Nusbaum Berlin &
• the lease of 9,600 square feet of indus-
trial space located at 5801 Weller Court,
Wyoming for the tenant, Honeywell
International, Inc.
• the sale of a 3,129 square foot serv-
ice/retail building located at 5 S.
Beechtree Street, Grand Haven to Steel
Horse Motorcycle Company for the sell-
er, Coastal Real Estate Holdings, LLC.
• the sale of a 25,608 square foot indus-
trial building located at 433 Crofton
Street SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan to
Building 433, LLC for the seller, Carl L.
Martin Trust.
• the lease of 3,200 square feet of indus-
trial space located at 1864 Pine Ridge
Drive, Jenison, Michigan for the land-
lord, Georgetown Pine Ridge, LLC and
the tenant, Lazy Man’s Boilers, Inc.
• the sale of a 19,004 square foot indus-
trial building located at 1380 Belfield
Street SW, Wyoming, Michigan for the
seller, Mechanical Finishing, and the
buyer, Reliance Finishing.
• the lease of 20,064 square feet of Class
A office space located at 333 Bridge
Street NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan for
the tenant, New York Life Insurance
Ann Arbor – Hobbs+Black Associates,
Inc. as architect and designer announce
the award of the Honor Award for
Interior Architecture from the American
Institute of Architecture Huron Valley
Chapter. Hobbs+Black won the Honor
Award for the 142,000 sf., $16.1M
Masco Cabinetry Corporate Office in Ann
Arbor, Michigan.
Grand Rapids - Vos Glass, Inc. wel-
comes Denise Volpe to its accounting
team. Volpe has extensive construction
accounting knowledge bringing nearly
25 years work experience to the firm.
Grand Rapids – DK Security announced
that they were awarded a contract with
the State of Michigan to provide armed
security services at six military installa-
tions including Camp Grayling, Selfridge
Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek
Air National Guard Base, Ft. Custer
Training Center, Joint Forces
Headquarters and Grand Ledge Army
National Guard Base. DK hired over 100
Michigan employees to provide an esti-
mated 3,000 weekly hours in armed
security services for this five year, $15
million contract.

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inbox daily with breaking business news from West Michigan,

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Toying with New Ideas: A Profile of Clark Communications

By Jeremy Martin

Craig Clark owner of Grand Rapids based Clark Communications views his work in the public relations field in a whimsical and metaphoric way. He likens PR to a ‘slinky’ the cher- ished children’s toy. “To Clark Communications, a ‘Slinky’ is somewhat like public rela- tions; it can be fun and rewarding when used correctly, or frustrating and chal- lenging when not applied appropriately. And, just like your public relations efforts, a ‘Slinky’ will just sit there and do nothing if you don’t give it the correct push. Additionally, the interconnected coil in our logo represents how all com-

munications tactics must work together to provide a complete communications solution,” Clark said. The idea of all parties working together, towards a common goal has been key to not only Clark’s success but to the success of all the clients the firm represents. But so has Clark’s belief that even good ideas need be nudged forward before they can gain momentum. “We are regularly asked by compa- nies and organizations to help ‘launch’ a product, service or similar offering using media relations tactics. Additionally, we help our clients find authentic ways to connect with their key audiences using community relations tactics such as

Education Briefs

Big Rapids – Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees, trustees authorized a $200,000 budget increase for the cam- pus relocation and expansion of the nationally-renowned Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. The revised project cost of $1.3 million will provide much-needed space to house a 9,000- piece collection of artifacts used to teach students and others across the country about race and intolerance.

Big Rapids – Ferris State University has named Nancy Hogan, a professor of Criminal Justice and the C.J. graduate program coordinator at Ferris, as its new graduate education coordinator. She will begin her new duties in January 2012.

Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) joined a statewide grant program to help growing companies obtain services designed to leverage business develop- ment and job growth. The Business Accelerator Fund will allow MAREC to identify and enable qualified Michigan companies in high-priority sectors to pursue business development grants.

Big Rapids – Ferris State University is reporting positive enrollment numbers for the Spring 2012 Semester. Ferris’ student population increased 1 percent. The majority of the growth for the spring semesters is in online education where the number of students has increased from147 to a total of 789.

Flint – Baker College appointed Beth Nuccio as Baker College System director of career services. She is responsible for establishing and ensuring the early and comprehensive integration of career services into each student's academic experience.

Muskegeon - Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and

Grand Rapids – The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs has announced that a Fulbright Specialist Grant Candidacy has been awarded to Davenport University Professor of Management Dr. Jack D. Cichy, CM.

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event sponsorships, community involve- ment and unique networking events,” Clark said. Clark himself knows a thing or two about getting an idea off the ground. In 2005 after working ten years in the PR field for various Grand Rapids firms, Clark found himself downsized for the third time in a decade and began considering starting his own company. “Although I loved public relations, I didn’t love getting unexpectedly laid off, so I decided to be my own boss. I had learned a lot about how to run a consult- ing firm thanks to my time working for Mike McCarthy, a principal at DDM Marketing and Communications, and I learned so much about business devel- opment by observing my dad work from home in his years in industrial sales,” Clark said. With past experience as a guide, Clark and his wife pooled ‘about six months’ worth of their savings and entered the public relations field with a startup company holding a fresh per- spective on how to do business. Clark Communications is not your typical brick and mortar operation. Though it does have a small full time staff, Clark fills the majority of its needs with private consultants that are hired on a case by case basis to work with clients. “Although we employ staff we pre- fer to bring in independent practitioners who work as part of our team. The ben- efit is for my firm, the contractor and the client. The benefit to Clark Communications is that we are not carry- ing a lot of overhead expense associated with having full-time staff, and we can select the right consultant for the job based on personality, skill and billing rate,” Clark said. He explained that the consultants, though not full time employees do receive “steady contract work and the client gets the best talent for the job, not just an agency staffer that is in need of billable hours.” Because of the way it handles clients and consultants on a case by case basis, Clark has deemed his firm a ‘vir- tual public relations agency’ Though using the ‘virtual’ tag may sound a bit cold or distant, Clark Communications actually prides itself on being a locally owned, readily available, independent company; a company

Craig Clark
Craig Clark

whose aim is to not only give a boost to good ideas, but to give a boost to its community as well. “We are different than a lot of our competitors as we are intentionally small and prefer to focus on working with locally-owned businesses. We are also unique in that we have a 10% corporate tithing program. In 2012 we have pledged to donate 10% of our firm’s rev- enue to helping emerging entrepreneurs that are coming out of the Heartside District’s missions,” Clark said. Though Clark Communications is toying with the idea of hiring a senior level consultant, it none the less intends to remain small and community oriented; no matter how large its clientele, or the community around it grows. Clark Communications can be con- tacted at http://www.clarkcommunica-


Clean Car Standards are a Win for Michigan

Grand Rapids, MI—New clean car standards proposed by the Obama administration will save the average Michigan family $240 at the gas pump by 2030 and bring thousands of jobs to the state, according to an analysis out- lined today by Environment Michigan and allies. The report, from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council, was outlined just days before Detroit is set to host one of three national public hearings on the new proposed clean car standards. “By moving ahead with the strongest possible clean car standards, the Obama administration is poised to help move our country away from oil, save Michigan residents money at the gas pump, and cut dangerous carbon pollution,” said Emily Heffling, Field Organizer with Environment Michigan. The analysis found that the new

proposed standards for cars and light trucks would, by 2030, save Michigan residents $976 million annually at the pump, cut oil use in the state by 622 mil- lion gallons, and reduce global warming pollution by over 7 million metric tons. "The BlueGreen Alliance supports efforts to make the vehicles we drive more efficient, both for creating good jobs and reducing pollution," said Sue Browne, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. "The jobs we create manufacturing cleaner vehicles and the components for them are good, green jobs—these new fuel efficiency standards will create nearly 23,000 of good, green jobs right here in Michigan." The Obama administration pro- posed the standards in November of 2011. The standards would ensure that new cars and light trucks meet the equivalent of a 54.5 miles-per-gallon

$77 Million in Transportation Grants

Washington DC - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today $77 million in grants to 22 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) to advance research and educa- tion programs that address critical trans- portation challenges facing our nation. The UTCs, which are located throughout the United States, conduct research that directly supports the priorities of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the participating universities are a critical part of our national transporta- tion strategy. “Transportation matters in every- one’s daily life. These research centers will help us solve the transportation challenges we face today and those that we know lay ahead of us,” said Secretary LaHood. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), which administers the UTC program, used a competitive selection process to select ten University Transportation

Centers (UTCs), two Transit-Focused UTCs, and ten Regional UTCs. The cen- ters will advance U.S. transportation technology and expertise in research, education, and technology transfer. Each one of the selected UTCs will receive a $3.5 million grant which they must match with funds from non-federal sources. The 22 UTCs selected are all consortia, involving a total of 121 differ- ent universities. “We are excited about the proposals these consortia put forward. They have the potential to advance basic and applied transportation research today and ensure a robust pipeline of profes- sionals for the transportation workforce of tomorrow,” said RITA Acting Administrator Greg Winfree. “It is absolutely crucial that we continue to invest in research, which has the added benefit of attracting and developing the high level of professionals needed for innovation and expertise in transporta- tion.”

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fleet-wide average by 2025. Nationwide, the UCS/NRDC analysis pro- jected that by 2030 these standards could save Americans $45 billion annu- ally, cut annual oil use by 23 billion gal- lons, and cut global warming pollution by 280 million metric tons. The pro- posed standards have received the sup- port of 13 major automakers and the United Auto Workers, as well as numer- ous environmental and consumer groups. In addition to Sue Browne, Environment Michigan was joined by Nick Occhipinti, Political Director of WMEAC, and Scott Weber, Director of Alternative Energy Solutions at Consumers. “We are at a point in time where government and industry have recog- nized the need for significant change, as demonstrated by the Federal Government standards on fuel efficiency, and manufacturers’ commitment in developing alternative fuel vehicles,”

said Weber. Environment Michigan also called on the Obama administration to avoid including loopholes in the final standard that would undermine the potential con- sumer savings and pollution reductions. In addition to the public hearing being held in Detroit on January 17th, the Administration is accepting comments from the public through January 30, and will finalize the standards by the end of the summer. “Significantly improving national CAFE standards, as agreed to by automakers, is one of those rare and great win-win-win federal policy improvements. Great for air quality, great for family budgets and domestic innovation, and great for U.S. national security, said Occhipinti. “If implement- ed, we will look back on this moment as the time when America finally got seri- ous about curbing its addiction to oil.”

Ports Handles Largest Annual Tonnage

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor - The Ports of Indiana handled 8.1 million tons of cargo in 2011, the largest annu- al tonnage since 2006. New ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs) shipments combined with gains in limestone, salt and steel cargoes fueled a 5 percent increase in total shipments moving through Indiana's three ports. "Despite continued economic uncer- tainties, this was the fourth consecutive year our ports experienced growth," said Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper. "Our 2011 shipments were nearly a million tons higher than the five year average. We've also seen a significant increase in capital investments by our port compa- nies as they prepare for future growth. This is a good sign for things to come." The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon handled its largest annual tonnage since 1994 and the third highest in the port's 36-year history. The port handled 4.7 million tons in 2011, an increase of 12 percent over 2010 figures. Ethanol- related shipments played the biggest role in the increase, with Aventine Renewable Energy operating in its first full year at the port and other ethanol producers taking advantage of the port's new rail-to-barge transloading facility.

Ethanol shipments were five times the previous year's total and DDGs were 10 times greater than 2010. "This past year represented a diversi- fication of cargoes moving through the port," said Phil Wilzbacher, port director at the Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon. "Coal and grain remain our highest vol- ume commodities but with Aventine's ethanol facility reaching full production, DDGs and ethanol rocketed from minimal numbers in 2010 to the port's third and fourth highest volume cargoes in 2011." In addition, Mount Vernon steel shipments were seven times greater than the 2010 total and the port experi- enced gains in shipments of coke (188%), fertilizer (6%) and soy products


The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor moved 2 million tons of cargo in 2011, an increase of 10 percent over 2010 which was fueled by shipping increases in limestone (23%), steel (18%), fertiliz- er (61%), coal (44%) and salt (18%). The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville handled 1.4 million tons in 2011 with salt shipments increasing 17 percent over 2010 figures. There were also small increases in coal and steel cargoes.


Chrysler Announces Potential Srrival of Natural Gas Fleet Trucks

By Jeremy Martin

Detroit-Chrysler Group LLC announced that the Fiat SpA controlled auto maker would begin selling a series of natural gas powered pickup trucks in the United States as early as 2017. The announcement was made January 10th in Detroit during the North American International Auto Show. “We are going to bring them here, there is no doubt,” Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both automakers said According to a story by Business Week, Marchionne added that sales will be “limited at first. It depends upon the distribution network.” It will also depend upon how exten- sive the infrastructure for natural gas refueling will be by the time of the roll

out. has reported that the United States posses roughly 1,000 fueling stations that currently need to support over 112,000 vehicles. In December Chrysler announced plans to invest $150 million in what it calls “America’s natural gas highway.” In an interview with Tim Higgins for, Chrysler’s Vice president for engine and electrical propulsion sys- tems said that “the technology is very actively being worked on…it’s a good way for some diversity in the market in terms of fuel use,” According to Chrysler will be teaming with Pilot-Flying J Travel Centers to install fueling stations across the country. Many of which are sched- uled for completion by 2013.

The trucks would make Chrysler the second automaker to produce vehicles that run on 100% natural gas; as of now Honda in the only maker producing all NG driven automobiles in the United States. The Civic natural gas Sedan and the Civic NG are, according to blogs.automo-, “offered in 36 states from 200 dealers across the country.” Business week reported however that the Trucks which will bear the ‘Ram’ nameplate would at first be only avail- able for fleet and not accessible by the general public. According to Chrysler spokesman David Elshoff, the trucks would be marketed towards government and commercial buyers. The fleet trucks though will not be Chrysler’s first foray into the natural gas

world. In 1994 the automaker unveiled a natural gas powered minivan that all- reports “could be purchased with a CNG 3.3 L OHV SMPI V-6 engine and 41TE electronically controlled four- speed overdrive transaxle. Operating cost with CNG was less than with gaso- line, and emissions were far lower as well.” A combination of high initial pur- chase cost and lack of fueling stations forced Chrysler to terminate production of the vans by 1997. However the 2011 Natural Gas Act (H.R. 1380), a piece of bi-partisan legis- lation which is currently being debated in Congress would allow automakers to receive credits for the production of NG powered vehicles, lowering the overall price for the trucks.

Industrial Briefs

Charlotte - Spartan Chassis, Inc., a sub- sidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc., has received a multi-million dollar subcon- tract award from defense contractor BAE Systems to support the production of advanced tactical vehicles and spare parts under the International Light Armored Vehicle (ILAV) program.

Auburn Hills - United Solar announced the commercial launch of the world's first solar-powered cover for the Amazon Kindle™. SolarKindle Lighted Cover uses UNI-SOLAR's proprietary technology to charge the Kindle's inter- nal battery as well as the cover's inte- grated reserve battery, which is used to power the LED reading light.

Grand Rapids - ASTI’s newest product, the Environmental Concerns Inventory (ECI), blends environmental review, end use strategies and development incen- tives into a single document and interac- tive map that guides P3s through the redevelopment process. Basically, an ECI can help identify solutions to environ- mental impediments that hinder redevel- opment on a single parcel or over a wide area. The cities of Rochester Hills, Ferndale, Inkster, Flint and Jackson are among the first to utilize the ASTI area- wide ECI to firm up their planning activ- ities as well as a catalyst to form P3s with developers.

Charlotte - Spartan Motors, Inc. announced that Dennis E. Schneider has joined the company as Vice President, Emergency Response Vehicles and will be responsible for leading Crimson Fire.

Grand Rapids – Praxis Packaging announced the addition of Chris Ragusa to their sales team. Chris will focus on growing company sales by expanding the current customer base in the Columbus market as well as surrounding areas such as Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Allegan - Perrigo announced Bruce Johnson as vice president of Consumer Healthcare Research and Development. Johnson will lead new product develop- ment for Perrigo’s U.S. consumer health- care business.

Flowery Branch, GA – Avery Dennison, and Xtreme RFID, collaborated to create the RFID-based Xtreme Metal Tag. The Xtreme Metal Tag can be used in appli- cations such as solid waste & recycling, material handling and asset tracking.

Grand Rapids – Grand Rapids New Car Dealers Association awarded Spring & Stamping their Automotive Supplier of the Year award. The award was pre- sented to company president, Merle Emery.

Grand Rapids - H&S Companies announced the addition of Lynda Nance, of Nance Business Solutions in Rockford, to the H&S team. Her areas of focus will be business consulting, LEAN manufacturing, and strategic planning; she brings with her over 20 years of experience in the industry.

Walker - Bob McNamara of Robert McNamara Sales joined Tubelite Inc. as client development manager. As a sales representative he provides Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey with store- front, curtainwall, entrance and daylight control systems.

Kalamazoo – Landscape Forms announced Kirt Martin as Vice President of Design and Marketing. Martin is now responsible for leading teams for Product Development, Marketing and Marketing Communications.

Walker - Tubelite Inc. named John Young as client development manager providing storefront, curtainwall, entrance and daylight control systems for North and South Carolina, and south- ern Virginia.

15 Chrysler Announces Potential Srrival of Natural Gas Fleet Trucks By Jeremy Martin Detroit-Chrysler Group LLC

Manufacturing Priorities for 2012 — Remove Barriers to Competition

Review of

End the Fed

Lansing - What a difference a year makes. Last year brought a whirlwind of reform and reinvention for Michigan. The Snyder administration, in close coordina- tion with the House and Senate, has been leading a dramatic renaissance in Michigan. The largest sector of Michigan’s economy, manufacturing, is already responding to the improvements in the state’s business climate, and driving the Michigan recovery. From November 2010 to November 2011, total jobs in Michigan grew by 59,400. Of the new jobs, 35 per- cent were manufacturing jobs. With great respect, we congratulate the Snyder Administration and policymakers in the House and Senate for achieving what seemed an impossible task just one year ago: beginning to grow the Michigan economy and deliver jobs to Michigan cit- izens. But the work on Michigan’s business climate is not complete. Michigan is a manufacturing state. If we want to attract and retain substantial industrial invest- ment, policymakers must address the out- standing barriers to competitiveness. The top priority for Michigan’s future must be eliminating the Industrial Personal Property Tax (PPT). While the new Corporate Income Tax put Michigan more in line with most states for general business taxes, it was not a panacea for manufacturers. First, some manufacturers actually saw significant increased liability under the new tax. Second, the state continues to impose a separate and additional tax on new and existing manufacturing equipment. As a

result, manufacturers are being taxed on almost all of the expensive machinery nec- essary to produce products such as press- es, assembly lines, blast furnaces, and even computers, desks and chairs. Most states have eliminated this tax as they rec- ognized such taxes pushed plants to other states that do not financially punish man- ufacturing investment. Now Michigan stands out as the less attractive location to construct a new plant or even continue current operations. To remove this long- standing barrier to competitiveness, Michigan must move quickly to eliminate the industrial Personal Property Tax. In addition to this top priority, MMA has identified other priorities that must still be achieved to truly improve the com- petitiveness of Michigan manufacturers, both nationally and globally. These priori- ties include:

Enacting employment and workforce reforms, such as the development of work- force training partnerships to address the growing skills gap by matching those seeking jobs with growing job opportuni- ties

Opposing additional state-based spe- cific health care benefit mandates that increase the cost of providing healthcare to employees Ending the cost-shifting of public health plans to private sector employers Adopting competitive regulatory reforms, such as ensuring new regulations do not exceed federal standards Implementing the changes recom- mended by the regulatory advisory com- mittees organized by the Office of

Regulatory Reinvention to ensure that Michigan’s regulatory programs are com- petitive with surrounding states Eliminating bureaucratic barriers and encouraging site closures by implementing changes to the state’s environmental remediation program Adopting energy reforms, like the development of an integrated resource plan that ensures regulators are using cur- rent facts about energy supply and demand, to make appropriate choices about our energy future Supporting development of the New International Trade Crossing to create an expressway-to-expressway connection between Canada and Michigan to ensure that delivery of both finished goods and part supplies can move at the speed of the 21st century.

Next Month Topics Workers Comp Nursing Legal Social Media Metal Fab Green Construction Vacation Planning

To be involved call


16 Manufacturing Priorities for 2012 — Remove Barriers to Competition Review of End the Fed Lansing
By Rolf Dobelli, Chairman,


Everybody cares about money, but do you really understand it? How much do you know about the Federal Reserve, the American institution that plays a profound but secretive role in steering the U.S. economy? Congressman and erstwhile presidential candidate Ron Paul believes that the Federal Reserve, not money, is the root of all evil. In his somewhat repetitious – and sometimes fearful – book, Paul holds the Fed responsible for wars, reces- sions, depressions, bubbles, busts, scheming politicians, overextended con-

sumers and creeping socialism, and that’s just in the first chapter. Libertarian Paul wants to rid the U.S. of the arrogant cabal behind the central bank and return the American economy to a truly free market- based and gold-based system. Although his conclusions may strike some readers as far-fetched, his reasoning is based on years of self-taught economics and leg- islative experience. While the opinions expressed are those of the author alone, getAbstract would suggest this book to his supporters and to non-Libertarians who would like to understand an alternative point of view.

Ron Paul. End theFed. Grand Central, 2009. 224 pages. List Price: $21.99. ISBN- 13: 978-0446549196.

getAbstract is the leading provider of business book summaries, with more than 6,000 titles covered.

Communication & IT 17
Communication & IT

Connect Michigan

Lansing, MI – Connect Michigan released today a new report on telework- ing in Michigan. The report, Teleworking in Michigan – Empowering Workers Through Broadband, was originally developed as a part of the Connect Michigan 2011 Residential Technology Assessment that examined the impact of teleworking in Michigan. Teleworking—which has the poten-

tial to significantly modify Michigan’s business climate—is emerging as a high- ly flexible option for Michigan residents to leverage their intellectual capital in a knowledge-based economy. Teleworking could provide opportunities for Michiganders who are not currently working to join the ranks of the employed. It is important to know how many state residents telework, as well as how

Communications & IT

Grand Rapids - WESCO Net, a division of CU*Answers, announced the change of its name to CU*Answers Network Services. It is making this change to bet- ter reflect the needs of clients and chang- ing competitive landscape.

Grand Rapids - The Grand Rapids Public Library is launching TextGRPL, a new service where library patrons can text reference questions or general library questions directly to a library staff member. The SMS Text Messaging Reference Service is intended for brief questions that don’t require an extended amount of research.

Grand Rapids - CU*Answers announced the launch of a virtual CIO service under the AdvantageCIO brand. It will provide focused services designed to assist organizations of all types with strategic level technology planning, budgeting, and management.

Grandville – Trivalent Group, Inc. was recently recognized by Hewlett-Packard Company for superior customer expert- ise by earning a HP PartnerONE Professional Networking Specialist Certification.

Communication & IT 17 Connect Michigan Lansing, MI – Connect Michigan released today a new report

many would be willing to do so if given the opportunity. Empowering Michiganders to telework could provide a definite and measurable economic advan- tage to the state. According to a survey conducted by Connect Michigan, 24% of Michigan businesses allowed teleworking in 2010. This number jumped 5 percent- age points to 29% in 2011, highlighting a shift toward greater acceptance of tele- working in the business community. Among the findings from this report:

Altogether, 47% of employed Michigan adults say that they either tele- work now or would be willing to do so if given the opportunity by their employers. This represents more than 1.8 million employed Michigan adults. An additional 1.1 million Michigan adults who do not currently work say they would be willing to do so if empowered to telework. Across the state of Michigan, nearly one in five employees (19%, representing approximately 741,000 adults) work from home instead of commuting. On average, Michigan teleworkers work from home at least 1.6 days per week. This results in an average of 2,560 fewer miles driven per year for each tele-

worker. Statewide, teleworkers save a total of $336.5 million in reduced operating costs for their automobiles. Teleworking also has a positive environmental impact, as teleworking reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 884.5 tons per year. This is more than the carbon footprint of every citizen in Muskegon. The greatest growth in teleworking between 2010 and 2011 was among adults age 55 and older. Teleworkers tend to be better educated and have higher annual incomes. “From small towns and rural coun- tryside to urban or suburban centers and remote wilderness, Michigan offers a liv- ing environment for every lifestyle. Teleworking, enabled by broadband, gives Michigan residents the flexibility to work where they live and entices younger generations to continue living in the state after graduation,” says Eric Frederick, program manager for Connect Michigan. “Broadband entices seasonal residents and visitors who’ve found the perfect vacation spot to stay a little bit longer and, perhaps, permanently.”

Uncertainty Over State & National Economy Still Looms

Grand Rapids – Results of a survey released today by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce showed a majority of respondents reporting the economic climate in Michigan, the rising cost of health care, and management of state and local government budgets as the top concerns for businesses heading into 2012. Nearly 750 members of the area business community, half representing small businesses with less than 50 employees, participated in this survey, responding to a wide range of questions on various topics of concern. Members shared their opinions on a series of public policy issues. Of twelve priority choices, 84% of those surveyed reported the economic climate of Michigan as their primary business con- cern. The national economic climate was runner-up for 74.8% of respondents and closely following was health care for 72.4% of respondents. Rounding out the top five issues were management of the state and local government budgets and rising deficits.

Other issues for businesses heading into 2012 include improving the ease of doing business, tourism and economic promotion, removing barriers to local government consolidation and local gov- ernment fees, regulations and budget reforms. “The Chamber members who responded to our Government Affairs survey represent a vast array of business interests,” said Rick Baker, President & CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “Last year we heard loud and clear that we needed to change the business tax structure. With the elimina- tion of the MBT accomplished, we now have to focus on strengthening Michigan’s economy. “The uncertainty caused by the economy, federal health care reform, reg- ulations that make doing business diffi- cult and public sector deficits will be the Chamber’s top priority issues for 2012,” says Andy Johnston, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.


Hotels/Restaurants Briefs

Bellaire – The Michigan Brewers Guild elected its 2012 Board of Directors : Eric Briggeman; Steve Berthel; Scott Newman-Bale; Isaac Hartman; Greg Burke.

Southfield - Diversified Restaurant Holdings, Inc., announces its 7th and 8th Bagger Dave's openings. The 7th Bagger Dave's is scheduled to open in

Grandville in the Grandville Market Place Shopping Center on Canal Avenue, at the intersection of I-196 and Rivertown Parkway.

Bellaire – The “Tom Burns Award” which recognizes the pioneering spirit of the “Great Beer State” was presented to Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery in Galesburg, Michigan.

General Business

Michigan - The Michigan Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus

recently named its officers for the

upcoming calendar year. The newly elected officers are: president, Lisa Shanley , South Haven/Van Buren County Convention & Visitors Bureau; vice president, Mary Carroll, Benzie County Convention & Visitors Bureau; secretary, Jamie Furbush, Frankenmuth

Convention & Visitors Bureau; treasurer, Paul Beachnau , Gaylord Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; member- at-large, Lee Hladki, Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sally Laukitis, Holland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, will serve as past presi- dent.

Grand Rapids - Rothbury Executive Air and Silver Lining Inflight Catering announce their new partnership. Rothbury Executive Air will open a Fixed Base Operation in Gerald R. Ford International Airport. This new loca- tion provides Silver Lining the opportu- nity to expand their catering to the Midwest.

West Michigan - The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan

announced Eric Mills , Senior Vice President and Business Banking Manager at Huntington National Bank, will serve as their new Board Chair.

Grand Rapids -Alexander Marketing named Lissa Engleman its new Account Director. Engleman will leverage the agency’s integrated marketing assets to direct strategy and day-to-day work- flows for key B2B accounts.

Grand Rapids - The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development

Center network, located at Grand Valley State University, received a two-year, $200,000 award to increase assistance to American Indian communities across the state.

Grand Rapids – Lambert, Edwards & Associates announced the promotion of Kim Tassie and Amanda Passage to the position of Senior Associate. Both have previously served as associates with the firm.

East Grand Rapids – The East Grand Rapids Community Foundation (EGRCF) announce that Jason Madden, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Athletic Development Officer at Davenport University, has been appoint- ed President of the EGRCF beginning January of 2012.

Battle Creek – Battle Creek Unlimited received recognition at the annual meet- ing of the Mid-America Economic Development Council, for an economic development award in the newsletter category.

Grand Rapids – Full Circle Marketing and Design appointed Amy Heiney as account executive. In this role, she is responsible for client relationships and account management.

Washington, DC - The Department of State’s Office of Passport Services

plans to launch a pilot program allowing adult citizens to apply for a passport online. By applying online, customers will not be required to mail in their cur- rent passport book and necessary forms. Applicants must currently possess a valid 10-year U.S. passport book, upload a digital photograph, and provide pay- ment in U.S. dollars via These applications will be subject to the same strict adjudication standards as in-per- son or mail-in applications.

South Bend, IN - Michael Daigle was named Executive Director of the St. Joseph County Airport Authority fol- lowing previous director Schalliol’s retirement.

Grand Rapids - Wolverine World Wide's CEO, Mr. Blake Krueger, will keynote the 10th Annual International Council of Shopping Centers West

Michigan Alliance on March 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm at DeVos Place in Downtown Grand Rapids that is also co-hosted by the Michigan Downtowns Association. Grand Rapids - Modern RV Center was selected by Skyline Corp. to sell and service the Bobcat line of travel trailers and hybrid trailers.

Grand Rapids – Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce added: Bryan Harrison; Steve Heacock; Kim Horn; Mike Lindley; Janet Mason; Mary Tuuk . The 2012 officers are: Rick Pappas; Bill Benson; Doug Dozeman; Stacie Behler; Mike Mraz; Doreen Bolhuis; Margaret Goebel.

Grand Rapids - Kantorwassink won

Detroit – Virdocs Publishing is working with universities and print businesses to




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Grand Rapids – Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women announced its 2012 Board of Directors: Tami Sytsma; Joseph Belsito; Heidi Spencer; Sanda Matei; Samantha Bruin; Angela Hanks; Marnie Johnson; Kay Staszel; Sandy Bloem; Jason Goei; Dustin Jackson; Rhoda Kreuzer; Deborah Richmond; Marsha Veenstra.

Michigan Hard Wheat Niche Market Emerges

East Lansing – Demand for locally grown food may provide a market for new wheat varieties in Michigan. Soft winter wheat, used for cereal and pas- tries, is grown here in Michigan, but hard wheat varieties used to make bread flour are shipped here from other states like Minnesota and the Dakotas. Local bakers who want to use local ingredients asked for hard wheat and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension answered. Last year, MSU researchers tested two varieties of hard winter wheat. Extension staff members and a farm

cooperator raised and harvested the experimental wheat crop. The wheat was milled into flour. The baker who initiated the request for local bread flour took the flour and made it into bread. Tested for flavor, crumb quality, size of loaf and color, the bread was a huge success. Both varieties passed with “flying col- ors,” according to MSU senior Extension educator Dan Rossman.Another hard winter wheat production plot has been seeded for evaluation next summer. Time will tell if hard wheat can compete eco- nomically with other crops.

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A Window to the World: Notes on the Upcoming Travel Season

By: Mike Malaney

At the beginning of every year the Travel Leaders organization conducts a nation-wide survey of travel agents in an attempt to gauge where the travel industry is headed over the next twelve months. We led off our first observation of 2012 by noting that 11 of the top 20 inter- national destinations we are booking are now in Europe, Asia and Australia – up from just nine last year. These results are proof that Americans are ready to travel farther from home than in recent years. According to our findings, travelers are also willing to spend what is necessary for their desired vacation – over 91% of our clients will spend the same or more on travel in 2012 as compared to last year. We are very encouraged to see the rise in popularity of such a diverse group of international destinations. We have come to expect London, Rome and – more recently – European river cruising to be near the top of our survey. However, it is nice to see Americans’ interests are diversifying and in large enough num- bers to destinations such as Hong Kong and Beijing in Asia, and Amsterdam and Barcelona in Europe.

Additionally, the majority surveyed indicated there’s an increase in interest and bookings for small ship cruising, off- the-beaten path travel, and international family travel. With these luxury-oriented segments on the rise, it’s no wonder that our Travel Leaders our optimistic heading into 2012. Over 600 agents were asked the fol- lowing questions:

When asked; “What is your personal outlook on your business in 2012?” the responses were as follows: 78.8% were ‘optimistic’ looking forward, down from 2011’s four year high of 80.3%. 17.3 % responders were neither ‘optimistic nor pesimistic’ and only 3.9% of responders were ‘pesimistic’ in regard to their 2012 business outlook. An extreme improve- ment from 2009’s four year high of 19.7%. When asked to compare ‘your 2012 bookings so far to your 2011 bookings at this time last year, which is true?” 39.5 % said that their bookings at this time were higher than last year, the first time in three years that the percentage decreased. 40.8% said that sales this year are on par with sales from 2011, continu- ing a four year upward trend in that cate- gory. 19.7% said that sales have been lower in 2012 that at this time in 2011,

only a .7% increase from last season.

Beyond comparing sales numbers on a year to year basis, Travel Leaders also looks to discover where travelers will be headed in the coming year. The poll is split into several cate- gories; international and domestic desti- nations, “up and coming” destinations, niche travel segments gaining interest, travel spending data, and more:

The following lists rank the top U.S. and international destinations for 2012. The number in parenthesis represents last year’s rank for each destination.

  • 2012 Top International Destinations

1. Cruise-Caribbean (1), 2.

Cancun, Mexico (2), 3. Playa del Carmen, Mexico (4), 4. CRUISE- Europe (Mediterranean) (3) 5. Rome, Italy (5)

  • 2012 Top Domestic Destinations

1. Las Vegas, NV (1), 2. Orlando, FL (2), 3. Maui, HI (4 tie with Honolulu, HI), 4. Cruise – Alaska (3), 5. New York City, NY (6)

Top “Up and Coming” International Destinations: Croatia is the top “up and coming” international destination within Europe, Vietnam with- in Asia, and Panama among destinations in Central and South America. Travel Spending in 2012: Based on

current bookings in 2012, over 91% of our clients expect to spend the same

amount of money or more on travel in 2012 as they did in 2011. According to the same statistics 8.6% of travelers anticipate spending less on travel than they did last year. Caribbean Calling: 2012 also indi- cates a greater interest in the Caribbean than in recent years. While Caribbean cruising has been the perennial top inter- national “destination” in our annual sur- veys, luxury all-inclusives in the Caribbean are also a tremendous draw.

First/Business Class vs. Coach

When asked to provide the percent- age of leisure travel clients who are pur- chasing tickets at the front of the plane, 30.7% indicated that 11% or more of

their bookings are in first or business class. Another 51.9% indicated that 1- 10% of clients are flying “up front.”

Mike Malaney is President of the local Travel Leaders office located at 2240 28th St SE. Grand Rapids. Mike has been serv- ing West Michigan’s travel needs for over 32 years. His business is split equally between business travel and vacation trav- el. You can contact him at mike@grtravel- or 616-942-2860.

Year-long Collaboration between Museums Announced

Grand Rapids - For four Sundays in 2012, the four major downtown muse- ums will open their doors free of admis- sion. One Sunday each quarter, January 22, April 15, July 15 and October 21, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and the Grand Rapids Public Museum will join together to welcome the region’s residents for free general admission at each institution from noon to 5 pm. Generously supported by presenting sponsors Amway and Fifth Third Bank, the collaboration was organized by Rebecca Westphal, formerly with the Public Museum. “The idea came from other cities such as Boston and Los Angeles, where similar collaborations have existed for years. After researching the concept, we had preliminary conver- sations among the museums, but until major sponsors were secured, the idea couldn’t move forward,” said Westphal. “It is so terrific that Amway and Fifth

Third have stepped up to make this hap- pen for the community.” The collaboration has numerous benefits for all who will participate. Downtown Grand Rapids will welcome visitors drawn by the attraction of the free admission, some of whom may not have been downtown recently, or ever. These visitors will become familiar with the amenities available--the shops, restaurants, and parking options, making them more likely to return for additional reasons. They will have four more rea- sons to endorse the message “Let’s go downtown.” Motivated by free general admission to all four museums to venture into unfa- miliar territory, a family would have the opportunity to sample new experiences, at no financial risk. Depending on the age of the children, a family of 5 could save as much as $114 if they take advantage of these four Sundays to visit each museum. The four cultural institutions have separately offered times of free or

reduced admission for special events, but coordinating together on the same days will draw visitors into the city center to enjoy the museums on their own merit. “The beauty of the collaboration for museums is that they are able to offer their core exhibits and basic programs without using precious resources to cre- ate or accommodate a special event,” said Westphal. “New audiences attracted by the collaboration will experience the value of what these wonderful cultural resources bring to the quality of life here in Grand Rapids, day in and day out.”

According to Dana Friis-Hansen, Director and CEO of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, “"We are excited to participate with other downtown museums in this wonderful program, welcoming new and returning visitors to enjoy the permanent collection within the wonderful spaces of GRAM's award-winning building. By sharing the treasures and educational programs at no cost, Museums Free 4 All is an important community collaboration that we hope helps build a larger and more diverse museum-going audience within our city.”


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A company Frequent Flier program that compliments personal frequent fliers plans. A 24 hour grace period after tickets have been issued to avoid the airline penalty of $150

A corporate car rental program that guarantees a car even when locations are sold out

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An evening and weekend emergency center staffed 24 hours. A corporate rate hotel program with over 120,000 properties. If not call Mike Malaney at Travel Leaders 616-942-2860.