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Kalamazoo Farmers Market shoppers can help fight hunger

During summer months, the vendors at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market donate hundreds of pounds of unsold produce and baked goods to Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes (KLF) when market hours close. 

These donations allow Loaves & Fishes to provide fresh food to those who often can't afford to purchase it on their own. 

Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes and the Kalamazoo Farmers Market want to provide a way for others in the community to get involved in this initiative.  There will be a Loaves & Fishes Farmers Market Donation Day during the Aug. 19 farmers market at 1204 Bank Street in Kalamazoo.

"We know that fresh, local food plays a vital role in overall health, and it shouldn't be a luxury, but, sadly, for people with limited food budgets it often is," say Loaves & Fishes officials. "Donations during this event not only help families in our community, they also support local growers and ensure more dollars stay local."

To get involved, shoppers can head to the market between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. and purchase what they’d like to donate for those in need. Small paper bags with Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes’ logo on them will be available for shoppers to carry donated food. Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes staff will be on site with one of the organization’s signature white delivery trucks to accept donations from shoppers.

“The Kalamazoo Farmers Market has played a key role in KLF’s ability to increase the amount of fresh produce we provide to vulnerable citizens of our community,” says Marvin King, Food Procurement Coordinator at Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes. “Fresh produce was KLF’s top distributed food category during our last fiscal year, and that’s largely due to our partnership with PFC Markets.”

For more information about the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, visit For more information about Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes, visit

Source: Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes

Four new staff members join Kalamazoo Community Foundation team

Kalamazoo Community Foundation has recently announced the hiring of four new staff members, the vice president of Community Investment, the finance coordinator for grantmaking, and two sharing a receptionist/office assistant position.

Laura Galaviz has been named finance coordinator for grant-making. She recently worked at Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes as volunteer coordinator and later as donor database coordinator. Galaviz, with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College in New York state, is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English at WMU.

Martha Gonzalez-Cortes is the new vice president of Community Investment. Previously, she served as Community Relations Director at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights where she managed the statewide education and outreach team. Her public service career spans more than 20 years, which includes serving as CEO of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan and as the state director for the Office of Migrant Affairs.

The receptionist/office assistant position is being handled by Stacey Charron-Milnikel and Breanne Stokes in a job sharing arrangement. 

Charron-Milnikel's administrative background is in nonprofit mental health organizations, and she most recently served as Human Resources Assistant at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health in Grand Rapids where volunteer coordination and corporate events were among her responsibilities.
Stokes is a graduate of Adrian College and moved to Kalamazoo to pursue her master’s degree in International Development Administration at Western Michigan University.

The mission of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, established in 1925, is to make life better for all, through leadership and stewardship of resources that last forever, and the vision of a community where every person can reach full potential. Learn more at

Source: Kalamazoo Community Foundation

Western Michigan University’s ninth president gets to work

Dr. Edward B. Montgomery began his tenure as the ninth president of Western Michigan University Tuesday, Aug. 1, with a full day of activities. He met with the University's academic leadership and area media and reached out to the campus community to offer a few remarks.

"It has been almost four months since the day in April when the Board of Trustees introduced me to you as its pick to be the ninth president and next leader of our University," told those gathered for the occasion. "I am confident that by working together, we can reach new heights and make this the institution of choice for our state and region "I said at the time that my first job would be to get to know the faculty, staff, students and alumni communities, for its only by tapping into your ideas and talents that we can reach this goal together."

Montgomery said he had been reading voraciously about WMU and had only grown more impressed with the university. "I also know there's so much more I still need to learn about WMU. But I am learning quickly. Now that I'm on campus, and with your help, I'll be able to both speed the process along and engage you in developing a road map for action in the coming weeks and months."

He said he would be out and about on campus and invited people to chat with him about their ideas for the school.

Montgomery was selected in April by the WMU Board of Trustees. He comes to WMU from Washington, D.C., where he had served as the dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University since 2010. 

Earlier, he served the Obama administration as executive director of the White House Council on Auto Communities and Workers, leading to the popular press description of him as the "Auto Czar."
Montgomery, who has more than 35 years of experience in higher education, succeeds Dr. John M. Dunn, who has served as WMU president for the past decade.

Montgomery's formal installation as president is set to take place at inauguration events Sept. 15 and 16. The date was chosen to coincide with WMU's annual CommUniverCity celebration. Community civic and political leaders and the leaders of colleges and universities from around the county will be invited. Events will include a formal installation ceremony in Miller Auditorium and a picnic on the adjoining Fountain Plaza on Friday, Sept. 15. On Saturday, planned events include the CommUniverCity tailgate tent party followed by the Bronco football vs. Idaho game on Saturday night.

For video comments from Montgomery, please click here.

Greenleaf Trust hires new trust relations officer

The Kalamazoo-based wealth management firm Greenleaf Trust has hired a new trust relations officer. Regina Jaeger will be responsible for providing trust services to individuals and nonprofit organizations in her role as Vice President and Trust Relationship officer. 

Jaeger has more than 29 years of experience providing trust administration estate settlement, investment management services, foundation and banking solutions for trust and wealth management clients. She has joined Greenleaf Trust’s Northern Michigan team.

Jaeger graduated with honors from Davenport University and is also a graduate of Cannon Trust School. She is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor.

“We’re delighted that Regina Jaeger is joining our trust and wealth management team,” says John Welch, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Greenleaf Trust Northern Michigan. “Her reputation for providing the highest levels of client-focused service is well known and widely admired throughout our area. Her core values of integrity, fiduciary excellence, continuous improvement, and always putting the needs of the client first perfectly align with our own.”

Greenleaf Trust has offices in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Birmingham, Traverse City, and Petoskey. It is an independent Michigan-chartered trust-only bank, exclusively focused on wealth management, trust and estate administration, and administration of company-sponsored retirement plans.

Source: Greenleaf Trust

Varnum moves to new quarters in downtown Kalamazoo

Varnum plans to grow its presence in Kalamazoo and as result two new attorneys have recently joined the Kalamazoo office, which has moved from its previous Rose Street location to the historic Globe Building at 221 E. Water Street.

Attorneys and staff began working from the new suite of offices on the fourth floor starting Monday, July 17.

The four-story Globe building features high, open spaces and a retro atmosphere of exposed brick and beams. An inner stairwell with a striking view of office and loft balconies and wall-to- wall large windows allowing extensive natural light are some of the features of the new space.

The Globe Building is located in East End District of downtown, which features a mix of commercial and professional services, restaurants and entertainment venues. Arcadia Creek Festival Place is just west of the building.

“An office move is no small undertaking but we are thrilled with our new location,” says Kalamazoo Managing Partner Fred Schubkegel. “In addition to having a great visual appeal, the layout of the new suite is more conducive to a collaborative work environment. 

"Excellent client service is our foremost objective, and teamwork and collaboration are important elements of delivering that service," Schubkegel adds. "Another advantage of the new space from a client perspective is the convenient parking." 

Schubkegel says that while the new space includes less square footage than the former offices on Rose Street, there is opportunity to accommodate planned growth. Varnum’s Kalamazoo office currently has 12 attorneys and six administrative staff, all of whom have moved to the new location. 

“Our new offices actually feel larger due to the open layout with significantly less space devoted to hallways,” Schubkegel says. “Like most professional service businesses, legal work today relies more on virtual space than actual space,” Schubkegel noted. “We’d been in our previous location for 17 years, and it was no longer serving our needs.”

Varnum has had an office in Kalamazoo for 29 years, operating from the former Rose Street address since 2000. In line with plans to grow its presence in Kalamazoo, two new attorneys have recently joined the Kalamazoo office. Family law attorney Erika Salerno joined the firm last week and corporate attorney Elliott Berlin will begin later this month.

Salerno has joined the Family Law Practice Team in the Kalamazoo office. She is an experienced attorney who handles family law litigation matters including complex divorces, initial and post judgment child custody matters, change of domicile, paternity, minor guardianship and third-party custody cases involving multi-state jurisdictional issues across southwest Michigan. As a domestic relations mediator, she is frequently retained by other lawyers to mediate their most challenging cases.

In addition to her family law practice, she frequently consults on health care business transactions for compliance under anti-kickback and Stark regulations, which govern physician self-referral for Medicare and Medicaid patients. She also drafts and negotiates physician contracts, handles family complaints and inquiries for health care facility clients, and drafts business agreements and compliance policies for health care vendors.

Salerno is a graduate of Drake University Law School of Des Moines, Iowa, and has a Master of Laws degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She received her BA degree from Michigan State University.

Salerno has been recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of 2014’s ‘Women in the Law.’ She is also a recipient of the Vlachos Award, presented by the Kalamazoo County Bar Association and Legal Aid of Western Michigan in recognition of those who serve low-income persons and senior citizens in litigation matters. Salerno joins the firm from the Kalamazoo office of Kreis Enderle where she was a shareholder.

Miller-Davis Company welcomes new project manager, and two project superintendents

Miller-Davis Company has hired three new staff members for projects throughout Michigan. 

Amanda Mason, Chad Kandow and Mike Hill have all joined the Miller-Davis team and are based in the Kalamazoo office.

Amanda Mason has been hired as a project manager and will oversee and lead construction projects. She will serve as the primary office contact for those projects. She will be responsible for all aspects of construction, from the design phase through warranty. Mason previously served as a project construction manager with Elzinga & Volkers in Holland. She also previously was a project director for CSM Group and as a project manager for Clark Construction Group. Mason earned a Bachelor of Science in civil and environmental engineering degree from the University of Michigan.

Chad Kandow will provide overall on-site management of construction projects and serve as the primary field contact for projects. Kandow previously held was a project manager and superintendent for Brayman Construction Corporation in Saxonburg, Penn. and as a quality control manager and site foreman for Nicholson Construction Company in Pittsburgh. Kandow earned a Bachelor of Science from Lake Superior State University.

Mike Hill has also been hired as a project superintendent. He will provide overall on-site management of construction projects and serve as the primary field contact for projects. Hill has worked on projects with Miller-Davis Company for several years in his previous position as a carpenter foreman.

“We’re excited to have Amanda, Chad and Mike join our team at Miller-Davis. They each bring significant experience that is critical to our continuing success,” says Rex Bell, Miller-Davis Company president.

Miller-Davis Company is a full-service construction company. It provides general contracting, construction management, design-build and construction consulting services. Miller-Davis, founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1909, has its headquarters in Kalamazoo and an office in South Bend, Ind.

Source: Miller-Davis Company

Bell's Brewery announces plan to grow in Comstock

By September Bell's Beer will be available in 32 of the 50 states of America (plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.). And the company recently announced it is making a $7 million investment the Kalamazoo area. 

Bell's -- a regional brewer that now employs 500 people in 31 states and brews 20 beers for distribution -- says the money will primarily be spent on capital improvements at the company's Comstock location and there will be a new project in its Kalamazoo brewing operations as well.

A pilot brewery, where Bell's will test out new recipes and ingredients, such a new hop varieties, is planned in Comstock. A new specialty packaging line and projects related to beer production are planned there. The improvement plans call for additional space at the brewery’s home office, too.

A project to divert waste related to brewing will be undertaken as part of Bell’s commitment to sustainability, the company says. Instead of sending low pH yeast to Kalamazoo’s wastewater treatment facility, it will be reclaimed and sold to local farmers to feed their animals.

At the Kalamazoo operation, next to its pub and restaurant, the Eccentric Cafe, a smaller pilot brewery is planned.

"We are deeply committed to our community in Comstock and will continue to invest additional resources so that we remain top-in-class, further ensuring our commitment to quality," says Larry Bell, Bell’s President and Founder of the multi-award-winning brewery. "We also want to offer our partners and customers additional options. These new projects will help us accomplish both."

Source: Bell's Brewery Inc.

Continued growth for SalesPage Technologies drives relocation to The Foundry

The Foundry -- the unique office setting with a collaborative, campus-like feeling in what was once a gray-iron and steel fabrication foundry in downtown Kalamazoo -- has a new tenant.

SalesPage Technologies, a provider of software solutions and services that help investment management companies use data to drive more intelligent distribution recently announced plans to relocate to The Foundry, 600 East Michigan Ave. It is the second confirmed tenant in the newly redeveloped space.

SalesPage is currently located in the Airview Centre in the former Stryker headquarters. Since 2014, SalesPage has grown from 25 to 40 employees and the company says it expects this growth to continue. As a result, it was seeking a location that "support strategic growth and continuous improvement," the company says. 

It has high expectations for its new space. "SalesPage’s new office will provide its team members with an atmosphere that inspires innovation, ownership, and collaboration, and foster a culture that attracts and retains brilliant people." Due to the unique shared-space concept of the Foundry, the new office space can accommodate growth for up to 60 people, though SalesPage’s private space will be approximately the same as that in its previous location.

SalesPage provides software solutions and services that help investment management companies. Such mutual fund companies as AIG Funds, BlackRock, and Nuveen Investments use SalesPage software solutions to help streamline and enhance the distribution process of their mutual funds. SalesPage uses industry-specific knowledge gained over the last 20 years to create a master data management tool that allows clients to use various sources of data to more intelligently drive their sales effort. 

This tool can be used with a turnkey CRM, or it can be integrated with other CRMs such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics to give clients a single source for their data. As one example, a SalesPage client who is a wholesaler can tell which financial advisors in Kalamazoo have sold their funds, and they can use a SalesPage solution to help determine which financial advisors would be most likely to sell their funds in the future.

“To be the most respected partner for our clients, we must continue to grow and enhance our talented team,” says Aric Faber, President and CEO of SalesPage. “The Foundry provides us with a great environment to do this, and we’re excited to be a part of the redevelopment of Kalamazoo’s River’s Edge community.”

The Foundry, a 55,000-square-foot building offers spaces from 3,000 to 30,000 square feet, and will include access to the Kalamazoo Valley River Trail, a new restaurant, wired workspace along the river, and a high-tech conference space. SalesPage will move into the new suite January 1, 2018.

“Treystar is excited to partner with SalesPage to bring them back to their original roots in downtown Kalamazoo,” says Fritz Brown, a partner with Treystar. “In nearly every way, SalesPage fits the model of the ideal client for The Foundry project; their leadership is committed to a collaborative, employee-centric culture.”

Source: SalesPage Technologies

Water Street Coffee Joint plans late July opening for Sprinkle Road drive thru

Quick. Can you name all five locations for Water Street Coffee Joint

Well, it's kind of a trick question — the fifth location is scheduled to open late this month, July 2017. 

Water Coffee Street's newest location will be 2603 Sprinkle Road, just off I-94. The twist is that it is a drive-thru only location, perhaps in keeping with its just off the highway location.

"There is a lot of potential for growth and possibilities in this area and I wanted to be part of it," says owner, Mark Smutek. "We were able to find a small lot, which is hard to come by, and I believe it is a great place to try something new and unexpected in Kalamazoo." 

Water Street's fifth location will feature dual lane ordering, expansive windows to display their fresh, handmade food, as well as unique and inviting architecture and landscaping details. The new location will provide the full menu you would expect to see at any other Water Street Coffee Joint -- house-roasted coffee, fresh sandwiches, desserts, and more.

The opening date has not yet been announced and Water Street encourages patrons to keep an eye on its Facebook page for updates. 

During opening week, baristas will be handing out a free travel mug with a free cup of coffee inside to the first five customers each morning. And for the first month only, every 20th car that comes through will receive their coffee, smoothie, or beverage of choice free.

Water Street Coffee Joint, Inc. is locally owned and has been operating cafes in the Kalamazoo and Portage area since 1993. All of their coffees are roasted in-house, in small batches and their food is handmade daily with local produce. The company also distributes wholesale coffee and services all over the state of Michigan.

Just in case you are wondering about our opening question, that would be Downtown, 315 East Water Street, Oakland, 3037 Oakland Dr. Borgess (in the main atrium), 1521 Gull Road, Portage (which has a drive thru of its own, plus seats for dining in)  245 West Centre Avenue, plus the new location at 2603 Sprinkle Road.

Source: Water Street Coffee Joint, Inc.

Two companies announce expansions in Kalamazoo County

Alamo and Pavilion townships will see business growth and new jobs in coming months. 

Of the two business expansion projects, the greatest number of jobs will go to Alamo Township.  Local manufacturer Quality Precast, Inc. will construct a new 25,000-square-foot production facility and corporate headquarters in Alamo Towship. It plans to add 20 new jobs. 

The company is a precast manufacturer specializing in manholes, large block retaining walls and more. It will invest more than $1.35 million in the expansion. The company received a $3,000 grant approved by the Kalamazoo County Brownfield Authority to conduct Phase I environmental site assessment. And Alamo Township is also supporting the project with a 12-year tax abatement.

Quality Precast was started in 2004 and has grown to be a leader in the Great Lakes region. It is a Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) certified supplier. Its expansion will allow the company to move all production inside the building and run 365 days per year.

“The 20 jobs created by this expansion will make a great impact on the local community in Alamo Township,”  says Ron Kitchens, senior partner and chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First. 

In Pavilion Township, custom corrugated packaging specialist Green Bay Packaging has broken ground on a 107,000-square-foot expansion. It plans to add three new jobs.

Founded in 1933, Green Bay Packaging manufactures high-quality products for a variety of retail packaging and labeling applications. It has 31 locations across the U.S. and Mexico. Its expansion in Kalamazoo County will be completed through an investment of $10.8 million and has been supported by a 12 year tax abatement approved by Pavilion Township.

Green Bay Packaging says it is positioning itself for a successful future, using its added square footage to house a new corrugating line.

“The expansion of Green Bay Packaging is a testament to the company’s strong presence in Southwest Michigan,” says Kitchens, senior partner and chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First.  

Southwest Michigan First is an organization of privately funded economic development advisors who act as the catalyst for economic growth in Southwest Michigan.

Source: Southwest Michigan First

New baby giraffe drops in at Binder Park Zoo

Earlier this year, people across the globe were waiting, some with more patience than others, for the birth of a baby giraffe at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, N.Y. While people constantly checked in with April's giraffe cam online, baby giraffes were being born without a lot of fanfare.

One report says that while the world waited four little giraffes were born: Dobby at the Denver Zoo on Feb. 28, and on April 3 giraffes were born at the Chester Zoo in Cheshire England, the Memphis Zoo, and the Toledo Zoo. And one more came into the world at the Paignton Zoo on April 19. (There are probably more but those are the ones Google knows about.)

So, this is definitely the year of the giraffe. And Binder Park Zoo is part of the trend. A baby reticulated giraffe on May 23. The female calf was 6 feet tall and weighed 190 pounds at birth. Zookeepers have named her Kijana. Her mother is the 17-year-old Makena. It is the tenth calf to be born at Binder Park Zoo.

The zoo says that updates on Kijana's debut on the savanna will be announced on its Facebook page

“Mom and baby are both doing well,” says Brett Linsley, Manager of Wildlife, Conservation, and Education at Binder Park Zoo. “This is a significant birth because there are so few reticulated giraffes remaining in the wild and because the conservation status of this subspecies has yet to be classified.”

The gestation period for giraffes is 14 to 15 months and calves can be up to 6 feet tall at birth. Giraffe babies start off their lives with a 6-foot drop into the world as their mothers give birth standing up. The giraffe is the tallest land animal and the reticulated giraffe is the most well-known of the giraffe subspecies. 
Today there are only a few small areas where giraffes remain in the wild, the zoo reports. Giraffe populations have diminished to 90,000— down from 140,000 in 1999.  According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, giraffe populations have declined by 35 percent over the last two decades, much of which is due to habitat loss and poaching. 
Binder Park Zoo has participated in giraffe conservation since the opening of Wild Africa in 1999. Ten years later, in 2009 the first baby giraffe in zoo history was born.  Binder Park Zoo’s herd has six reticulated giraffes.  

If current trends persist, the reticulated giraffe could be gone from the wild by 2020. In the last 15 years, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation has noted a decline in reticulated giraffe populations from 31,000 in the wild to an estimated 8,000 today. Conservationists are pushing to get all species of giraffe listed on the IUCN Red Lists, which will help to elevate their protection.

Binder Park Zoo is a 433-acre wildlife preserve located outside of Battle Creek. The zoo is home to a vast array of threatened and endangered exotic and native wildlife and is heavily involved in conservation on five continents. More than 8,000,000 people have visited Binder Park Zoo and an additional 500,000 have been served through outreach programs since the zoo was established in 1975. The zoo’s educational programs are at the heart of its mission and are intended to inspire today’s youth to be tomorrow’s conservation leaders. 

Source: Binder Park Zoo

Kalamazoo Humane Society kicks off fundraiser for new facility to provide critical care for animals

Construction on a new center where animals can receive crucial care and services such as spaying and neutering is expected to begin by spring 2018.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society has announced that it has raised $3 million of the $4.75 million that it needs to build the new center.

The new building will be located in Comstock Township at River Street and the I-94 Business Loop. It will replace the Humane Society’s current home, a converted bridal shop. 

Executive Director of KHS Aaron Winters says the new center will allow the Kalamazoo Humane Society to expand its low-cost spay and neuter services that reduce unwanted litters. The new facility also will increase access to its emergency pet food bank and other services for pet owners in crisis. It will provide a place to  offer humane education activities to promote responsible treatment of animals.

Operation Fix-It, the Humane Society's spay and neuter program, has exceeded 60,000 procedures since 2002, which correlates to dramatic reductions in the number of animals housed in the shelter operated by Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement. Reportedly, in 2015 no dogs were euthanized for lack of space — a result attributed to Operation Fix-It. The new animal care and resource center will increase the scope of Operation Fix-It, Winters says.

“When complete, our new home will allow us to grow programs that reduce the number of shelter animals through education and access to medical services and assistance,” Winters says.

The Humane Society kicked off the public portion of its capital campaign at a news conference in downtown Kalamazoo, surrounded by supporters, local dignitaries, and a few pets. It asked for the community's support in funding the remaining $1.75 million needed to get the facility built. 

“The amazingly generous response we’ve seen in the early part of our capital campaign shows what I’ve always known, that this community loves, cares for and wants to protect its animals,” says Winters.

Robert Cinabro and Colleen Killen-Roberts, co-chairs of the Compassion/Prevention/Results Campaign, shared Winters’ enthusiasm. The campaign started with the goal of funding an animal care and resource center that would tackle increased demand for access to services that help not only reduce the number of unwanted pets in shelters and on the streets but also help keep pets safe and in their own homes, Cinabro says. “Thanks to the vision and commitment of 140 donors to date, we’ve made outstanding progress toward that goal.”

 Killen-Roberts says the Kalamazoo Humane Society has remained committed to protecting the vulnerable since 1897. "This new animal care and resource center, which expands the Humane Society’s crucial medical, education and support services, is the next step in advancing our identity as a compassionate community. Now we’re asking the rest of the community to take us over the finish line in this important campaign.”

How to contribute
The Kalamazoo Humane Society is a 601(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Gifts to it are tax-deductible. Individuals and groups wishing to support the Compassion/Prevention/Results Campaign may do so in any of the following ways:

• A one-time cash gift

• A multi-year pledge commitment that can be paid over three years

• A gift of appreciated assets, such as stocks

• A donation of an asset that can be converted to cash, such as property, a car, collectibles, etc.

• An estate gift

More information about the Kalamazoo Humane Society and the animal care and resource center, including an informational video, is available online here

Sources: Rick Chambers, Rick Chambers and Associates, Kalamazoo Humane Society

Three architectural and planning professionals join WAI

The Architecture Studio at Wightman & Associates, Inc. recently welcomed to its team of service providers three professionals, all based in the company’s Benton Harbor office.
Carl Baxmeyer comes to WAI from Chicago-based Fanning Howey where he was Project Executive. As a community planner, Baxmeyer has completed numerous demographic studies and strategic development plans. He has led projects involving the development of master plans, feasibility studies, park and recreation planning, industrial site plans, environmental impact studies and audits, transportation planning, and grant acquisition/management. Among his past clients are the City of Chicago, City of Louisville, Kentucky, District of Columbia Public Schools - Washington D.C., and University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He is a Recognized Educational Facility Planner and a Certified Planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners. He holds a Master of Science degree, Hydrology and Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree, Environmental Science and Regional Planning from Grand Valley State University.
J. Vincent Rigg comes to WAI from the Chicago and Detroit-based architecture firm Ghafari where he was Senior Project Architect. He has 25 years of design experience in multiple disciplines, programs, and scale working for various firms in Chicago and California. Among the projects on which he has worked are the BMW Headquarters in Mexico, the 40-story McCormick Center hotel, Mennica Tower in Warsaw, Poland, the United States Coast Guard headquarters office building in Washington D.C., multiple projects for Harley-Davidson, and a number of personal residences in the Chicago and Harbor Country areas. Rigg is the recipient of multiple American Institute of Architects awards. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Andrews University and is LEED certified.
Mark R. Smith joins WAI with nearly 40 years of experience in the construction industry as co-owner and president of Smith Lumber Company in Hartford, as a design-build general contractor, and most recently as a CADD manager with Nehil-Sival Structural Engineers in Kalamazoo. Smith earned a Master of Architecture degree and a Bachelor of Architecture degree, both from Andrews University. He also holds an Associate in Business degree from Lake Michigan College. Smith is a licensed State of Michigan building contractor and a LEED Green Associate.

Wightman & Associates, Inc. is a civil engineering, architectural, and survey firm that has been serving Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana since 1946 with offices in Benton Harbor, Portage, and Allegan.

Source: Wightman & Associates, Inc.

Zoetis plans $64.5 million investment in Kalamazoo and Portage

Zoetis, the global animal health company is expanding in the Kalamazoo area and plans to renovate its global manufacturing and supply facilities and add production capacity in the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage.

The company recently announced it plans a $64.5 million investment that is expected to create 45 jobs over the next three years and an additional 15 more jobs in year four and five. 

 As a result, the company has been awarded a $500,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation says.

Michigan was chosen over competing sites in other locations. Southwest Michigan First has offered staff time and resources in support of the project. 

"Kalamazoo is home to one of the largest and most important manufacturing sites in Zoetis’ Global Manufacturing and Supply network,” says Matthew Everhart, Vice President, Pharmaceutical and Aseptic Operations, Global Manufacturing and Supply at Zoetis. “Locating manufacturing here gives us continued access to a highly skilled and diverse workforce which is essential to managing a global animal health company. Our people provide our veterinarian and livestock farmer customers with a reliable supply of high-quality medicines for their animals and are an integral part of the community here.” 

Steve Arwood, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF says, “Zoetis’ decision to bolster its production of medicines here rather than in other locations demonstrates that our business climate and our state’s world-class talent make Michigan a top destination for biotech companies to locate, expand and grow new jobs.”

Source: Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Nine questions about Dr. Edward B. Montgomery, WMU's ninth president

The search for a replacement for the retiring Western Michigan University President John Dunn has been completed. Dr. Edward B. Montgomery will become the university's ninth president.

When does Montgomery take office?
Montgomery will officially take office on Aug. 1. He was selected was selected by unanimous vote of the WMU trustees during a special meeting of the WMU board convened April 12.

What is his educational background?
Montgomery has more than 35 years experience in academics. He earned a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University and both master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Harvard University. He currently is dean and professor of economics at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. 

Montgomery has held faculty positions at Carnegie Mellon and Michigan State universities as well as the University of Maryland. He has won teaching awards five times over the years.  

He has been at Georgetown since 2010. He began his academic career in 1981 with the position at Carnegie Mellon, where he was a faculty member for five years. He then spent a year as a visiting scholar with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System before becoming a member of the Michigan State University faculty for four years. He joined the University of Maryland faculty in 1990, remaining there until his 2010 move to Georgetown. He also has been a visiting scholar at the Urban Institute.

What is his research emphasis?
As a researcher, Montgomery has focused on state and local economic growth, wage and pension determination, savings behavior, productivity and economic dynamics, social insurance programs, and unions. He has worked on research efforts with Kalamazoo's W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research since the 1980s and has visited the Kalamazoo community a number of times.

For more than 20 years, he has been a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Since 2006, he has been a fellow of Stanford University's Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality. Since 2011, he has served on the Comptroller General's Educators Advisory Committee in Washington's General Accountability Office. In 2011, he was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

How much will he be paid?
His five-year contract calls for him to have an annual salary of $450,000. A deferred compensation/retirement package will provide an additional $50,000 per year. 

What can you tell me about his family?
Montgomery and his wife, Kari, a Michigan native, have three grown children — Lindsay, Elizabeth and Edward.

He used to work for the Clinton and Obama administrations? 
Montgomery is a nationally known labor economist. During President Bill Clinton's administration, Montgomery served as chief economist, then counselor and assistant secretary for the Department of Labor before being named deputy secretary of labor. In the latter role, the department's second-highest position, he oversaw operations of a $33 billion department.

During President Barack Obama's administration, Montgomery was a member of the president's auto task force and led the inter-agency White House Council for Auto Communities and Workers. That position put him in a role national media dubbed "the Auto Czar" and affirmed his view of the synergistic role universities can play in regional economic development. He says the potential impact of a high-quality university is enormous and is a key reason the WMU presidency was so attractive to him.

Why did he want to come to Kalamazoo?
"I was drawn to the opportunity to lead an up-and-coming student-centric comprehensive university with deep ties to the local and regional economy and community. Its strengths in the traditional arts and sciences, coupled with strong programs in such areas as aviation, engineering, business, medicine and others make it an institution with enormous potential" Dr. Montgomery says.

What will he tackle first?
"Job No. 1 for me is getting to know the faculty, staff, students and alumni communities. Working together, I know we can build on the strong foundation laid by President Dunn and make WMU the institution of choice for students from the state and region," Dr. Montgomery says.

What does the Presidential Search Committee of the WMU board of trustees say about the selection?
"Edward Montgomery's personal demeanor, commitment to transformational change and extensive academic background resonated with all of us involved in the search and spoke directly to the themes that emerged from our numerous listening sessions with university stakeholders,” says WMU Trustee William Johnston, who led the 22-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee.

Montgomery’s selection follows a national search to find a successor to Dr. John M. Dunn who had announced a June 30 retirement date but will now continue through July 31.

Source: Cheryl Roland, Western Michigan University
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