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Notable News for December 2019

Dean Celebrates Five Decades of Service and Advocacy

Dean Transportation is celebrating its golden anniversary. The nationally recognized transportation service is marking 50 years of safely transporting students to and from their schools.

“We are extremely proud to have been an integral part of communities throughout Michigan for the past 50 years,” said Kellie Dean, president of the company. “We have worked hard during the past half-century to provide safe and reliable transportation to and from school for 80,000 students every school day. We are committed to further serving our communities and look forward to transporting the children and grandchildren of today’s passengers in the future.”

Dean Transportation has twice been named the top school bus company in North America and has expanded its service offerings to include Dean Charters and Tours – now Dean Trailways. Never content with the status quo, Dean Transportation remains dedicated to set the standard for the rest of the pack through endeavors such as its environmental initiatives and its proprietary school bus health care training curriculum, which is taught in partnership with local community colleges.


EDL Acquires Broadrock Renewables

Global energy producer Energy Developments Limited has completed the acquisition of Broadrock Renewables, replacing Macquarie Infrastructure Partners II as the owner of the landfill gas-to-energy business headquartered in Johnston, Rhode Island. Macquarie is a fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and has been the sole owner of Broadrock since 2010.

“I am pleased to welcome the Broadrock team into the EDL family,” EDL CEO James Harman said. “EDL plans to leverage our operational expertise in waste-to-energy and continue Broadrock’s role as a reliable energy supplier to its customers and communities.”

Macquarie CEO Karl Kuchel said, “I would like to thank the entire Broadrock team that has built the business into a high-quality renewables platform. We are proud of our achievements and look forward to seeing Broadrock continue its success under EDL’s ownership.”


Schripsema Announces Retirement from GLCVB

After a long and successful career in the hospitality industry, Jack Schripsema, president and CEO of the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, has announced his retirement. Schripsema plans to step down at the end of February.

Schripsema joined the organization in 2012 and has been instrumental in helping drive overnight visitation, topping the 1 million-room-night mark in 2016. Schripsema’s leadership and passion for the industry was recognized with several awards including being named CVB Star of the Year at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and earning a Michigan Meetings and Events Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Looking back over the last 50 years, I’m proud to have been involved with many initiatives to further the industry and improve the communities I served. I valued my time at the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau and the experience of working with the outstanding staff and local stakeholders. I know the board will be diligent in finding the right person to lead the organization into the future,” Schripsema said.

Schripsema plans to spend his new free time with family in Michigan, traveling and working on his golf game.


First National Names Nagel as its Intern

Nathan Nagel, a Kalamazoo native and senior at Western Michigan University majoring in finance, has received the first Daniel R. Smith Banking Internship awarded by First National Bank of Michigan. The internship, in honor of Daniel R. Smith, was announced in December 2018. It will be offered annually to a WMU junior or senior majoring in business, accounting or finance.

Smith played a key role in banking for several years locally, statewide and nationally, and was instrumental in helping open First National Bank of Michigan in 2006, according to a news release.

“We are thrilled to extend this opportunity to Nathan. Dan would be so proud,” stated Daniel Smith’s wife, Judy, who was present to congratulate Nagel. First National President and CEO Daniel Bitzer added, “Since our inception in 2006, our team has put a strong emphasis on enriching our community. This paid internship provides us the opportunity to teach, and for Nathan to experience banking firsthand in a local community bank.”


Kaplan Agency Hosts Grand Opening

Farmers Insurance celebrated its grand opening of the Kevin Kaplan Agency on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing on Aug. 27. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the office with the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and members of the local community. The office officially opened for business May 1. Farmers Insurance takes pride in its commitment to serving the community and providing excellent service to their customers.


Niowave Announces New President

Niowave Inc., a Lansing-based producer of medical radioisotopes, announced Oct. 3 that Mike Zamiara was promoted to president. He will be responsible for the daily operations of the company as it moves from a research and development organization to full-scale production of isotopes. With over 30 years of experience in various roles in manufacturing, Zamiara has helped middle-market companies grow strategically through acquisition and the commercialization of existing product portfolios.

“This is an exciting time for Niowave and I have full confidence in Mike’s abilities,” said Dr. Terry Grimm, founder and CEO. “Mike has proven himself to be a result-driven professional who understands what is needed to take Niowave to the next level. He’s basically been serving in a presidential capacity for some time, so it will be a seamless transition. Mike is a perfect example of how one person can have a significant and positive impact in an organization.”


Program Rescues Food for Those in Need

The Greater Lansing Food Bank has provided many special programs and services to reach communities that have few emergency food resources. The food bank’s Food Movers program rescues unsold or unused food from local event centers and restaurants for distribution to its member-agency network of local community kitchens and pantries.

In September, the food bank joined Food Movers to get a feel for what a day in the life of rescuing food looks like. Along with two others who are part of Food Movers, they visited two donors: Michigan State University Concessions and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center. In just a few hours, they had collected around 1,800 pounds of food.

After picking up prepared food from the donors, the Greater Lansing Food Bank headed straight to its partner agencies: Holy Cross Services, St. Casimir Catholic Parish and Gateway Community Services.


Premier Rehabilitation to Open Second Location

Premier Rehabilitation will open its second location in the area at 3315 E. Michigan Ave. in the Frandor Plus Shopping Center. Co-owners Jeffery Cook and Tyler Wilson have built a successful practice and established a highly regarded reputation over the last five years, serving the community with the first location on South Cedar Street in Holt. The new clinic will offer clients the convenience of an east side location near Frandor and Michigan State University.

The new location will be open in early January and will be staffed with more than 10 employees, including five doctors of physical therapy, once fully operational. It will have a unique approach that includes manual therapy and one-on-one individualized care, along with providing the highest quality health care to the community.


City Announces Photo Contest Winners

The winners of the 2019 East Lansing Community Photo Contest have been announced. The competition was sponsored by Meijer, the East Lansing Downtown Management Board and the East Lansing Farmers Market. Of the 254 photographs submitted, 13 were selected as winners.

Taking first place was Julie Anna with “Midnight in the Alleyway.” Second place went to Christian Hickey with “Broad Art Museum” and third place went to John McGraw with his photo “Sunrise in East Lansing.”

The Downtown East Lansing Award winner was Victor DiRita with “Grand River Avenue Sunset.”

The winner of the East Lansing Farmers Market Award was Pooh Stevenson with “Fall at the ELFM.”

The honorable mentions consisted of Hickey for “Lights on Grand River Avenue,” Carleigh Lewaniak with “Abbot Road Park,” Gary Caldwell with “These are the Banks I Consider When I Need to Spend,” Nathan Pence with “Sleeping Squirrel,” William Rowan with “MSU Children’s Garden at Sunset,” Matthew Kazmierski with “Red Cedar Flowing” and Prakash Shee with “Stallions.”

The winning photos will be featured in a variety of city marketing materials, both online and in print, with all the photos being posted on the city’s Facebook page.


Courtyard Hotel Opens in Okemos

A Courtyard by Marriott opened its doors in Okemos on Oct. 25. The new Courtyard features an innovative lobby space as well as Courtyard’s latest contemporary room design. The new hotel will provide flexibility and choices that allow guests to optimize and elevate their travel experience. The new hotel is at 3545 Meridian Crossing Drive and has 105 rooms.

“From Day 1, Courtyard has prided itself as a brand that listens to business travelers,” said Janis Milham, senior vice president and global brand leader for Classic Select Brands. “Today’s technology has changed how people travel. Our guests want a room that has purpose and flexibility that enables a seamless transition between relaxing and working. Courtyard is designed to offer them a relaxing and functional space to work the way they want to, when they want to.”

The four-story hotel also features a fitness center, a courtyard with a fire pit, a guest laundry and 480 square feet of meeting space to accommodate functions of up to 36 people.


Women Celebrated for Inspiration & Influence

Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Aitch Foundation hosted an evening that some will never forget as the community came together to celebrate the 2019 Inspiration & Influence Awards. This distinguished awards ceremony was held Oct. 16 at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West to identify some impactful women who are doing impressive things in the local community.

“We are so honored to be a part of creating an event that unifies the community to recognize those amongst us who are making significant contributions,” said Tiffany Dowling, CEO and founder of M3 Group and publisher of CAWLM. “This is one event that we are looking forward to continuing for years to come.”

This year’s Inspiration & Influence award winners included Ashley Brzezinski of Gillespie Group for the Up and Coming Award; Zaneta Adams, an attorney and disabled Army veteran, for the Caring for Women Locally Award; Pamela Miklavcic for the Judges’ Impact Award; andPriscilla Bordayo, who was awarded Woman of the Year.

Sponsors of the 2019 Inspiration & Influence Awards included International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 665, Martin Commercial Properties, Cinnaire, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, Gillespie Group, Comerica Bank, Another Look Hair Institute, Kevin Kaplan’s Farmers Insurance Agency and other local table sponsors.


Athletic Club Named Among Tops in Country

The Sparrow Michigan Athletic Club has been named among the top clubs in the country by a leading national publication.

Club Industry ranked the athletic club in the top 10 of clubs that stand alone and are not part of a chain. The club is the only hospital-based health club in mid-Michigan.

The magazine also ranked the club eighth overall on its list of the top 100 clubs in the United States. No other single-operated location was ranked higher. The club was recognized for several reasons, including being one of the largest clubs in the United States, its high customer retention rate and the number of active accounts.

“We are hugely honored by this ranking, but we’re most proud of how it reflects the service we provide to our members and guests of all ages,” said Bob Diamond, executive director of the Sparrow Michigan Athletic Club. “We’d love for everyone to tour the MAC and get a complimentary guest pass to try the club. Visit the membership office or call today at (517) 364-8888.”


Spartan Motors Acquires Royal Truck Body

Spartan Motors Inc., the North American leader in specialty vehicle manufacturing and assembly for the commercial and retail vehicle industries as well as for the emergency response and recreational vehicle markets, recently purchased Royal Truck Body, a leading California-based designer, manufacturer and installer of service truck bodies and accessories. Royal Truck Body joins Spartan’s specialty chassis and vehicles business unit and, in recognition of the strength of the brand, will continue to go to market under the Royal Truck Body name.

This is the latest acquisition driven by Spartan’s strategic plan and will result in the achievement of three of the plan’s key goals: earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortization; margin growth; increased revenue; and geographic expansion by way of delivering on the promise of a coast-to-coast manufacturing and distribution footprint.

“This is an exciting day for Spartan,” said Daryl Adams, president and CEO of Spartan Motors. “Our acquisition of Royal Truck Body marks the continued execution of our strategic plan and delivers on the promise of nationwide expansion to the benefit of our customers, suppliers, team members and our shareholders.”


First National Expands in Downtown Kalamazoo

First National Bank of Michigan has relocated its downtown branch to 318 W. Michigan Ave. in Kalamazoo.

“We are proud to expand our footprint in downtown Kalamazoo,” stated First National Bank of Michigan President and CEO Dan Bitzer.

The new branch is adjacent to the local bank’s former location at 348 W. Michigan Ave. The bank had occupied the former building since being founded in Kalamazoo in 2006.

“Relocating the branch to the newly remodeled building enables us to utilize the drive-thru for the convenience of our customers and increase office capacity for corporate operations in our current location,” Bitzer said. “Adding an additional 4,000 square feet will allow us to expand and continue to grow the bank.”

Renovation of the building was scheduled to be complete mid-October. The bank’s former location housed 43 employees in 29,000 square feet including branch and office space

“We are happy to support downtown Kalamazoo and seized the opportunity to acquire the property late last year when another financial institution relocated,” Bitzer added


Beckhorn Recognized as Advocate of the Year

The Michigan Works Association honored Stephanie Beckhorn, the director of Workforce Development for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, for her commitment to workforce and economic development. Beckhorn received the award at the association’s annual conference in Kalamazoo in September.

“Stephanie has been a champion of working cooperatively with the Michigan Works network for many years and has worked diligently to help ensure a smooth transition to the new administration,” said Luann Dunsford, Michigan Works Association CEO. “She approaches projects in an inclusive manner and seeks solutions that are effective and replicable.”

“What a wonderful surprise to receive this prestigious award from the Michigan Works Association,” said Beckhorn. “I truly value the important relationship Workforce Development has with the Michigan Works network. A collaborative partnership is imperative as we work hand-in-hand with local community partners to ensure we are providing the very best services possible to the citizens of Michigan. I am so grateful for the partnership and hard work of the Michigan Works team and am very humbled to receive this award from a valued partner.”


Collaboration Creates Expanded Indoor Sports Venue

The Summit Sports and Ice Complex has welcomed Aim High Courts to its broad range of events and programs.

The plan is to add multiple versatile and durable sport court surfaces in a portion of the 54,300-square-foot fieldhouse for basketball, volleyball and other sports. By adding Aim High Courts, the Summit will enhance its ability to drive tourism and out-of-state visitors to mid-Michigan while hosting regional and national sporting events. Turf sports, trade shows, community events and now court sports will have a home in the large fieldhouse.

“The versatility of the Summit Sports and Ice Complex will allow us to do everything we have done at Aim High Sports under one roof and continue to be a community asset year-round,” said Paige Sauer, Summit general manager.

The Summit’s owners, Westmor Partners, have operated the Summit and Aim High at adjacent facilities for the last eight years, but decided it can be more efficient and provide a better overall experience for its loyal customers by bringing all offerings under one roof. As part of this merger, Westmor Partners sold the Aim High Sports building for industrial use.