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Professional Highlights from the 517 Region

Kearney Appointed to Ele’s Place Board

Paul Kearney, chief claims officer for AF Group, was recently appointed to the community board of Ele’s Place Capital Region.

“As Ele’s Place celebrates 30 years of serving grieving children and teens in the capital region, I am very honored to have the opportunity to serve on Ele’s Place Capital Region community board,” Kearney said. “With more than 31,000 individuals having received grief support at no cost to them, I know that Ele’s Place has had a significant impact on our community and will continue to do so for many years to come. I look forward to being able to assist in this endeavor.”

Ele’s Place is a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to creating awareness of and support for grieving children and their families.


Arts Council Announces Grant Recipients

The Arts Council of Greater Lansing announced grant funding totaling $22,900 for Greater Lansing artists and arts organizations.

Each fall the arts council administers the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Professional or Organizational Development and Arts Projects Mini-grants to area artists and arts organizations.

Additionally, the Lansing arts council awards its own cycle of grants, including the Young Creatives Grants, which are funded by the Arts Advancement Endowment Fund and Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. The local grants provide funding and scholarships for youth arts programming in the region. This year, the Chris Clark Fellowship Program for Creative Professionals grants were established through a legacy gift from Lansing-area native Chris Clark.

“We are so pleased to award these grants to our area artists and arts organizations,” said Meghan Martin, Lansing arts council executive director. “They have had many challenges since the beginning of the pandemic, and these funds will allow them to grow in their work and in their offerings to the community while giving them some financial breathing room.”

The grants assist in covering costs for projects, supplies, conference and workshop fees, and other support for work. Grants were awarded through each of the following program initiatives:

The MCACA POD Mini-grant funding totaling $3,750 for was awarded to Amber Sheerin of the Michigan Library Association, the Lansing Art Gallery and Olivia Furhman.

The MCACA Arts Project Mini-grant funding totaling $7,400 was awarded to Peckham Vocational Industries and the Lansing School District.

The Young Creatives Grant funding totaling $7,500 for was awarded to All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre, the Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center, the Lansing Children’s Choir, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, the Michigan State University Writing Center, and REACH Studio Art Center.

The Chris Clark Fellowship funding totaling $8,000 was awarded to Hrant Bagrazyan, Michelle Carlson, Seth Ebersole, Sam Gould, Keyonie James, Mike Marriott and Masaki Takahashi.


McLaren Receives $2,500 from Conquest Fitness

Conquest Fitness recently presented a check for $2,500 to the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation. The funds were raised during Cancer Awareness Month to support cancer care at McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital.

“Cancer is a vicious disease, and nearly all of us are affected by it at some point in our lives,” said Lynn Griffor, vice president of the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation. “We’re touched Conquest Fitness and its patrons so generously came together to bring hope to the lives of over 1,000 people McLaren Greater Lansing treats in our Karmanos Cancer Institute each year.”

Griffor said the gift would help the hospital provide financial assistance, gas and groceries to those being treated at

McLaren. This gift will allow patients to receive care packages as they begin their journey toward survivorship.

“My partners and I are always looking for ways to help people in the Lansing area become life-ready and improve their health and wellness beyond the doors of Conquest Fitness,” said Andre Hutson, co-owner of Conquest Fitness. “As a member of the McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital board, I hear about the health care battles people are fighting every day. Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases there is. We raised this money to help make the fight against cancer as painless and hopeful as possible.”


Granger Promotes Anderson to COO

Granger Waste Services promoted Paul Anderson to chief operating officer. Anderson joined the company in 2002.

“Paul has been a steady leader at Granger for many years,” said Keith Granger, CEO. “He has played a critical role in our operations throughout our most significant period of growth. His leadership style, knowledge and experience, as well as his relationships with our associates, will help guide our company forward.”

As chief operating officer, Anderson will collaborate with the CEO in setting and driving organizational vision, operational strategy and future direction of the company; take the lead on expansion activities; and oversee and coordinate the entire operation of the organization toward the achievement of established policies, goals and operating objectives.

“Leadership happens at every level of the company,” said Anderson. “I was given the chance to start on the front line and learn all aspects of the organization. Granger supported my growth professionally and academically to shape me into the leader I am today. I look forward to working with Keith and the leadership team to drive the company’s vision and commitment to being Michigan’s most reliable trash and recycling provider.”


Duncan Leads Professional Board Staff Network

The Professional Board Staff Network has elected Benita Duncan, executive assistant and board liaison for Lansing Community College, as president. She is the first Black woman to ascend to the position of president for the executive committee of the ACCT Professional Board Staff Network. The network is a national-level resource for those who support governing boards or presidents of community colleges.

“Behind every great CEO there is an exceptional executive assistant serving — but, more importantly, leading and working confidently with their CEO and peers with diplomacy and influence,” said Duncan. “I am extremely humbled and honored to serve as the first Black president. Being the president of the PBSN allows me to serve my peers on a national level. Part of my responsibilities will include leading our team with the planning for our upcoming conference in New York City next year.”

The Lansing native and Howard University graduate manages the day-to-day operations of the LCC board of trustees office and is the primary contact person for individuals seeking to communicate with the board. She led the effort to transition to a paperless system for board meeting materials, saving the college time and money. She has actively served on many college committees, personnel search committees and interview panels.


CASE Makes Donation to Youth Haven

As part of its community outreach and giving efforts, CASE Credit Union recently presented Youth Haven with a check for $5,028. The funds were raised by credit union employees throughout the third quarter of 2021.

Youth Haven’s mission is to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of disadvantaged children. That includes boys and girls living in foster care, single-parent families or low-income homes, as well as children who have experienced abuse, neglect, gang violence or even a parent in prison.

“The continued support from our staff demonstrates our commitment to improving our communities in which we live and work,” said Jeffrey Benson, president and CEO of CASE Credit Union.


Warner Ranked Top-Tier Law Firm

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP has been ranked one of the 2022 “Best Law Firms” by Best Lawyers and U.S. News and World Report.

The firm was recognized for its litigation work in the areas of regulatory enforcement and environmental law. Additionally, six of its offices received top-tier ratings in multiple practice areas. The rankings are based on an evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations; peer reviews from leading attorneys; and other criteria, such as firm practice areas, expertise, responsiveness, integrity, litigation and major legal matters, cost-effectiveness, civility, pro bono commitment, and diversity.

Best Lawyers, which produces an annual peer review of attorneys, has teamed with U.S. News and World Report for nine years to conduct extensive surveys of attorneys included in the rankings and gather feedback from clients on the evaluation criteria.


Mercantile Expands Commercial Lending Team

Mercantile Bank added a team of commercial lenders to its Grand Rapids and Lansing markets as well as expanded its footprint with the addition of a northern Michigan commercial lending team.

Leading the expansion to the Traverse City/northern Michigan area as vice presidents and commercial lenders are Aaron Davenport and Jason Schramski.

Bringing additional talent to the Grand Rapids/Lansing area are Mike Bishop, senior vice president and commercial lender; Brian Campbell, first vice president and commercial lender; Steve Bosscher, first vice president and commercial lender; and Greg Adkins, first vice president and commercial lender.


Hesse Named Chief Nursing Officer at Sparrow Clinton

Sparrow Clinton Hospital has named Mariah Hesse as chief nursing officer. She has provided compassionate nursing care and leadership for nearly three decades at Sparrow Clinton.

“I have been very fortunate to serve our community at Sparrow Clinton Hospital for the past 29 years,” Hesse said. “I am proud to work with such an outstanding group of caregivers in our organization, and I look forward to continuing to support quality, compassionate care in my new role.”

Hesse’s most recent leadership role has been interim chief nursing officer and community hospital representative for the Sparrow COVID Incident Command Center.