Some names on this list may be more recognizable than others, but they all share one common trait — all with good reason: Each of them is a nominee for the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s Newsmaker of the Year honors.
The Journal will honor West Michigan’s top decision makers on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at its annual Newsmakers of the Year breakfast at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Tickets for the event, which begins at 7:30 a.m., are available online.
Business Journal editors and reporters sifted through nearly 200 choices before settling on the top nominees in each of the following 16 categories: Arts & Entertainment, Beverages, Economic Development, Education, Finance, Food, Health Care, Law, Manufacturing, Nonprofits/Philanthropy, Real Estate/Construction, Retail, Sports, Startups, Sustainability and Technology.
The top selection from each category will be recognized with an industry Newsmaker award, and a Newsmaker of the Year will be selected from among the winners of those 16 categories.
Last year, David Hooker, CEO of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, took home the top honor.
The top Newsmaker in each category and the overall Newsmaker of the Year will be announced during the event. A printed supplement profiling the nominees in each category will be included in the Jan. 23, 2017 issue of the Grand Rapids Business Journal.
2016 Newsmaker of the Year finalists
Arts & Entertainment
Joseph Calvaruso, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Greg Gilmore, 20 Monroe Live
Rich MacKeigan, SMG
Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens, Founders Brewing Co.
John VanTongeren, Ferris Coffee & Nut
Jon O’Connor and Kyle Van Strien, Long Road Distillers
Craig Hall and Jennifer Owens, Holland SmartZone
Julius Suchy, Village of Sparta
Ryan Cotton, Downtown Holland
Jonathan Engelsma, Grand Valley State University
Teresa Weatherall Neal, Grand Rapids Public Schools
John Knapp, Hope College
Jason Wenk, FormulaFolio Investments
David Ramaker, Chemical Bank
Martin Stein, Blackford Capital
Phil Grashoff, Southwest & West Michigan Agribusiness Alliance
Steve Soet, Kent Quality Foods
Cliff Meeuwsen, Zeeland Farm Services
Greg Loomis, Mercy Health Muskegon
Kent Riddle, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
Michael Faas and Marschall Runge, Metro Health and University of Michigan Health System
Mark Miller, Cascade Engineering
Heidi Washington, Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility Vocational Village
Christine Gilman, Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan
Cedric Duclos, Hutchinson North American Innovation Center
Rich Sorota, Ranir
Matthew Missad, Universal Forest Products Inc.
Jorge Gonzalez, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Peter Secchia and Richard DeVos, Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Center
Carla Blinkhorn, YWCA
John Wheeler, Orion Construction
Sam Cummings, CWD Real Estate Investment
Mike VanGessel, Rockford Construction
Scott Wierda, CWD Real Estate Investment
Rick Keyes, Meijer Inc.
Dennis Eidson, SpartanNash Co.
Maria Besta, Mary Free Bed Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program
Dan DeVos, Edge Ice Arena
Lesley Baker, Meijer LPGA Classic
Danny Vessells, Fathom
Sara Moylan, Shefit
Mark Gurney, Tetra Discovery Partners
Dan Schoonmaker, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum
Kris and Jason Spaulding, Brewery Vivant
Peter Secchia, Millennium Park
Meredith Bronk, Open Systems Technologies
Adam Kramer, Switch
Garry VonMyhr, Genius Phone Repair