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Heartside : West Michigan In The News

353 Heartside Articles | Page: | Show All

West MI primed for wind, solar energy innovations, experts say

As Michigan’s political leaders drag their feet on creating a workable policy that spurs development and jobs around alternative energy one West Michigan business leader says emerging energy technologies and Michigan’s geography are a perfect match—including a possible wind farm in Lake Michigan—and a recent energy symposium in Holland launched a new conversation.

According to excerpts from the story:

On June 5, the Ottawa County Planning and Grants Dept held an Alternative Energy Symposium. . Michigan Now’s Chris McCarus sat down with one of the speakers. His name is Steve Hamstra. He’s with GMB Architects and Engineers in Holland.

Read the complete story here.

 


Growth in staffing companies suggests growth in West Michigan businesses

Unemployment took another jump this week, but the West Michigan job news scene isn’t all bad with current trends showing that staffing agencies are placing more and more employees in positions that range from highly-skilled trades jobs to research positions, and that means that there are manufacturing and knowledge jobs to be had.

According to excerpts from the story:

EmploymentGroup just reported a record quarter -- 32 percent growth in sales for the first quarter of this year, attributed to 35 new clients that produced $3.45 million in new sales.

A growing employment agency suggests a growing demand for workers. Small and medium-sized businesses -- the majority of EmploymentGroup's clients -- are hiring in those markets, if not full-time staffers, at least full-time temporary workers.

In Holland, Manpower Inc. Great Lakes also has seen an increase in demand for workers, president Rebecca Dernberger said.

Read the complete story here.


GVSU communications students launch PR business on-campus

A new college student -founded and -led PR firm based on a college campus helps students learn the joys and pitfalls—things they can’t learn in the classroom—firsthand, and since they’ve already landed clients, maybe they’ll be encouraged and stick around to start businesses here after graduation.

According to excerpts from the story:

What started as working with fellow students to plan events on campus has turned into a student-run business venture at Grand Valley State University.

The fledgling public relations firm Grand PR presently consists of 10 GVSU communications students who set up the business and have so far landed four clients.

Read the complete story here.


Michigan advocates say push ahead with Great Lakes protection efforts

The forthcoming federal money for cleaning up, stopping the spread of invasive species, and remediating toxic hot spots or wildlife habitat in the Great Lakes region falls woefully short of what's need to accomplish goals established way back in 2005, and Michigan’s top brass says it time to stop waiting to take action. Is anyone listening?

According to excerpts from the story:

Michigan should push ahead with Great Lakes protection efforts despite a shortage of financial support from the federal government, state officials and conservation advocates said Thursday.

Lt. Gov. John Cherry said state agencies and nonprofit organizations would look for ways to implement portions of a Great Lakes restoration plan that supporters say has languished because of inadequate funding.

"It's pretty clear that we in Michigan need to move forward on our own ... with hope that when we elect a new president the federal interest will re-emerge," Cherry said in a phone interview. He announced the initiative in Lansing with representatives of the state Office of the Great Lakes and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

Read the complete story here.


Hertz taps Grand Rapids firm to design China locations

Just as design leaders across West Michigan are gathering to form the first national initiative for design as an industry, one local design firm lands a groundbreaking design contract to create the model retail location for an international rental car firm’s venture into China.

According to excerpts from the story:

A company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been awarded the contract to design Hertz Rent-A-Car’s new hire outlet in Shanghai, China. The new retail location will also likely serve as a model in terms of its design for Hertz outlets to be built in the near future, not only in China, but rather in other parts of the world as well.

Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, a major engineering firm in Michigan, was awarded the contract and according to media reports, the company is planning on meeting with both Hertz representatives, as well as contractors in China, to jumpstart the project.

Read the complete story here.


Michigan residents give Grand Rapids high marks compared to southeast side of state

Closing the gap of perceptions between residents on the east and west sides of the state is an important step in unifying opinions, politics, and economic strategies. A recent survey compiled some interesting results about how each side of the state feels about the other.

According to excerpts from the story:

It’s hardly news that Southeast Michigan’s neighbors across the state favor West Michigan for business-labor relations, work ethic, raising a family, philanthropy and volunteerism, and even fostering entrepreneurship.

More surprising is that when they say they do better, on some issues, we agree.

Read the complete story here.


Greenville’s United Solar Ovonic to add 400 jobs

A statewide push to delve deeper into alternative energy solutions just got a jumpstart with the announcement that a leading global manufacturer of solar laminate products will hire record numbers of West Michigan workers.

According to excerpts from the story:

GREENVILLE, Mich., June 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- United Solar Ovonic LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. and the leading global manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminate products for the building integrated and commercial rooftop markets, announced today that it will begin hiring to accommodate the recently announced expansion to add 120MWs nameplate capacity to its existing Greenville Campus. With this expansion the total employment at the site is planned to reach approximately 800 team members.

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids touted as ‘must do’ road trip by Indianapolis publication

Auto travel and high fuel costs don’t often mix, but this Indiana travel writer says making the drive to discover West Michigan’s vibrant art scene, bar and restaurant hotspots, and the family activities along the lakeshore is worth the time and money.

According to excerpts from the story:

As the city's Web site states, "Grand Rapids is serious about art," as confirmed by the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and six downtown museums. The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (www.meijergardens.org) is 125 acres of landscape, which includes works by Auguste Rodin.

The city also offers a lively downtown restaurant and bar scene, a zoo, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, minor league baseball and a 16-mile biking/skating path.

Read the complete story here.


Great Lakes’ water conservation will spur waves of entrepreneurial opportunities

As potable fresh water becomes more scarce, Great Lakes states are in a unique position to meet the demand for designers, manufacturers, retailers and creators of ‘green’ water technologies; and that means opportunity, money, and jobs for the only region where 35 million people depend on Great Lakes water.

According to excerpts from the story:

How do you “brand” water? If anyone has an answer to that question, its journalist and Traverse City native, J. Carl Ganter. Ganter is the executive director of an ambitious international non-profit, Circle of Blue, addressing the dangers – and opportunities – lapping at the issue of fresh water conservation. As environmental matters go, branding is how Ganter plans to make water the next global warming. Or, at least on par with that issue in the public consciousness.

“More than half the states in this country will be facing water shortages in the next five years,” said Ganter. “One-third of the global population doesn’t have adequate access to clean drinking water. It’s not all negative, however. There are huge economic opportunities. Huge.”

Read the complete story here.


Feds could approve $2B funding to create alternative energy jobs in Michigan

Michigan has the ability to compete in the alternative energy industries, but the lack of tax incentives and funding for research is holding companies back and high prices for hybrid cars are preventing green-minded consumers from buying…until this proposed legislation goes through.

According to excerpts from the story:

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Thursday that federal funds and incentives pending in Congress will grow alternative energy jobs in Michigan and help consumers afford more fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles.

Stabenow, a Democrat who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, said the full chamber has approved her request for $2 billion to support energy efficiency programs by cities, counties and states. It would also increase federal funding for advanced battery research from $22 million to $250 million.

The budget legislation is now in the House, but the funding level for the U.S. Department of Energy has been secured, she said.

Read the complete story here.


Middle East expansion may be on horizon for West Michigan businesses

West Michigan’s competitive edge as leading manufacturers and tradesmen will serve it well in the burgeoning Middle Eastern market, and experts are standing by, ready to help companies cash in on some of the $1.6 trillion dollars waiting to be invested in equipment, knowledge, and technology West Michigan companies can provide.

According to excerpts from the story:

A few western Michigan companies have discovered new markets in the Middle East. More could -- demand is strong and there is a lot of professional help locally to expand sales in that region.

"There are more than $1.6 trillion dollars to spend by just the six Gulf Countries on various projects where American countries can produce equipment, knowhow, technology and products," said Abdul Quader Shaikh, senior international economist for the trade information center of the federal Department of Commerce.

Saudi Arabian business people who hosted Dixie Anderson and other members of the National World Affairs Council in December repeatedly asked about plastics, Anderson said. The Kingdom, as Saudi Arabia often is called, also is in a construction boom.

"They're building five cities from scratch," said Anderson, executive director of the World Affairs Council Western Michigan in Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here.


First-ever regional policy conference planned for West Michigan

West Michigan business and community leaders are frustrated with not being heard in Lansing, and the first-ever regional policy conference aims to set a new precedent for establishing expectations of lawmakers, creating position statements and opening a line of communication that promotes economic development and prosperity across the region.

According to excerpts from the story:

As their counterparts in metro Detroit meet this week on Mackinac Island, political and business leaders in western Michigan are proceeding with plans for their own policy conference this fall.

Organizers of the inaugural 2008 West Michigan Regional Policy Conference -- organized by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce with involvement of several others across a broad region -- see the gathering as offering a unified voice to public-policy makers in Lansing.

The event aims to "advance an agenda that's a West Michigan agenda," Grand Rapids Area Chamber President Jeanne Englehart said.

"The vision is to unite the West Michigan business community in a forum that will create common policy goals," Englehart said. "The idea is that West Michigan wants to have a voice as well."

Read the complete story here.


GrandWalk project continues steady move forward

As the sustainability movement catches on around the globe, one small industrial area in West Michigan has been the focus of decades of discussions around green business practices, green education, green restoration, and green manufacturing and now real ‘green’ is flowing with the promise of greener things to come.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS — Picture a recycling Mecca that encompasses part of Grand Rapids and Walker where recycling companies’ products and materials are used as feedstock for nearby manufacturers.

It’s a green, sustainable environment where no waste leaves the area and green collar jobs are created. It would reclaim an area that now includes some unsightly sections, including several acres of auto salvage. Hopes for the area include a mix of sustainable and green development that would be a magnet for other like-minded businesses.

Read the complete story here.


Spectrum Health daycare rises on former Bishop’s Furniture property

Quality childcare close to a parent’s employer is a key issue for attracting and retaining outstanding healthcare professionals to West Michigan, and a benefit of working for one of the area’s most prominent healthcare facilities. The company just set the bar higher after breaking ground for a brand new daycare facility designed specifically with children and their caregivers in mind.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS — The owner of a local land development company says the new, 22,000-square-foot commercial building his company will construct on the site of a long-vacant furniture manufacturing business will provide his firm the opportunity to transform a stagnant property into an attractive, useful space.

For employees at Spectrum Health, the project will simplify daily commutes to and from daycare.

Officials at Third Coast Development Partners LLC announced last month that they have received more than $200,000 in state and local funds to construct a single-story commercial building at the site of the former Bishop’s Furniture Company on Michigan Street NE in Grand Rapids. The building will be leased to Spectrum Health for a childcare and development center, allowing the hospital to merge current child development activities from two separate locations in the metro area.

Read the complete story here.


Boaters, marinas reap benefits of rising lake levels

Falling water levels have plagued Michigan lakes, leaving boaters unable to reach their docks and marinas footing the bill for dredging, but not so this year. Heavy snows and a long winter have brought about the first rise in lake levels in nearly a decade.

According to excerpts from the story:

The harsh winter should lead to a better summer for Great Lakes boaters and shipping companies.

Above-average snowfall and prolonged ice cover on lakes this past winter caused Lake Michigan's water level to rise six inches in April, about twice the average spring melt, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

For the summer, the Corps is forecasting the big lakes' water levels should be 5 to 8 inches higher than last summer.

Read the complete story here.

353 Heartside Articles | Page: | Show All
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