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Perrigo hires a manager and a director

Perrigo Co. has hired a new manager of finance operations and a director of sourcing for the North American procurement group.

Jay Johnson has been hired as Manager, Operations Finance to support the global procurement team. Johnson will coordinate the global materials budgeting and purchasing, as well as make recommendations on spending.

Johnson has nine years of corporate experience in food, retail, and healthcare industries. He previously served in the U.S. Navy for six years where he managed the upkeep, maintenance, and calibration of all electronic communication, detection, surface search, and navigation equipment. He was stationed in San Diego, Ca. and traveled to over 20 different countries.

Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in science finance, magna cum laude, from Governors State University. He earned his MBA in corporate finance from Ohio State University. He also attended Franklin University where he earned his master’s in marketing and communications. He is from Rocky Mount, N.C. and currently lives in Kalamazoo.

Keith Pappert has been hired as Director of Sourcing for the North American procurement group.

Pappert will provide strategic direction and oversight for Perrigo’s direct material sourcing function. This includes identification, selection, and life cycle management of a global supply base to support the Rx, OTC and nutritional business units for all domestic Perrigo sites.

He has 20 years of related experience.  For the past eight years, Pappert was the director of sourcing for a North American-based store brand personal care products provider. He previously held various procurement and supply chain positions in the consumer products and chemical distribution industries.

Pappert earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri and his MBA from Southern Illinois University.  Keith is from St. Louis, Mo. and is relocating from Glen Carbon, Ill. to West Michigan for this position.

Source: Perrigo Co. PLC

Kalamazoo Community Foundation hires one, promotes two

Brittany Morton has joined the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and two others have received promotions. Morton has been hired as Scholarship Coordinator. Previously, she worked as a library aide at the Kalamazoo Public Library and as an intern with Girls on the Run.

Morton is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College with a BA in Anthropology and Sociology with a concentration in Public Policy and Urban Affairs.

Current employees recently promoted include Elena Mireles-Hill, as Community Investment Officer and Stephanie Carrier to Human Resources and Finance Coordinator.

Mireles-Hill and has been at the Community Foundation for two years. Mireles-Hill came to the foundation after completing her masters in Social Work and Pastoral Ministry from Boston College.

Carrier has been with the Kalamazoo Community Foundation for five years respectively and she previously worked at Western Michigan University in the Department of Accountancy.

Source: Kalamazoo Community Foundation

First National Bank of Michigan names new director of marketing and community relations

Mary Early is the new Director of Marketing and Community Relations for First National Bank of Michigan.

Early is a member of the southwest Michigan chapter of the American Marketing Association and the Kalamazoo women’s leadership group PEAK.

She is a graduate of Spring Arbor University with a degree in marketing and organizational development. Early is a life-long resident of southwest Michigan and now lives in Plainwell with her husband.  

“We are pleased to welcome Mary to our team," says Larry Lueth, President & CEO, First National Bank of Michigan. "She brings extensive west Michigan experience and knowledge of marketing and advertising at an appropriate time as our bank continues to grow."

First National Bank of Michigan is a locally-owned bank with locations in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Portage. Deposits stay in these west Michigan communities to fund loans, and decisions are made locally by First National Bank of Michigan bankers.

Souce: First National Bank of Michigan

Odyssey Games creates space for table-top game lovers

This Kalamazoo store's niche is Magic -- selling Magic to customers who regularly compete in Magic battles, and who form a Magic community.

Odyssey Games' biggest-seller is Magic: The Gathering, the trading card game that's a mix of poker, chess and Dungeons and Dragons. They also sell Star Wars X-Wing, a game of dogfighting miniatures from Lucas' universe; various Warhammer-style miniatures, and a variety of boardgames.

Odyssey Games has tables and chairs taking up valuable merchandise space -- but for the store, the community that battles upon those tables is as valuable as the cards and game pieces.

This has been co-owners Johnny Blaze and Elliot Parkhurst's most successful year since the store opened in 2012. "More and more people continue to get into Magic. Most of our eggs are in that basket. It's paying off," co-owner Blaze says.

On the east side of Western Michigan University's campus, the old storefront used to be a video game store, then a cafe/performance space, and many other shops catering to students. Student clientele comes and goes with the university's schedule, "but even during the summer we do alright. A lot of our crowd is local," Blaze says.

Odyssey has grown to the point where they're shopping around for a larger location. They hope to move as soon as they've found a spot. "We're going to be spinning our wheels if we stay here forever," Blaze says.

They're filling a specific gamer niche. Table-top games are growing in popularity with Millennials, he says. But this has led to "bigger businesses encroaching on the niches... When I go to Barnes & Noble and see the stuff that they weren't selling five years ago, that I'm trying to sell, it's disheartening."

Players can also find cards and miniatures in local comic shops and on the Web, and play in their basements with friends. Blaze and Parkhurst would encourage them to buy local at Odyssey, since money spent at the store goes into a community they're trying to foster.

Odyssey holds regular tournaments of Magic and other games. For some, players have to pay admission to play for prizes, others are free with smaller winnings.

"Magic would not be the same game that it is if everybody just played at home with their friends," Blaze says. "We have a great community, we love our regulars... we're doing this as much for them as we're doing it for us."

It's the gamers who play in the store "who keep us in business," Parkhurst adds. "If you had to pinpoint what our niche is, it's running events in a brick and mortar store. The peripherals, the accessories and cards are great, but the whole point of this business is having a place where we can host events for people to come and gather and play."

Writer: Mark Wedel, Second Wave Media
Sources: Johnny Blaze, Elliot Parkhurst, Odyssey Games

Game tournaments announced here

TowerPinkster promotes director of design to principal

Jason Novotny, Director of Design for TowerPinksters, has been promoted to Senior Principal and will serve on the board of directors for the West Michigan architecture and engineering firm.

Novotny has more than 18 years experience in architectural design. He has served as TowerPinkster’s Director of Design for five years. During this time, he has built a team of 11 design professionals and provided dozens of internship opportunities for architecture and interior design students. His team has earned more than 35 awards for their design work.

Among the projects he has worked on are Catalyst Development’s Mixed Use development, Corporation Hall; Arcadia Ales New Brewery and Distribution Center; and the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s Nature’s Way Preschool. Projects currently underway that he has worked on include  Western Michigan University’s East Hall transformation into an Alumni Center and the expansion of the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo’s Portage Facility.

"Jason’s years of experience and the work he has completed for several large clients makes him deserving of this promotion and becoming a part of our board of directors," says Arnold Mikon, TowerPinkster’s President and CEO.

TowerPinkster has offices in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Michigan. The firm specializes in specializing in education, commercial healthcare and government building design.

Source: TowerPinkster

Community forest to provide public natural area in Van Buren County

Habitat for rare and endangered species and a recreation area for people living in Kalamazoo, Mattawan, and Paw Paw soon will be the benefits of a community forest in Van Buren County.

The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy has been awarded $150,000 from a U.S. Forest Service program to acquire the property for the Lime Lake Community Forest by 2017. At that point the forest will be open to the public. A parking lot and other amenities will be added at a later date.

The forest also will be managed to improve and maintain habitat for rare and endangered species, such as Mitchell’s satyr – one of the world’s rarest butterflies, found only in Michigan and Indiana.

The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy is working with the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Conservation Fund, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources to acquire 189-acre community forest.

The application for funds from the U.S. Forest Service to preserve the forest was submitted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. To qualify for a grant, projects had to ensure public access to the protected lands, and the communities had to be involved in the process of developing a forest plan.

The proposed plans for the area will ensure that sustainable forest practices are implemented and long-term management goals for the forest are met, says Bill O’Neill, Michigan’s state forester.

“This project protects phenomenal resources for wildlife and will allow us to create permanent public access to nature in an underserved area of southwest Michigan and share forest stewardship and restoration information with our visitors,” says Peter Ter Louw, executive director for the land conservancy.

Sources: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy

Bank to open branch in Westnedge@Kilgore development

Southern Michigan Bank and Trust (SMB&T) has broken ground on its first bank branch in Portage. The bank has 14 locations throughout the region including those in Battle Creek and Three Rivers.

The bank currently plans to open in Portage with six new full time employees, and the number of employees could rise to seven if a mortgage originator is hired.

The new bank will be a full-service branch, complete with a drive-thru, parking, an ATM, financial services, loan origination, and modern technology, such as a virtual teller machine.

It will be a LEED Certified building, with all design and construction elements, materials and processes built in accordance with the LEED standards. Orion Construction is the general contractor for the bank project that is expected to be completed in late 2015.

The bank at 531 W. Kilgore is going up at the Hinman Company retail development Westnedge@Kilgore. The development is anchored by Earth Fare. Bank officials say SMB&T chose Westnedge@Kilgore for their new branch because of its centralized location and convenient proximity to surrounding neighborhoods and the highway. The presence of Earth Fare in the shopping center was also a key factor in SMB&T’s site selection process.

"We are eager to bring Southern Michigan Bank and Trust's unique services to the Portage and Kalamazoo area. The region is enjoying significant growth and is home to a vibrant business community," says John H. Castle, CEO and Chairman of Southern Michigan Bank & Trust.

Hinman's future plans for development at Westnedge@Kilgore include an additional 15,000 square feet of retail immediately north of Earth Fare. Hinman also plans to develop the seven acres east and north of Lowe’s Home Improvement. There also is a new 3,200 square foot retail space next to Earth Fare that is currently available for lease.

“SMB&T is very well-respected in the industry and we expect the bank will have success in this market,” says Roger Hinman, CEO of Hinman Company.
Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Sources: The Hinman Company, Southern Michigan Bank and Trust 

Happy birthday to Saugatuck Brewing Company

Being someone who appreciates craft beer is akin to being a companion on Doctor Who. In this case the brewer is The Doctor and each pint you drink becomes a Tardis, stretching and bending time, simultaneously making you feel younger and older in the very same instant.

With Saugatuck Brewing Company on the verge of turning 10, how else could you possibly describe how quickly the last decade has flown by?

Or perhaps that's all just a bit too dramatic and all this really is …  a smashing reason to throw a killer party!

The latter is on the docket for Sunday, June 14 when Saugatuck Brewing will open up the Singapore Room at 2 p.m. and welcome all its fans, new and old, to an afternoon of live music, great food, amazing beer, and once in a decade deals.

The free event will feature $2 draft pours and a unique 10-for-10 special: 10 specials for just $10 apiece.

The list includes flights, beer buckets, 64 oz. pitchers, swag, brewery tours, entrees, and more.

The Brewery will also be rolling out a pair of limited edition barrel-aged beers to mark this special occasion.

Lucky Number 13 is a Belgian Strong Ale clocking in at 13 percent ABV. Barrel aged for 14 months, the beer has the consistency and strength of a barley wine but with heavy bourbon notes and a distinct oaky character. Brewed using 13 malts and 13 hops this beer was also Saugatuck's 1,300 batch.

Holly's Lust, an Imperial Porter, is a dry porter, aged for 18 months. Hoppier than your average porter, this selection none the less carries sufficient roasted malt character and pours thick and black. 11.1 percent ABV.

Both barrel aged selections will run $4.50 per 12 oz. bottle and be limited to 12 bottles per person.  

Writer: Jeremy Martin, Second Wave Media
Source: Saugatuck Brewing Company

Miller-Davis Company staff grows by three

General Contractor and Construction Manager  Miller-Davis Company, has hired three new employees: Dale Michael, project superintendent; Matt Overley, project engineer; and Kaytlin Mott, contract administrator.

Dale Michael has 31 years of experience in the construction industry and a bachelor's degree in Construction Management from Western Michigan University. As project superintendent he is responsible for planning, supervising, and monitoring construction activities at the jobsite. He is currently assigned to Central Michigan University’s Lacrosse Athletics Renovation project.

Matt Overley has 13 years of experience in the construction industry. As project engineer he will assist with construction project management and supervision. Overley has a degree in Industrial Technology from Lake Michigan College and is currently assigned to Marcellus Community Schools’ 2014 Bond Program.

Kaytlin Mott, contract administrator, will provide administrative and accounting support on all construction projects. She is currently working towards a bachelor's degree in civil and construction engineering from Western Michigan University with a minor in law. She also is currently serving as project coordinator on a $1.8 million renovation project at Clausing Industrial.

Source: Miller-Davis Company

New CAD drafter hired by AVB

AVB recently hired Justine Pritchard as a CAD Drafter. Pritchard joined AVB on June 1. She has a master’s degree in architecture from Lawrence Technical University. She earned her bachelor of science degree in facility management. She will aid AVB in their residential design and construction, drawing on her previous experience at Old World Distributors as a CAD draftsman

AVB has been at work in Southwest Michigan since 1981. The company's commercial division focuses on construction management in the healthcare, education, office, industrial, municipal, and retail markets. AVB’s custom residential building division specializes in single-family homes, condominiums and neighborhoods. AVB’s development group focuses on property development for commercial, residential, and mixed uses.

Source: AVB

Walbridge hires Doug Phillips for West Michigan office

The construction firm Walbridge has hired Douglas Phillips to its West Michigan office in Kalamazoo as its new business development manager.

He will be responsible for developing new client relationships for Walbridge throughout the Midwest, especially in the regions surrounding Southwest Michigan, including Northern Indiana.

Phillips has a wide background in client relations, business development, and construction management. He has extensive experience managing capital projects from the concept stage to client occupancy.

Walbridge officials say Phillips' "ability to understand and determine key issues, goals and communication strategies makes him adept at developing relationships centered on trust and value."

His previous experience includes work as an owner’s representative for a Fortune 500 financial institution as well as project management and business development with regional and national construction firms, contributing to a skillset rich in project execution, branding, marketing and public relations. Phillips earned a bachelor of science degree from Western Michigan University.

Walbridge was hired in 2011 to build the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. Walbridge, founded in 1916, is one of the United States’ largest privately-held construction firms. It specializes in construction management, general contracting, design-build and equipment installation, among other specialty services.

Source: Walbridge

M Squared Modern Hair opens for business in St. Joseph Township

It took two years of hard work including a building rehab from the studs out, but it all paid off with a grand opening for M Squared Modern Hair, 3094 Niles Road, St. Joseph.

Owners Mandy and Scott McDonald purchased the building and worked on both the interior and the exterior. Local officials were on hand June 5 to celebrate with a ribbon cutting.

Mandy McDonald has been a hairdresser in the area for more than 10 years and she says she wanted to create a space where she could collaborate with other hairdressers "all focused on creating the ultimate customer experience for M Squared Modern Hair guests."  

The McDonalds got advice from the Women's Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance as they launched the business, connecting them with the resources they needed.

M Squared is a full service  salon and offers haircuts for women, men and children; coloring and highlights, styling, conditioning treatments and manicures and pedicures.  M Squared Modern Hair also has a full-service blowout bar for the times clients need their hair styled for special events. The salon also features Paul Mitchell products.

The salon is focused on providing services that people might otherwise go out of town for. 

The salon is open noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Saturday.

Appointments can be made by calling 269.588.3059 or by visiting their website or the salon’s Facebook page here.

Source: Cornerstone Alliance

Kzoo Swift gets a lift

Not even two years ago, Ryan Barber opened his brick-and-mortar bicycle shop, Kzoo Swift, on Forest Street in the Vine Neighborhood, and in that time the demand for his business has exploded. So much so that he's already outgrown his current location.

Barber's had his eye on the storefront on Westnedge, next to Retro Vintage and Antiques for some time. After the local art co-op vacated the space, he decided it was time to make the move, just around the corner from his present  space. Considering Kzoo Swift's specialty, vintage bikes, the pairing is perfect.

The new space offers quadruple the showroom space, and will allow for improved workshop space, as well as more tools and parts. Right now, Barber says, if he needs a part, he has to crawl over heaps of bikes, and by the time he completes his hurdle, the part might not even be there because there's just not enough room, presently, to store it all.

To fund its expansion and move, Kzoo Swift is running a crowdfunding Indigogo campaign, with hopes that the community will inject $7,500 into the project. Perks for donating include tickets to a fundraising event at Bell's, bicycle maintenance, and a bike of your choice from the shop.

The fundraiser at Bell's, scheduled for  6 p.m. June 16, is open to all ages, and will feature live music, a magic show, face painting, pedal-powered smoothies, and a raffle.

The shop will be closed for a couple of weeks (the last week of May and the first week of June) in preparation for the move. They'll be a “soft” open in their old space after that until their Grand Opening in the new space, scheduled for the weekend of June 19.

Writer: Kathi Valleii, Second Wave Media
Source: Ryan Barber, Kzoo Swift

Store owner comes out of retirement to open bookstore in downtown Battle Creek

The next chapter of Jim Donahue’s life involves a bookstore and a desire to help the city he has called home for more than 25 years.

On May 1 Donahue opened Battle Creek Books at 51 West Michigan Avenue. The 2,000-square-foot shop is filled with books, magazines, and items such as greeting cards and posters which are displayed on light wooden shelves.

"I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York and I have always liked books," Donahue says. "I wanted to do something to help Battle Creek and its downtown and not compete with other businesses in any way. I’m not a musician so I couldn’t open a jazz store."

After practicing medicine for 33 years, Donahue retired three years ago from the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Battle Creek. Once he decided to open the book store, he spoke with staff at the Downtown Battle Creek Partnership who told him about a retail incubator program that would provide him with the support he needed to get started.

"It seemed like the planets just aligned," Donahue says.

In another twist of fate, Donahue heard about a bookstore in Rutland, Vt., where his wife Ginny was born and raised, that was going out of business and selling all of its furniture. The couple took a road trip to Rutland to pick up the furniture.

Ginny Donahue has become the buyer for Battle Creek Books while also holding down a full-time job in the labs at the VA Medical Center.

Despite dire predictions for the future of books and the brick and mortar stores that sell them, Donahue says there is a small resurgence in independent booksellers, according to the American Booksellers Association.

A national movement encouraging support for local businesses and the ability of local book stores to offer local events featuring authors with ties to their communities is partly responsible for this resurgence, Donahue says.  

The events calendar for Battle Creek Books includes talks and book signings with authors such as George Franklin, former vice president with the Kellogg Company, and Brian Wilson, professor of religion at Western Michigan University.

Although books for children and young adults are a focus for Battle Creek Books, Donahue says he offers a book exchange program which gives people the opportunity to trade in gently used books for in-store credit.

"We also offer $1.49 shipping to anywhere in the United States," Donahue says as he picked up a stack of brightly colored pieces of paper, each with an order on them.

"We aren’t reinventing the wheel. We are trying to give people what they want."

Writer: Jane Parikh, Second Wave Media
Source: Jim Donahue, Battle Creek Books.

New staff members join Miller-Davis team

General Contractor and Construction Manager Miller-Davis has hired five new employees.

They are: Brandon Bogue, project superintendent; Ariel Castillo, project engineer; Dan Coffman, corporate controller;  Mike Keeler, project coordinator; and Ash Thomas, project engineer.

Brandon Bogue, project superintendent, has 12 years experience in the construction industry. He earned a bachelor degree in construction management and business administration from Northern Michigan University. He is responsible for planning, supervising and monitoring construction activities at the jobsite, and is currently assigned to Watervliet Public Schools’ Bond Program.

Ariel Castillo has seven years of experience in the construction industry, most recently as a Monroe-Brown intern at Miller-Davis. As a project engineer, Castillo will assist with construction project management and supervision. Castillo earned a bachelor degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in construction management from the Instituto Tecnologico De Santo Domingo, and a master’s degree in civil engineering with a concentration in construction Management from Western Michigan University. He is currently assigned to Central Michigan University Lacrosse Athletics Renovations and the Western Michigan University’s $48 million New Western Heights Residence Halls.

Dan Coffman, CPA, has 5 years of experience in the construction and financial industry. As the corporate controller, he is responsible for the management of day-to-day accounting and administrative operations. Coffman has a Bachelor degree in business administration with a major in Accounting as well as a Master’s of Science in Accountancy from WMU.

Mike Keeler has worked in facility maintenance for 11 years and has an associate’s degree in facilities maintenance mechanics and HVAC. As a project coordinator, he is responsible for assisting with planning, supervising and monitoring construction activities at the jobsite, and is currently assigned to Maple Valley Schools’ Bond Program.

Ash Thomas, project engineer, will assist with construction project management and supervision. Thomas, who first joined Miller-Davis as a Monroe-Brown Intern, has a Bachelor degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Construction Management from Western Michigan University. She is currently assigned to East Jackson and Maple Valley Schools Bond Programs.

Source: Miller Davis
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