People in the News: August 1, 2022

People in the News: A roundup of news about new hires, promotions, and awards in Western Michigan.

New MGA leader to focus on Industry 4.0 and talent development

MProduction Growth Alliance named Elizabeth Bernhard as its new chief executive. The Alliance is a subsidiary of the Benton Harbor-based Kinexus Group, a non-profit business development organization, and works with manufacturers across Michigan to drive growth and keep the industry competitive.

Bernhard has over a decade of management experience. As a child, watching her father give workshops, Bernhard said she never imagined she would be in manufacturing, but she worked in space for many years.

As Director of Careers and Continuing Education, she led Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s in-demand workforce training programs, as well as partnerships with the Urban Alliance and the Momentum Urban Employment Initiative. She also created and directed the KVCC Community Life Enrichment Program.

In her time as Director of Engagement and Academies at Urban Alliance, Bernhard built relationships with manufacturing companies through Momentum’s technical training program. Most recently, she oversaw the state’s talent development partnership initiatives at Youth Solutions Inc. as Relationship Manager.

“I would never imagine myself in this role, but it seems to me that all my past roles led me to this,” said Bernhard.

The Growth Alliance’s mission of serving small producers through education, resources and advocacy brought Bernhard into this role. As CEO, she hopes to focus on preparing for Industry 4.0 and developing talent. Many small producers lack the resources to participate in long-term strategic planning and the Alliance is committed to providing them with the knowledge, funding and resources to implement Industry 4.0.

Working with key talent groups such as veterans, youth and returning citizens in previous roles, Bernhard said she feels ready to help small producers “offer creative and sustainable solutions to build a diverse talent pool.”

She also hopes to strengthen the MGA’s outreach efforts by strengthening ties with the state’s leadership.

Abigail Ham said.


  • Eric Frederick was named Michigan High Speed ​​Internet Officefirst director of public relations. Frederick received a bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Michigan State University. He has spent the last decade at Connected Nation Michigan, most recently as President of Broadband Planning and CEO. Frederick will now work to achieve goals in the state’s 2021 broadband roadmap and develop Michigan’s first five-year broadband strategy and digital capital plan. “As the state’s first Chief Public Affairs Officer, Eric will lead our new High Speed ​​Internet Office as he develops the necessary infrastructure to effectively and efficiently invest our resources to achieve our goals,” Lieutenant Governor Harlin Gilchrist said in a statement.


  • 6PM Hospitality Partners LLC hired Rachel Platt as a project leader. Platt has 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Most recently, he worked as a regional project administrator for Christman Co. 6PM Hospitality is a property development and management company based in Zeeland. The company currently operates a hotel in Holland and is performing similar functions at three other planned hotels in Manistee and Battle Creek. Former Suburban Inns CEO Peter Beukema founded 6PM Hospitality late last year. MiBiz that he identified “an enormous opportunity for third-party (hotel) management”.


  • LKF Marketing hired Shelby Carter as Account Manager and Statistical Reporting Analyst, and Lucy Wilde as account coordinator. Carter is a 2018 graduate of Grand Valley State University and previously worked as an Account Manager at Imperial Beverage. Wilde is a 2020 Calvin University graduate who previously worked as a marketing coordinator for Eagle Village, a non-profit organization near Reed City. “The addition of two new account executives almost simultaneously gives our team the opportunity to share our proven methods and procedures with new team members, and gives us access to fresh perspectives from a new generation of marketing professionals,” said LKF President and CEO Heather. Ish.


  • Children’s grocery basket is looking for a Director of Development to lead public relations, strategic planning and donor relations. The non-profit organization works to end child hunger in Western Michigan communities, serving more than 9,000 school children in Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, and Allegan counties. The organization is looking to hire someone with a bachelor’s degree and 10 years of work experience, including four years of experience in a managerial position. Applicants must have strong written and oral communication skills, budget management skills, and knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite and CRM.
  • Nick Colvin appointed to the board of trustees NAACP Greater Grand Rapids. Senior Counsel for Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, Colvin focuses on economic development, impact investing and government relations. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School and a member of the Michigan State Bar. He is also a board member of Ele’s Place West Michigan. Colvin will serve a two-year term on the NAACP board.
  • D. A. Blodgett – St. John’s appointed Joel Bell as Chief Program Officer. Bell received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Calvin University and a master’s degree in social work from Western Michigan University, where he is now an adjunct faculty member in the School of Social Work. He has over 20 years of experience in child advocacy and mental health, most recently as the director of the Southwest Michigan branch of Bethany Christian Services. At DA Blodgett, he will oversee 15 programs focused on helping children and empowering families.
  • Western Michigan Literacy Center appointed Marcus Little as director of the non-profit Customized Workplace English program, where he will develop English language education partnerships with businesses throughout Western Michigan. The program provides personalized English language instruction in a workplace context, helping employers attract talent from a variety of backgrounds. Originally from southern California, Little and his family moved to Grand Rapids in 2014 and pastored Vereya Baptist Church for eight years.


  • Linda Witteprogram director and manager Grand Rapids Community CollegeWorkforce Training medical programs received the Pride of the Profession award from the American Association of Medical Technologists. The award recognizes members who have demonstrated commitment to both the profession and service to their community. Witte leads the GRCC Paramedic, Certified Nurse Assistant, Pharmacist, and Phlebotomy programs and is currently helping develop the Direct Professional Support program.
  • hope college named Heidi Kraus Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs. Kraus has been a professor of art and art history at Hope since 2012, and has previously served as department chair, director of the De Pree Gallery, and director of global learning. She is also an active neoclassical scholar and student advisor for the Mellon Fellowship Program. Kraus will replace Professor of Psychology Daryl Van Tongeren, who has served as Acting Associate Chancellor since 2021. As Associate Provost, Kraus will work closely with college deans and faculty leadership to support teaching, scholarship, and faculty development, and to improve the academic program.


  • Accounting firm in Ada Dan Carter Advisors CPA PLC newly named Mike Wolf as the main one. Volk joins the firm after 21 years as executive vice president of finance, chief financial officer and treasurer at Davenport University. With previous experience in non-profit, healthcare and education, Volk will focus on forensic accounting, business valuation and advisory services, and will be involved in the firm’s accounting and tax practice. Volk said he wants to use his experience at Davenport to help businesses that lack in-house experience “reach their goals and achieve better results.”
  • Old National Bank named George Bailey as President of the Michigan Market. Bailey has over 35 years of banking and commercial management experience and is involved in community service as a volunteer with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Michigan. Like Michigan Market President, Bailey will work with leadership in Southwest, Central, and Western Michigan to continue growth in those regions. He will also lead the brand’s expansion in Southeast Michigan.
  • Last month, a new CEO took a position at Kalamazoo. Consumer Credit Union as Scott Sylvester succeeded longtime president and chief executive officer Keith Snyder on July 2. Snyder retired after 38 years with the Consumer Credit Union, including serving as President and CEO since 1983. worked as an accountant, senior accountant, information systems manager and vice president of technology, and then chief financial officer and technical officer.

— Compiled by Abigail Ham.



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