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My Town: Two honored with chamber of commerce awards

My Town: Two honored with chamber of commerce awards

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.---  A man who emigrated from Indonesia to open a series of floral shops in West Michigan is the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce’s Minority Business Award recipient.

Big Goei came to the United States in 1960 and settled in West Michigan.  With hard work and dedication, he built Eastern Floral, which has grown into seven locations involving 60 employees, generating an annual revenue of $5 million.

Goei also created the International Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the Goei Center, which is a business incubator for young, minority and female entrepreneurs.  He also serves as vice chair of Governor Snyder’s Talent Investment Board.

Goei was honored during the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon April 23.  Melissa Fennel, senior strategic sourcing manager at Herman Miller, was also honored with the Outstanding Advocate for Minority-Owned Business award.

My Town: Lawyer launches new fashion line in East Grand Rapids

My Town: Lawyer launches new fashion line in East Grand Rapids

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  A Miami lawyer turned  East Grand Rapids entrepreneur is launching her luxury lounge wear line in West Michigan.

Jamie Loeks Duffield came up with the idea for Duffield Lane when she and her mother couldn’t find appropriate pajamas to wear during their traditional Christmas Eve gathering with family.   

My mother and I were looking for quality, appropriate and stylish lounge wear that we would want to wear past December 25th. There just wasn’t anything out there that was fashionable and comfortable,”says Duffield.

The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Duffield’s family.  Her Jim and Barrie Loeks, founded Star Theater and her uncle, John Loeks, founded Celebration Cinema.

Duffield is currently teaming up with Michigan- based Fashion Pronto to develop a new line that will be available this summer. 

My Town Holland: Governor Snyder to visit Tulip Time 2014

My Town Holland: Governor Snyder to visit Tulip Time 2014

HOLLAND, Mich.—Governor Snyder is planning a return trip to Tulip Time this year.

The governor is expected to deliver the keynote address during the Tulip Time Festival Luncheon on May 7.   Netherlands Ambassador Rudolf Bekink is also expected to speak at the event, which will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at DeVos Fieldhouse.  Mayor Kurt Dykstra will emcee the event.

Tickets are $40 per person and available online or by calling the Tulip Time Festival office at (616) 396-4221.

Tulip Time will run May 3 through May 10.  For additional event information, visit the Tulip Time website.

Four Hope College students and alumni receive NSF Program recognition

Four Hope College students and alumni receive NSF Program recognition

HOLLAND – A total of four Hope College graduating seniors or recent graduates have received recognition through the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship program of the National Science Foundation.

Senior Caitlin Ploch of Redford received a fellowship through the program. In addition, 2013 graduate James Bour and 2012 graduate Hilary Bultman also received fellowships, and 2013 graduate Meagan Elinski received an honorable mention.  Bour and Bultman had each received honorable mentions last year.

Hope students or graduates have received fellowships or honorable mentions through the program every year for more than 20 years, and this is the seventh consecutive year that multiple graduating seniors or recent alumni have been recognized.  The NSF awarded 2,000 of the fellowships nationwide this year.

My Town: Hope College students receive Goldwater Scholarship and honorable mentions

My Town: Hope College students receive Goldwater Scholarship and honorable mentions

HOLLAND – A total of three Hope College juniors have received recognition through the highly competitive scholarship program of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Andrew Valesano of Sherwood, Ore., has received a Goldwater Scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year, while Caitlin Kozack of Carol Stream, Ill., and McLane Watson of Louisville, Colo., have each received honorable mentions.  The foundation selected only 283 students for scholarships and only 247 for honorable mention nationwide.

The scholarships were awarded by the Board of Trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to undergraduate sophomores and juniors.  The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from among 1,166 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

My Town: Jennifer Fellinger named vice president for public affairs and marketing at Hope College

My Town: Jennifer Fellinger named vice president for public affairs and marketing at Hope College

HOLLAND, Mich. – Jennifer Fellinger has been appointed to the newly created position of vice president for public affairs and marketing at Hope College.

She comes to Hope with a variety of experiences in marketing and communications in education, serving most recently as vice president for marketing and communication at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Wash., for the past three years.  She will begin her time at Hope in early July.

“We conducted a nationwide search and evaluated many highly qualified candidates for this position,” said Dr. John C. Knapp, president of Hope College.  “Jennifer Fellinger was clearly the best fit for Hope College’s mission and priorities.  I am confident her leadership will help the college develop an even stronger national and international reputation.”

My Town GR Central: Hundreds of students fill downtown Grand Rapids

My Town GR Central: Hundreds of students fill downtown Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Hundreds of high school and college students filled downtown Grand Rapids this past weekend for the Young America’s Foundation spring conference.

Organizers say more than 200 students took part in the two-day conference at the Amway Grand Plaza.  Students heard from Congressman Bill Huizenga, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Lt. Col. Allen West, Rachel Campos-Duffy and Bay Buchanan, who covered a variety of topics, including free enterprise, national defense and traditional values.