Posted in News on January 15, 2018

1/15/2018 - ZEELAND, MICHIGAN –Lakeshore Advantage, the local economic development organization that looks forward to ensure long term economic success for the region, has selected three finalists for their 2018 Visionary Award. The Visionary Award recognizes leaders and the initiatives they undertake to affect positive economic change now and for the future.
“These leaders have formed partnerships far outside their comfort zones, blazing trails, trying new things and recognizing that success is achieved through commitment, creative thinking and collaboration,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage President. “We are fortunate to have multiple visionaries in our region, which makes choosing just one award recipient a difficult task.”
Lakeshore Advantage identified six potential award candidates. The Lakeshore Advantage Board of Directors voted among those to select the top three Visionary Award finalists. They are: 
  • Brian Walker, Herman Miller, Peter Haines, Ottawa Area ISD & Dr. Bill PinkGrand Rapids Community College - Careerline Tech Center Early College Program
    • Herman Miller, Ottawa Area ISD and Grand Rapids Community College worked side-by-side to design a unique early college program that integrates a corporate partner, allowing students to participate in internships and earn a professional industry certification. 
  • Dave Koster & Tim Hemingway, Holland Board of Public Works-Holland Energy Park
    • This $240 million investment meets current and future energy needs of Holland with affordable, reliable, local power generation. The project started nearly a decade ago with full community engagement, resulting in environmental restoration and beautification of the eastern City of Holland gateway. 
  • Mike Goorhouse, Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland Area & Holly Johnson, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation: Housing Next
    • Housing Next is charged with unlocking cross-sector, market driven solutions to increase affordable housing stock and help communities understand the importance of workforce housing development. Together, Mike Goorhouse and Holly Johnson have led their boards to committing $750,000 in operational costs for the newly launched Housing Next.
“These projects are great examples of the forward-thinking mindset many leaders in our area deploy to positively affect our community, which is critical to our region’s continued growth and success,” said Scott Lubbers, Fifth Third Bank Community President. “These efforts align nicely with Fifth Third’s commitment to help create and sustain holistically healthy communities.”
Lakeshore Advantage investors were invited to cast their votes among the three Visionary Award finalists. The Visionary Award recipient will be announced at the Lakeshore Advantage Annual Meeting on Friday, January 19th from 11:00am-1:00pm at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville. The Lakeshore Annual Meeting is designed to be a report-out to investors on the organization’s work over the past year and a look forward to upcoming economic development initiatives. 
Fifth Third Bank is the Visionary Award sponsor at the Lakeshore Advantage Annual Meeting. Other sponsors include Pioneer Construction, Varnum and gift sponsors Hutt Trucking and Hudsonville Ice Cream. More information on the meeting is available at