The Grand Rapids Business Journal is honoring the people behind the headlines of the last year.

On January 31, GRBJ is hosting a breakfast to celebrate those who are making a positive impact on the West Michigan community. At the breakfast, 16 people will be selected as a Newsmaker of the Year.

Here are the finalists in each of the 16 categories:

Arts & Entertainment

David Hooker, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Rich MacKeigan, SMG

Scott Sprague, Gun Lake Casino


Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens, Founders Brewing Co.

Daryn Kuipers, Boxed Water

Jon O’Connor and Kyle Van Strien, Long Road Distillers

Economic Development

Dick DeVos, Grand Action

James Gill, Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Cindy Larsen, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce


Betsy DeVos, U.S. Department of Education

Thomas Haas, Grand Valley State University

Kevin Quinn, Aquinas College


Stephen Duarte, Kent County

Sandra Jelinski, Lake Michigan Credit Union

David Quade, Horizon Bank


Steve Cooper, Continental Dairy

Herb Herbruck, Herbruck’s Poultry

Rich Wolowski, Gordon Food Service

Health Care

Norman Beauchamp Jr., MSU Grand Rapids Research Center

Mark Eastburg, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

Kevin Lobo, Stryker Corp.


Matt Fenske, Ottawa County

Kevin Lobo, Stryker Corp.

James Saalfeld, Kent County


Marc Bitzer, Whirlpool Corp.

James Keane, Steelcase Inc.

Kevin Prindable, GE Aviation


Jon Ippel, Amplify GR

Scott Jonkhoff, Next Step

Ryan VerWys, Inner City Christian Federation

Real Estate/Construction

Adam Kramer, Switch

Mike VanGessel, Rockford Construction

John Wheeler, Orion Construction


Hank Meijer, Meijer Inc.

Phil Russo, Russo’s International Market

Robert Schermer Jr., Meritage Hospitality Group


Dan DeVos, Grand Rapids Griffins

Mike Guswiler, West Michigan Sports Commission

Steve Jbara, Grand Rapids Drive


Bob Baltera, Cirius Therapeutics

Julie Burrell, Pumpndo

Feliciano Paredes, AgHelp


Dave Koster, Holland Energy Park

Jason Meyer, Blandford Nature Center

Mike VanGessel, Circuit West


Dan Irvin, 123Net

John Keller, Metro Health-University of Michigan Health

David Van Andel, Van Andel Research Institute

The event starts at 7:30 a.m. at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on Wednesday.

You can learn more about the event and get a ticket by following this link.

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