Category Archives: Business News

Leaders, businesses invest $759K in Muskegon Area Promise

MUSKEGON MI:  Earlier today, a dozen businesses and individuals were recognized for being the first to commit $759,500 total in a new “Dream Bigger” fundraising campaign for the Muskegon Area Promise. Officials announced that new investments are coming in daily, with many conversations underway. The dollars are critical to meeting the unexpected high demand for the two-year scholarships, requiring an additional $2.5 million in private funding over the next six years.


“Initially we expected many of these top students with 3.5 and higher grade point averages to head off to four-year universities,” said MAISD Superintendent John Severson. “In reality, about half of the eligible students recognized the quality of our local colleges and were eager to lighten their financial load,” he explained. “We also experienced an 84% return rate–well above the typical 49% rate,” Severson added.


To earn the Promise Scholarship students must graduate with a 3.5 GPA, live within Muskegon County, and have graduated from one of 16 high schools within Muskegon County. In 2018, twenty-seven percent or 503 graduating seniors were eligible for the scholarship that pays for two-years at Muskegon Community College or Baker College of Muskegon and a $500 annual book stipend.


According to Promise Board Chair and businessman Steve Parker, 460 students have benefited from the scholarship since 2015 when its launch was made possible with over one million dollars in private funding. “I am proud of our community leaders and businesses for investing in our own economic development and growing our local talent right here. I am confident many more will join us in meeting our new investment goal,” said Parker.


The additional $2.5 million investment is expected to sustain the Promise until 2024. At that time, it is projected to be fully funded by capturing a portion of the growth in the existing State Education Tax (SET). Muskegon County is one of 15 established Promise Zones in Michigan making it eligible to capture a portion of the SET based on the growth of local property values. Over the next six years, this tax capture funding will bring up to $14 million dollars to Muskegon County. Promise officials raised over one million dollars and collected $1.3 million in SET since the initial launch of the Promise in 2015.


Hines Corporation, Nichols, ADAC Automotive, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, Mercy Health, Eklund Holdings, LLC, Sheryl & Dan Kuznar Family, Kathy & Steve Parker Family, Julie & Pat Donahue Family, MasterTag, Swanson Pickle Company, and Executive Air Transport have all invested in the Dream Bigger campaign of 2019.
Donations are being accepted through the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.

“The power of the Promise is that it creates our very own talent pipeline,” said Severson. “Our Promise Scholars today are our future employees tomorrow!”


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John Severson, MAISD Superintendent at 231-767-7201 or
Megan Byard-Karaba, College Access Specialist at 231-767-3623 or


Bracing for an economic recession, the need to bring millennials to the region & other takeaways from the Muskegon County Economic Forecast

Muskegon—along with the rest of West Michigan and the country—should brace itself for an economic recession that will likely hit by the end of 2019, economist Paul Isely told a group of hundreds of local business leaders Friday morning.


“Are you getting a little worried about 2019? Yeah, I can tell; there’s this many people here to listen to an economist on a snowy day,” Isely, the associate dean of undergraduate programs at Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business, said to the crowd gathered for the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Muskegon County Economic Forecast” on Friday, Jan. 25.


To continue reading, visit Muskegon Times.


A community’s flight: Growing ‘Watch Muskegon’ campaign is telling—and creating—the story of an evolving county

When Andrew Price, now the president of the McKenzie-Price Insurance Agency, returned to Muskegon after college, he was “coming back to the giant sandpit that was the downtown.”


The Muskegon Mall had been torn down, leaving in its wake abandoned buildings and a nonexistent street system where the vast indoor shopping complex once covered eight downtown blocks. You could, quite literally, see tumbleweeds making their way down Western Avenue.


To continue reading, visit Muskegon Times. 













Downtown Muskegon develops in leaps and bounds in 2018

MUSKEGON, MI – 2018 was a banner year for the downtown Muskegon area with about 20 development projects completed, in progress or announced.


Multiple projects contributed to a changing landscape in the area, including the rise of Lake View Lofts, Berkshire Muskegon, a beer production facility and portions of Heritage Square; and the ongoing deconstruction of B.C. Cobb power plant and portions of the former Shaw Walker furniture factory.


Click here to read full MLIVE article.


West Michigan employers win $9.5M in training grants

Michigan’s Talent Investment Agency has awarded $9.5 million in training funds to more than 200 West Michigan employers.


TIA announced the recipients of its Going PRO Talent Fund (formerly the Skilled Trade Training Fund) awards for fiscal year 2019, and $9,558,593 will go to employers and industry-led collaboratives in the West Michigan region, which covers Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.


Click here to read full GRBJ article.


Muskegon Heights lands $3 million for major improvements to Sherman Boulevard

Big changes are coming to Sherman Boulevard.


During state lawmakers’ marathon lame-duck session last week, legislators awarded the city of Muskegon Heights $3 million for a substantial redesign and reconstruction of Sherman Boulevardthe city’s busiest street and one of the most traveled roads in Muskegon County. The funding is part of a $1.3 billion supplemental budget passed by the state House of Representatives and state Senate in the early morning hours of Friday, Dec. 21. The supplemental legislation will have to land its final stamp of approval from Gov. Rick Snyder before the end of the year.


Click here to read full Muskegon Times article. 


Residents eager to see updated waterfront community plan

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Lakeshore residents are eager to learn more about a revised plan that would add luxury condos and homes along the Muskegon Lake waterfront.


The Docks, a proposed residential development, would go in the middle of the city’s Beachwood-Bluffton neighborhood.


Click here to read full WOODTV8 Article.


State sends Marshall Plan money to Muskegon County

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. – One of Governor Rick Snyder’s final initiatives before leaving office at the end of the year is his Marshall Plan for talent. On Monday Dec. 17, nine agencies from around the state were awarded a share of $15 million to fund innovative education models.


The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District is the only West Michigan agency included in round-one of Marshall funding.


Click here to read the full WZZM13 article. 


Second grader gets special help from students at Muskegon Area Career Tech Center

Payton Hunter has mobile and visual disabilities.


While she spends all of her day in general education at Oehrli Elementary School in Montague, Payton also needs a document camera and an iPad to see her teacher.


Unfortunately, Payton impairments make it difficult to reposition her camera to focus. But now, thanks to students Muskegon Area Career Tech Center, it’s no longer an issue.


Click here to read the full WZZM13 article.


Business Journal selects Newsmaker nominees

The Grand Rapids Business Journal’s Newsmakers of the Year celebration is a popularity contest. But not in the way you might think.


When Business Journal reporters and editors met to discuss nominees for the 2018 Newsmaker of the Year honors, nearly 200 choices were considered before settling on the top three nominees in each of the following 16 categories: Arts & Entertainment, Beverages, Economic Development, Education, Finance, Food, Health Care, Law, Manufacturing, Nonprofits/Philanthropy, Real Estate/Construction, Retail, Sports, Startups, Sustainability and Technology.


Click here to read the full GRBJ article.