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About Rapid Growth

Tommy Allen, Publisher & Lifestyle Editor

Tommy Allen is founding member of Rapid Growth and the creator of the "no topic or event off limit" G-Sync column. Allen has exhibited as an artist, produced films and even finds time to create exciting events for commercial and notprofit agencies. His photo-based artworks often depict highly stylized images addressing issues of identity that challenge social mores while examining the sameness within a diverse "humanscape." His civic projects include numerous awards and committees like Green Grand Rapids and arts leadership projects at UICA; West Michigan Center for Arts and Technologies (WMCAT) Capital Campaign; West Michigan Environment Action Council (former board member); Fulton Street Farmers' Market (expansion fundraising committee); and LaughFest's (talent cabinet committee), among others. In those rare instances when Allen is not creating art, preparing an editorial or fighting for community enhancements, he can be found with his partner working in the garden, enjoying a movie on the couch or simply playing with their rescued Border Collie. He became Rapid Growth's Publisher in February 2015.

Anna Gustafson, Managing Editor

Following more than a decade of writing, editing and photographing for publications across the country, Anna Gustafson was thrilled to step into the managing editor role at Rapid Growth in November 2015. During her 10-plus years in journalism, Gustafson has led newsrooms, written and edited countless news and feature stories, launched internship programs, and extensively covered politics, public and urban policy, affordable housing, immigration, human trafficking, education, the arts, and more. For much of her career, she has focused on community journalism — something Gustafson strongly believes is one of the major linchpins of a vibrant community and which serves as the foundation of democracy and civic participation. After living in places around the world and country, including Argentina, Morocco, New York City, and Wyoming, Gustafson was incredibly excited to lay down roots in Grand Rapids with her husband in the summer of 2015. Now, she can't get enough of this city, and, when she's not working, you can find her exploring Grand Rapids, hiking, working on that elusive novel, cheering on her husband at open mic nights. and raising her glass of beer or whisky to this amazing new city of hers. You can reach Anna by emailing AKGustaf@gmail.com.

Stepping into the role of Development News Editor at Rapid Growth Media in July 2014, Anya Zentmeyer earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Grand Valley State University, where she was also editor-In-chief of the student-run newspaper, the Grand Valley Lanthorn. Though the topic areas she has reported on in the past have been diverse, her journalistic experience has always been largely community-driven, reporting on everything from film to food systems to city governance through a hyper-local lens and contributing regularly to publications like Revue Magazine, Michigan Nightlight and Southwest Advance (via MLive.com). A Grand Rapids native, she doesn't think she will ever get tired of showing people where she lives by holding up her right hand and touching her index finger to the spot on her palm where she grew up. That is to say, West Michigan is very much where her home and her heart is, so reporting on development news in the city she has grown up alongside of feels only too fitting. Outside of work, Anya is happiest when she's spending her free time winding down on front porches with good friends, realizing she knows all of the lyrics to a difficult rap song, or trying to figure out what her anthropomorphic Boxer pup Leo DiCap is making that weird face about. Send Anya an email at anya.zentmeyer@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @anyazeee.

John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor
John started writing for Rapid Growth in September 2010. He has a bit of an eclectic background; corporate sales, international business, entrepreneur, specialty retailer, educator, blogger, writer, and competitive barbecuer. John is active in several community organizations including a bi-weekly, live radio show on 88.1 WYCE (Uncle John), board member of aimWest, co-organizer and evangelist for Startup Weekend West Michigan and involvement with several entrepreneurial initiatives at GRCC. He fashions himself a renaissance man and philosopher with interests ranging from barbecue and grilling to craft beer. He often ponders fundamental problems, such as gas vs. charcoal, the use of marinades and dry rubs and whether to serve ribs with sauce or leave them dry. He will tell you that his biggest source of pride is his family -- wife Leanne, son Jack and daughters Rose and Nora. (Although taking 1st place in brisket at the Silver Lake Barbecue Competition is close.) John invites you to connect with him through social media anytime. (Facebook, LinkedIn,@JohnRumery, @grilladelic)

Victoria Mullen, Do Good Editor

When Victoria migrated with her parents from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to GR in 1969, she was confounded, perturbed, and a lot of adjectives unsuitable for print: Sundays were off-limits to mowing lawns, and shopping, and the culture was despairingly dull and conservative. If you've ever seen a sore thumb, Victoria was it. Several times she has desperately wanted to flee, but something always seems to hold her back: Victoria swears there is a vortex here. Forty-plus years later, the arts are now celebrated, not mocked; and there is some more tolerance. Still quite a ways to go, but she thinks it's worth sticking around. No stranger to full disclosure, Victoria admits that she lives with two cats because she is too eccentric to live with another human being. Victoria has written features for RGM since 2010. She's also an actor, artist, attorney, photographer, briefly editor at FLAVOR616 magazine, program manager at the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan, and she also writes grants for Crash's Landing and the WMFVA. You may learn more about her on her website: victoriamullen.com. This is not mandatory, as Victoria believes in free will.

Adam Bird, Manager of Photography/Videography

Adam was born and raised off of Woodward Avenue, on the edge of Detroit. His life transformed when he stole his father's camera from his closet as a child, furtively rediscovering the world through a lens. Being an active observer gave Adam a role and purpose that previously did not exist in his life. His father never asked for the camera back. He says, "I am so very grateful to the people who have helped me, even when I was too prideful to ask and too arrogant to admit it. My wife is my true believer, not just in my work, but in me. I can only hope every day to prove her right." Through all of the work and play that is his life, Adam says he always measure his virtue against a compass of compassion. "This is rarely easy," he says, but it is in the doing that life's poetry is found." Adam also sits on the board of directors for both The Geek Group and Give Camp Grand Rapids, and contributes to the Marketing Committee for the Susan G. Komen Foundation West Michigan.

Please send all press releases and article submissions to info@rapidgrowthmedia.com. For sponsorship and partnership opportunities, please contact tommyrapidg@gmail.com.

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Rapid Growth is published by Issue Media Group. Our publications are supported in part by underwriting partnerships with local businesses, institutions, nonprofits, and foundations to support and expand coverage of job growth, economic development, real estate, non-profit innovation, city building, and placemaking. Learn more about our underwriting policy here.

Publishers: Brian J. Boyle and Paul Schutt


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