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Job Creation : Innovation + Job News

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Huron River Ventures invests in innovation

The Grand Rapids office of Huron River Ventures (HRV) is on the third floor of the Leonard Building at 38 West Fulton, a destination earning its reputation as the "tech hub" of West Michigan.

HRV was started in 2010 with a $6 million capital infusion from the State's Accelerator Fund Program. It is a Michigan-based venture fund focused on early-stage companies, primarily with clean technology companies focusing on energy.

Managing Director Tim Streit says the firm is in a good position to support the growing entrepreneurial scene in West Michigan. "We chose Grand Rapids for our second office because we think West Michigan is poised for explosive growth as a start-up community and we believe Grand Rapids is going to be the center of that growth. Look at the amazing progress already being made by Start Garden, GVSU, Grand Rapids Tech Hub, et cetera. All of the key components of a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem exist."

Streit highlights a recent investment in FarmLogs as an example of his firm's focus. "FarmLogs is a Michigan startup and Y Combinator alum that helps farmers digitally manage their farm to increase profitability," he says. FarmLogs recently closed a $1 million seed funding round co-led by Huron River Ventures and Hyde Park Venture Partners.  

With FarmLogs, growers plan, manage, and analyze their farm's operations to increase yield and profitability. The tool also allows farmers to quickly forecast and measure profits, track expenses, and more efficiently schedule operations. Streit says this type of business model is a perfect fit for his firm. "We invest in technologies that allow individuals and businesses to save money, improve profitability, and make smarter decisions. Our mantra is: better, faster, cheaper, and smarter."

To learn more about Huron River Ventures, you can visit their site here.

Source: Tim Streit, Huron River Ventures
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

Cabela's Grandville store to open soon bringing 200 jobs, some positions still available

Cabela's, which bills itself as the world's foremost outfitter, opens its third Michigan location in Grandville on March 21 and plans to have some 200 new part-time, full-time, and seasonal employees ready to serve customers.

The new 88,000-square-foot store (44th St. at Ivanrest) is part of a 43-acre mixed-use project under development by CWD Real Estate Investment, who purchased the former X-Rite property in 2009.

Cabela's, a stand-alone building within that development, will feature an indoor replica mountain populated with North American game animals, an indoor archery range where customers can try out archery gear before purchasing, a deli, and a 40-flavor fudge shop.

Although many of the jobs are filled, this week Cabela's website listed several positions still open, including retail marketing manager, boat/ATV service mechanic, power sports sales outfitter, and gun library manager.

Cabela's spokesperson Wes Remmer says the company encourages interested applicants to visit the store's website, complete an application, and submit a résumé.

"Being retail, jobs are always opening up," Remmer says. "We're looking for people passionate about the outdoors and who love to provide good customer service."

To review all of the jobs or to apply for a position, click here.

Remmer says the grand opening on Thurs., Mar. 21 begins at 11 a.m. and will run the entire weekend, featuring outdoor television personalities, product giveaways, and family events.

Source: Wes Remmer, Cabela's; Tyler Lecceadone, SeyferthPR
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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New Grandville Cabela's store could mean 200 jobs for West Michigan

New organic craft beer gastropub tapping the local job market

You would have to be living under a rock not to notice the explosive growth in the local craft beer scene. What you might not have noticed among all the awards, new brands, styles, and convivial atmosphere of brew pubs are the jobs the industry creates. 

Grand Rapids Brewing Company (GRBC), located at 1 Ionia SW, will be the latest brewpub on the scene when it opens in December. Sam Short, senior project manager for Barfly Ventures (parent company of GRBC), reports that "75 new full-time jobs have been added, including  seven new management positions."  

Short says that they are still taking resumes for open positions. "We are always hiring seasoned veterans," he says.

Short describes what he feels is a unique culture at the Barfly, whose establishments include The Pyramid Scheme, Stella's, HopCat, and McFadden's. "We have a progressive philosophy. We are team oriented and customer service focused. Our goal is to work through team service, which means you have a primary role and a secondary role."

Anyone interested in applying for jobs with Barfly can drop off their resumes at HopCat (25 Ionia SW). Short says they review resumes in the context of the entire company and try to place individuals at the establishment that best fits their expertise and experience.

To learn more about GRBC, you can visit their Facebook page here.

Source: Sam Short, Barfly Ventures
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

SEI: low profile, high growth

Josh Leatherman, marketing manager for Service Express, Inc., (SEI), says the key ingredient of their organization's success is pretty simple: it's all about the people.

"I would describe our culture as very people-focused. Our vision is very different. It has nothing to do with revenue, margins, or customers. If we take care of employees, they will take care of the business," he says. In the past six months, SEI has hired 31 employees, making a total of 48 new employees added year-to-date.

"In our experience, when an organization has the right talent, it's recession-proof. There will always be problems to solve and opportunities to take advantage of for those who know how to provide exceptional value and service." SEI anticipates increasing their workforce by another 10 percent in the upcoming months.

SEI, with corporate headquarters located in greater Grand Rapids at 3854 Broadmoor Ave. SE, provides a wide variety of services for data center maintenance support. To learn more about SEI, including current job opportunities, you can visit their site here. You can also learn more about the SEI culture by following company President Ron Alvesteffer's  blog here.

Source:  Josh Leatherman, SEI
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

Staffing firm rebrands, looks to add more jobs

A new name, logo and strategic direction were the first steps in a rebranding process for West Michigan-based staffing company Fettig, formerly known as Ameritemp Staffing.

The name change reflects the importance that company founder Kim Fettig places on being a family-owned business. The new strategic direction aligns the firm with their expanded services into advanced manufacturing and other emerging industries.

According to Mike Fettig, VP of operations, the steadily improving economy and a strong screening process have resulted in a 20 percent growth rate every year for the last five years. "More of our customers are looking to extend their HR team, and are many are looking to hire full-time [employees]," Fettig says. In the past year, over 200 of Fettig's contractors have been hired into full-time positions with their customers. "That means we are doing well," Fettig says.

Internally, Fettig says they recently added two new staffing partners and have 1-2 open positions. "A recruiter is a tough find. You need great people skills, [to be] very detail oriented, and self-motivated."

To learn more about Fettig, including the open positions, you can view their website here.

Source: Mike Fettig, Fettig
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

Local manufacturing firm continues to add jobs

Thanks in a large part to a diverse customer base, DeWys Manufacturing has had "non-stop hiring for the last two to three years," according to Work Force Development Manager, Laura Elsner.

In the last six months, the job shop has hired nearly 20 temporary workers and has filled several full-time positions, with many more still open. "There are quite a few opportunities with various levels of knowledge and skills, ranging from entry level to advanced," says Elsner, adding that the talent pool in West Michigan is good, but the hiring process is now lengthier. "We look for a cultural fit," she says. "We will pay for any education, but it takes a lot longer now."

Elsner describes DeWys as a smaller company, with just over 150 employees total. "We are family-minded. Our owners are very involved and we have an open door policy. There is no hierarchy."

To assist in the hiring process, Elsner recently participated in the the Ready NOW program, a job fair and training program that helps candidates not only find jobs, but teaches them interviewing skills as well. "I was there three of five days as a facilitator at a table. It was a good opportunity to work with people a bit differently. I interview a lot of people, and this was a new way to work with others," Elsner says.

To learn more about DeWys Manufacturing, you can visit their site here.  

Source: Laura Elsner, DeWys Manufacturing
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

Grandville dental office adds new associate

There is no place like home for Michael Wierenga, D.D.S., the newest associate at Grandville Dentistis. Wierenga, who grew up in Cutlerville and went to both undergraduate and dental school at the University of Michigan, has just joined the long established practice located in Grandville.

According to Mary Snider, office manager, "We researched candidates at various dental schools, and one of our staff members referred us to Dr. Wierenga. We researched a little more and decided he would be a good fit for our office. He is also anxious to come back to West Michigan."

Dr. Wiernga will be joining Jason C. Doublestein, D.D.S., while one of the founding dentists, John E. Albrecht, D.D.S., prepares for retirement.

To learn more about Grandville Dentists, you can visit their site here.

Source: Mary Snider, Grandville Dentists
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

Lacks Enterprises continues hiring ways

Jennifer Rose, employment specialist at Lacks Enterprises, recently participated in the Ready NOW program, a week-long job fair and job readiness event that resulted in the hiring of 12 people. "I was surprised," she says. "I had some great candidates."

After adding over 750 jobs in 2011, Lacks is starting to look at skilled trades and is always hiring engineers. "We are having a hard time finding skilled trades," Rose says. "The competition is tough in manufacturing." Job fairs like the Ready NOW program, she says, help candidates get beyond a paper resume.

Reflecting back on the Ready NOW program, Rose has advice for job seekers. "Give me the complete details. Do not discount volunteer experience. Don't discount fast food experience. Just show me you took it seriously."

On the other hand, Rose also found many candidates lacking in simple job hunting etiquette. "There can be a lack of completeness in application," she says. "[Applicants] don't bring a pen, and they have no references. Some people come in and they are dressed as if coming from a beach. You could be the most qualified person in the world, but some people were not preparing themselves well."

To learn more about Lacks Enterprises, you can visit their site here.

Source: Jennifer Rose, Lacks Enterprises
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

New Grand Rapids genetics testing lab seeks workers for research, office positions

A new genetics testing laboratory under construction on Grand Rapids' west side has over two dozen medical technician and office positions to fill.

Toronto, Ontario-based Arctic DX, owner of the Arctic Laboratories facility underway in American Seating Park (801 Broadway NW), has filled the first five senior lab technician positions. But the company still needs to fill several positions by the end of December, another group by the end of March, and will fill the remainder of the 28 jobs as work increases, says CFO/COO Jim Pelot.

The focus of the laboratory is to derive test results from the company's Macula Risk test, a genetic test to determine a patient's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that leads to blindness if not detected and treated. (See related story, Toronto genetics testing company selects Grand Rapids' West Side location for first laboratory.)

"Most of the jobs are skilled technician jobs which will involve extracting DNA from samples, working with chemistry and putting DNA through equipment to score the macular risk," Pelot says. "The rest are office positions, such as, general manager, reimbursement analyst, marketing positions, office manager, and a customer service group to answer doctor and patient inquiries about the tests."

To contact Arctic DX about a job, click here.  
For more information about Macula Risk, click here.

Source: Jim Pelot, Arctic DX
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

EmploymentGroup seeks to fill manufacturing jobs; job fair prepared to train 200 job seekers

West Michigan-based EmploymentGroup is just one of several companies that will participate in a unique job fair that will teach job seekers how to write their résumés and present themselves during interviews.

The ReadyNOW! Program, a partnership of The Right Place, Inc., The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and MichiganWorks! of Kent and Allegan Counties, gives job seekers the opportunity to receive personalized training for improving their chances to land one of nearly 200 manufacturing jobs during a weeklong (20 hours) event July 30 to August 3.

The program will take place at Kent ISD Kent Career Technical Center (1655 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids) and organizers say there is still space for interested job seekers.

EmploymentGroup seeks to fill 10 advanced manufacturing positions for some of its Grand Rapids and Holland clients, says Sarah Garner, client services specialist. Those positions include manufacturing maintenance technicians, maintenance supervisors, quality managers, machinists, CMM programmers, and a maintenance administrative assistant.

"These are full-time positions, not temporary positions," Garner says. "This event is a little different than a typical job fair, because job fairs don't offer workshops for job seekers. There will be an employer panel so applicants can ask questions, and at the end of the week, applicants can select two companies for one-on-one interviews."

Participants can participate in workshops on team building, resume writing, career exploration and personal success, says a press release from The Right Place, Inc. Candidates can also practice their interviewing skills in mock interviews and will learn about WorkKeys testing at the Michigan Works! Service Center.

Other companies participating include Amway, Lacks Enterprises, Pridgeon & Clay, ADAC Automotive, DeWys Manufacturing and Ameritemp Staffing, says Tim Mroz, VP of marketing for The Right Place, Inc.

To register for the ReadyNOW! Program, click here.

To explore EmploymentGroup's job opportunities, click here.

Source: Sarah Garner, EmploymentGroup; Tim Mroz, The Right Place, Inc.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

New Grand Rapids recycling center hiring computer technicians, truck drivers and more

Illinois-based Advanced Technology Recycling will open its first Michigan electronics recycling distribution hub on August 6, and the company plans to bring on 12 new employees by the end of the year.

The Grand Rapids hub (702 Hall St. SW) will process all manner of e-waste -- phones, phone systems, audio equipment, PCs, copiers -- collected from the northeast U.S., says Brodie Ehresman, general manager for the northeast region. In addition to its recycling services, the company also refurbishes and resells used computers to companies around the world, Ehresman says.

"We've already hired five people locally, and will create up to a dozen jobs over the next year," Ehresman says. "The jobs are everything from driving trucks to office jobs, and computer technicians for repurposing computer equipment. We're also looking for sales people to manage our customer assets, and people to handle inventory and electronics processing."

Ehresman says the company offers full benefits packages that include dental and vision insurance, and each candidate will undergo background checks and drug screening.

"We're looking for goal-oriented people who think outside the box," Ehresman says. "We're interested in talking to people who have had retraining programs in technology fields, because many of them have had longterm manufacturing positions."

For more information, click here.

Source: Brodie Ehresman, Advanced Technology Recycling
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Atomic Object opens Detroit office, looks to fill software tech jobs there, Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids-based Atomic Object had a dilemma: how to grow the business and not outgrow its culture of collaborative teams operating in a small (some say, cozy) environment. The company hopes the solution is to open its first satellite office, established in the heart of Detroit's Harmony Park, a re-emerging business district.

"The building (1407 Randolph) looks a lot like the Grand Rapids building (941 Wealthy St. SE) -- it's a three-story brick building on a tree-lined street," says President Carl Erickson. "When we saw it, we felt like we could be at home there and extend our culture to Detroit."

Erickson says Atomic Object has already hired a managing partner from Portland, OR for the Detroit office, plus filled four other technology positions. The plan is to have at least six employees in place by the end of the year, says Erickson, so the company is looking for another software developer and an application designer to fill those positions.

While Erickson says opening the Detroit office won't directly create jobs in Grand Rapids, the company is still trying to fill two vacant positions for a software developer and a software designer in Grand Rapids.

"We start with a friendly phone interview to get a sense of the person, and if we like what we hear, then we give them a problem to solve over a weekend to show us how they think technically," Erickson says. "We then bring them in to do problem solving for a day with our staff, and we identify the people who are good matches and share our values."

For more information on career opportunities, click here.

Source: Carl Erickson, Atomic Object
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Atomic Object's new software group offers alternative career path

5/3 Bank looks to fill 93 banking jobs in West Michigan, Lansing, Saginaw

Anyone looking for a job in the banking industry might find just what they want at Fifth Third Bank. The financial institution has 93 positions to fill, many of which are located in Grand Rapids with others spread across Fifth Third locations throughout West Michigan, Lansing and Saginaw.

Right now, the bank has eight mortgage positions open, including openings for seven mortgage loan originators; 49 openings in its retail operations area, including 32 customer service representative positions; and 36 openings in its operations center, including 14 positions in the bank's call center, says Jennifer Ranville, public relations coordinator.

"The majority of our entry level positions would be teller positions," says Michelle Adkins, human resources VP. "And we provide on-the-job training for employees new to the banking industry."

"This is a great organization that's focused from top to bottom on the customer, and if that's the type of job you want to do, this is a great place to be," says John Zimmerman, affiliate market director and senior VP.

Zimmerman came on board with Fifth Third Bank five weeks ago and says he speaks from the perspective of a new employee just entering the bank's culture.

"There are a lot of people who are out of work or are just getting back into the workforce and are looking for a career," Zimmerman says. "We're looking for people who can really listen to our customers, interact with them and provide solutions for their financial needs."

For more information on the jobs available or to submit an online application, click here.

Source: Jennifer Ranville, Michelle Adkins, John Zimmerman, Fifth Third Bank
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Grand Rapids' Design Plus adds architect, administrative and design jobs

An architectural design firm in Grand Rapids says that several projects that were on hold for the past few years have become active, creating several new positions in the company.

Design Plus, a 33-year-old company with 25 employees, recently hired four architects, a landscape architect and an administrative assistant, plus increased its outside contractor positions to seven, says Kathy Ball, COO.

"We are still looking for an experienced job captain to handle the detailing of projects, and may be looking for an interior designer in the future," Balls says. "We're looking for people who communicate really well, are team players, and who are open to sharing their skills and willing to learn from other team members."

Balls says candidates for the job captain position should have 12 to 15 years of architectural design experience and know how to use Autodesk's Revit software. She says all of Design Plus's projects are designed to LEED standards, and LEED training is available for employees who want it.

"I think it's a really collaborative environment," Ball says. "Our people are very highly skilled and talented, and we try to maintain a family-oriented environment."

Some of Design Plus' projects are the Bank of Holland and the Western Michigan University building, both on Ionia Avenue SW; Cooley Law School on Commerce Avenue SW; GVSU's DeVos Campus in downtown Grand Rapids; and the 1845 Pike House restoration at 230 E. Fulton St., which is the company's headquarters.

For more information on the jobs available, click here.

Source: Kathy Ball, Design Plus
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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Growth of Lake Michigan Credit Union means new banking jobs in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo

Business has been brisk at Grand Rapids-based Lake Michigan Credit Union, and the result is more new jobs in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
Lake Michigan Credit Union has opened several new branches in recent months, and growth on the corporate level has created many new positions. Job openings include positions for tellers, call center staff, a quality assurance mortgage officer in Grand Rapids, plus mortgage loan originators and senior mortgage coordinators in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
The company also has need of a copywriter, a trainer in mortgages, a web developer and a human resources person to handle compensation and benefits.
"We're in an enviable position in our credit union," says Nora Swart, VP of human resources and training. "So often our peers and competitors are laying off and not adding jobs, but in the last two years Lake Michigan Credit Union has added 200 new positions."
"We're looking for individuals that fit into our culture, people who work well with others and are enthusiastic about their job," says Brenda Pegg, director of human resources.
Both women say that attitude is something that cannot be taught; that it comes from within. They say the company hires a lot of "high potentials" who are a fit for the credit union team and are willing to learn the skills they need.
"We have to compete against other financial institutions who have all the same products," Swart says. "But we can only provide the best service by hiring the best staff."
For more information, click here.
Source: Nora Swart and Brenda Pegg, Lake Michigan Credit Union
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
222 Job Creation Articles | Page: | Show All
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