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Help wanted: Creative and meaningful work with unlimited opportunity and excellent compensation

Bueller?

Maybe a pop culture reference is not the best way to get people's attention, but for many whose job it is to recruit and hire tech talent, there are moments when they feel no one is listening. And they're working to change that.

The leadership team at OST knows as well as anyone the challenges of hiring technical talent in West Michigan. The firm has been on a growth and hiring binge for the last several years.

Most recently, OST has hired 41 employees since the beginning of 2014 and has 11 additional jobs open in Grand Rapids. But despite their success in hiring, they are also acutely aware of what the numbers say: that only a fraction of students are graduating with technical degrees that will qualify and prepare them for the projected 10,000-plus technology job openings in the state.

It is a job gap that leaves Tamara Iakiri, manager of talent acquisition at OST, a little bewildered at the opportunity that many students will be missing. "It's hard to comprehend," says Iakiri, that many students are not understanding the true opportunities for careers in I.T. where the starting salaries can ranges from $50,000 to $65,000. "We have to get the message out to parents, students and new grads about the tremendous potential in I.T."

To support her case, Iakiri shares the following statistics about technology careers:

-U.S. News 2014 Best Jobs Ranking: #1 - Software Developer
-Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 22.8 percent employment growth 2012 - 2022
-Estimated 139,900 jobs will need to be filled
-2012 mean salary for a software developer was $93,000

In West Michigan:

-$82,904 is median salary in West MI (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Grand Rapids-Wyoming MSA)
- By comparison, median household income in Grand Rapids is $50,658 (source: Census ACS)

"The comparison reinforces the point that high-tech jobs are well-paid jobs that can bring more discretionary income into the local economy. High-tech workers can easily afford to live in (the) region and even support their family as a sole breadwinner. This can lead to better quality of life and work/life balance," says Iakiri.

OST is not the only business in the area that shares these concerns. In fact, every large corporation, software development firm and startup in West Michigan is aware of the talent shortage.

To address the issue, Iakiri says that several area employers have teamed up to form West Michigan Tech Talent, a group that intends to create and implement a comprehensive plan to fill the pipeline for these jobs. "We have been meeting for four months and are focusing on three primary areas: grow, focused on K-12 and exposing them to career opportunities in tech and providing them with development opportunities; develop, focused on developing tech skills for current professional and those looking to make a career transition; and recruit, focused on recruiting tech talent into the region. Current organizations leading the effort include Spectrum, OST, Atomic Object, Collective Idea, New Horizons, KISD, GRCC, Michigan Works, The Right Place, SEI, Elevator Up, and The Factory."  

If you are interested in learning about this group, you can contact Iakiri at OST.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

After 33 years, four new jobs prove RCP Marketing is "not just doing the same old thing"

After 33 years, Muskegon-based RCP Marketing says it continues to attract clients like ConAgra Foods and Campbell's Soup because of its determination to evolve with the times.

That evolution includes attaining the coveted Google Certified Partner accreditation, plus adding four new people to handle video production, digital advertising, social media, and traditional media. In addition, RCP Marketing seeks to fill a new account manager position.

"I'm constantly interviewing for that position," says President Amy H. Atkinson, who says that finding just the right person is always high on her list. "I'm always looking for really good, experienced folks that have been in the agency business on the account side, because our system is such that we can continue to grow and manage more accounts than what we have. We are purposely small to be very responsive. My folks are wearing a lot of different hats -- it doesn't take 15 people to get a project going, so we look for people who can do lots of different things."

Atkinson says the right person will handle new business development and project management, must have agency experience, and must have an education in marketing or advertising. Beyond that are the more intangible talents: understanding the current needs of companies, understanding changing marketing and advertising trends, and understanding the types of companies that would benefit from RCP's services.

"We're not just doing the same old thing for the past 33 years," Atkinson says. "As our clients and consumer behavior has changed, we, too, are always in a state of change to provide for our clients the best way for them to reach their customers. We want someone with the ability to always put the client first and who knows that, at the end of the day, it is the successes of our clients that allow us to be successful."

To inquire about the position or to send a résumé and cover letter, click here.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of RCP Marketing

Sweet growth: 20 truck driver, mechanic, accounting, and other jobs open up in Grand Rapids

With 180 employees from 37 countries, companies Sweet Express and Sweet Logistics have found a way to bridge cultural differences and grow every year since launching 11 years ago.

Now the trucking and logistics companies, based at 3050 Breton Rd., the former Yamaha property, have several new positions to fill to keep them on the road: 10 to 15 over-the-road drivers, a mechanic, a safety compliance overseer, a driver manager, a load planner, and an entry-level accountant.

Owners Damir Vidinlic and his brother Jasmin Vidinlic came to America with their parents in 1996. They emigrated from their home country, then called Yugoslavia, to escape the Bosnian War. They knew no English and had only one bag of belongings and little money. The parents worked hard to put Damir through Grand Valley State University, where he earned a mechanical engineering degree.

Brother Jasmin, who drove truck in Yugoslavia, saw that truck drivers in America were "at the bottom of the totem pole and were getting cheated, and he didn't like that," Damir Vidinlic says. "He wanted to start a trucking company to change that."  

"In the beginning, the biggest challenge was the language barrier," Vidinlic says. "Now it's about how good are you in adapting to new things. Twenty-nine people work in the office and only one person in 11 years has quit, because we are very careful on how we put teams together."

The companies haul freight across 48 states, plus warehouse customer products in the 80,000-square-foot warehouse. Vidinlic says that in the past 12 months, the Sweet companies have added 50 new trucks and some 28 drivers.

To apply for a job, stop by the company office between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Mon. - Fri.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Sweet Express

New locations opening bring 160 teacher, teacher's aide, admin jobs to Gilden Woods Preschools

Appletree Learning Centers and its partner program Gilden Woods Early Care & Preschool Centers are in the throes of opening at least four new Gilden Woods locations in Michigan, bringing some 160 new jobs to the state.

Appletree Learning Centers began in 1998, catering to children six weeks old through 12 years, offering early education opportunities, after-school learning and play environments, and enrichment programs that include Spanish, gymnastics, and music.

Since partnering with Gilden Woods Early Care & Preschool Centers in 2012, the company has opened its 13th school and looks to open four new schools in the near future: Portage (broke ground in April), Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Walker.

"We're planning to add 160 employees in the next year, most of whom will be teachers and teachers' aides," says Beth Johnson, marketing manager. "Early education equips the (children) for school so they are socially ready, emotionally ready, and mentally ready -- all the different facets of the early education program to help them be a success in school. We start with the infant, then they can stay at the same school for preschool, after-school programs, and summer camps."

Each new school opens some 40 positions: school directors, teachers, teachers' aides, cooks, and bus drivers and other support staff. About 75 percent of the jobs are full-time.

Teachers need qualifications such as a Bachelors, Child Development Associate (CDA), or Associates degree and/or CEU hours in child related fields to meet the Licensing Rules of Child Care Centers for the State of Michigan.  

"The culture here is based on the premise 'Would this be best for my own child?'" Johnson says. "We want to hire people who want to establish relationships with these families, because they've trusted us to be a part of the development of their most precious gift, their child."

To find out more and to apply, click here.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Appletree Learning Centers and Gilden Woods Early Care & Preschool Centers

Pioneer Construction gears up to add 30 carpenters, ironworkers, and metal building erectors

Following on the heels of a hiring blitz that added 12 new ironworkers, carpenters, and metal building erectors to its ranks, Grand Rapids-based Pioneer Construction is ready to hire another 30 workers.

Pioneer Construction, which employs about 200 people, has built some of West Michigan's leading-edge structures, including Grand Valley State University's Mary Idema Pew Library and the Seidman College of Business, as well as Grand Rapids' Downtown Market, Heart of the City Health Services, and Boardwalk Condominiums.

"We have a strong backlog right now, and have new opportunities with manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, office build-outs, higher education, hospitality, and healthcare," says Director of Business Development Chris Beckering. "We've maintained the philosophy that it's important to have the self-performance horsepower and services to deliver full-service construction."

In conjunction with the expected uptick in larger-than-life projects, the company recently purchased a $1 million 70-ton Grove TMS700E crane.

While Pioneer's ideal job candidate is one with experience in carpentry, ironwork, or metal building construction, Beckering says the company has partnered with Associated Builders and Contractors to provide extensive training for anyone wishing to begin or advance a career in construction trades.

"First and foremost, candidates must have a good solid work ethic, positive teamwork-oriented mentality and attitude, people who take pride in their work, and people who have a commitment to safe work practices," Beckering says. "Ideally, they would have experience in the trades or general construction services; however, for people with a strong work ethic and a good attitude, we're willing to invest in training."

To apply for a position, stop by Pioneer Construction's offices at 550 Kirtland St. SW, or apply online here.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Pioneer Construction

Holland's Outdoor Discovery Center seeks nature lovers to fill two new job positions

Connecting people with the joys of our natural surroundings, instilling a love of the earth, and developing programs that nurture caretaking of our wetlands and its inhabitants are opportunities awaiting new employees of Holland's Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway.

The nonprofit organization, located at 4214 56th St., seeks to fill two new positions immediately: naturalist and program assistant.

Due to growth Executive Director Travis Williams calls "phenomenal," the 150-acre center hired seven employees in the past 12 months, and recently added the two new positions to help the center keep up with its popularity among schools, church groups, and visitors.

"The Outdoor Discovery Center started in 2000 to connect people with the outdoors through education programs for area schools, community churches, scout groups, libraries, teaching about the outdoors and natural sciences," Williams says. "We merged with the Macatawa Greenway in 2009 to preserve and protect land along the Macatawa River, about a 10-mile river corridor, to protect the water quality, create park spaces, protect wildlife."

The organization maintains trails through wetlands, woods, and meadows, manages a visitor center that hosts upwards of 37,000 visitors a year, plus feeds and cares for birds of prey, reptiles, and amphibians.  

The naturalist will help manage the visitor center, engaging with the public in face-to-face presentations and answering questions, and helping develop educational programs for schools and other community groups. The ideal candidate will have at least five years' experience in natural sciences or outdoor education, and/or a degree in a related field.

The program assistant will perform some of the same face-to-face engagement with visitors, but will work only on weekends. Other responsibilities include helping prepare programs.

Both positions require someone who will care for the birds, reptiles, and amphibians, clean their cages, water the native garden around the building, and even help with posting on social media.

"All of our employees have to be interested and willing to handle live animals and talk to the visitors," Williams says.

To apply for one of the positions, stop by the center or call. Click here for contact information.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway

The Right Place powering the job market, helps land customer call center in Cascade Township

The Right Place, Inc., along with local municipal partners and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), announced a West Michigan economic development project that is projected to add 287 new jobs in Cascade Township.

With the approval of a $550,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant and another $1.5 million dollar investment, Dialog Direct will expand their operations to 2905 Lucerne SE, Grand Rapids, MI.

The firm manages customer contact centers for a variety of markets, including healthcare, insurance, financial, utilities and retail. The company's contact centers are near capacity and additional space is required to meet new client needs. The company's Holland site currently employs nearly 500 employees and was established in 2010.

According to Jack Wilkie, chief marketing officer for Dialog Direct, the location was chosen over 23 other sites, with the decision to locate their new operation in Cascade being made much easier by the firm's previous experience in West Michigan and the collaboration between multiple stakeholders in the region.

"We already have an operation in West Michigan that opened in June 2010 and have really enjoyed the community and the workforce," says Wilkie. "There is a strong labor market, community support and our desire to create jobs in the region."

Wilkie says the jobs will include a site director, team leaders, and training specialists, with the majority of new positions being customer service advisors. The firm is already hiring, with the first training class, an eight-week, fully paid program, scheduled for June 2. Individuals interested in exploring employment opportunities should call 616-834-9700 or visit dialog-direct com.

The Dialog Direct expansion is one of three West Michigan projects that will be adding up to 446 new jobs and $52.1 million to the region, according to The Right Place.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

Boxed Water Is Better gears up for summer drinking water demand, seeks production line workers

As Boxed Water Is Better gears up to meet warm weather demand for healthy drinking water, its Holland production facility seeks to add a second-shift production line.

Boxed Water, which offers purified drinking water in eco-friendly boxes rather than plastic bottles, has distribution networks in a number of regions including the Pacific Northwest, California, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Calgary, Canada, and others. CEO Brett VanderKamp says the company recently launched new markets in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., plus is finalizing plans to launch in Toronto.

"We're building our sales force and have sales people in L.A., South Florida, New York," VanderKamp says. "We're interviewing for the Chicago/Great Lakes market and looking to add people in San Francisco, Boston, and Texas."

With the increase in sales personnel and the anticipated spike in demand over the summer months, Boxed Water needs three more production folks to operate a second shift at its 11,000-square-foot facility at 135 Manufacturers Drive, Holland.

The plan is to hire a production shift manager, and then fill in the other two team members. It takes three to run the equipment. VanderKamp is looking for a shift manager with packaging experience, a good mechanical skillset, and an interest in water chemistry.

"We have a fast growing company, we're competitive, we like to challenge each other," VanderKamp says. "The growth rate means the jobs are constantly changing and we need to be adaptable. We're looking for someone that's optimistic about the future of the brand, sees the potential of having a disruptive product like this in the marketplace, somebody that challenges the norm."

Boxed Water announced earlier this week that it has partnered with 1% For The Planet and will donate a portion of its profits to clean water and reforestation projects.

To apply, please stop by the facility at 135 Manufacturers Dr. and pick up an application.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Boxed Water Is Better

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Growth at Quantum Leap Communications prompts company to seek more sales people

Quantum Leap Communications, a telecommunications company specializing in Voice Over Internet Protocol systems for businesses, plans to hire at least two more account executives immediately, and possibly another four in the next 12 months.

President Mike Borowka says he's looking for people who are able to prospect, network, and build solid relationships in the community.

"It's much less about having a technological or industry background," Borowka says. "We will train for the skills. We want people who are willing to be out there meeting, talking to people. It's preferred that they have some business-to-business contacts, but having the right synergy with the team is what's important."

Quantum Leap Communications, 2006 44th St. SE, Grand Rapids, installs and services ShoreTel, MiTel, Avaya, and Executone systems, and is an agent for all the major telecom carriers, such as AT&T. Determining the best telecommunications system for a client's needs and helping them choose the right telecom carrier are essential to Quantum's success.

"Even though we're a technology business, this is still a relationship business," Borowka says. "We try not to be too techie when we're finding out what's going on in a client's business -- what are the pain points, what keeps them up at night -- it makes it easier for us to connect the dots and ease the pain and correct the challenges they have."

Quantum Leap expanded into an 11,000-square-foot building last month and plans to use the space as a collaborative workspace where clients can come to brainstorm ideas and see what particular systems can do for them.

"We're trying to be a non-typical telecommunications company," Borowka says. "We're trying to get rid of the stigma of technology being intimidating. We want to know how we can make clients' lives easier, and make their employees more productive and happy in our little segment of their business."

To inquire about the sales positions, or to submit a résumé and cover letter, click here.  

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Quantum Leap Communications

HopCat expansions in other markets means finance, IT, management jobs in West Michigan, beyond

With the expansion of the HopCat bar brand into East Lansing, Detroit, and now Indianapolis with HopCat -- Broad Ripple opening in August at 6280 N. College Ave., the need to add support employees in the Grand Rapids home office and beyond creates a variety of job opportunities.

BarFly Ventures, which owns HopCat, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, McFadden's, and Stella's Lounge, seeks to hire a financial analyst, an IT manager, and from 20 to 25 front house managers over the next six months. The financial analyst will work out of Grand Rapids, the IT position will be based in Grand Rapids with an expectation that there will be some travel involved, and management trainees must be available to work in any of the markets where there is a need.

"We're striving to find people that have experience, who would enjoy working in an atmosphere like we have at BarFly -- very fun, fast paced," says Marketing Director Chris Knape. "We offer benefits that go above and beyond what others in the industry offer, and there's the chance to grow with the company, because we're growing quickly."

The financial analyst should have restaurant experience, know food costs, human resources costs, and be able to set up accounts for expanding into new markets. Knape says the push to open the planned HopCats in Detroit and Indianapolis will happen within eight months, plus there's another location on the drawing board for 2015, and other locations beyond that.

The IT manager will work to install and integrate sophisticated point of sale systems, primarily Aloha, with inventory control, brew house systems, purchasing, and the composting/trash system.

Management trainees should have bar and restaurant experience, and should be able and willing to relocate to the market where they are needed, says BarFly's Head Ringmaster, Garry Boyd.

"Some of our best ideas come from out of the blue from an employee suggestion," Boyd says. "Our trash program was suggested by employees who watched us throw away glass bottle after glass bottle and they challenged us to do better."

BarFly Ventures says the program, implemented three years ago in all of its bars and restaurants, has reduced by 90 percent the amount of waste it sends to landfills.

Hiring in Indianapolis for 100 wait and bar staff for HopCat -- Broad Ripple, has also begun.

To apply for any position, please send a cover letter, résumé, the position name, and three job references to jobs@barflyventures.com.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of BarFly Ventures
http://www.hopcatel.com/

Holland's LeanLogistics adds technology, transportation jobs to keep up with company growth

Holland's LeanLogistics has plans to bring on a number of new employees to meet customer demand for its supply chain software, services, and transportation technology. The company, based at 1351 S. Waverly Rd., is hiring software developers, project managers, transportation load planners, transportation load coordinators, and transportation managers.

LeanLogistics was founded in Holland in 1999, then purchased by Australia supply chain logistics giant Brambles Limited in 2008. LeanLogistics has 150 employees at its Holland facility.

"We continue to develop technology that leads the industry, so we have need for software developers and project management individuals adept in working with web based software and working in the latest technologies," says Chris Timmer, senior VP of marketing. "We also have a great need for supply chain expertise -- people that would be working with the software on behalf of clients to help them manage their transportation."

Timmer says the company recruits from the "supply chain schools," such as Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, Ohio State, and Penn State, and works closely with Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University to find technology development graduates.

"Michigan tends to be somewhat of a hotbed for supply chain logistics professionals, so we're able to bring talent in from the local marketplace," Timmer adds. "But the technological side is more challenging to find developers for a certain technology. In the Western Michigan market, we can be a little bit challenged finding the right talent. We're a software company that's extremely progressive -- we need open minds, creative thinkers, people who are willing to be coached as well as to coach. We work for the greater good of the organization and of each other, and we look for those attributes in the people that we bring on."

To find out more or to apply for a position, click here.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of LeanLogistics

Business intelligence software firm in downtown Grand Rapids makes schools smarter

Eidex is one of the latest high-tech firms making its home in downtown Grand Rapids.

The company, which was founded by Doug LaFleur, PhD, has developed a business intelligence software tool that crunches thousands of academic and financial data points to create a series of customized digital reports, enabling school administrators to identify opportunities for improvement that benefit students and the districts. "There needs to be strong innovation in education. By bringing data analytics to school districts, we are helping administrators identify where they are doing well and understand where they need to improve," says LaFleur.

LaFleur says their data can help school districts be much more strategic in their decision-making, identify cost savings, and better communicate program needs to stakeholders in the community: "We are a service business wrapped around a software application."

LeFleur also cites their firm's customer-centric approach as being an important part of their service delivery. "Core to our philosophy is partnering with our clients. A good deal of the tool's current features have resulted from suggestions made to us by our clients," he says. "We listen, and build what they need."

Eidex is also part of Start Garden's portfolio, having been funded at the $50,000 level. CEO Jack Gunn says the investment has been significant: "Start Garden's involvement has been extremely beneficial. Not only in terms of funding but helping with strategy and the opportunity to be a part of the ecosystem they are building."

Currently Eidex has over 70 school district subscribers in Michigan, which all pay an annual fee for the service. Eidex also has been in a hiring mode for over the past year.  "We have grown from a team of three to 14 in less than a year and we're still hiring. We're looking for developers to meet the needs of our clients."  says Gunn.

As is the case in the local tech sector, recruitment of top talent is very competitive but Gunn says Eidex has plenty to offer to developers beyond the typical pay and benefit packages, including "making a positive contribution in education, working with state-of-the-art technology, and having fun in a relaxed, collaborative environment."

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

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor

C/D/H's growth in Grand Rapids, Detroit markets puts six new technology jobs on the table

At least six new technology jobs are now on the table as Grand Rapids-based C/D/H continues to add clients across Michigan, using its Grand Rapids HQ at 15 Ionia SW and its Detroit office at 1500 Woodward Ave. as collaboration hubs.

C/D/H, a technology consulting firm that bills itself as a Microsoft-certified Gold Partner and a VMware Professional Partner, with top certification with Citrix, has 30 employees split between the Grand Rapids and Detroit offices.

"We help frustrated CIOs who have high risk projects and who need experts to make sure those projects come in on time and on budget," says C/D/H Partner Paul Hillman. "The projects might be websites, massive data center upgrades, big new application rollouts, maybe acquiring a new company, and they don't have the people with the experience and expertise in-house."

The six job openings posted on the company website currently list the work location as the Detroit office, but Hillman says that, because the two offices collaborate seamlessly through technology, employees can work effectively from either office.

The jobs are: SharePoint architect and consultant, infrastructure consultant, UX/UI designer, Microsoft system center consultant, Microsoft UC consultant, and client sales professional.

The C/D/H team is an integral part of the company's five-layer hiring process, Hillman says, and candidates complete a personality test to see if they'll be a good fit for the team.

"We have proven statistically that we talk to about 40 people before we hire one," Hillman says, adding that the company's four core values of active collaboration, genuine commitment, continuous improvement, and unquestionable fairness are central to maintaining individual, team, and company integrity.

To find out more about the positions and to apply, click here.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of C/D/H

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Orion Construction's growing project list creates need for accountant, three project superintendents

Grand Rapids' Orion Construction has been around for about 10 years, and as its list of major developments continues to grow, the company has four new job positions to fill.

The company seeks three project superintendents with at least 10 years' of construction industry experience focused on larger commercial projects. Orion also aims to hire an accountant with a minimum of five years' experience. The company is in the process of sorting through accountant résumés and preparing for interviews.

Beyond the field experience, the project superintendents should "be familiar with working in an urban setting, have strong leadership skills, communication skills and strong/positive subcontractor relations," writes Orion Construction President, Roger Rehkopf in an email. "They must be committed to, and have a proven history for, high standards in safety and quality."
 
Most of Orion's projects are in Michigan, and that's by plan, says John Wheeler, president of Orion Real Estate Solutions. "We don't want to send our guys on the road for three, four, eight months. It's hard on the guys and on their families. The stress comes through in their work as well. (With other companies) so many are building projects so far away and no one really knows the long-term effects of that. It's just not positive."

Orion says it has several major projects in the pipeline, including the $45 million Arena Place building just west of the Van Andel Arena, the 65-unit Seventh St. Lofts in the former Israels Building, and the 35-apartment Eastown Flats in Eastown.

"There's competition for the good employees," Wheeler says. "A lot of good employees who have left Michigan during the last recession are now coming back. It's a full all-on effort to find the right people in our business and, when we find them, we don't want to let them go."

To apply, send your résumé to info@orionbuilt.com.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Orion Construction

PaintworksGR launches in West Michigan

If your home or commercial building needs a fresh look this year, Steve Naylor would be interested in hearing from you, because he says he can "make your walls pop."

Naylor is the founder of Grand Rapids-based PaintworksGR, a new business that provides a range of specialty painting services. "We position ourselves as high-quality. Very clean, bold colors. We help people reinvent rooms and houses. We do a lot of faux finishes, stone finishes. We try to make the painting part of the room," he says.

Naylor says the inspiration for his business came from experience: "My dad taught me how to paint in 8th grade. I managed a painting crew in high school and college. I actually put myself through college with my painting. In grad school I employed eight of my classmates."

Besides the painting business, Naylor is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He stays active by contributing as needed in his church, but his focus in on growing on his business. "I always wanted to start a business in Grand Rapids and painting comes naturally to me," he says.

PaintworksGR recently hired one full-time position and Naylor anticipates hiring more throughout the year as the business grows.

To learn more about Naylor's business you can visit his website here or his Facebook page here.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor
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