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Samona Mills

As a recruiter in the staffing industry, my main responsibility is to provide Elwood's clients with exceptional candidates to fill their open positions. I enjoy my job because putting qualified people to work is my passion. In some ways, I feel as though I am a detective. Every time I receive a new position to recruit for, I enjoy trying to locate qualified individuals and solving the mystery of whether they are the best fit candidate for the position.  

I originally relocated to the Grand Rapids area after being promoted to a position here with my previous employer. While in the process of completing my M.B.A. studies at Davenport University, I landed my first HR position as a contract recruiter/generalist with one of Elwood's clients. We would often utilize Elwood's candidates to fill our positions, so when Elwood said they were looking for a new recruiter, it was a perfect transition!

Job Title: Recruiter
Company: Elwood Professional
College: Davenport University, Master of Business Administration, Human Resource Management, Lansing, MI

Kimberly Hughes

As a Patient Access Representative, I contribute to the collaborative effort of the billing process by verifying patient insurance information.   I also register patients, maintain and update patient records, and support our team of nurses by managing all in-coming and out-going correspondence. This position has enabled me to gain new experiences within the health care field, while also allowing me to utilize my communications background.

Job Title: Patient Access Representative
Company: Saint Mary's Health Care
College: Grand Valley State University, Communications, Health Communications Major, Public Relations and Advertising Minor, Grand Rapids, MI

Mercedes Barragan

Cascade Engineering is a multi-business manufacturer and marketer supporting multiple brands. Cascade Engineering manufactures for and markets to a variety of industries such as automotive, commercial truck & bus, solid waste & recycling, furniture, material handling and renewable energy.
Here at Cascade I am part of a team that conducts research for various projects. In addition to this, I also do some web-editing, company reports, and internal communication.
I really enjoy the versatility of my job. I get to work on multiple assignments at any given time and I jump from research to creative so I am never bored! Before working at CE, I interned with the G.R. Hopper in addition to working full time as a server at Romano's Macaroni Grill. As soon as I graduated, I applied to a number of advertising agencies in Detroit and spent most of my free time researching different agencies in Washington DC, Denver and Texas. I was more or less determined to leave Michigan until I met Maxine Gray.
Shortly after graduation I waited on her at Romano's Macaroni Grill and she handed me a business card for the BL2END organization. Before I knew it, I was determined to be a part of the organization. There were openings for board members and I jumped at the opportunity! (Maxine can be very convincing!) That same month, I went to a BL2END event that featured Birgit Khols from The Right Place and I was hooked. It wasn't but a few weeks later that Maxine sent me an opening at Cascade Engineering and the rest is history!
It is truly a blessing to have so many opportunities fall into place and in my case, when I least expected it! It reassures that hard work pays off and that the Lord is taking care of me.

Job Title: Marketing and Communications Associate
Company: Cascade Engineering
College: Grand Valley State University, Bachelor of Art, Advertising and Public Relations, Allendale, MI

Staci Doughty

When I was looking for a job, I knew I wanted to do something involving people, so I started looking on Craigslist for anything that seemed interesting. I found a job listing for a Receptionist at Pioneer Construction and right away I knew it was something I wanted to try for. I sent in my resume and was lucky enough to get a call to interview. The main purpose of my job is much more than answering phones and distributing mail (which I do); I'm the Director of First Impressions! When a client, or potential client calls or enters our building, we want to show them they're important and valued, and that's where I come in. Though I've only been here a short while, I'm excited to build relationships with not only the other employees but our clients as well.

Job Title: Director of First Impressions
Company: Pioneer Construction
College: , Not Applicable

Derek DeVries

I grew up in mid-Michigan but remained in Grand Rapids after college because of the greater wealth of communications jobs in the area and because I grew fond of the numerous cultural/culinary offerings and being a half-hour away from the beach. 

I joined Grand Rapids Community College after working for the college as a client of Seyferth & Associates, Inc.

My job day-to-day is primarily the technological aspects of public relations and has evolved into being an Online Community Manager for the college.  I help develop web content, oversee the college's social media presences, train employees in using social media, and manage GRCC's reputation online.  Additionally, I do some of the more traditional tasks associated with PR; strategic planning, writing, media relations, research, crisis communications, photography, event planning, brand management, environmental scanning, etc.  I also make sure the college's supply of snark and irreverence remain well-stocked.

I love my job because of the boundless diversity of the work.  Every department is like a different client – so it's similar to working for a PR firm (without having to log every 15 minutes of your time).  Moreover, I've always been a geek and value GRCC places on innovation allows me to pursue my personal interest in emerging communications technology, which helps keep the college at the forefront of using emerging tools to engage its audiences.

Job Title: Communications Technology Manager
Company: Grand Rapids Community College
College: Grand Valley State University, BS/MS, Communications, Allendale, MI

Mary Hoksbergen

Our firm does both commercial and residential design/architecture, which gives lots of variety to my work on a daily basis. Recently I have been involved with commercial case goods, which is a new product line that is being launched by Viable, a sister company of Via. Day to day the work is different, which is one of the many reasons I love my job.  

Job Title: Interior Designer
Company: Via Design, Inc.
College: Harrington College of Design, BFA, Interior Design, Chicago, IL

Rich Meyers

As the Director of Game Operations I am responsible for the planning, scripting, and execution of our entire game presentation.  From the ordering of giveaway items, to creating content for our video and LED ribbon boards; this position is always evolving, which presents challenges, yet is very rewarding when the "show" goes well.

Job Title: Director of Game Operations
Company: Grand Rapids Griffins
College: Grand Valley State University, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Sports Management, Allendale, MI

Ashley Patterson

I basically use policy and procedure to determine which applicants are eligible for which programs funded by the state and federal government. I determine eligibility for Food Assistance, Medicaid (medical coverage), Child Daycare, and State Disability Assistance (cash and medical coverage for individuals that are disabled from working for more than 90 days). I love that I have a job in Michigan's economy and I love my job because I get to live my passion everyday, which is helping people become better! I chose this job because it is most definitely a stepping-stone to continue to use my passion for helping the disadvantaged!

Job Title: Assistance Payments Worker/ Eligibility Specialist
Company: Michigan Department of Human Services
College: Grand Valley State University, Bachelors Degree, Allendale, MI

Cory Bale

The responsibility as the Finance Manager at Knape & Vogt consists of controllership duties over all accounting and finance functions throughout the Company, including its Canadian and Taiwan subsidiaries.  These controllership duties consist of identifying and correcting weaknesses in internal control, insightful reporting to internal and external stakeholders, building relationships with our banking syndicate as well as our private equity partner, financial lead on a current ERP implementation, and due diligence tasks on potential mergers and acquisitions.  

Prior to Knape & Vogt, I was employed in the Detroit area for a public accounting firm.  As I looked to relocate to the Grand Rapids area, I was searching for a career that would be a new challenge in private industry.  I really enjoy the fact that the business is constantly changing and striving to improve.  The economy has really hit this industry pretty hard during these past few years, however, we have been doing some very exciting things that will ultimately make us a better company in the future.  

Job Title: Finance Manager
Company: Knape & Vogt
College: Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business, Bachelors in Accounting and Masters in Finance, East Lansing, MI

Chris Steele

I joined Maximize as an IT Systems Engineer. I bring more than 19 years of knowledge in the technology support field to his role, with experience at various corporations in the region. I have managed and supported complex network configurations for data and voice, as well as assisted internal customers as their Help Desk contact.  

I am a customer service savant, not just listening to my client's needs, but anticipating them and offering options to meet their budgets as well as their technology queries.

What I most enjoy about my job is the opportunity to explore new technologies and using them to help client's meet their needs. I am excited about the opportunity to help clients stretch their budgets by implementing Google Apps throughout their network.

Job Title: IT Systems Engineer
Company: Maximize Technologies
College: Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, MI

Amanda Mason

I was recently named Vice President of Asset Management for the growing local commercial real estate development and asset management firm, Locus Development. I join Locus from RockBridge Capital in Columbus, Ohio, where I was a Financial Analyst in the firm's Investment Origination, and Asset Management groups, as well as most recently, a member of the firm's Capital Markets and Investor Relations group. In this role, I directly supported the Managing Director and Capital Initiatives team in raising capital for the firm's latest fund.  While at RockBridge I was involved in the evaluation, underwriting, and closing of nearly $150M of investment transactions and in managing an $875M real estate portfolio.
I am currently a member of the Michigan State University Real Estate and Development Advisory Council.  

Job Title: Vice President of Asset Management
Company: Locus Development
College: Specialization in Real Estate and Development, Michigan State University, BA in Hospitality Business, East Lansing, MI

Amy Pierce

Hi my name is Amy Pierce – I adore being a member of the West Michigan community, I thrive in chaos and see every challenge as an opportunity. 

I recently landed a new role with ITT Technical Institute, Wyoming, MI as their Director; Career Services.  This is a return to "home" for me since I spent part of my career with ITT Tech from 1998 – 2003.  Working with students and graduates invigorates me as I see people achieving their goals.  I cherish the opportunity to be an instrument in someone's success.  I also love the fact that I can assist area businesses in meeting their talent goals; when hiring managers connect with us, we attempt to match skill set and culture so both employer and student/graduate can be rewarded by their newfound partnership.  I landed my new position through my network – I am a firm believer in creating relationships and through my circle, I learned of the opportunity at ITT.  Great friends create a lifeline – I am grateful!
Prior to my current role; I worked with the largest privately held staffing firm in the world; Express Employment Professionals, as both a franchise owner and an employee for several years.  During my tenure, I helped West Michigan companies refine their recruitment, onboarding and retention efforts so that every team member was on the right bus, in the right seat, on the right route.  These experiences will definitely complement my new position.
In my career as a small business owner, consultant and employee; I have garnered expertise in talent management, recruitment strategy analysis, training and development, organizational development and engagement, project management, human resources and student guidance.  
I am a lifelong Michigan resident; I have lived in the GR area since 1987, before that I grew up in Adrian, MI.  I hold degrees from Spring Arbor University in Management and Organizational Development and Grand Rapids Community College in Business Management.  I am currently weighing my options about returning to school for my Master's degree.  I am also a Certified Staffing Professional and Bob Pike Training Group alumnus. 
Because I am passionate about helping others succeed; I am committed to our community and have been involved with many organizations throughout the state.

Job Title: Director; Career Services
Company: ITT Technical Institute
College: Spring Arbor University, Management & Organizational Development, Grand Rapids, MI

Lori Brandt

My role will consist of enhancing IT Resource's ability to triage service activities on behalf of our customers, driving quality through the customer experience from call initiation through completion. My areas of expertise are customer service and hardware & software computer support.

Job Title: Help Desk Manager
Company: IT Resource
College: University of Phoenix, Grand Rapids, MI

Ellie Andrus

I am responsible for the event planning and fund-raising for the West Michigan and surrounding area for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan. The Mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.  We rely on funds from the community to make these wishes come true.  My job is to organize events, work with donors and the community to bring funds in to ensure our mission is fulfilled. 

Photo: Tim Motley Photography

Job Title: Community Development Director
Company: Make-A-Wish Foundation
College: Western Michigan University, Grand Rapids, MI

Enakshi Mehta

I worked for this company during school and had the opportunity to move up within immediately after graduating from college. After graduation I was working for the company in Cleveland until recently when I was promoted to the Grand Rapids area.  I enjoy being a mentor and leader in the sales industry and working with the best in the retail world.  

Job Title: Assistant Manager
Company: TNF
College: Michigan State University, Merchandising and Marketing, East Lansing, MI

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