About Rapid Growth

Rapid Growth Media is a digital news magazine, and West Michigan institution, focused on the dynamic communities, businesses and residents of Greater Grand Rapids. We cover what's next in entrepreneurship, creative culture and urban development in and around our region, and are part of the Issue Media Group family.

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Meet the Rapid Growth Media creative team and contact us here!

Tommy Allen, Publisher & Lifestyle Editor

Tommy Allen, a Communications Major from Calvin University, is a founding member of Rapid Growth and the innovative placemaker behind the "no topic off-limits" weekly G-Sync column as well as the author of more than 2,500 stories on the Greater Grand Rapids art scene from 2008 until March 2020.
Tommy, an accomplished artist and filmmaker, creates engaging events for both commercial and nonprofit agencies. Notable for artworks like ArtPrize's "The Kissing Booth x Tommy Allen" (2009), he challenges societal norms, exploring identity at the "human scale." Tommy's civic contributions span leadership in projects such as Green Grand Rapids and the Urban Forestry Committee. As a trailblazer, he served as the first Queer person to chair the Community Relations Commission from 2017 to 2019 passing thoughtful and innovative civil rights policies. As Rapid Growth's Publisher since February 2015, he balances his journalism work with his creative pursuits leaving space for quality time in the garden, nights out exploring the local arts scene, and volunteering in his neighborhood to keep it funky. #KeepCrestonFunky. 

Shandra Martinez, Managing Editor
[email protected]

Shandra is an award-winning writer and reporter. After a distinguished career in daily journalism, she launched her Holland-based business, Shandra Martinez Communications. A longtime resident of the Lakeshore, she now writes and edits on a variety of platforms for clients in Michigan and across the country. Shandra Martinez is the managing editor of boh The Lakeshore and Rapid Growth

Andrea Goodell, Assistant Editor
Community has always been central to the work of 20-plus-year veteran print journalist Andrea Goodell. She has made Holland her home for the past 20 years. 

Lucia Rios, Co-editor, Disability Inclusion Series
Lucia is the Co-Editor of the award-winning Southwest Michigan-focused  series Disability Inclusion. Lucia has been awarded a lot since she joined us in this work, including the prestigious 2023 PRSA's Media Person of the Year for her work on this series. Please visit here to see all the award-winning stories that Lucia and  Shandra Martinez co-edited together since 2022. 

Lindsay Patton-Carson, Voices of Youth for Rapid Growth
Lindsay, a Journalism graduate from Grand Valley State University and owner of Blackstar Communications, brings her seasoned journalism expertise to Rapid Growth's education-focused program. Since 2023, she has led RG's Voices of Youth (VOY) story series, introducing innovative lessons that amplify local youth voices. Lindsay's extensive background includes teaching at Aquinas College, with her writing featured in local publications and notable magazines like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, PhillyVoice, and the Center for Health Journalism. VOY, a pioneering journalism training program, is transforming youth engagement and representation on both the local and national scenes.

Contributors: Estelle Slootmaker, Sarah Spohn, Matthew Russell, Shanika Carter, Bill Lee, Ashley King, and Joanne Bailey-Boorsma 

Photography Contributors: Tyler Herbstreith, Tommy Allen

Emeritus Editors: Anna Gustafson, Juliet Bennet Rylah, Lauren Fay Carlson, Leandra Nisbet, Stephanie Doublestein, Matt Gryczan, Daniel Schoonmaker, and Andy Guy

Rapid Growth Media is published by Issue Media Group. Incorporated in 2005 in Detroit, Michigan, IMG operates a national network of online media outlets leveraging the power of solutions-based journalism to report on community change. Our publications aim to connect readers to their communities’ most visionary and innovative people, projects, businesses, and organizations – fostering civic capacity, improving understanding of key issues, amplifying underserved voices, and building community attachment during a time of local media decline. 
We work with like-minded stakeholders across public, private, nonprofit, and grassroots organizations whose values and missions align with ours through an underwriting model of publishing.  Our journalists connect with community stakeholders through regular listening sessions designed to build trust and shape authentic community stories.
IMG's work has been recognized and supported by various leading journalism organizations including INC Magazine, Knight Foundation, Columbia Journalism Review, Facebook, Lenfest Institute, Google, Solutions Journalism Network, Ground Source, and Society for Professional Journalists.

Rapid Growth - an Issue Media Company - is a proud member of the Michigan Press Association 

Interested in sharing a story idea with us?

Rapid Growth Media receives valuable contributions from a network of talented freelance writers, photographers and videographers. We encourage anyone interested in contributing articles, personal essays, photos, videos, social media projects or any other creative method of storytelling on a topic related to the Greater Grand Rapids region to email [email protected] with a pitch describing the story you want to tell, how you plan to tell it and why you think our audience will be interested.