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135th Annual Meeting: The State of Grand Rapids Business
Your Grand Rapids Chamber has been the voice of West Michigan business for 135 years.
At our 135th Annual Meeting, you’ll hear about how the Grand Rapids Chamber is working to advocate, inform, and connect West Michigan businesses to support business growth, build strong relationships, and create a thriving and prosperous West Michigan for all.
What to expect:
🎯 The Grand Rapids Chamber Board of Directors and executive team will re-cap 2022 and share our goals for 2023
☕️ Networking with over 600 fellow Chamber members and business leaders
📈 State of Grand Rapids Business economic forecast to help you plan for the year ahead
💡 A panel of local industry leaders will react to the economic forecast and provide insights on issues you care about
The State of Grand Rapids Business: Using economic data from surveying members, the team at the GVSU Seidman College of Business will present an update on where the West Michigan economy currently stands, and an economic forecast for 2023. Dr. Paul Isely and Dr. Kuhelika De will provide insights on key economic indicators like business growth, talent, inflation, housing, innovation, and more.
Dress: Business casual / attire with your company logo
Wednesday, February 1
7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
303 Monroe Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Registration is now closed. Walk-in registration will be available at the door!
7:00 a.m. Registration & Networking
7:45 a.m. Welcome
7:50 a.m. Plated Breakfast Service
8:10 a.m. Opening Remarks
8:20 a.m. Welcome from Rick Baker, President & CEO, GR Chamber
8:25 a.m. Incoming Board Chair Remarks
8:30 a.m. Keynote Presentation: The State of Grand Rapids Business
9:00 a.m. Industry Leaders Reaction Panel
9:55 a.m. Closing
Meet the Speakers
Rick Albin, Political Reporter, WOOD-TV8
Rick Albin is the political reporter for News 8. He has been associated with WOOD TV8 since the mid 90s and involved in broadcasting since he began working at his hometown radio station in high school.
Rick has covered politics on the radio and television in five states and has interviewed every person to hold presidential office since President Gerald R. Ford. He has participated in numerous candidate debates, including a primary debate for presidential candidates and numerous gubernatorial debates. His town hall meetings – first with Governor Jennifer Granholm and most recently with Governor Gretchen Whitmer – have become regular occurrences as the state chief executives discuss the challenges Michigan faces and potential solutions.
Rick is also host of “To The Point,” which examines issues and elections that impact the state and the nation. On air for more than 18 years, Rick has interviewed hundreds of local and national political figures on the show. “To The Point” airs every Saturday and Sunday on WOOD TV8.
Art Betancourt, Principal & Founder, AEBetancourt
Art Betancourt established AEBetancourt in 2015. Headquartered in downtown Grand Rapids, AEBetancourt is a national professional placement and executive recruiting firm that leads the industry with transparent and dedicated talent strategy solutions designed to achieve perfect-fit hires. As an organization, they strive to be the nation’s premier industry leader in designing, building, and executing talent strategy solutions.
As CEO, Art has led the organization to earn several distinct honors including ranking on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing private companies, being named a Power Partner by Inc Magazine, receiving an EPIC award from the GR Chamber for Excellence in Business, and being selected as a Best & Brightest Company to Work For in West Michigan and the nation for four consecutive years.
Art received his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Texas at Tyler, his MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and holds an SHRM-SCP certification. Beyond serving as the incoming Chair of the Create Great Leaders program, Art is also President of the Notre Dame Club of Grand Rapids and serves on the Corporate Advisory Board For Graduate Career Services at the University of Notre Dame and Grand Rapids Community Foundation Advisory Council boards. Outside of the office, Art enjoys spending time with family and friends, golfing, and attending as many Notre Dame football games as possible.
Dr. Kuhelika De, Associate Professor, Seidman College of Business
Kuhelika De earned her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Georgia in 2017. She teaches introductory and intermediate macroeconomics at GVSU and received the “Outstanding Teaching Award” from the University of Georgia. She conducts research in the areas of macroeconomics, monetary economics, development macroeconomics, international macroeconomics, and time series econometrics.
She has presented her research work at the American Economic Association Meetings, Southern Economic Association Meetings, Midwest Macroeconomics Meetings, the Federal Reserve Bank, Reserve Bank of India, and several other research universities/organizations. She is an active member of the American Economic Association.
Darryl A. Elmouchi, MD, MBA, President, Corewell Health West
Darryl A. Elmouchi, MD, MBA, is president of Corewell Health West, a division of Corewell Health—formed by the joining together of Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health in 2022. As president of Corewell Health West, Darryl leads strategy, operations, clinical care delivery and financial performance for 11 hospitals, 120 outpatient locations, telehealth, a large continuing and home care enterprise, and a medical group with 2,000+ provider members in West Michigan. Darryl also serves as a member of the system leadership team at Corewell Health.
Equal parts charisma and caring, Darryl boldly encourages his teams and organization to reimagine the status quo. A strong communicator, he inspires people to move through challenges, demonstrating empathy and positivity through both words and actions. In addition to his role at Corewell Health, Darryl is a clinical professor of medicine at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
Darryl previously served as president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, a division of Spectrum Health System, where he was instrumental in bringing together Spectrum Health Hospital Group (SHHG) and Spectrum Health Medical Group (SHMG). A practicing physician until 2019, his prior leadership roles include chief medical officer of both Spectrum Health System and SHHG, president of SHMG, chief of cardiovascular medicine at SHMG and chair of the department of cardiovascular medicine at SHHG. From 2010–14, he was medical director of cardiac electrophysiology at Spectrum Health. Before joining Spectrum Health, he served as a cardiac electrophysiologist at West Michigan Heart.
Darryl earned his medical degree from University of Michigan Medical School and holds a Master in Business Administration from University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He holds a certificate in biostatistics from University of Michigan School of Public Health and earned his bachelor’s degree in history at University of California, Los Angeles. He completed his internship, residency and chief residency at University of California, San Francisco and fellowships in cardiac electrophysiology and cardiovascular medicine at University of Michigan Health System. Darryl is a fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society and board member at Hope Network and serves on the life sciences advisory board of Innovatus Capital Partners, LLC.
Dr. Paul Isely, Associate Dean, Seidman College of Business
Dr. Paul Isely is currently Associate Dean and Professor of Economics for the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, which he joined in 1995 after earning his Ph.D. in Economics from Purdue University. He also holds an M.S. in Economics from Purdue University and a dual B.S. in Physics and Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Isely’s research interests have led to many local articles and reports. These articles have explored West Michigan’s economy including forecasts of growth, the state of entrepreneurship, health care costs, environmental clean-up values, economic impacts of various activities, and the costs and benefits of wind power. He has been interviewed extensively by TV, radio, and newspapers on the West Michigan economy and its relationship to the national and state economies.
Dr. Diana Lawson, Dean of the Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University
Diana Lawson, Ph.D. is Dean of the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. With extensive experience leading business programs and a wealth of international practice, she is widely published on topics ranging from the value of a liberal arts education to masculinity and femininity in business negotiations and designing an international business curriculum.
Lawson’s research has been included in publications like the Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Marketing Education Review, International Business Review, Journal of Euromarketing, and Journal of Teaching in International Business. She is also author of a textbook, Communicating in Global Business Negotiations: A Geocentric Approach. Lawson earned her Ph.D. from Kent State University in 1993, as well as her M.B.A. and Master’s degree, and a bachelor’s degree from State University of New York College at Cortland.
Nelson Sanchez, President, RoMan Manufacturing
Nelson joined RoMan Manufacturing, Inc. 2013 as Chief Financial Officer responsible for the corporate oversight of RoMan Manufacturing and Quality Non-Ferrous Foundry engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales, human resources, and purchasing functions. In 2016 was named Chief Operating Officer where he continued leading the company’s growth and diversification strategies. As of January 1, 2023 was named President. Before joining RoMan, Nelson held executive positions in finance, marketing and business management roles in various companies including: Deloitte, Windquest Companies, Ridgeview Industries, and Kaydon Corporation.
He presently serves on the Board of Directors of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation as Board Chairperson, and on the Holland Home Board of Directors, Vice-Chair, and previously chaired the Board of Directors of the West Michigan Alzheimer’s Association. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. Nelson holds Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees from Aquinas College.
Brad Walsh, President, Orion Construction
Orion Construction, headquartered in Grand Rapids, is a multi-service construction company serving the Midwest. Founded in 2000, the company provides general contracting, construction management, design/build, and sustainable/LEED services. Orion’s president, Brad Walsh, joined the construction firm in 2015 as project manager with multi-faceted experience within the commercial construction industry. His construction knowledge spans commercial, municipal and industrial projects comprising of government, university and healthcare projects nationwide. Under his supervision and leadership, Walsh has overseen the completion of several mid-rise, mixed-use and multi-family projects, including Heritage Place, Rivers Edge and Gateway at Belknap Apartments. Additionally, he managed the construction process of many notable restaurants in downtown Grand Rapids, such as Wheelhouse, Holiday Bar and Linear Restaurant, and Corner Bar in Rockford. Growing up in southeast Michigan, Brad was first exposed to the building trades through his father’s construction company and went on to earn a degree in construction management from Eastern Michigan University.