Entries by Ron Kitchens

AROUND (269): How does the Giving Garden grow?

Summer evenings are a time when many of us enjoy sitting down to fresh, locally-grown vegetables for dinner, whether it’s a ripe red tomato on a juicy cheeseburger or slices of zucchini served with barbeque chicken. But, for many Southwest Michigan residents, a regular supply of fresh vegetables isn’t so easy to come by.

Brenda Kolkman and Linda Clarey, two of eight coordinators of the Giving Garden in Kalamazoo, see these needs as inspiration for the hard work they put in from March through October on property generously provided by Humphrey Products and Kendall Electric in Kalamazoo, located at the corner of East N Avenue and Sprinkle Road.

LEADER2LEADER: Troy Cuvelier

Define leadership.
Inspiring, always learning, educating, optimistic, listening, caring, compassionate, appreciative, team-focused.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My grandmother. She instilled in me, from early on, to always be a good person, treat other people the way you want to be treated, and to work hard; anything worth doing is worth doing right, by giving it 150 percent.

LEADER2LEADER: Sophia Quinn

Define leadership.
The ability to bring a group of people together to attain a common goal.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My director when I worked at Blue Care Network-Great Lakes, which is our HMO subsidiary; her name was Sandy O’Connor. She promoted me from a regional leadership position into a corporate one, where I oversaw all Blue Care Network-Great Lakes customer service operations. She took me under her wing to guide me and to develop me in a way that I didn’t feel she was micromanaging me. She had one phrase that really stuck out in my mind, and I share it with my team today: “Mean what you say, and say what you mean in your communications.” It has resonated so, that when I say something, people who know me know that my words are very deliberate. She was a great role model. I attribute probably the greatest leadership growth to her.

A Conversation with PAUL MARTUS

WHAT DOES AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER DO?
I truly believe we provide a service—a problem-solving service. We’re part detective, part artist, part futurist. We solve problems through visualization. These problems shape the future and hopefully make lives better.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER?
When I look back, I think I always was a designer, I just didn’t know what to call myself. As a kid, we made our own props for our stories and games. We made our own toys. We took apart our toys to “improve them.” As I got older, it was the same thinking of innovation, just applied to sports, school, and work.

FROM CAVE PAINTINGS TO APPS

HOW THE EVOLUTION OF COMMUNICATION TOOLS DRIVES CSM GROUP’S ENGAGEMENT

People have been communicating since their appearance on Earth. The act of communicating started with sets of disorganized signs and sounds to transfer messages from one human to another—most likely to warn of danger or pinpoint the location of food.

As sounds developed into words and then word patterns, the art of storytelling evolved to pass on information in tribal communities or villages from one generation to the next. Cave paintings entered the picture 40,000 years ago as juices from fruits or animal blood were used to paint tales of primitive life.

Community Partners in a Business Family

MNO-BMADSEN AND ACCU-MOLD GIVE BACK BY GROWING BUSINESS AND EMPLOYMENT

It has been said that when a major change occurs within a business’s world—like a change in ownership, leadership, or both—a good three to four years is needed for that change to settle in, settle down, and the company to evolve and thrive. It has been four years since Mno-Bmadsen of Dowagiac acquired Accu-Mold, LLC of Portage, and in that time, both organizations have navigated their set of sea-change the way a small ship tackles oncoming waves. They formulated a plan, sailed confidently forward, and overtook each new swell with all hands on deck. Now the two entities see themselves as family as much as business partners.