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Governor Whitmer Statement on Conversations with the White House on Issues Critical to Michigan

Michigan Business Network
October 22, 2021 5:00 PM

Discussions centered on economic development and infrastructure, with an emphasis on lead service line replacement and the global chip shortage 

LANSING, Mich.—Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the following statement after high-level conversations with key decision-makers in Washington, DC on Michigan’s priorities.

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Governor Whitmer Celebrates Michigan Winning Economic Development Award

Michigan Business Network
October 22, 2021 10:00 AM

$1 million federal grant will build on state’s economic momentum, helping to create more good-paying jobs and uplift small businesses and communities   

LANSING, Mich. — Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the State of Michigan winning a $1 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

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DTMB | 10th Michigan Cyber Summit Brings Together Cybersecurity Experts from around the Nation

Michigan Business Network
October 22, 2021 9:00 AM

Canton High School teams sweep the 2021 Governor's High School Cyber Challenge

LANSING, Mich. -- The 10th Michigan Cyber Summit (formerly the North American International Cyber Summit), hosted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, virtually brought together nearly 1,000 participants today to discuss solutions for the cybersecurity dangers that threaten the security of citizens and business throughout the world. The summit is the signature event of Michigan Cybersecurity Awareness Month, held each year in Oct.

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Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing | Tom Ross Shares Details behind $50 Million Facility Groundbreaking

Michigan Business Network
October 21, 2021 4:00 PM

Jeffrey Mosher gets together with Tom Ross, CEO, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM), Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their discussion revolved around a recent $50 Million Facility Groundbreaking which outlines the future for sterile fill and finishing manufacturing in West Michigan.


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LEO | $15.8 Million Grant Will Increase Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities

Michigan Business Network
October 21, 2021 3:00 PM

Disability Innovation Fund – Career Advancement Initiative Model will support career pathway and development

LANSING, Mich.—Governor Whitmer today announced the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), in partnership with Michigan State University (MSU), has been awarded a $15.8 million federal grant to support the development and use of career pathways to assist vocational rehabilitation-eligible individuals with disabilities to advance their careers. 

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PNC Chief Economist Gus Faucher: Initial UI Claims Below 300,000 Again

Michigan Business Network
October 21, 2021 1:00 PM

As Labor Market Continues to Heal

  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell slightly in the week ending October 16 and were below 300,000 for the second straight week. Initial claims are approaching their pre-pandemic level of around 200,000.
  • The total number of unemployment insurance recipients was down to around 3 million in early October. Millions lost their access to benefits in early September with the expiration of special pandemic-related programs.
  • The number of continued claims under regular state programs is falling as the unemployed start to find jobs.
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Michigan AFL-CIO Celebrates 34th Legislative Convention

Michigan Business Network
October 21, 2021 12:00 PM

LANSING - Wednesday morning the Michigan AFL-CIO hosted their 34th Legislative Convention, attended by scores of union members across the state. Under the theme “Honoring Frontline Heroes,” the convention explored the hard-fought wins of the Michigan labor movement during the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase of workers using their collective power by going on strike, and the importance of supporting union members on the picket line.

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DTMB | Michigan Unemployment Rate Decreases in September

Michigan Business Network
October 21, 2021 10:00 AM

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate declined slightly by a tenth of a percentage point in September to 4.6 percent, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. The statewide employment total advanced by 16,000, while the number of unemployed inched down by 4,000. Michigan’s labor force increased by 12,000 over the month.

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Orion Construction Makes Leadership Changes

Michigan Business Network
October 21, 2021 8:00 AM


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Oct. 5, 2021- Grand Rapids-based Orion Construction’s CEO Roger Rehkopf announced today he is “passing the baton” as company president while remaining CEO of the commercial construction contractor. Rehkopf has appointed VP of Pre-Construction Brad Walsh as the company’s president. 

In addition to Walsh, Rehkopf made the following other appointments: Kathy Ringnalda, controller and office manager, as CFO; DuWayne Johnson, senior project manager, as VP Multi-Family; and Jeff Smigielski, senior project manager, as VP Construction and Logistics. 

“For over a decade, I have had the privilege to be part of the driving force behind constructing many of the successful businesses, entertainment, and dining establishments throughout the city of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Holland, Lansing, Flint and beyond,” said Rehkopf. “While I will continue to remain CEO of Orion Construction, I trust that, under Brad’s leadership, the company will continue to thrive in enhancing Michigan’s cityscapes well into the future.” 

Rehkopf joined Orion Construction as part owner in 2014. With more than 35 years of experience in construction project management and business development, he has a strong background in architectural design and design-build projects. 

Walsh joined Orion 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. 

“Roger has been an outstanding company president of Orion Construction throughout the past seven years, and through his leadership and vision, has contributed to the creation of much of the region’s commercial landscape,” Walsh said. “I am honored to fill Roger’s shoes as Orion’s new company president and continue to grow our footprint in West Michigan and beyond.” 

Since its founding in 2000, Orion Construction has managed many distinguishable multi-family, high-rise and mixed-use construction projects in the entertainment, dining, education, community, healthcare, and hotel and conference industries. Notable projects include: The Warner Building, 20 Monroe Live, Venue Tower, Spectrum Health Bridgewater, and Arena Place in downtown Grand Rapids; Hyatt Place in Lansing; MSU Student Village in East Lansing; Blue Water Convention Center, and Baker College in Port Huron; Samvardhana Motherson Reflectec (SMR) in Marysville; and The Lodge and Alpine Student Housing in Allendale. 

Kathy Ringnalda, CFO:

With over 25 years of accounting and office management experience, Ringnalda has been with Orion since 2001. She oversees day-to-day office operations and manages all areas of accounting including: construction and development accounting, accounts payable/receivable, cost accounting, payroll, and other long-term financial analysis. 

DuWayne Johnson, VP Multi-Family:

Johnson, who has been with Orion for 17 years, has more than 25 years of experience in the construction industry. He possesses in-depth knowledge of the design and construction process and design evaluation, which has been instrumental in securing contracts for many large projects and frequent value enhancement opportunities for Orion clients. 

Jeff Smigielski, VP Construction and Logistics:

Smigielski has been with Orion Construction since 2015, and has successfully managed large-scale projects from conceptual development and project organization, to estimating, scheduling, budgeting and project implementation. His experience includes construction project management in large metro cities, including Chicago. 

About Orion Construction:
Orion Construction, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a multi-service construction company that services Michigan and the Midwest. Founded in 2000, the company provides general contracting, construction management, design/build, and sustainable/LEED services. Follow Orion Construction on FacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram. #OrionBuilt

Photo: (Left-Right) DuWayne Johnson, Jeff Smigielski, Roger Rehkopf, Kathy Ringnalda,

 Brad Walsh 


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Governor Whitmer Announces $32 Million Investment to Fight Crime by Funding Police Officer Retention and Recruitment

Michigan Business Network
October 20, 2021 6:00 PM

Second pillar of $75 million MI Safe Communities framework would fund retention and recruitment programs for officers, expand professional development, training, and mental health, and improve violent crime clearance rates 

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen proposed a $32 million investment to ensure law enforcement officers have the training and resources they need to effectively fight crime. The proposal is part of the larger $75 million MI Safe Communities framework the governor laid out in July, which would utilize federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to reduce crime and keep families safe by tackling the court backlog, expanding resources available to law enforcement, and uplifting communities by making investments in jobs programs, counseling, and education. 

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