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West Michigan Sports Commission Elects Deb Kay New Board Chair

16 Feb, 2015


Other Officers Elected and Board Directors Renewed, Plus 10 New Advisory Council Members Added

The Board of directors of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) elected Deb Kay as the non-profit’s new chair at its January board meeting, among other officer elections, board term renewals and advisory council elections and renewals. Kay is the second chair to serve since the West Michigan Sports Commission was created in 2007, succeeding Dick Vander Molen.

“Deb has been an integral part of the creation and success of the West Michigan Sports Commission since our inception,” said Mike Guswiler, President of the West Michigan Sports Commission. “Her extensive community connections, political campaign experience and dedication as a community advocate and volunteer for many West Michigan organizations will help our organization continue to grow and thrive.”

Kay has served as a board director of the WMSC since 2007 when the non-profit was established. She has been actively involved in the commission in many capacities in addition to her board tenure: planning and chairing the WMSC annual luncheon, forming and chairing its public relations advisory committee, and serving on the board development committee. Kay first became connected to the West Michigan Sports Commission through the WMSC’s outgoing board chair, Dick Vander Molen, with whom she worked in the political campaign arena in West Michigan where she spent most of her career years.

“The West Michigan Sports Commission means the world to me, and I am honored to be chosen by my peers with whom I have worked side by side for the past seven years to grow the youth and amateur sports industry in West Michigan,” said Kay. “Dick has been an incredible leader in helping launch and guide this extraordinary organization, and I look forward to continuing his legacy. He has left some big shoes to fill.”

Kay served as campaign director for U.S. Congressman Paul Henry from 1984 to 1992 and worked as finance director of the Kent County Republicans from 1980 to 1984. She also served 10 years as a member of the Michigan Republican State Committee, three years as chair of the Political Action Committee for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, and four years as a member of the City of East Grand Rapids Planning Commission. A lifelong volunteer, Kay has supported a number of community organizations in West Michigan in addition to the WMSC, most notably the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids where she joined the board in 2001, became vice chair in 2003, and board chair from 2005 to 2007.

Kay received her bachelor’s degree from Western University with a double-major in business/merchandising and communication arts and sciences, graduating magna cum laude. She lives in East Grand Rapids with her husband Dick. She has three grown children including son, Ryan, and two step-daughters, Shannon and Heather; and five grandchildren.

Officer and Board Elections: Officers in addition to Deb Kay who were elected to one-year terms starting Jan. 1, 2015 include Dick Vander Molen, Kent County Board of Commissioners, as immediate past chair (from chair); Scott Bernecker, Merrill Lynch, as vice chair (from secretary); Dave Hoogendoorn, Ernst & Young LLP, as treasurer (renewal); and Bill Ryan, Ryan Marketing Group, as secretary (newly joining the executive committee from the board).

Board directors who renewed their three-year terms that expired Dec. 31, 2014 include Dave Hoogendoorn, Ernst & Young LLP; Bob Orr, Hilton Grand Rapids-Airport; Bill Ryan, Ryan Marketing Group; Doug Small, Experience Grand Rapids; and Harold Voorhees, Kent County Board of Commissioners. Other board members completing the 15-member board include Brenda Borkowski, Steelcase, Inc.; Harold Burrell, Lighthouse Insurance; Dan DeVos, DP Fox; Mike Donnelly, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel; Tom McCall, Meijer, Inc.; Peter Secchia, SIBSCO, LLC; and Tim Selgo, Grand Valley State University.

Advisory Council Elections: The board of directors also voted to add 10 new members to its advisory council, which serves as an at-large group focused on extending the message of the WMSC through member networks.  Members meet once a year at the WMSC’s annual meeting and serve individually on various committees. New members elected to a three-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2015 include Jim Schipper, Schipper & Osterink Wealth Management; Diane Jones, Kent County Commission; Pat Cwayna, West Michigan Aviation Academy; Todd Woodward, Amway Corporation; Steve Jbara, Grand Rapids Drive; Hue Martin Robinson, Kent County; John Rosick, Grand Valley State University Athletics; Aaron Veldheer, Merrill Lynch; Kevin Gilfillan, Art Van Furniture; and Nancy Meyer, Calvin College Athletics. Advisory council members who renewed their three-year terms that expired Dec. 31, 2014 include Randy Cleves, Grand Rapids Griffins; Michele DeSelms, FOX 17 News; Andy DeVries, Calvin College; Walt Gutowski, Grand Rapids City Commission; Jim Heglund, Tae Park Tae Kwon Do; Mike Lindley, Huntington Bank; Rich MacKeigan, Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority/SMG; Tony Noto, Noto’s Italian Restaurant; and Matt Wikander, Smith, Haughey, Rice & Roegge.

Outgoing advisory council members whose terms expired Dec. 31, 2014 include Tom Antor, Kent County Board of Commissioners; Chuck Cox, Northern Air; and Janet Wylie, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

About the West Michigan Sports Commission: The West Michigan Sports Commission, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), works to identify, secure and host a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to make a positive impact on the economy and quality of life in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 383 sporting events and tournaments that attracted 550,000 athletes and visitors, generating almost $150 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit westmisports.com and Facebook.com/WestMichiganSportsCommission and follow @WestMiSports.

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