Member News

Nichols Acquires Kellermeyer

As part of a strategic plan for continued growth and expansion, Nichols and Kellermeyer are joining forces. The agreement was closed on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 and is one of several acquisitions completed over Nichols 78 year history. The Kellermeyer location will be called Kellermeyer-Nichols.

Kellermeyer has been a family owned and operated janitorial and industrial supply distributor for over 70 years. The company has grown to a multi-million dollar a year sales organization with 48 employees. Kellermeyer’s expertise and focus on the industrial, education, building service contractors and healthcare markets in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, fits very well with Nichols current product offering and expansion plans.

Kellermeyer President & CEO, Jill Kegler, quoted, “This is an exciting opportunity for Kellermeyer, our customers, and our team members. Nichols is a highly reputable company with strong values and ethics. I am pleased to be part of the team and look forward to the future”.

Nichols has been a preferred distributor to the industrial, education, building service contractors, healthcare and lodging industries since 1936 by assisting customers with clean and
healthy facilities and the safe shipment of products. Based in Muskegon, MI with branch locations in Grand Rapids, Greater Detroit, Holland and Traverse City, Nichols leads the industry with a You First service model of innovation, knowledge and excellence.

“We are excited to have brought together these two strong and successful family owned businesses. Kellermeyer has always been a highly regarded company and we are happy to have joined forces to continue to provide high quality products and solutions and to expand our presence in the Great Lakes Region. We are also very pleased that Jill will remain with
Kellermeyer-Nichols as General Manager.” said CEO Mike Olthoff.


West Michigan Clean Air Action Program Seeks Local Business Partnerships

The Clean Air Action program, which was known as the Ozone Action! Program until 2009, declares Action Days when air pollution is expected to reach or exceed levels where people who are sensitive to it, such as children, the elderly, and anyone with heart or lung disease or who is active outdoors, might start to experience symptoms.

On those days, the public is encouraged to take part in voluntary emission reduction activities in order to reduce air pollution and protect public health and the environment. According to the last public survey, which judged the program’s effectiveness, just over 88% of the respondents were aware, or somewhat aware, of Action Days, with 81% stating that they participated on at least some of the Action Days.

While these numbers are encouraging, the West Michigan Clean Air Coalition (WMCAC), which oversees the Clean Air Action program and works to achieve cleaner air in the region through the education and promotion of voluntary emission reduction activities, is always looking for additional opportunities to inform the public about the program. That’s where you come in.

The Coalition is reaching out to local businesses hoping that companies will partner with it in any of the following ways:

  • Signing up to receive Action Day notifications and forwarding them on to your employees
  • Sending a representative to serve on the West Michigan Clean Air Coalition to help provide program guidance from a business perspective (meetings are quarterly)
  • Agreeing to host the Clean Air Action table-top display for a week at your location (the display comes with a number of promotional “freebies” that can be given away to employees)
  • Or by allowing WMCAC members to staff a booth at company events, including lunch and learns, etc.

These partnership opportunities are free, and if you’re interested, please contact Andrea Faber by phone at (616) 776-7603 or email at  

For more information about the West Michigan Clean Air Coalition and Clean Air Action Days, please visit

Member News

Holland BPW Releases 2014 Annual Report

The Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) today announced the release of its 2014 Annual Report. The report provides a high level of graphic user interaction in the form of an online magazine, organized by stories, facts and community impact. Also today, the HBPW earned an Award of Excellence from the American Public Power Association for its 2013 Annual Report.

“We feel that the Annual Report is an excellent opportunity for us to share the story of our community owned utility,” said Dave Koster, general manager at HBPW. “This year’s report makes our stories and performance information more accessible and visitor-friendly than ever.”

Visitors to the 2014 Annual Report are presented with three categories- Stories, The Facts and Impact. Much like an e-magazine, visitors can browse bite-sized articles about the design of the Holland Energy Park, a recap of the ice storms that swept across Michigan last year, water utility improvement projects, community impact and more.

Interactive features of the site include easy-to-follow diagrams displaying plant production processes, finances, and a 360° tour of the newly renovated customer service lobby. Visitors and students can also learn about combined cycle natural gas technology by engaging with Start it Up!: An Interactive Diagram, where they take the operator’s seat in the new power plant.

The 2014 Annual Report carries forward a tradition of award-winning communications for the utility. Over the past four years, HBPW has earned top honors from the American Public Power Association (APPA) for their innovation in digital annual reports. Today the APPA awarded HBPW with an Award of Excellence for its 2013 Annual Report. HBPW earned the award through extensive use of creative video, background video, interactive maps and financial charts.


Announcing the MetroAg Online Course November 3-December 19, 2014

This free, 6-week online course is designed to build awareness of metropolitan agriculture and how agriculture can play a vital role in cities around the world focusing on areas such as food production, recreation, waste management, and health care. The course is offered jointly through Michigan State University and The Global Innoversity. The course features archived webinars with experts around the world, resources for digging deeper and a facilitated discussion forum with weekly questions.

Course Moderator:

Dr. John Stone, Manager of Research Engagement for the Global Innoversity.   NOTE: Additional course facilitators may be added from Global Innoversity partners.

Course Content Authors/Original Instructors: 

Dr. Henk C. van Latesteijn, Partner at Value Mediation Partners

Sander Mager, Managing Director of Licence to Grow

Dr. Chris Peterson, Professor – Michigan State University (MSU) and Director of the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources


Course Offering: November 3-December 19, 2014

Enroll Now:

Member News, WMSBF News

New Member: Green Giftz


Founded in 1992 by Karen Scarpino, ​Promotional Impact & Green Giftz is a premiere branded merchandise dealer based in West Michigan, serving an international client base. It specializes in eco-friendly, sustainable, and custom products, working directly with clients to match ideal solutions to their personalized corporate gift and amenity needs.

Its talented team will compile ideas for you from existing products or customize products to develop to your specific goal.  Learn more at



Karen Scarpino

Karen Scarpino


Help Policy Makers Understand Impact of Great Lakes Water Level Changes on Business

You may have heard about or experienced some of the impacts caused by low or high water levels. These impacts are felt across the region, and they create challenges for protecting our homes, businesses, and lifestyles.  The University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute and the U-M Water Center are launching an assessment of the causes, consequences, and options for adapting to water level changes on the Great Lakes. The central goal of this water levels assessment is to help shoreline communities, residents, and businesses make informed decisions about dealing with these changes, contributing to economic and environmental prosperity in the Great Lakes region.

The research team would like to invite you to contribute to the water levels assessment by participating in a 15-minute online survey, through which you will have the opportunity to share your experiences with, concerns about, and knowledge of Great Lakes water level changes. Your input is crucial for us to better understand the needs of the residents and business owners impacted by water-level changes, and it will ensure that the water-levels assessment addresses those issues that are most important to people in our region. 

CLICK HERE to access the survey.

Please complete the survey by November 2, 2014. If you have any questions about the survey or about the water levels assessment, contact Rachel Jacobson at the Graham Institute via email at or phone at (734) 763-0747. Thank you in advance for contributing to this project.

Upcoming Events, WMSBF Monthly Event

November Meeting: Sustainable Food Purchasing for Businesses, Institutions


West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present a luncheon program on local and sustainable food purchasing for businesses and institutions on Monday, November 10 at Metro Health Conference Center in Wyoming from 12 to 2 pm. Presented by Unidine and Metro Health.

The meeting will feature an introduction to local and sustainable food purchasing for business and institutions with lessons for health care, education, food service vendors and any business that buys or sells food.

Learn about the Cultivate Michigan campaign, the new Michigan Farm to Institutions Network and other efforts to improve connections between Michigan institutions and farmers, distributors and other food vendors. Metro Health food services personnel and consultant Key Green Solutions will discuss how the health care system is progressing toward its sustainable and local food goals.

Featured speakers include Alison Sutter (pictured), Senior Sustainability Consultant for Key Green Solutions, Metro Health Hospital Executive Chef Ryan Reynolds, and Hillary Bisnett, Healthy Food in Health Care Director for the Ecology Center.

Sutter is an expert in sustainable healthcare and passionate about helping organizations increase profitability while decreasing environmental and human health impacts. As Key Green Solutions’ Senior Sustainability Consultant, she utilizes her analytical and managerial skills to help hospitals achieve their sustainability goals and objectives in sustainable program development, operations, food programs, education, and purchasing.

Cultivate Michigan is designed to help ramp up Farm to Institution programs and track progress. It is a campaign of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network, a group of practitioners, supporters and advocates all sharing common goals to help Farm to Institution programs grow. The network is a statewide forum for learning and sharing that uses shared capacity to overcome the challenges of getting more Michigan food into institutions.

Learn more and RSVP here.

Member News

Welcome New Member: Bank of America – Merrill Lynch


Bank of America provides a full range of banking, investment management and other financial and risk-management products and services to three groups of customers – people, companies and institutional clients – through eight lines of business.

A leader in transformational finance and low-carbon investments, Bank of America has committed $70 billion in environmental business over the course of 16 years – the largest commitment among its peers. In 2012 it completed its first commitment of $20 billion in environmental business that was set in 2004 – four and a half years early. In 2013, the firm launched a new $50 billion environmental business commitment and has already delivered $5.5 billion towards this new 10-year goal. Over the past three years, it has quadrupled its renewable energy business, issuing the first ever corporate “Green Bond” in late 2013 — raising $500 million to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Within its own organization,Bank of America is working toward meeting several aggressive energy, waste and water reduction goals by 2015, including:

  • Reducing our global water consumption by 20%
  • Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 30%
  • 20% LEED certification within our corporate workplace portfolio

In 2013, Bank of America was added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Learn more about Bank of America – Merrill Lynch on its member page here.

Upcoming Events

Registration Open for Michigan Green Chemistry Conference

Check out this year’s GreenUp Conference  November 12 on the campus at Michigan State University at the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The 2014 Michigan Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference will provide excellent opportunities for sharing information, networking, and learning.


  • The 6th Annual Michigan Green Chemistry Governor’s Award Ceremony
  • Keynote speakers:Student poster contest with a $500 prize
    • Eric Beckman, University of Pittsburgh, Co-Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award winner
    • Bruce Dale, Michigan State University, Professor of Chemical Engineering, University Distinguished Professor; MSUAgBioResearch.
    • Deanna Cullen, chemistry teacher at Whitehall High School in Whitehall, Michigan.
  • Breakout sessions and panels

Green chemistry and engineering is revolutionizing the way we work and live, by employing less toxic materials and processes in the manufacture and design of the products we use every day while protecting human health and the environment. New regulations and consumer demand are pushing green chemistry and engineering principles to create new markets, reduce costs, increase safety, and gain a competitive edge. The 2014 Michigan Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference is a fantastic platform to unify business leaders, engineers, chemists, researchers, teachers, and policymakers to move green chemistry and engineering forward in Michigan.

Designed for anyone interested in innovation and sustainability in Michigan, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from leading experts and share solutions to “green up” Michigan through green chemistry and engineering. Presenters will be talking about designing, innovating, and manufacturing what’s next by developing less hazardous, more effective materials, processes, and products.

This conference qualifies for 5 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) for Professional Engineers.

Learn more here.

Upcoming Events

Last Kent County Farm Bus Tour of 2014

The last 2014 free Kent County Farm Bus Tour will be held on Friday, Nov. 14th from 9 – 2:30 and includes a free lunch. Visit local farms and processor. Learn how agriculture impacts and supports our local economy and relies on environmental stewardship. We have more than 3,000 Kent County agricultural jobs, providing a market value of more than $2.3 million. Maintaining local farmland helps support our renowned farm to table restaurant movement, keeps urban environments dense, and maintains property values.

More information available here (PDF).

Also, save the date for December 10th for a conference on the Kent County Ag Economy, sponsored by the Wege Foundation and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. More information available soon.