Nominees were selected by a nominating committee comprised of Hall of Fame honorees, past WMSBF presidents, and lead sponsor representatives, including George Heartwell, Bill Stough, Gabe Wing, Carol Parsaca, Sarah Herbst, Jennifer Wammack and Daniel Schoonmaker.  You must vote no later than Monday, October 12. 

Vote Here.

Nine finalists were selected for potential inclusion in the West Michigan Sustainable Business Hall of Fame inductees. The honor recognizes practitioners who over a career have best demonstrated leadership, innovation and impact in pursuit of the principles detailed in the WMSBF mission and vision. Three will be chosen this year, at least two of those by popular vote of the membership.

View previous honorees here.

Meet the 2015 West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Hall of Fame Nominees.

Guy Bazzani

Guy leads West Michigan with his expertise in sustainable business practices through his firm’s architectural design, construction, and real estate services. With more than 30 years of experience in commercial and residential development, Guy manages a team of experienced professionals committed to innovative solutions in green building technologies, historic preservation and urban revitalization.

As a Triple Bottom Line organization, Bazzani Associates balances economic viability with social responsibility and environmental integrity. The Bazzani team works closely with municipalities and neighborhoods at the public and nonprofit level on a wide variety of urban revitalization projects, the firm’s primary focus.

It is Guy’s philosophy to lead in his community as well as in his profession. As founder and chair of Local First and a member of the Social Venture Network, Guy has helped set the direction for positive social and economic growth while respecting the environment in West Michigan. An example of this leadership is The East Hills Center of the Universe project featuring a blend of advanced green building technology, including passive solar design, zero-stormwater discharge, and appropriate neighborhood use. The project earned the Cool Cities Award from the state of Michigan for its innovative green technologies, LEED Double Gold Certification, neighborhood support, and sensitivity to the historic fabric of the area.

Guy has helped shape Michigan’s environmental policy as a voting member of the Michigan Climate Action Council. He holds other leadership positions in the West Michigan community including: the Founder of Local First, membership on Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell’s Transformation Advisors, New Economy Task Force and Environmental Advisory Council; the Wege Foundation Economicology Partners; and vice chair and founding organizer of the West Michigan Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Norman Christopher

Norman Christopher is a seasoned executive in various management capacities including President, CEO, and COO responsibilities. He has helped improve business performance at Dow Chemical, Olin Corporation, Lubrizol Corporation and Haviland Enterprises in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Currently, he is the Executive Director for the Office of Sustainability Practices at Grand Valley State University.

Mr. Christopher has a BA from the University of North Carolina and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. He also completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard University.  Mr. Christopher is active in the Grand Rapids community. He is past chairman of the Family Owned Business Council, a 2000 graduate of the Leadership Grand Rapids Class, and assisted in the formation of the Community Sustainability Partnership in Grand Rapids. He was also appointed to serve on Governor Granholm’s Michigan Climate Action Council and the United States Department of Commerce’s Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee. He currently serves on several boards and advisory groups including the: City of Grand Rapids Sustainability Advisory Team, Seeds of Promise, the Michigan Chemistry Council, the Grand Rapids Community Sustainability Partnership, the NSF Joint Committee on Sustainable Business and Industrial Furniture, and Valley City Sign.

Mr. Christopher has also contributed articles and papers to various journals, periodicals and books including Sustaining Michigan: Metropolitan Policies and Strategies, Michigan State University Press. He is the author of the book Sustainability Demystified! – A Practical Guide for Business Leaders and Managers. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Seidman College of Business at GVSU.

Gayle DeBruyn

Gayle DeBruyn, IIDA, LEED‐AP is an Associate Professor of Design Studies at Kendall College of Art and Design, Chair of the Furniture and Collaborative Design programs, and is the Chief Sustainability Officer of the college. She is past president of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum,  serves on the leadership teams of the Corporate Sustainability Partnership, the Grand  Rapids UNU-RCE, SiTE:LAB, TEDxGrandRapids and is an advisor to Design  West Michigan.

DeBruyn is an owner of Lake Affect Design Studio in Grand Rapids Michigan. Services include commercial and residential interior design, educational/institutional design, andenvironmental stewardship. She holds a BA in Interior Design from Michigan State University, as well as a Masters of Management and certificate in Sustainable Business from Aquinas  College

Renae Hesselink

Renae is a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan chapter, past Chair of the Board of Directors and currently board member and the Chapter’s Green School Advocacy Committee Chair. Her roots with the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum go back approximately 18 years. She has been with Nichols (a distributor of custodial and packaging supplies) for 22 years in various positions and eight years ago moved into to a new role within the company as Vice President of Sustainability. In 2010 Nichols achieved LEED-EB O & M (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance) and applied for recertification in June 2015 under LEED O+M Version 4.0. Nichols and was recognized as a 2011 Michigan Green Leader by the Detroit Free Press, and in 2013 and 2014 as 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies. They are also part of the Michigan’s Pollution Prevention program and a winner in the 2014 USGBC West Michigan’s Battle of the Buildings competition. Renae has been involved in the successful implementation of more than forty Green Cleaning programs that have led to LEED either for new construction or existing building credits for buildings around the state of Michigan. Other roles include: Goodwill of West Michigan Board of Directors, Leadership team of the Muskegon Sustainability Coalition; leadership team for the Grand Rapids Community Sustainable Partnership, Kent County Lodging Association Green Team and Chair of TEDxMuskegon.

Dave Rinard

David A. Rinard is director of Global Environmental Performance for Steelcase Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry. Steelcase delivers a better work experience to its customers by providing products, services and insights into the ways people work. Its portfolio includes architecture, furniture and technology products.
Dave, promoted to his current position in November 1994, leads the department that is responsible for overseeing the company’s environmental initiatives and performance and implementing our corporate environmental strategy, including regulatory compliance, sustainability, environmental outreach and responsible conduct programs.

Prior to his current position, Dave served as manager, Corporate Environmental Quality, from 1992 to 1994. He began his career with Steelcase in 1979 as an assistant environmental engineer. In 1981, he was promoted to environmental engineer and then to senior environmental engineer in 1986, where he had responsibility for ground water programs, superfund activities and in-house consulting on compliance programs.

Dave joined Steelcase after two years with Plastic Plate, Inc., where he was a chemist.

Dave is on the board of directors for the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. He is a member of the external advisory board of the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, the external advisory board of the Aquinas College sustainable business program, and the Kettering University Environmental Advisory Board. He is also a member representative for the U.S. Green Building Council, a board member of the West Michigan USGBC Chapter, a participant in the BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association) Government Affairs Committee.

He is a former chair of the board of the West Michigan Air & Waste Management Association, past president of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, former board member of the IDCE, and a former member of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment Environmental Advisory Council.

In addition, Dave currently serves as an adjunct professor in the Aquinas College Sustainable Business program.

A 1977 graduate of Michigan State University, Dave holds a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and public health. He earned a master’s degree in management from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids in 1988. Dave resides in Caledonia, Mich., with his wife, Patricia, and their two children.

Tom Newhouse

For more than 35 years Tom Newhouse has been designing furniture, lighting, major appliances, and other products as the owner/principal of an industrial design firm in western Michigan. Prior to 1978 he was a member of the corporate design staff at Herman Miller Inc. He holds a degree in industrial design from the University of Michigan.

Tom currently works primarily in the areas of office furniture and LED lighting, with an emphasis on environmentally sustainable design practice and the development of “Cradle to Cradle” industrial design techniques, where the concept of waste is eliminated in a Circular Economic model. He currently holds over 90 design and utility patents. He has been a member of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum since 1996, and is a past-president.


Deb Steketee

Deborah M. Steketee, PhD, serves as Professor of Sustainable Business at Aquinas College, where she has contributed to the development of a new generation of business leaders. Graduates of Aquinas’ path-breaking and nationally-recognized undergraduate and graduate Sustainable Business programs have made outstanding professional contributions in a variety of businesses, non-profit and governmental organizations across the country. The focus of her teaching, research and curriculum development includes experiential courses such as Sustainable Business Innovations Lab, Building Social Capital, and International Perspectives in Sustainable Business (including a field component in Costa Rica). In addition to her teaching and research, Dr. Steketee has also taken on leadership roles in projects that have helped to catalyze sustainable business in West Michigan and provide opportunities for student engagement in applying the principles of sustainable business.

She continues to direct the State of Michigan-funded Michigan Green Chemistry Clearinghouse, a web-based platform serving to catalyze and promote Michigan’s green chemistry program and was Executive Director of the Center for Sustainability at Aquinas College from 2006-2013. While Dr. Steketee has a long list of community engagements and board service, she is most proud of accomplishments while serving on the Board of Directors for the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. During her tenure, the organization was able to preserve 173 acres of pristine dunelands along the shores of Lake Michigan and secure national accreditation. Dr. Steketee earned her PhD in Public Policy and Political Science from Indiana University-Bloomington, a MSc degree in Resource Development from Michigan State University, and a BA in Journalism from the University of Michigan.

Rich Vander Veen

Rich Vander Veen is President of Mackinaw Power. Vander Veen led the Bay Windpower team which successfully initiated, financed and constructed the Great Lakes’ first privately developed commercial wind power project. The Mackinaw City Wind Power Plant is generating new, zero-emissions power today, serving “Green Power” customers across Michigan..Vander Veen earned a J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School and B.A., International Relations from James Madison College, MSU. Vander Veen built his business skills by solving problems for aerospace and automotive manufacturing operations of Lear Siegler, Inc..Elected as a Capital Member of Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey, PLC, he has helped grow West Michigan businesses, addressing financial, tax, environmental and energy matters. Vander Veen has twenty-five years of experience with innovative environmental and energy projects.

VanderVeen, has been described as “the Godfather of Michigan wind power,” is the developer behind both the state’s first commercial wind farm – the two turbines in Mackinac City near the south end of the Mackinac Bridge – and the state’s largest wind farm, the 133 turbine development in Gratiot County. He also pioneered a new community-based approach to developing wind projects, leading Gratiot County Commission to unanimously adopt countywide wind zoning.

Keith Winn

Keith Winn is the President of Catalyst Partners, which was recently awarded B Corp status. Catalyst Partners is a multi-dimensional consortium of knowledge leaders committed to high performance and restorative design protocols for buildings, interiors and products. The consortium is comprised of professionals with licensures in engineering, architecture, and interiors. They specialize in product certification and building design, development, construction and LEED certification with associated efficiency services, including energy audits and modeling, daylight simulation, commissioning and incentive programs.

Keith’s extensive experience includes 25 years at Herman Miller, Inc., directing the design of a wide variety of domestic and international projects including buildings, interiors and products. He served as a member of the Environmental Quality Action Team, where he participated in the development of corporate environmental goals and chaired the Design for the Environment and Green Building Teams.

Keith has been an active leader in the evolution of sustainable methodologies used to assess, develop and measure both buildings and products. As a founding member of the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and West Michigan Chapter, he conducted research to quantify green building benefits, was active in the development of LEED and instrumental in the adoption of LEED standard’s at Herman Miller and the City of Grand Rapids. He has been an integrative design leader and advisor throughout his career and certification manager on numerous projects since the inception of the LEED rating systems.

He has participated in the development of the ANSI Integrative Process Standard and sustainable product standards with McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry; the Athena Institute; BIFMA Level; and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Building for Environmental Sustainability Life Cycle Assessment Project.