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Business Journal selects Newsmaker finalists

December 16, 2021

News, Press Releases

The Grand Rapids Business Journal has selected the finalists for its 2021 Newsmaker of the Year awards. The 48 finalists in 16 categories will be celebrated on Jan. 26 during a breakfast event at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. The Newsmaker show represents the first event in the Business Journal’s new Breakfast Series lineup, which will focus on what’s happening in the West Michigan business community and feature guest speakers and participants from various local industries. Ticket information is available here.

This year, the Journal’s reporters and editors met to discuss almost 200 potential nominees for the honor, finally agreeing on three finalists in each of the following 16 categories: Arts & Entertainment, Beverages, Economic Development, Education, Finance, Food, Health Care, Law, Manufacturing, Nonprofits/Philanthropy, Real Estate/Construction, Retail, Sports, Startups, Sustainability and Technology.

A winner from the three finalists in each of the 16 categories will be revealed at the event, followed by the announcement of the overall 2021 Newsmaker of the Year Award.

The people who made news in 2021 make for an impressive list of leading figures in the business community.

Last year, Chef Jenna Arcidiacono, co-owner and executive chef of Amore Trattoria Italiana, was honored for her generosity, leadership and advocacy for the restaurant industry during its worst year in living memory. That drive and passion for her customers, employees, fellow business owners and hundreds of frontline workers in West Michigan earned her the overall Newsmaker of the Year Award.

Most of this year’s nominees are familiar to West Michigan residents, especially those who follow the Business Journal on a consistent basis, because they are the people who shaped local news in 2021.

A printed supplement profiling the finalists in each category will be included in the Jan. 24 issue of the Grand Rapids Business Journal.

For now, though, here is the first look at the finalists in each of the categories for Grand Rapids Business Journal 2021 Newsmaker of the Year.


  • Sarah Laman and Arick Davis, Last Mile Cafe
  • Jeff Lambert, TiiCKER
  • Kevin McLeod, C2Dx
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