2021 Lakeshore Innovator of the Year
Winner- Zaneta Adams, WINC: For All Women Veterans
In 2017, while president and founder for WINC for All Women Veterans, Zaneta created the Military Sisterhood Initiative which is an online/app network platform for women veterans all over the country and beyond to connect women veterans and help lower the rate of suicide amongst women veterans. She took her idea and partnered WINC with Challenge America to create a network that has over 5000 women from all over the world connecting with one another, sharing stories of survival with one another, and reaching out for in-person meet-ups. She was recognized as a Department of Veteran Affairs Trailblazer in 2021 for her work in this area. Women veterans don’t self-identify like males and because of her idea more women veterans, every day are identifying and proudly claiming their veteran status. She also founded the women veterans recognition day held June 12 every year here in Michigan and she did it all while living in Muskegon County.
Beth Beaman of The Playhouse at White Lake
The Playhouse at White Lake has utilized some inventive methods to remain connected and relevant over the past year. In order to continue offering new content amid the pandemic, The Playhouse traded in their live, in-person Summer Theatre Festival for the bold choice to instead become a three-camera movie production house. With only a four-week turnaround, Managing Director Beth Beaman decided not to cancel the beloved summer season, but rather, to pivot and engage with audiences virtually, all while putting displaced artists to work. In addition, the White Lake Youth Theatre Council was formed to help support year-round arts education programming at the Playhouse. The first of its kind in the nation, the White Lake Youth Theatre Council aims to cultivate a compassionate community, leadership, and life skills through arts education at The Playhouse. This program is open to all area high school students and hones inclusivity and business skills in our next generation of arts leaders.
Brent Raeth of CatchMark Technologies
CatchMark Technologies was founded in 2013 with the purpose of delivering professional technology services to small and medium businesses throughout West Michigan. CatchMark’s mission is to solve problems, and while they specialize in solving technical problems, they consistently commit their skills and resources to solve social and community problems as well. This is the guiding principle behind the “CatchMark Gives Back” program. “CatchMark Gives Back” was created to encourage CatchMark teammates to use their skills, expertise, and company resources to improve the communities they are part of. Through this program, the CatchMark team pursues opportunities to assist those who have unique technical problems that are either too complex or too costly to solve on their own. CatchMark creates technical solutions for real needs through collaboration with local schools, businesses, and organizations with their innovative spirit and willingness to serve thousands.
Michael Hyacinthe, Wimage
Michael Hyacinthe founded Wimage, LLC in 2014 after creating the Wimage app, which is an educational application that allows kids to input words to create images and turn their ideas into a visual story. The name Wimage is an idea as much as it is a company name. Wimage stands for "words to images". The goal of Wimage is to move kids from being passive consumers of digital content to being creative producers of content. According to studies cited in the Our Story section of the website, low income students and students of color are more likely to be passive consumers, and students learn better when they use technology to create their own content, rather than just consuming content. (https://wimee.tv/our-story/) In cooperation with the Kent District Library, Wimage, LLC also created an educational livestream show that engages children through visual storytelling and vocabulary building, meeting the unique needs of students, educators, and parents during the pandemic.
Jill Batka & Curtis Chambers, Dynamic Conveyor Corporation
Curtis Chambers noted a lack of light-duty portable conveyors available to serve injection molders like his Pliant Plastics Corporation. So he designed a modular plastic conveyor loosely modeled after Legos. This exemplifies the essence of innovation. DynaCon products have evolved over the years under the leadership of Jill Batka, one of Curtis’s three daughters who own Dynamic. Continuous improvement and innovation are standard fares. Dynamic later designed a new line of easy-to-clean conveyors specifically for food processing and packaging. The DynaClean sanitary conveyor line has a simple design allowing easy access to internal components. The DynaClean conveyors offer the food industry a line of plastic, custom conveyors that are ecofriendly, easy-to-clean, and save time and money. A line of specialty conveyors was introduced in early 2020. Hybrid™ specialty conveyors are designed specifically for the most demanding conveyances. Employees’ skills and talents are celebrated at DCC.