2022 Lakeshore Innovator of the year
WINNER- Nick Carlson of Goodwill Industries of West Michigan
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan (GIWM) has partnered with HydroBlox, a Pennsylvania-based company to recycle nearly all of its plastic waste into valuable stormwater management systems. Goodwill will purchase an 80,000 sqft building in Muskegon County to produce and distribute HydroBlox by late 2022. This innovation will all but eliminate over 500,000 lbs of plastic waste from Goodwill’s donation stream and do it by creating a valuable product that will provide operating gains to further fund Goodwill’s mission of helping people attain and keep good jobs in our community.
Deondra Pentecost of Precise Writings L.L.C
Deondra utilizes her gift of creative writing to instill hope and confidence in the initial process of job/career seeking for those that are looking for their first employment, and for those who are seasoned and looking for a change. Deondra has a way of relaying a person’s positive qualities and skills into words that pop off the page and grab the attention of the prospective employer. She continues to share her gift with local youth and adults who struggle with representing themselves on paper and has provided thousands of dollars in charitable services to support underserved job seekers on their journey to sustainable, fulfilling employment.
Martin Bennett of Sawyers Brewing Company
Sawyers brews, distills, makes wines and ciders! The art and craft of brewing, distilling, and wine making requires more than just a passion for fermentables and fine liquors. It involves real science and understanding of the processes involved. Sawyers owners have advanced degrees in analytical and physical chemistry. Setting Sawyers apart is their home-brew kitchen available for the public to utilize. To benefit from the increased interest for amateur and home brewing, they wanted to educate and empower do-it-yourself customers to make their own high quality fermentables. Sawyers allows you to brew your very own beer without the upfront cost’s new brewers usually face. Sawyers will even give you the opportunity to add your homemade beer to their tap list! If you find that brewing is for you, Sawyers will help you set up your own at home brewing with the best knowledge and equipment to be had.
Holly Ziemba and Amanda Barnes of Muskegon Pub Pedal
The Muskegon Pub Pedal started out as a family event and over the past 16 or so years has grown into a major event for the Lakeshore. Two family members (sisters), Holly Ziemba and Amanda Barnes took over in 2016. They run it as a non-profit with all the proceeds from each year's event going to a family to help them with medical expenses. In the last couple of years, they have been able to help one to two families as the pub pedal has grown so much. They have a friend that designs the annual pedal t-shirt which includes sponsor info and also gives the wearer discounts at local vendors. They have a process for selecting who receives funding each year which includes the help of their sister-in-law who serves as a board member of the organization. This unique event raises funds for families in need, gives local vendors exposure/business, and gets the participants out on our great trails to enjoy all the benefits Muskegon has to offer.
Marisela Sierra of Navarro's Mexican Take-Out
Marisela is the third generation of her family to run Navarro’s. After her mother passed away, Marisela decided to take over as owner of Navarro's and reopened the restaurant in 2021. Marisela has worked to modernize and expand the business from purely take-out to include retail sales while maintaining the traditional processes that make Navarro's tamales stand out from the competition. Marisela added a vegetarian tamale to the menu to speed up expansion while working in parallel to meet USDA requirements for meat-based products. When she found that her small operation could not meet the demands of large retail chains like Meijer, she pivoted to farmers' markets in 2022, and her customer feedback has quickly earned her coveted permanent vendor spots at both the Muskegon Farmers' Market and the Grand Rapids Fulton Street Farmers' Market. She has also won several pitch competitions, helping her to raise cash for expansion. Her passion for entrepreneurship and other women in business has led her to launch a program with Andy O'Reilly on The Muskegon Channel called Lunch Date With Mari where she talks with other food entrepreneurs.