ClearView’s Grand Opening

ClearView’s Grand Opening

ClearView Investments, a Registered Investment Advisory firm, celebrated the grand opening of its new office at 1352 Baldwin St. in Jenison in May. IntentPR handled media relations for the event. “We’re excited to be growing as a local investment firm that follows the Free Market approach to investing,” ClearView Investments Partner Karl Holzhueter said. “Our commitment to the Free Market approach makes our strategies different from the typical retail approach.” The ClearView Investments team, all Registered Investment Advisor representatives, brings real-world experience to investing: Two members of the firm have also served in law enforcement, one in nursing and another in education. “Investing for one’s future is not just for already wealthy individuals. Because of our backgrounds, we particularly understand the investing needs, concerns and questions that public safety officers, teachers, nurses and other public and private-sector workers may have,” Holzhueter said. By choosing to work with a Registered Investment Advisor, the investor establishes a relationship with an advisor who is legally obligated to act in the investor’s best interests. Registered Investment Advisors focus on client education and long-term investment strategies as opposed to commission-based...

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GRandJazzFest 2013

GRandJazzFest 2013

GRandJazzFest, presented by DTE Energy Foundation, wrapped up its free, two-day festival Aug. 17 and 18 with estimates of 9,000 to 10,000 people filling Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids over the course of two days. IntentPR handled public relations for the second annual event. “We’re delighted with the turnout,” GRandJazzFest Founder Audrey Sundstrom said. “Saturday was extremely well-attended – by the time our headliner took the stage, people were spilling onto Monroe Center and we had to close the street to make room. Sunday also saw great crowds and affirmed our decision to expand to two days.” The inaugural GRandJazzFest in 2012 was a single-day event. Organizers made the decision after the success of the first event to expand to two days. “Beautiful weather, a welcoming city, a responsive crowd, dedicated volunteers and world-class entertainment – it was a recipe for a wonderful 2013 GRandJazzFest, and I can’t wait to start planning for 2014,” DTE Energy Foundation’s Roger Royer said. The dates for 2014 will be announced soon. In addition to DTE Energy Foundation, major sponsors included the City of Grand Rapids, the Downtown Development Authority, GR and Jazz, IntentPR, Gilmore Collection, Hilger Hammond, SuperHits 810, WGVU, Amway Hotel Corporation, Consumers Energy, Experience Grand Rapids, Ferris State University, Fifth Third Bank, Grand Rapids Kent County Convention and Arena Authority, Meijer, Mercy Health, MikeJuly.com, Phase 2 Investment Advisors, Wege Foundation, West Michigan Jazz Society and others (see complete list at http://grandjazzfest.org/sponsors/current-sponsors/). Ten diverse professional jazz performance acts took to the Rosa Parks stage over the two days as well as student jazz performers from Northview High School and Michigan State University. In addition to headliner Chicago guitarist/vocalist Nick Colionne, artists included saxophonist Deon Yates, The Paul Keller AT SUNDOWN Quintet featuring Sarah D’Angelo, Sheila Landis & Brazilian Love Affair, The Kinsey Report, Randy Marsh Organ Trio featuring Chris Moberley and Rick Hicks, and Mind’s Eye. Performers returning from GRandJazzFest 2012 included Lansing-based saxophonist Phil Denny and the homegrown Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra (GRJO). Popular local vocalist Edye Evans Hyde returned to perform with GRJO and also performed with her own band at the festival. Eighty-percent of the performers were Michigan-based. WZZM13 Take Five Producer Eddie Rucker served as emcee. Attendees included music lovers and jazz aficionados of all ages and ethnicities. “The diversity of the crowd was a great representation of Grand Rapids. We’re just a great city,” Sundstrom said. In addition to Grand Rapidians and West Michiganders, attendees came from Detroit, Chicago, Traverse City, Toronto and points beyond. “The word is spreading that we’re a jazz festival to put on the calendar,” Sundstrom said. More than 70 community volunteers and local businesses helped to organize and put on the event, which...

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Configura’s 6th Annual Conference

Configura’s 6th Annual Conference

Configura, maker of CET Designer software, held its sixth annual CET Designer User Conference in October, a major learning and networking event for users of CET Designer software. IntentPR handled public relations for the event. The sold-out conference in Grand Rapids drew almost twice the number of attendees than the previous year’s conference. More than 225 people – office furniture manufacturers, dealers and interior designers – attended the two-day event at DeVos Place Convention Center. Some came from as far away as Hawaii, Mexico and Canada. “Grand Rapids is the right place to be,” Configura CEO Johan Lyreborn said. “We were thinking of ‘floating’ the conference to a different city next year, but everyone said they want it again in Grand Rapids, and we plan to do that.” The previous five years, the conference had been held in Las Vegas. Sweden-based Configura opened its North American office in Grand Rapids in 2006 and held its first user conference in the United States in 2008. “We were thrilled with the response to our conference,” Configura Training and Support Manager Tracy Lanning said. “This was our first year holding the conference in Grand Rapids, and the turnout was the best yet. Plus, major office furniture manufacturers such as Steelcase and Haworth are right here in West Michigan.” Both manufacturers held special designer-dealer sessions at their respective headquarters in the days leading up to Configura’s conference. “The conference was a home run from our point of view,” Steelcase’s Steve Eriksson said. Catalogues unveiled At the conference, Configura unveiled Catalogues, a brand-new solution that will enable manufacturers to get started with CET Designer faster than ever before. Conference attendees got a first look at the new solution for entering a manufacturer’s products into CET Designer through industry standard code. “The new solution will make the process faster than ever and will also make manufacturers’ products available to thousands of CET Designer users around the world,” Grand Rapids-based Vice President of Business Development Peter Brandinger said. Catalogues officially releases on Nov. 18. Nationally known “simplicity” expert presented New York City-based simplicity expert Irene Etzkorn keynoted the conference. “Simplicity is about shortening the distance between the company and the customer … and it’s about the company taking on the burden of complexity so the customer doesn’t have to,” Etzkorn said to a packed room that included not only user conference attendees but also West Michigan business community leaders who were invited to attend. Etzkorn, along with SiegelVision colleague Alan Siegel, co-authored the book Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity. “Usually we work with companies to simplify something that has become complicated, so it is a pleasure to find a company that was founded on the...

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On Simplicity

On Simplicity

Note: I wrote this blog for Metropolis Magazine’s POV column – view the article at MetropolisMag.com. I’m a writer, so naturally I love words. I love the way they look, sound, are strung together. I love learning about their origins and watching their evolutions. Words on a page can be a painting, spoken words a symphony. Simplicity … a landscape of a lake, a meditative solo on piano. Complexity … the spikes and spires of a Manhattan skyline, the frenzy of a jazz jam session. As words, and as concepts, simplicity and complexity are opposites. But they are not necessarily opposed; their duality provides balance. Even within most things perceived as “the epitome of simplicity” – an iPhone, say, or a cobweb – is complexity; it’s just hidden from view, or seen only on close examination. The simple beauty, the elegance, is in the design, and in the execution. This perfect balance is abundant in nature but scarce in man-made products. There is another kind of complexity that is ugly and awkward and, unfortunately, ubiquitous. It is an evil alter ego – masquerading, sashaying, trying to be more than is really needed. It is jargon and legalese and acronyms. It is an avalanche of instructions accompanying the remote control. It is a litany of laws and labels and mandates and healthcare websites. It is a barrage of codes and passwords and tweets and apps and … well … crap. Simplicity expert Irene Etzkorn says this kind of complexity is a “thief,” and that we, as citizens and consumers, must be vigilant. I had the pleasure of hearing Irene speak at a recent event put on by a client of mine, Configura. “We live in an increasingly complicated world, filled with more choices than we can consider, with gadgets we can’t use, instructions we can’t follow, documents we can’t decipher, signs we can’t understand,” she said to an audience of more than 250 interior designers and office furniture manufacturers who had gathered for Configura’s annual user conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., Oct. 9-10. Irene is Chief Clarity Strategist for SiegelVision, a consulting firm based in Manhattan. A native New Yorker, Irene knows complexity, but she can see the city through the skyscrapers. In her 30-year career, she has focused on simplifying customer “touch points” for companies, governments, and health care and educational institutions. She helped to create the 1040-EZ tax form and the first insurance policy that you could actually read cover to cover. Most recently, she and colleague Alan Siegel co-authored the book Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity. So, what is simplicity? The irony is, its definition is complex. Another irony: the word itself is a compound – complex – word. Here is how Irene...

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