Policy Forum Board Members Honored by The Economic Club of Grand Rapids as Community Leaders

The West Michigan Policy Forum would like to recognize and congratulate John and Nancy Kennedy and Mike VanGessel, who were recently honored at The Economic Club of Grand Rapids’ 33rd Annual Dinner at DeVos Place.

John serves as WMPF Board Chair and Mike serves as a member of the Board.

During an unforgettable and inspiring evening on June 7, John and Nancy were presented the Slykhouse Community Leadership Award to commend their efforts as community leaders and philanthropists. Mike was honored with the Business Person of the Year Award for his impeccable leadership as founder and CEO of Rockford Construction.

John, Nancy and Mike’s impact over the past decades in West Michigan, across the state, and nationally, have been directly felt throughout our entire community.

In 1988, John purchased Autocam Corporation and served as president and CEO until 2014, and now maintains only majority ownership of Autocam Medical. Under his leadership, Autocam had grown to an international family of businesses, including manufacturing, graphics, retail, and real estate, with 13 facilities on four continents, 2,000 employees and more than $300 million in sales. Nancy worked with John in Autocam’s early years, then shifted focus to their four children.

The Kennedys have been active in numerous civic and community organizations. They have focused much of their service and philanthropic efforts on educational institutions including Grand Valley State University, Aquinas College, and West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology. John also co-founded both Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy and the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, which provides work/study opportunities for young adults. Nancy served on the Diocesan Finance Committee and was named to the Meijer Gardens Foundation Board of Trustees.

Mike has led the Rockford Construction team since it began in 1987, through more than 4,800 projects totaling over $4.8 billion. A Grand Rapids native with strong ties to the community, Mike is drawn to projects that positively impact the way people live, work, learn, heal, and play. He uses his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to serve the company and communities across the nation as he works with civic leaders, non-profit organizations, and other visionaries to create a brighter future.

The last presentation of Business Person of the Year was in 2019 to Mike Jandernoa, WMPF Policy Chair. John previously was awarded Business Person of the Year in 2004.

Congratulations on the much-deserved accolades!