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GRIN - The Organization

Grand Rapids Inventors Network is a regional non-profit organization where inventors, marketers, and creative people can learn and network to further their creative ideas.

 

The Board consists of:

Joe Finkler - 2014 President - Joe is the owner of the retail As Seen On TV Store in Muskegon and Grand Rapids; as a buyer, he has purchased over 4,000 different items. Joe believes in a “start smart and finish strong” philosophy in selecting retail products. Joe was instrumental in establishing the "Try It Before You Buy It" campaign with WZZM 13 News and TV Tuesdays on Radio. Mr. Finkler works as a Financial Advisor with FSC Securities Corp (http://www.pathwaysfinancialgroup.com) and has over 17 years of successful investment experience with Stocks, Mutual Funds, IRA's, 401(k)'s, and Retirement Plans. Securities offered through FSC Securities Corporation member FINRA/SIPC. Email: jfink2090@yahoo.com

Steve Chappell - Vice President - Steve Chappell is a hardened veteran of the marketing world.  He has spent 11 years managing a marketing agency, Media Star Promotions--a firm that helps Fortune 500 companies launch new product lines. Specializing in data analysis, Steve uses his keen intellect and eye for detail to identify marketing trends and lay the groundwork for strategic planning in response to those trends. Steve graduated from Grand Valley with a degree in Finance and Management. Since then, he continues to feed his curiosity by reading the latest books in science, psychology, economics and business. Steve is currently working on developing a new business model that would create a market for an individual’s Meta data, which would allow users to securely monetize their data while also making it work for their own use. Steve volunteers at the GRIN because he is passionate about innovation and is addicted to problem solving. He believes that there is nothing better than solving problems, especially if it betters the community. Email: schappelljr@gmail.com

Dan Clark - Treasurer - Dan is Managing Director of Plum Crazy (http://www.plumcrazydevelopment.com), a business consultancy assisting clients in the areas of product development, operations management, intellectual property strategy, manufacturing, and business finance. In 1999, he founded Dahti Seating which produced its products via patented manufacturing processes. In 2003, Illinois Tool Works acquired the company (ITW Dahti) where Dan served as General Manager. Dan is a seasoned entrepreneur and has worked for 21st Century Plastics, Cascade Engineering and is a former US Naval Aviator. Dan has a BS in Marketing from Miami University. Email: clarkd@plumcrazydevelopment.com

  Joani Gill – Board Member - Highly motivated Business Development and Financial Services Professional with extensive experience in furniture and automotive manufacturing and fashion retail. Proven track record in influencing corporate direction through strategic planning, marketing, sales and public relations. An energetic team leader with demonstrated ability in efficiently organizing people and resources to accomplish long-range goals. A visionary with excellent communication and customer relationship skills.

Dan Girdwood - Board Member - Dan is a Partner at Price Heneveld (http://www.priceheneveld.com), an intellectual property law firm. Dan specializes in the procurement, licensing, and enforcement of mechanical patents for primarily mechanical inventions, as well as the registration and enforcement of trademarks. He worked for General Motors for several years as an engineer in many different areas, including production engineering, reliability, product assurance, and government recalls and campaigns. Dan has taught as an adjunct professor at Thomas Cooley Law School, Lansing Community College, and Grand Valley State University. Mr. Girdwood is a member of the Michigan Bar, and has served as a council member for the Intellectual Property Law Section of the Michigan Bar. He is also a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the American Bar Association, the Federal Circuit Bar Association, the Michigan Patent Law Association, and the Grand Rapids Bar Association. Dan's education includes a BS in Mechanical Engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University), an MBA from Michigan State University, and a JD from Thomas Cooley Law School. He is a certified professional engineer in the State of Michigan, and has passed the certified public accountant exam. Email: dgirdwood@priceheneveld.com

Dennis LeMaire - Board Member - Dennis is the owner of Nexdor LLC, a company that specializes in micro direct mail marketing. Nexdor is a "Software as a Service" (SaaS) company that provides the tools to create, manage and execute micro marketing campaigns. Nexdor localizes marketing efforts for national companies that have multiple to thousands of locations. Dennis is also the owner of Bagger-Parts, a manufacture of niche products for the Harley Davidson touring motorcycle market. He has invented six products that are sold online, through distributors, and through several motorcycle parts catalogs.  The success of his businesses is the result of his ability to focus on specific customer identification and market to those individuals. Dennis has a BS in Printing Management and Digital Imaging Technology from Ferris State University. Email: Dennis@nexdordirect.com

Casey Dubois - Board Member - Casey began his career working with his family in the automotive industry here in Michigan. In the mid-90's he moved to California and refocused his career on computer systems. While working for two Silicon Valley based companies he gained experience with computer hardware components (memory) and network infrastructure (broadband networking and integration). In 2000, he returned to Michigan and began consulting companies on server and network deployments and more recently on the re-architecture of a touch-screen based kiosk. Casey is very active with GR Makers and has also generously participated in the local tech community as an organizer for the Grand Rapids Linux Users Group, Start-up Weekend, board member of Software GR, GiveCamp, GRR Con, Barcamp, GR Dev Day, and the Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference. Casey is also the father of three and a music fan along with his wife, Veronica.

  Jay Groendyke - Board Member – Jay Groendyke is the former President and CEO of Synergis Technologies Group, one of the largest privately owned tool and die manufacturers in North America at one time. Synergis led the industry in the processing, engineering and manufacturing of line, transfer and progressive dies for the automotive and appliance industries with sales in excess of $40 million annually. Under Jay’s leadership and vision, Synergis joined forces with the three largest tooling manufacturers in China, creating Synergis China Automotive Die Group (SCDG), one of the largest tooling multi-partnerships in the world. This business model gave Synergis the ability to compete globally. Known for its innovative thinking, Synergis constantly challenged the norm and reinvented the way automotive tooling was built to gain efficiencies, reduce costs and improve both speed to market and durability. The methods Synergis pioneered are the accepted practices in the automotive industry today. Jay now serves as an independent consultant, bringing his expertise, art of problem solving, coaching and implementation abilities to organizations striving to take their businesses to a new level. Email: jay.groendyke@gmail.com