Each year the DU Alumni Association honors deserving Davenport University alumni for their professional accomplishments, contributions in the community and support of Davenport University’s mission, vision and values. We are pleased to honor the 2014 class of alumni award recipients at the Alumni Awards Celebration being held on Thursday, October 9, 2014 at the W.A. Lettinga Campus in Grand Rapids (map). For more information and to register online, click here.
Mr. Meyering founded Atlas Truck Rental & Leasing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jack grew Atlas to a fleet of over 3,000 vehicles, employing 500 staff members at 25 locations throughout Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. When Jack sold the business in 1989, Atlas was the largest independently owned truck rental and leasing company in the United States. Jack credits his success to the education he received from Davenport specifically within the fields of sales and marketing. Mr. Meyering now spends time in Florida, Charlevoix and the greater Grand Rapids-area.
Bridgett is the founder and owner of several West Michigan AppleTree Learning Centers. In May, 2014, Bridgett was recognized at the Grand Rapids Chamber’s EPIC Awards ceremony – earning the Woman-Owned Business of the Year award. Bridgett and her husband, Doug, opened the first AppleTree on Monroe Avenue in 1998 so their infant daughter could be cared for in a safe, nurturing environment. In 2007, Doug lost his battle with cancer, but she continued to pursue their dream by building additional state-of-the-art childcare and early education centers where children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old can grow, learn and thrive. She and her corporate partners recently launched Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool as a new partnership venture using AppleTree as its foundation. There are currently 14 AppleTree and Gilden Woods schools operating in Michigan.
Brian graduated from Davenport in 2003 with a degree in Management. Brian currently holds the title of Assistant General Manager of the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a rising star within the Hospitality Industry, and has been working in the profession since 1991. Brian was selected to be on the JW Marriott Grand Rapids management team that opened the hotel in 2007, and later received the “Leader Associate Award” for pre-opening team performance, and considers himself to be an Ambassador in Grand Rapids and at the JW. In 2005, Brian was named “Director of Sales of the Year” for the Intercontinental Hotels Group, and received the prestigious recognition from the Grand Rapids Business Journal as being profiled in the “Forty Under Forty” category for young business leaders. Brian notes that the instructors and real-time professional input and influence they had on him within the classroom at DU were perfect to help accelerate his career.
Davenport University College of Health Professions Alumni Achievement Award
Yvonne Alles (Class of 2005)
Yvonne graduated from Davenport University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Administration, then went on to complete her MBA in 2005 in Health Care Management. After a 23-year career in medical staff administration at Spectrum Health, Yvonne now serves as Department Chair of Allied Health for the College of Health Professions at Davenport University. As a life-long learner at Davenport, Yvonne also received a Professional Secretary Certification and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certificate from Davenport before working on her Bachelor’s Degree. Yvonne has been teaching at Davenport for almost 20 years and “seeks to demonstrate a passion and enthusiasm for thinking outside of books and to inspire DU students to be healthcare workers who may also serve as future teachers.” Two of her three children are also Davenport grads, and her oldest son is an occasional adjunct faculty member.
Davenport University College of Technology Alumni Achievement Award
Michael DeJong (Class of 1988)
Michael recently retired as the Director of Information Technology and served as the Chief Information Officer at Bissell Homecare, Inc. He was responsible for all aspects of information technology for the 1 billion dollar consumer appliance company which included a 15 million dollar budget, oversight of 30 I/T employees and 12 global sites. Michael also held a multitude of high-level positions with the Sara Lee Corporation in West Michigan and also in Cincinnati and Chicago during his 20 years with the company. Michael combines his I/T knowledge and acute business acumen to drive value in business. He served as a member of the West Michigan CIO Council and as a Board Member of the Warren County United Way.
Davenport University Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Sara Hop (Class of 2009)
Sara is a 2009 graduate of Davenport, where she completed her degree in International Business and Sports Management. In 2008, as an intern at Van Andel Institute, Sara established the grassroots fundraising program called “Purple Community,” which empowers individuals to raise awareness and money for cancer and Parkinson’s disease research. Over 120 “Purple Community” events took place in the last year, raising over $350,000 for Van Andel Institute. Today, Sara serves as a Purple Community Coordinator III at Van Andel Institute, and is actively pursuing her Masters of Education degree with a focus in Higher Education at GVSU. Sara also volunteers in the community, is an active member of Davenport’s Young Alumni Council and is frequently engaged with the DU Alumni Association.