The Business Journal’s 2022 Newsmakers made headlines this year for their creativity, resilience and community partnerships, helping West Michigan thrive through their commitment and hard work, none more so than BAMF Health.
The Grand Rapids Business Journal (GRBJ) on Thursday, Feb. 9, celebrated its 2022 Newsmakers at an award ceremony, recognizing the people who made business headlines in 16 categories over the past year, culminating in the year’s top Newsmaker.
The 2023 event started off strong with a win in the Arts and Entertainment category for The Diatribe’s executive director Marcel “Fable” Price, who called the room to rally behind The Diatribe following its absence from ARP funding in December.
Following Price’s win was recognition from Brewery Nyx representative Jordan Stricklen (beverage category winner), Black Wallstreet Grand Rapids co-founder Preston Sain (economic development winner), Grand Rapids Gold owner Steve Jbara (sports winner) and others.
The overall Newsmaker this year was Anthony Chang, founder and CEO of BAMF (Bold, Advanced Medical Futures) Health, taking home the Business Journal’s top honor. BAMF made repeated headlines in 2022 as it held its grand opening and saw its first patients, bringing revolutionary cancer treatment to downtown Grand Rapids.
Chang, who also won in the health care category, took home two trophies, and said he was humbled and grateful in his acceptance speech.
“When we finally started (BAMF), everybody said this was impossible. This is too hard. Big companies, pharma, manufacturers … they think it’s too risky,” he said. “But we understand there are differences between things that are impossible and things that are very, very hard.”
This year, Chang and his team stepped up to the plate and swung. BAMF burst onto the West Michigan health care scene in 2022, setting up a world-class cancer treatment center in downtown Grand Rapids and seeing its first patients.
Chang, a former Van Andel Institute scientist, stands at the helm of the facility and is working to transform systems used for diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, depression, endometriosis, cardiac disease and more.
The organization officially opened on Oct. 5. Its $40 million, 60,000-square-foot facility, including radiopharmacy, imaging clinic, theranostics clinic and corporate headquarters, is housed in the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building. The company is able to offer consultation, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care in one location.
“As long as these things are not impossible, our job is to actually find a way to make them happen,” Chang said.
And so far, BAMF is doing exactly that. From a small group of three meeting in a library, the company has grown into a national leader in advanced cancer treatment and has big plans for the year ahead.
2022 Newsmaker winners by category
Arts and entertainment: Marcel Price, The Diatribe
Beverages: Jessica Stricklen, Brewery Nyx
Economic development: Preston Sain, Black Wallstreet Grand Rapids
Education: Juan Olivarez, Grand Rapids Community College
Finance: Greg Williams, Acrisure
Food: Gary Schuler, GTF Technologies
Health care: Anthony Chang, BAMF Health
Law: Ron DeWaard, Varnum
Manufacturing: Murray Kessler, Perrigo
Nonprofits/philanthropy: Don Wilkinson, Lakeshore Habitat Humanity
Real estate/construction: Jen Schottke, West Michigan Construction Institute
Retail: Richard App, city of Grand Rapids
Sports: Steve Jbara, Grand Rapids Gold
Startups: James Mikrut, Payload CMS
Sustainability: Erik Petrovskis, Meijer
Technology: Thomas Cronkright, Tyler Adams and Lawrence Duthler, CertifID