Real Stories, Real People

There is no one right path to a career. It’s not a “one size fits all.” There are many paths to success. Plus, new decisions can be made as a career (and life) unfolds. Our Real Stories, Real People series features individuals from West Michigan as they share the stories of their career journeys. Across the four counties of Allegan, Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon, these stories help showcase the diverse experiences people have in their career journeys. We hope their stories help “spark” interest in the various pathways available in our region. 

Feature Stories

Headshot of Samantha Kirschner

As a pastry chef and chocolatier at Patricia's Chocolate in Grand Haven, Michigan, Samantha...

Headshot of Dr. Kalisha Morin

Dr. Kalisha Morin from Spring Lake is the proud owner of Holland Family Dentistry.…

Adam Ingalls

Adam Ingalls is the kind of beloved staff member who knows his school district...

Headshot of JaTeryn Moore

By the time JaTeryn Moore graduated, she had discovered her interest in medicine…

Image of Ryan Meppelink

In 2019, Ryan Meppelink became a Caterpillar Diesel Technician...

Image of Mary Hunter

When Mary Hunter’s friends opened Friesian Gastro Pub in Grand Rapids and asked her...

Shannon Veld

During her junior year of high school, Shannon took an accounting class and discovered...

Zoe Knoper

Zoe Knoper is studying software development from Michigan Technological University...

Headshot of Thomas Hill

Thomas Hill was a student at Plainwell High School when a teacher encouraged him...

Headshot of Davie Torres

As a child, Davie Torres was constantly doodling. His passion for graphic design…

Headshot of Claudette Lee

A mother of two, Claudette Lee owns her own dance studio called Discovery Dance…

Headshot of Patrick DeShaw

Patrick DeShaw is the executive vice president Automatic Spring Products…

Headshot of Julianne Johnson

Julianne Johnson knew she liked interior design early because her dad was an architect…

Headshot for Darin Jemison

Darin Jemison is the Regional Director of Food and Beverages for AHC+Hospitality…

Headshot of Bobbi Jo Matheny

Bobbi Jo Matheny has a non-traditional job. Her expertise? Welding...

Headshot of Blake Jackobs

When he was 16 years old, Blake Jackobs was ready to begin his career...

Headshot of Everado Pedroza

A full-time police officer and firefighter, Everardo Pedroza, Jr. is also trained to rescue…

Photo of Zach Boterenbrood

Zach Boterenbrood is a full-time firefighter with an associate degree under his belt…

Headshot of Diane Long

Diane Long owns Apprenticeship Management Services, coordinating apprenticeship programs...

Headshot of Trenton Chamberlain

Trenton Chamberlain founded Bricks Pizza, but his operation extends well beyond…

Headshot of Joe Reich

Joe Reich is a mechanical designer at Tower Pinkster in Kalamazoo...

Headshot of Matt TerAvest

Matt Ter Avest is currently a freshman majoring in finance at the University of...

Video Stories