Grand Rapids Downtown Market Welcomes New Board Members

Posted on July 11, 2019 by Downtown Market

The Grand Rapids Downtown Market, the region’s preeminent destination for innovative food experiences, today announced the addition of two new members to the Board of Directors.

Additions to the board include Laina Mills, CFA, Senior Vice President, Chief Investment Officer, Legacy Trust and Steve Johnson, CPA and Partner, Vander Ploeg, Bergakker & Associates. The new board members will begin their terms this month, working to advance the Market’s mission and vision, including connecting with the community and helping to cultivate and grow small businesses.

“Grand Rapids has no shortage of smart and passionate community leaders and we’re fortunate to welcome two outstanding individuals to our Board of Directors this year,” said Mimi Fritz, president and CEO of the Downtown Market. “Laina and Steve will not only bring their wealth of expertise to our finance committee, but also work to advance our mission of supporting entrepreneurs and offering dynamic food-centered experiences to our community."

In her role at Legacy Trust, Mills leads the development, execution and oversight of the company’s investment philosophy and asset management strategies, including asset allocation guidelines, tactical positioning, portfolio construction, and investment policy design. She also manages key individual and family office portfolios directly, working alongside the firm’s wealth management staff. Laina serves on the Board of Directors for Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Opera Grand Rapids, and Catholic Charities West Michigan. She also volunteers as an Investment Committee member for the St. Cecilia Music Center, providing stewardship for the organization’s endowment fund. Laina also will be serving as a member of the Finance Committee.

“I prefer to support local businesses as much as possible and have been a regular customer of the Market since it opened,” said Mills. “The diverse mix of food handcrafted by small business owners always makes it a fun and delicious experience, and we are so fortunate to have the Market here to enrich the Grand Rapids food scene.”

Johnson has worked in public accounting for over 17 years. He started working in Grand Rapids at a large, local firm after graduating from Calvin College and joined Vander Ploeg, Bergakker & Associates in 2016.  He works with clients in the construction, real estate, nonprofit and manufacturing industries by providing partnership/corporate tax assistance, audit/assurance services as well as financial performance evaluation and proforma preparation. He has served on various boards and committees including Volunteers in Service, Cornerstone URC, Reformed Youth Services, Zion Christian School, the Builder’s Exchange of Michigan, and the Construction Financial Management Association. Steve will also serve as a member of the Finance Committee.

“I love what goes on behind the scenes at the Downtown Market, giving individuals an opportunity to pursue their dreams and add to the diverse food culture of GR,” said Johnson. “I work in public accounting because I love to help people, and watching new businesses start and become successful is one of my joys. The Downtown Market is a wonderful addition to GR as it helps individuals pursue their goals and gives them the tools to be successful.”