One of our firm values is staying active within the Grand Rapids community, whether with industry organizations or the legal community. Our attorneys give presentations, attend events, and serve on boards to offer support and advice. This past year, Ben Hammond was asked to tackle leadership roles for the Associated Builders and Contractors Western Michigan Chapter (ABC/WMC) and the Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA). While it was a busy season with added responsibilities, Ben found it personally and professionally rewarding to provide leadership and build relationships in these roles.
The organizations also benefited from Ben’s involvement. During his tenure as Board Chair for the Western Michigan ABC, Ben was instrumental in the launch of the West Michigan Construction Institute, which provides ongoing education for their members, and negotiated an essential partnership with GRCC. He also helped to launch the First Annual Western Michigan Angler Classic this past June to raise funds for the WMCI. “Ben Hammond was the right chair at the right time for the ABC/WMC”, said Jen Schottke, President of the WMCI, “During Ben’s time leading the board of directors, ABC/WMC embarked on its largest initiative to date – forming and launching the West Michigan Construction Institute (WMCI). Ben’s legal expertise, his leadership strengths, and his clear vision were critical to the success of the chapter and to the formation of WMCI.”
As President of the GRBA, Ben was instrumental in the hiring of a new Executive Director, Brie Gohlke-Clausen, and helped the association navigate hosting events in a Covid world. One of his notable events was co-hosting the livestream of the GRBA event, “The Bar’s Got Talent” with Judge Smolenski, complete with impromptu banter and a full tuxedo. Being the President meant running to multiple meetings and events over the last year, but Ben took it all in stride. He sought to challenge the status quo, ask tough questions, and have fun in the process. Brie Gohlke-Clausen, Executive Director of the GRBA shared, “In Ben’s role I watched him lead both behind the scenes and out in front of our members. One of the most inspiring things is, in both settings, Ben was consistently collaborative, action oriented, supportive, creative and optimistic. At every turn he took on the work of President without hesitation; he was quick to give praise and recognition to others when things went well and he was also purposeful in putting himself out in front of hard conversations when we anticipated things might get difficult. It is rare to serve alongside a person who truly exemplifies the term “servant leader,” but, over the last year, I was fortunate to have that privilege in working with Ben”.
Along with his commitment to board service, Ben has continued to receive accolades for his quality work as an attorney, recently receiving the AV Preeminent Attorney award from Martindale-Hubbell for the 9th year in a row. He also has received the Super Lawyer distinction since 2013 and was given the GRBA President’s Award for his dedication and service. Reflecting on the past year, Ben said, “It has been rewarding to invest time into so many others who are committed to advancing the interests of their professions and industries. It was an honor to play a small part in moving the ball forward over the last few years, and I anticipate great things ahead for both organizations”.