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The Ottawa County Fillmore Complex in West Olive is currently without power, impacting its ability to serve customers.

This includes the Sheriff headquarters, Clerk, Register of Deeds and Treasurer offices as well as today's inmate visits at the jail and hearings in the West Olive court. Other locations such as Holland, Grand Haven and Hudsonville are operating and providing services and hearings.

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Diversity Forum

2021 Diversity Forum

2021 Diversity Forum - October 20, 2021

2021 Ottawa County Diversity Forum: Journeys to Equity: Safe & Healthy Communities

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

8:15AM – 4:00PM

This event will be held virtually.

Register Now


8:15am Welcome
John Shay, Interim Ottawa County Administrator
8:30am - 10:00am Morning Keynote
Darnell Blackburn, CEO of PRAT LLC
10:00am - 10:15am Break
10:15am - 10:45am Presentation: Sheriff Kempker & Undersheriff Weiss, Ottawa County Sheriff Office
Q&A with DeMario Johnson
10:45am - 11:30am Presentation
Dr. Joel C. Robertson, Founder of Robertson Global Health Solutions Corporation (RGHS) AKA Robertson Health
11:30am - 11:40am Equity Award
Judy Kettring, Chair of Cultural Intelligence Committee (CIC)
11:40am - 12:00pm Updates from the DEI Office; G4G Unveiling of Data, Welcoming Plan and Steering Committee
Leani García Torres, Associate Director for State/Local Initiatives, Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE)
Andrew Lim, Director of Quantitative Research, Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE)
12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm - 1:30pm Community Initiatives: Library/Community Action House (CAH) Collaboration
Diane Kooiker, Director, Herrick District Library
1:30pm - 2:00pm Community Mental Health (CMH) Critical Incident Response/Jail Mental Health Services
Tim Piers, LMSW, Program Coordinator, CMH
2:00pm - 2:45pm Presentation
Lindsay & Henry Cherry, Founders, I AM Academy
2:45pm - 3:00pm Break
3:00pm - 3:45pm Presentation
Donijo Robbins PhD, Professor of Public Finance, Grand Valley State University (GVSU)
3:45pm Closing
Keith Van Beek, City Manager, Holland

Presenter Information

Darnell Blackburn

Darnell Blackburn, BA MBA

Darnell has been actively involved in law enforcement for over 27 years. He started his professional law enforcement career as a Michigan State University Police Officer serving a diverse student body population. He later worked as a patrol officer for the Auburn Hills Police Department. He has hands on experience working as a community police officer, undercover narcotics detective, and investigator. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Michigan State University in Psychology. He later continued his education at the University of Phoenix where he received a Master of Arts Degree in Business administration...Continue Reading

Sheriff Steve Kempker

Sheriff Steve Kempker
Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Kempker began his law enforcement career in the City of Holland in 1980.

Sheriff Kempker became a full-time Road Patrol Deputy with the Sheriff’s Office in October 1989. He worked as a member of the Sheriff’s Office Road Patrol Unit from 1989 through early 1996 and was assigned to a variety of different patrol areas throughout the county and served as a Field Training Officer and Crash Reconstructionist....Continue Reading

Undersheriff Valerie Weiss

Undersheriff Valerie Weiss
Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office

Undersheriff Weiss has 27 years of law enforcement experience. She was appointed the Undersheriff in 2017 by Sheriff Steve Kempker. The Undersheriff oversees Operations of Law Enforcement, Correctional services, Emergency Management as well as the oversight for the budget for the agency. From 2014 to 2017 she was the Captain assigned to the Law Enforcement Division overseeing the Services Unit of this division. She supervised sergeants from various units of the division to include the School Resource Sergeant, Training Sergeant, Community Policing Sergeants assigned to Allendale Township, the City of Hudsonville, the City of Coopersville, Georgetown Township, Holland/Park Townships, Village of Spring Lake, City of Ferrysburg, Grand Haven Township, Zeeland Township, Jamestown Township and the Reserve/Mounted/Marine Units....Continue Reading

DeMario Johnson

DeMario Johnson
Management Assistant, City of Long Beach, CA

DeMario Johnson is currently a Management Assistant in the City Manager’s Office for the City of Long Beach, California. Before embarking on this new role, he was the Assistant to the Village Manager in the Village of Spring Lake, Michigan, where he assisted on a range of community development projects. DeMario believes that communities thrive when diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the center of policy making. He received his Master of Public Administration degree from Grand Valley State University in 2020.

Joel Robertson

Dr. Joel Robertson
Founder & CEO of Robertson Health Companies

Dr. Joel Robertson is the founder and CEO of Robertson Health. Robertson Health is a network of forprofit and non-profit companies with a mission to provide precision medicine and artificial intelligence in the areas of Health, Wellness and Performance. Since its conception Robertson Health has made a lasting impact on healthcare around the world with one common goal in mind: to save lives and improve quality of life through health information technology...Continue Reading

Leani Garcia Torres

Leani García Torres
Associate Director of State & Local Initiatives, New American Economy (NAE)

Leani García Torres is Associate Director of State & Local Initiatives at New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan research and advocacy organization making the case for smart, sensible immigration policies in cities, states, and nationally. She has more than nine years of experience working at the intersection of business and public policy in the U.S. and Latin America. Leani holds an MA from New York University's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and a BA in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach.

Andrew Lim

Andrew Lim
Director of Quantitative Research, Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE)

Andrew Lim is Director of Quantitative Research at the Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE) a bipartisan research and advocacy organization working to create smart, sensible immigration policies in cities, states, and nationally. He has more than a decade of research experience in international migration, integration, and public policy, through his work with NAE, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Andrew holds an MA in urban policy from the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris–Sciences Po, and an MSc in regional and urban planning from the London School of Economics. He received his BA from Boston College in international relations and French.

Diane Kooiker

Diane Kooiker
Director, Herrick District Library

Diane Kooiker is the Library Director of Herrick District Library. Diane has worked for the library for over 21 years. She obtained her master’s degree in Librarian Sciences from Wayne State University. She obtained a Master of Business Administration from Cornerstone University. And she received her bachelor’s degree in English and History from Hope College.

Tim Piers

Tim Piers, LMSW
Program Coordinator, Ottawa County Community Mental Health

Tim Piers, LMSW, is a Program Coordinator with Community Mental Health of Ottawa County. He is currently working to implement comprehensive treatment for substance use disorders in the county jail and develop a Crisis Intervention Team program, with the help of local law enforcement and community partners. Tim has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Grand Valley State University. He serves on the county’s Community Corrections Advisory Board and is a field instructor for the Michigan State University School of Social Work. In his spare time, Tim enjoys supporting the West Michigan addiction recovery community and chasing his two daughters up and down the beach.

Henry and Lindsay Cherry

Henry and Lindsay Cherry
I AM Academy

Henry and Lindsay Cherry grew up in the West Michigan area and have raised their 5 children in Holland for the last 10 years. They are very involved in their community and have been doing work to build a more inclusive and welcoming community including but not limited to the creation of I AM Academy

Henry Cherry is the Director of Outreach at Christ Memorial Church and is currently working toward his Master’s Degree. He has been involved in his community as a coach, mentor, school administrator, and more. His passion is to break down the barriers within our society and open up the world of possibilities for our youth. Henry primarily serves underserved youth, gang members, and juveniles. He created mentorship programs at Holland Public Schools and served students at West Ottawa Public Schools. As he helps youth find their way, he hopes the work transforms them into leaders who are ready to go make a positive change in our world....Continue Reading

DoniJo Robbins

DoniJo Robbins, PhD
Professor of Public Finance, GVSU

Donijo Robbins is a tenured, full professor of Public Finance at Grand Valley State University. Donijo holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and political science from Central Michigan University, a Master of Arts degree in economics and a PhD in public administration from Rutgers University – Newark.

Prior to joining the faculty at Grand Valley State University, Donijo was a faculty member at the University of Maine. As an expert in public finance and research methodology, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in public budgeting and finance and research methods...Continue Reading

Keith Vanbeek

Keith Van Beek
City Manager, Holland

Keith Van Beek was selected as the City Manager of the City of Holland in February 2018. He currently provides leadership and direction for this community of 33,500+ residents through the efforts of nearly 275 employees and a general budget of $22 million and fund budget of $196 million dollars.

Before joining the City of Holland, Keith was the Deputy County Administrator for the County of Ottawa. He directed Facilities, Equalization, Veterans Affairs, Community Action Agency, and legislative coordination at the federal and state level. In his role as Deputy County Administrator, Keith also coordinated the administrative functions (Finance, Innovation and Technology, Planning and Performance Improvement, Human Resources and Facilities) for the 32 departments, elected offices and courts of Ottawa County....Continue Reading

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