MAREC director wins Free Press 2012 MI Green Leader Award

Andrew Justus

For Grand Valley State University’s Arn Boezaart, recipient of a 2012 Detroit Free Press Michigan Green Leader Award, the accomplishments that led to his award were just part of his job.

As the director of the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, his job places him squarely in the middle of GVSU’s efforts to promote green technology as a driver for future economic growth.

“I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing here everyday, working on economic development opportunities, developing new technology,” Boezaart said. Boezaart isn’t taking all of the credit, though.

“Nice as it is, clearly not about me,” he said. “Even though it’s an individual award, I would want to share recognition with lots of people I work with every day.”

Boezaart has directed the Muskegon-based MAREC for three years. In that time, he has been active in advancing wind energy as a feasible means to generate commercial electricity and developing advanced energy storage devices.

Prior to working at the GVSU-administrated MAREC, Boezaart was the vice president of grant-making at the Community Foundation in Muskegon, Mich. At the Community Foundation, Boezaart helped launch organizations to protect the watersheds of the Muskegon and White Rivers and the Mona Lake Watershed. Prior to his working at the Community Foundation they organization did no environmental work. Boezaart also helped to install Muskegon’s first commercial wind generator atop the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts.

MAREC opened in 2003 and is a joint effort between GVSU, the city of Muskegon and the state of Michigan. The center works to advance alternative energy as a means to economic and business development.

“Lots of people are working on technology and economic development, but not on renewable energy as well,” Boezaart said.