About Us

Grand Angels was founded by former Grand Bank founder and CEO Charles C. Stoddard and serial entrepreneur, Craig T. Hall. They recruited community leaders willing to join them in the vision of making “investments with a difference.” In 2005, Jody D. Vanderwel was recruited to serve as president of the organization. Grand Angels now has 50 active members. Grand Angels is the only regional investment group that offers mentoring paired with a relatively patient exit strategy, meaning invested funds may not need to be returned as quickly as would be expected by commercial or other investors.
The organization supported by membership fees and generous corporate and academic sponsorships. Grand Angels is a member of the Angel Capital Association, an organization sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (Kansas City, MO), which continues to provide leadership and resources for angel investors across the country.


Our 2014 Board of Directors

Paul D’Amato
Paul serves as Managing Director of Trout Creek Ventures, a regional co-investment venture capital fund focusing on early stage investments. Hel is an active angel investor with several angel groups in the Midwest. Previously, Paul owned and operated a retail chain in the Midwest that he sold to a strategic acquirer. He holds a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and a Masters of Business Administration from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston.

Carl B. Erickson
Carl is the CEO of Atomic Object, a software design and development company with offices in Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Ann Arbor. Carl’s served as the president of the Swedish American Heritage Society, and is a board member for Blue Medora and Varsity News Network. He is a frequent speaker on technology, and a guest blogger for Crain’s Detroit.

Patrick A. Gaughan
Patrick is CFO and partner of Brooks Capital Management and a partner of its affiliate real estate development company, IPA Partners. Patrick also chairs the Kent Community Health Foundation Investment Committee and serves on the Investment Committee of The Community Foundation of the Holland-Zeeland Area. He is also on the board of directors for TicTock Studios and sits on the shareholder advisory board to a Florida-based multi-bank holding company.

Robert L. Herr, Secretary/Treasurer
Bob retired in 2007 after 40 years in public accounting with Crowe Horwath LLP, one of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the U.S., and globally through Crowe Horwath International. He serves on the board of Macatawa Bank Corporation and Agility Health, Inc. Bob is an active community leader serving on numerous non-profit boards including Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring, Grand Angels, Mercy Health Physician Partners, Western Michigan University Foundation, First Steps Commission and is chairperson of the Downtown Improvement District.

John S. Jackoboice, Past Chairman
John currently serves on the board of Fyen-Zylstra Company, is Vice Chair of Baker Publishing Company, Co-Chairs the Aquinas College Foundation and Chairs the Northern Trust – West Michigan Advisory Board. Past board chairmanships include Gilda’s Club, Saint Mary’s Health, and Aquinas College as well as serving on the boards of Hospice of Michigan Foundation, The Family Business Alliance and the Manufacturing Council. John retired in 2007 after 41 years with Monarch Hydraulics (Bucher) of Grand Rapids.

Michael J. Jandernoa
Mike is the former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Perrigo Company, the nation’s largest manufacturer and marketer of store brand over-the-counter drug and nutritional products. He serves on the board of directors of Perrigo Company, the Van Andel Institute, Business Leaders for Michigan, Hopen Life Science Fund, and Metabolic Solutions Development Company. Mike is the founder of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring and is a co-founder and board member of both Grand Angels and Bridge Street Capital Partners.

R. Lawrence Leigh, Vice Chairperson
Larry serves on the Boards of Goodwill Industries and Goodwill Foundation and is a member of the Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program. He also brings to Grand Angels extensive experience on other community boards as well as a local bank. He is the former owner and founder of Leighs. Larry holds a B.S. in Business from the University of North Carolina and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Richard M. Lievense, Chairperson
Rich is the principal founder of Lake Michigan Financial Corporation (LMFC), established in April 1998. He currently serves as its chairman and is active in the company’s merchant banking activities. LMFC is the parent company of The Bank of Holland and The Bank of Northern Michigan. Prior to founding LMFC, Rich was employed by a regional bank in various executive positions. He currently serves on the board of directors of Riverview Development Group and chairs the Holland/Zeeland Community Foundation Oversight Board for the MSU Bio-economy Institute. Rich holds a B.A. from Alma College and an M.A. from Western Michigan University.

Robert A. Sprotte
Bob is the owner of The Sprotte Organization which is a life insurance agency serving both business & personal markets from an independent perspective.  He has been active in this industry since 1976 and in Michigan since 1978.  He holds the appropriate designations for this trade including CLU, ChFC & LIC.  Bob is currently involved in leading men’s Bible studies and is a former Board member of both Goodwill Industries and Bethany Christian Services. As an active investor in numerous private equity offerings, the Grand Angels opportunity proves a logical fit.

Jody D. Vanderwel, President
Jody has served as Grand Angels President since 2005. In that capacity, Jody oversees Grand Angels’ deal sourcing and represents the group at networking and educational events across West Michigan. Jody worked several years in private practice career before joining Herman Miller as Corporate Counsel and then Vice President for Corporate Giving. Jody is currently a member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association Board, the Michigan Accelerator Fund I Advisory Board, the Baker Publishing Group Board, and the Fuller Theological Seminary Board. She also chairs the Board of Priority Health. Her past board service includes the Grand Rapids Symphony, Holland Symphony, and Young Life National Board. Jody holds a B.A. degree from the University of Colorado and a J.D. degree from Washington University in St. Louis.