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Kent Companies Awards Seven Make it Happen Scholarships

[GRAND RAPIDS, MI] – Kent Companies awarded seven Make it Happen Scholarships to the children of Kent Companies employees across the country in Spring 2017. Over the past three years, the program has granted over $20,000 in scholarship awards. The Make it Happen Scholarship Program is an employee benefit fulfills the Kent Companies mission to invest in its people and the community. Kent Companies CEO Jeff VanderLaan shared, “We reward our employees for outstanding performance in the field. In the same way, we invest in students who are achieving in the classroom and in the community. This year we received truly outstanding applications. It’s a privilege for Kent Companies to give back to our team by investing in their children’s continuing education.”

Human Resources Director Mindy Curtiss administers the national scholarship program. She shared, “We are extremely proud of all of the applicants to our program. These students are dedicated students and community volunteers. They are making a difference in their own way, each and every day.” Curtiss continued, “This year our applicant pool tripled in size, and our judges were impressed by the caliber of applications received.  After making the awards, we think the best part of the process is hearing from the students throughout the year. Often they’ll share their successes with us and let us know how the scholarship made a difference for their family.”

The following students received 2017 Make it Happen Scholarships:

  • Mara Frazier, daughter of Superintendent Fred Frazier – Mara is studying Kinesiology at Texas Tech University. She is a four-year athlete playing basketball, softball and track and field.
  • MacKenzie Freeman, daughter of Senior General Superintendent Victor Freeman and Estimating Coordinator Wanda Freeman – MacKenize is studying Geology and Geosciences at the University of Oklahoma. As a component of her studies, she traveled abroad for three summers to visit Japan, Greece, Italy and France.
  • Lizet Guzman, daughter of Cecilio Guzman – Lizet attends Salem College and is completing studies in Special Education. The Make it Happen Scholarship Program helped her attend an out-of-state college to pursue her degree.
  • Naomi Manriquez, daughter of Superintendent Victor Manriquez – Naomi is a Pre-Physical Therapy student at Stephen F. Austin State University. Her goal is to pursue a doctorate in Physical Therapy.
  • Rosa Rodriguez, daughter of Superintendent Sergio Rodriguez – Rosa is a Texas A&M University student. She assists in the AVID program and tutors younger students who are struggling with their academics.
  • Sara Shafer, daughter of Foreman Phil Shafer – Sara is attending Michigan State University to pursue Veterinary Medicine. She plans to specialize in exotic animal medicine due to growing demand in that field.
  • Brandon Smit, son of Foreman Jake Smit – Brandon is a Ferris State University student studying Digital Animation and Game Design. He participated in both marching band and pep band throughout all four years of high school.

The Make it Happen Scholarship Program is available to the dependent children of full time Kent Companies employees. Applicants must be under the age of 26; must be enrolled full time in a college, university or technical/trade school; and must maintain a 3.0 grade point average. The application process involves the submission of essays, recommendation letters and official transcripts. Applications are received January 1-March 31 each year.


About Kent Companies:

Kent Companies is a 3rd-generation family-owned business with expertise in commercial and industrial construction, mixed-use construction, multi-family housing, tilt-up concrete, post-tensioned cast in place structures and a full range of concrete-related specialties. Kent Companies is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and has operations in Detroit, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; central Ohio and Charlotte, North Carolina. The Kent Companies team has built a reputation as “Leaders in Concrete.”  Read more online at Additional media inquiries can be directed to Leah Gradl by emailing or by calling (616) 534-4909.