Community Leadership Award
Congratulations to this year’s co-recipients of the 2016 Claude and Marion Robinson Community Leadership Award, Sheila VanZile and Pat Vredevoogd Combs!
Sheila E. VanZile is founder of Watermark Insurance Services at 4981 Cascade Road SE. Suite B, in Cascade. Watermark is an independent property/casualty insurance agency. Sheila has an extensive knowledge of the insurance industry from the insurance carrier, broker and agency perspectives.
Since late 2004, Watermark Insurance Services has fulfilled her vision for a concierge approach to the business, serving as personal insurance advisor and resource for each client. The agency offers a comprehensive selection of personal property and casualty insurance services, including homes, autos, boats, collections and umbrella; the focus is on competitive pricing supported by impeccable service.
VanZile’s extensive insurance industry experience spans 35+ years in management and leadership with profit and loss accountability within the property/casualty insurance industry, including sales, marketing, distribution, and underwriting disciplines. Sheila led and managed insurance company operations at the local, regional and national level. This included Regional Insurance Services Practice Leader (Midwest Region) for Marsh USA, Regional Vice President (Western/Northern Michigan Branch) for Citizens Insurance Company, and senior management positions with CNA Companies throughout the Midwest. She moved to West Michigan in 1999.
From a community service perspective, VanZile currently serves on the board of St. Cecilia Music Center and is a member of their Development Committee and Campaign Cabinet. She is also Co-Chair of the Cascade Community Foundation Capital Campaign, “Community is our Middle Name”.
In 2013, she was a member of the team that successfully capped the campaign to complete the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building at Kendall College of Art and Design. Previously, she served from 2004-2012 on the board of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, where she completed her last 3 years as board chair in 2012. This included serving as the Operating Chair of the capital campaign for the new facility at Fulton and Division. Additionally, she has served as board member and VP of Fund Development for the Cascade Community Foundation.
Sheila was honored as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan in 2016,as well as a Top Women Owned Business by the Grand Rapids Business Journal in 2011 and 2013, and also was named an Inforum Inner Circle member in 2011.
She earned her BA degree in Economics from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. She has a passion for great friends, travel, winetasting, entertaining, functional ceramics, and music.
Much to her delight, Sheila’s son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Emelee Van Zile, have recently returned to West Michigan. Sheila shares her home in Cascade with 2 long haired miniature dachshunds, Sadie and Pepper.
PAT VREDEVOOGD COMBS
Pat is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan and is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker AJS Schmidt Realty. Pat was a broker/part-owner of AJS Realty before selling in 2006 to Coldwell Banker Schmidt. Pat is married to team member Guy Combs and is the proud mother and step-mom to six great kids and grandmother of Ethan, Anna, Claire, Violet, Elsa, Willa, Fern, Andrew, and Bayla.
She began her career in Real Estate in 1971 as an agent. Her broker license followed and she expanded her expertise with the following educational certifications:
– ABR (Accredited Buyer´s Agent)
– GRI (Graduate Real Estate Institute)
Many of Pat´s years were busy serving not only her clients but also her community and her professional associations. Here are a few things of note:
– 2007 – President of the National Association of REALTORS
– 2007 – Testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and U. S. Senate regarding real estate issues.
– 2005 – 2008 Officer of the National Association of REALTORS
– 2002 – REALTOR of the Year for the State of Michigan
– 2002 – Chairman of the Michigan Real Estate Commission
– 1997 – Regional Vice President – National Association of REALTORS
– 1995 – President of the Michigan Association of REALTORS
– 1990 – President of the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS
– 1986 – President of the Michigan Woman´s Council of REALTORS
– Board Member of Baxter Community Center
– Board Member of West Michigan Fair Housing Center
– 4-H Leader (Horse Program)
– Cascade Township 4th of July Parade Float Contest Sponsor
– Board Member of Cascade Township Foundation
– Major Gift Chair for WGVU Public TV Auction
– Guest on WGVU “Ask the Realtor” TV Program