Flyfishing during meeting breaks? If that's your pleasure, you can do that and much more in the sparkling city of Grand Rapids, Mich., site of RCMA 2009.

Grand Rapids has worked hard to position itself as a meetings destination, and the centerpiece of its meetings offerings is DeVos Place convention center. DeVos Place integrates architecture, furniture, and technology to provide an unparalleled environment for conducting business. Steelcase Inc. collaborated with the building's architects to develop new solutions for encouraging more effective learning and interaction.

Located downtown on the Grand River, the multilevel facility provides 1 million square feet of new and renovated space on 13 acres. It is equipped for meetings, conventions, and trade shows as well as performing arts and touring events, and can host events simultaneously.

The 162,000 square-foot, full-service exhibit hall can be divided into three rooms, with a ceiling 72 feet high at its highest point. The exhibit hall can accommodate up to 13,000 people banquet-style and up to 18,000 for a reception.

The building's 12 loading docks with a wash bay, two ramps, and marshalling areas allow for easy and efficient load-in and load-out. Floor pockets are located every 30 feet. Acoustic wall treatments allow for sound control. The show offices, on the second level of the convention center, look down on the 360-foot span of the exhibit hall.

Twenty-six subdividable meeting rooms with varying capacities are available in four areas. The meeting rooms offer more than 24,000 square feet of space and can accommodate up to 2,980 guests.

Transportation

Gerald R. Ford International Airport serves Grand Rapids and the West Michigan region. Nonstop passenger service is offered to: cities: Atlanta, Chicago/O'Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York/Newark and LaGuardia, Orlando, and Washington, D.C.

The airport is served by American Eagle, Continental Express, Delta Connection/Comair, Midwest Connect, Northwest, and United airlines.

Furniture, Bibles, and Fruit

Chances are you have sat in furniture from Grand Rapids, read from Bibles that were published in Grand Rapids, and eaten fruit grown in the area.

During the second half of the 19th century, the city became a lumber center and the premier furniture manufacturing city of the United States. Today, Grand Rapids is a world leader in the production of office furniture.

Recently the city has had success developing and attracting health-sciences businesses.

The Grand Rapids area is also home to Alticor/Amway (a consumer goods manufacturer and distributor), Meijer (a chain of “super center”-type stores), Smiths Industries (an Aerospace products company), Wolverine World Wide (a designer and manufacter of shoes, boots and clothing), and Universal Forest Products (a building materials company).

The city is known as a center of Christian publishing, home to Zondervan, Baker Books, and Eerdmans Publishing.

The surrounding area is noted for fruit production. With its proximity to Lake Michigan, the climate is ideal for apple, peach, and blueberry farming.

Grand Rapids Fast Facts

Location: on the western side of Michigan's Lower Peninsula

Population: 193,000 (2006 estimate)

Notable natives: Gerald Ford, Gillian Anderson (actress), Wayne Huizenga (owner of the NFL Miami Dolphins), Floyd Mayweather (boxer), Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel (co-founders of Amway)

Heritage: If you recognize Dutch surnames, you will see the influence of Dutch Americans throughout Grand Rapids. The city has one of the largest concentrations in the U.S. of people with Dutch heritage.

Reasons to Like Grand Rapids

  1. Vibrant Arts Scene

    Michigan's only professional ballet and opera companies • America's second-largest community theater • one of the nation's most influential colleges of art and design • art museums for both traditionalists and modernists • galleries stretching from the city to the lakeshore

  2. Respect for History

    Preserved historic homes and covered bridges • museum exhibits on maritime traditions, furniture-making • Dutch heritage attractions

  3. Delectable Cuisine

    Michigan's only five-star, five-diamond restaurant • one of America's Top 50 Hispanic restaurants • national chains, plus independent eateries

  4. Outdoor Recreation

    Highly regarded golf and fishing • one of the nation's largest urban green spaces, ideal for swimming and picnicking • boating, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing, hunting

  5. Shopping

    Mega-malls, locally owned boutiques, neighborhood shopping districts, art galleries, and antiques stores

  6. Lakeside Leisure

    One of America's best beaches • charming resort towns and villages • brilliant sunsets, towering sand dunes, and fresh, clear waters