She is among the region’s most influential women business owners, leaders, policy-shapers and decision-makers chosen for the honor.
The honorees will be recognized during a March 8 awards luncheon at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Business Journal reviewed more than 100 nominations of women leading West Michigan businesses and communities for its biennial list.
Ridings called the award a “great honor.”
“As president of the Mary Free Bed Guild, I have the advantage of following in the footsteps of my predecessors – many dynamic women – and the work that they have accomplished,” she said, noting 2016 marks the Guild’s 125th anniversary. “The Guild has made contributions in rehabilitation services and universal design standards, and has provided opportunities for people of all abilities.”
Ridings has been involved in the West Michigan community professionally and as a volunteer for more than 3 decades.
Her interest in construction led her to Ferris State University, where she earned an associate’s degree in architectural drafting and was only the third woman to obtain a Bachelor of Science in construction management. She earned a Master of Management from Aquinas College.
During her 35-plus years in the construction field, Ridings has held various positions, from cost estimator to project manager, and earned recognition as a Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) from the American Institute of Constructors. She has served on the Industry Advisory Board for the Construction Management program at Ferris State, advocating for women in non-traditional roles. She is a senior project designer for Eagle Management Company, which manages commercial office space in the Grand Rapids area.
Her volunteer efforts began more than 20 years ago, when Ridings started volunteering for Artists Creating Together (ACT) (formerly Very Special Arts) to bring art, in all its forms, to children and adults with disabilities. She served 5 years as chair of the organization’s board.
She joined the Mary Free Bed Guild in 2003 and has served on the board in various capacities for the past 10 years. During this exciting time, the Guild collaborated with the YMCA to build the first health and wellness facility in the world to receive Universal Design Certification from the Global Universal Design Commission. The fully-accessible Mary Free Bed YMCA also serves as home base for Mary Free Bed’s Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports teams and clinics, and the Mary Free Bed Musculoskeletal Clinic.
Ridings also is chair of the Board of Trustees’ Architectural Oversite Committee, which has overseen the $66.4 million expansion and renovation project on the Mary Free Bed campus. The 240,000-square-foot west addition makes Mary Free Bed the fifth-largest free-standing rehabilitation hospital in the country.
“This award will bring to the forefront these accomplishments,” Ridings said. “The Guild today is laying the groundwork for the next 125 years to provide hope and freedom.”
Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited rehabilitation hospital. For 125 years, Mary Free Bed has restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation for children and adults who have experienced brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses. The combination of comprehensive services and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables specialty physicians and staff to help patients achieve outstanding clinical results.