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The Right Place

Photo of Rick Chapla

Rick Chapla

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

616-443-6053 chaplar@rightplace.org

Rick Chapla is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for The Right Place. In his current role as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, his responsibilities include assisting local units of government and private development interests with economic development policies and programs throughout the 13-county West Michigan region.

Past Experience

As a native of Grand Rapids, Rick has been involved in community and economic development planning for 35 years. Rick joined The Right Place in 1996, and his previous work experience includes 16 years with the City of Muskegon, a West Michigan lakeshore community of 40,000, where he served in a variety of positions including Director of Planning and Economic Development. He also worked for EARTH TECH, a multi-disciplinary consulting company, where he specialized in land-use planning, grant writing, environmental studies and lay planner training.

Community Involvement

  • Past President of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan
  • Past President of the Michigan Society of Planning Officials, now known as the Michigan Association of Planning
  • Past member of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network
  • Past member and chairperson (4 years) of the East Grand Rapids Planning Commission
  • AccessKent Advisory Board of Directors
  • West Michigan Prosperity Alliance Board of Directors and Executive Committee
  • GVSU Seidman School of Business Economics Department Advisory Committee and Mentor
  • Land Conservancy of West Michigan Highlands Fund Development Advisory Committee


  • Bachelor of Arts, Urban Studies | Aquinas College
  • Master’s Degree, Urban Planning | University of Michigan

Favorite part about living in West Michigan 

Rick’s favorite part about living in West Michigan is the ability to pick a variety of fruits and vegetables, either right in his own backyard, or from one of the many blueberry, cherry, or apple farms nearby.

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