Archive by Author

9 Reasons You Know It’s Spring in Midland

28 Apr

 By Mark Kawiecki

With spring in the air, MYPros have finally been coming out from winter hibernation. Here are the top 9 reasons that you know its spring time in Midland!

9. You’ve seen your neighbors for the first time in 5 months.

8. Mobs of people are blocking streets downtown to walk to Great Lakes Loons baseball games.

7. A standard conversation involves discussing how high the Tittabawassee River is flooding.

6. The Farmer’s Market opens!

5. Hundreds of people start planting flowers along major roadways.

4. You can kayak around Chippewassee Park and see the statue family ‘walking on water.’

3. You’ve got your heat on in the morning and A/C on in the afternoon.

2. Great Lakes Ice Cream Company opens and the waiting line stretches down the street.

1.  The Rail Trail becomes a thing again.

Once the weather breaks, the Rail Trail is a great spot for biking or running. Photo by C Hanchey from https://www.flickr.com/photos/21953562@N07/. Some rights reserved.

Once the weather breaks, the Rail Trail is a great spot for biking or running. Photo by C Hanchey from https://www.flickr.com/photos/21953562@N07/. Some rights reserved.

On behalf of the Communications Subcommittee, we hope all MYPros have been able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather!

Are there any things you think we missed? If so, comment below!

 

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Summer Breeze: Pure Michigan Campaign Highlights Great Lakes Bay Region

14 Mar

By Mark Kawiecki

Pure Michigan ads aren’t anything new. In fact, the Pure Michigan campaign has now been active for nearly 10 years! Launched in 2006, the campaign has been highly recognized for its effectiveness at bringing tourism and attention to the wonderful state of Michigan.

Pure Michigan’s most recent television ad focuses on the Great Lakes Bay Region. I have really enjoyed all of the Pure Michigan ads, but this one is especially exciting because it will be bringing positive attention to our region. You might recognize some familiar places that are featured in the video like the Tridge, Dow Gardens, Currie Municipal Golf Course, Bay City’s Riverwalk and Frankenmuth’s downtown.

Michigan deserves a big pat on the back from the success of the campaign through the years. Statistics for 2013 show that the Pure Michigan campaign drove more than 4 million trips last year, generating $1.2 billion in economic impact. For the $13 million that was spent on out-of-state advertising, the campaign generated $86.5 million in tax revenue from visitor spending, a return of $6.66 for ever dollar spent.

The 2014 Pure Michigan national campaign will be launching March 17. Due to the success of their efforts, Michigan will also be increasing their international marketing in new areas like Toronto. Presence in global markets like Great Britain, Germany and China will also be increasing.

What do you think of the new ad? Does it represent the region well? Comment below with your thoughts.

RECAP: A Wild Gourmet Experience

19 Nov

Gourmet Gone Wild logo

Our society enjoys plenty of meats and foods that come from animals, but a surprising number of individuals would tell you they have never tasted wild game. By wild game, I’m talking about food from deer, elk, grouse, pheasant or even local fish, among many others animal species, that aren’t your typical grocery store commodity.

Several weeks ago, regional young professional groups, including your very own MYPros, teamed up to bring Gourmet Gone Wild to Saginaw, and I had the pleasure of attending.

Gourmet Gone Wild is a Michigan-specific traveling event that aims to introduce young people to wild game, conservation and outdoor recreation like hunting and fishing. Backed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan United Conservation Club and Pheasants Forever, among other organizations, these events not only prove that wild game can be delicious, but also that eating wild game is a healthy and sustainable practice for local communities around the state.

Pour the wine! Gourmet Gone Wild staff serve Michigan beers and wines while regional young professionals enjoy food in the background. Photo credit: Vanessa Thurgood

Pour the wine! Gourmet Gone Wild staff serve Michigan beers and wines while regional young professionals enjoy food and socializing in the background. Photo credit: Vanessa Thurgood.

The menu for our event included:

– Mozzarella-stuffed venison (deer meat) meatballs
– Spicy curried pheasant wontons
– Salmon cakes
– Paw paw fruit panna cotta

One neat thing about this event was in knowing that all the food was harvested locally to our region or state. This idea of eating locally-produced food is known as the ‘locavore movement,’ which Gourmet Gone Wild exemplifies. The deer and pheasants were harvested locally, the salmon was fresh caught from Lake Michigan and I know nothing about paw paw fruit other than it is native to Michigan (and that it was pretty tasty in a panna cotta dessert). I’m no food critic, so I won’t try and explain how each food “interacted with my palate.” I will say that I went back for seconds on all the items…and maybe thirds.

Tasty tasty! The menu was a delicious combination of Michigan-harvested wild game and fish. Photo credit: Vanessa Thurgood.

Tasty tasty! The menu was a delicious combination of Michigan-harvested wild game, fish and fruit. Photo credit: Vanessa Thurgood.

In addition, the wild game menu is paired with Michigan beers and wines. Most of the area’s young professionals can already attest to the deliciousness of Michigan-made adult refreshments, so I won’t go into details here either, other than to say they were tasty, of course.

To top off the night, wild game chef Dan Nelsen gave a quick presentation on how to prepare the venison meat ball recipe, including some tips/tricks for cooking venison, since the meat is leaner and dries out quicker than normal beef.

Wild game chef Dan Nelson gives a presentation on how to prepare venison meatballs. Photo credit: Vanessa Thurgood.

Wild game chef Dan Nelson gives a presentation on how to prepare venison meatballs. Photo credit: Vanessa Thurgood.

Being a hunter and fisherman myself, I appreciate Gourmet Gone Wild and their mission to introduce individuals to the outdoors and the eating of wild game. One thing about harvesting food myself, whether from Michigan’s woods, lakes or rivers, is that I have a greater appreciation about the food I eat and where it comes from. No, hunting isn’t for everyone. But I do believe that seeing the process through, from the woods to the dinner plate, is a rewarding experience and I encourage everyone to try it.

Are there any hunters or fisherman in MYPros that will be enjoying the woods or water this year? If you don’t hunt or fish, would you be willing to try it? Comment below!

If you are interested in Gourmet Gone Wild or the introductory hunting programs they offer to harvest food for their events, visit www.gourmetgonewild.org.

Bright Colors, Big Flames and Dreams of Flying

10 Sep
A colorful balloon floats straight overhead at the 2012 RE/MAX of Midland Hot Air Balloon festival. Photo by Mark Kawiecki.

A colorful balloon floats straight overhead at the 2012 RE/MAX of Midland Hot Air Balloon Festival. Photo by Mark Kawiecki.

Hot air balloons are amazing. I’ve never ridden in one, but just watching them makes me feel like a little kid again. I get excited, mesmerized and I start dreaming about flying high above the city with the thunderous sound of the flame torch beside me. Power, beauty and grace all wrapped into one flying machine.

That’s why the RE/MAX of Midland Balloon Festival is one of my all-time favorite Midland events. It’s coming up fast so mark you calendars for September 12-15. More details can be found here.

Photo by Mark Kawiecki.

Photo by Mark Kawiecki.

Photo by Mark Kawiecki.

Photo by Mark Kawiecki.

Photo by Mark Kawiecki.

Photo by Mark Kawiecki.

The Story of Humpty Dumpty – It’s a Lie!

29 Jul

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. 
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men 
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

shutterstock_116842531

We’ve all heard it. Whatever, it’s an old nursery rhyme.

But all too often I have applied this story to my work mistakes – I messed up and it’s going to ruin me. In my three years of post-college work experience, I’ve made a few rather large ones. One or two truly terrified me. I didn’t think the eggshell could be fixed.

I keep coming back to the realization, however, that mistakes are actually a necessary part of growth. One of my favorite quotes is from Tom Kelley, a design genius and founder of one of the most innovative design companies in America. His motto is “fail often so you can succeed sooner.” In other words, you’re going to mess up at some point – get it over with so you can figure out the right way to do things.

How true, yet how difficult.

Unlike Humpty, when we fall and break, we can almost always get glued together again, and it usually it makes us stronger.

Those big mistakes I mentioned? Only one thing saved me. Owning up. I didn’t pass off the blame and I didn’t make excuses. I went to the person immediately, apologized (and meant it) and I asked how I could rectify the situation.

The startling response was that almost everyone thanked me for being honest and gave forgiveness. Of course, I then worked my butt off to make sure the situation was taken care of. In addition, I found that by owning up, I gained a lot of respect and trust from those individuals.

You can’t always grow in your work/career through reading a book or attending a seminar; sometimes you just have to fail. Is it fun? Heck no, mistakes suck. But does it make you a better person? Absolutely.

-Mark Kawiecki