Archive by Author

We’ll Be Back!

10 Sep

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Thank you for visiting the MYPros blog! The MYPros program is going through some construction right now, and  some staffing changes. We will be back to posting and keeping up on the blog once we get through this staffing change.

Thank you for your patience!

Plymouth Park Fun Zone Renovation [Guest Post]

13 May

Fun Zone

By Stacey Urbani, City of Midland

Big things are happening in Midland and we’re excited to be part of it! After 20 years of children running and playing, the community will come together to renovate the Plymouth Park Fun Zone on June 4-8, 2014. It takes a lot of hands to renovate a playground and we could not do this without the help of volunteers and skilled professionals.

We are looking for volunteers to donate their time to help with the build, or provide food or tools for volunteers during the event. Below you will see a short description of each role that will be filled in order to complete the renovation.
Volunteer Roles

 “Skilled” (MUST BE 18yrs of age, cutting a straight line with a circular saw, familiar with power tools, measuring, cutting)
 “Unskilled” (carrying, assembling, sanding, shoveling, carpenter’s helper)
 Food Service
 Food Donation
 Tool Donation

To wrap up the project and celebrate the Fun Zone we hope you will join us for the ribbon cutting and picnic Sunday June 8 at 5:30pm. To register to fulfill a volunteer role contact Stacey Urbani at urbanis@wmfc.org or call at 989-832-3256 or register online at http://www.midlandfoundation.org/.

Fun Zone Volunteer Flyer

 

That Race Car Got Some Air! [Guest Post, Quarter Life Crisis]

17 Apr

By Steve Puvalowski
CEO, Tri-City Motor Speedway

I have learned to expect the unexpected during a race night at Tri-City Motor Speedway. On August 3, 2012, I thought the burned out scoreboard light was going to be the biggest issue to fix that night. When I was repairing the scoreboard, however, I heard over my headset that a Sprint car flipped and went through the fence and landed in the parking lot. At first I didn’t realize what was said and figured the safety crew could take care of it. Then it hit me. If the Sprint car went through the fence and landed in the parking lot, the car must have launched about nine feet in the air and landed outside of the track where fans park. (Before you freak out, this is not the reinforced 15′ fence that protects the grandstands.)

8 3 2012 SOD flipping over the fence

I hopped in my vehicle to find the driver of the Sprint car standing outside of his car, thankfully unharmed, and his car sitting within one foot from a spectator’s pickup truck. The situation now became fixing the 30-foot hole in the fence and resuming races as soon as possible so that racers and fans could still enjoy a night at the track. Amazingly, the safety crew and I fixed the fence and got the races started again with only a 40-minute delay. The Sprint car driver even got a back up car and he continued racing for remainder of the night!

Safety Crew with Sprint car that flipped over fence  landed in spectator parking

Unexpected situations can easily be stressful, frustrating and just plain difficult to deal with. However, there are some helpful steps for working through these situations and finding a solution. Here are some pointers I’ve learned:

  1. Remain calm. Take a few deep breaths and don’t freak out, no matter how bad you think it is. This will help you think more clearly when working through the issue.

Losing my cool wouldn’t have helped anything. I prepared for the worst as I drove to see the accident, but remained collected so that I could think clearly about what needed to be done.

  1. Assess the situation. Try and find out the facts of what exactly the situation/problem is. Making sure you identify the root problem will help you resolve the issue faster.

My first priority was to make sure the Sprint driver and spectators were completely safe. After that was addressed I was able to focus on the second issue, getting the fence fixed so that races could resume.

  1. Create a plan of attack. Think through the steps you will need to resolve the situation. What’s the biggest priority? Then what is next? Spending a few minutes getting manageable steps in order will save you time in the long run.

What are the steps needed to fix the fence? By sorting out the steps I could give clear directions on what had to be done i.e. taking care of the race delay and current racers, getting the right tools and materials for the fence and organizing the safety crew to make the fixes.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you simply can’t get everything done by yourself. This is when you need to find someone who can help you with the problem or assist you in working through your action steps. Sometimes another person (or people) can make all the difference in helping with an unexpected situation.

I never would have fixed the fence by myself. I relied on my crew to help me get the problem fixed and they did a great job.

Here are some other notable unexpected situations I’ve faced:

– Finding an abandoned coal mine-shaft next to the track while doing renovations.

– The night the generator broke and the whole track went black.

– When another Sprint car flipped several times and the driver needed to be cut out of his car and was airlifted to the hospital.

Oh, the stories I can tell and I have only had three years of operating Tri-City Motor Speedway under my belt. I guess you’ll have to catch me at a MYPro’s event to get the rest of the details!

Puvalowski, SteveSteve Puvalowski is the CEO and promoter of Tri-City Motor Speedway. He purchased the abandoned track in 2010 and work roughly 16 hour days for eighteen months straight renovating the track and property to get it ready for racing again in 2011. Steve grew up around racing his entire life and raced a Prostock car and an auto cross truck before he became the owner of Tri-City Motor Speedway.
Email: steve@tricityracetrack.com
Phone: (989) 316-6804

 

Millennials are Entitled and Self-Centered, Right?

13 Mar

By Jennelle Maki
Midland Area Chamber of Commerce

WRONG! As a member of the millennial generation myself, I always feel I have to combat the stereotype that we are self-centered, entitled and only care about who we are texting. Last year the MYPros Steering Committee and the Midland Area Community Foundation worked together to come up with the idea of starting a young professionals giving circle as a way for YPs to learn more about the needs in the community in which they live and to do something about those needs. When we started this club, it started out small but we have grown quite a bit in our first year. This giving circle is a great way to help put that stereotype to rest and show that we are a generation that cares, and not only do we care, but we are taking action! The 100 YP Club only takes two hours and $100 a year. It’s amazing how with a little time and money we can truly make a huge impact in our community.

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By now you’re probably thinking, “OMG, I have got to join this club, but I need more info!” The 100 YP Club started a year ago in April, 2013. In our first year, each member donated $100 annually and we gave a total of $3,900 to help local non-profits in the community. This year we hope to double that amount, and that’s where you come in. How the club works: We meet twice a year and each member contributes $50 at each meeting ($100 annually). We then take the pooled money and vote on a local cause in the community to donate our collected funds. The more people we have in the club, the larger impact we will have on the community.

Joining the club is easy; just come to our next meeting on Wednesday, March 26th at 5:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn. All you need to do is donate $50 and bring a signed application to the meeting and you’re in! For more information on the meeting, donating and to get the application form click here.

Now I have to give a big shout out to the Holiday Inn. They have allowed us to use their facility at no cost to hold our meetings. The best part of being at the Holiday Inn is heading to Big E’s and buying a beer, wine or whatever and bringing it into the meeting room so we can all enjoy a nice beverage or food during our meeting. If you ask me, you really can’t beat a tasty beverage, meeting new people, enjoying time with friends and giving back to your community in one hour of time. I hope you’ll join us on March 26th to show this town that us Millennials give a shh… crap and we take action! Because if you don’t give back, no one will like you.

Taxes…I Never Know What I am Doing [Quarter Life Crisis]

3 Mar

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I introduced a few weeks ago the concept of our Quarter Life Crisis series. In case you missed it you can click here to check it out, or if you just want to read it over and over again because let’s be honest, it’s pretty well written if I must say so myself ;). Anyway let me be the first to say that I am really glad that we will have some fellow young professionals sharing their knowledge and expertise to us for FREE! If I can be completely candid here, as with many things in my life, I seriously have no clue how to do my taxes. I did do them myself with the help of my parents in college, but since I have been a gainfully employed member of society I have now resorted to a CPA. Seriously BEST decision I have ever made! Especially since getting married and buying a house–that’s when taxes get a little more tricky than what I had to deal with in the past.

Now with an accountant, that whole “doing my taxes” burden is off my shoulders, but I do still have a challenge ahead of me…and that is finding everything to give my accountant. My husband and I attend many fundraisers, donate to church & local non-profits, donate through the 100 YP Club and donate items to places like the Habitat ReStore. All of these great tax deductible items will help us in the end. Now that we have a house we have to keep track of interest paid and other items. My husband travels a lot for work and gets to write off his mileage at the end of the year. So, in trying my best to be a productive member of society, I now have way more things to keep track of and to give to my accountant.

Anyone who knows me or has seen my cubicle knows that I am not exactly the most organized person (if you ever want to hear a story about my lack of keeping track of things, just ask anyone at the Chamber about how I lost my keys for two days and where I found them).

This past weekend my husband and I finally got to the daunting task of locating everything we needed to collect for our accountant. I have about 45 different locations where any of these items could be found. So as am I running through the house trying to remember everything I need. I realized that this is basically the adult version of an Easter egg hunt. It’s not quite as exciting, and there aren’t any chocolate eggs, but there is money at the end of it all when I find all my tax deductible receipts.

Last week fellow MYPro John Haag, a CPA at Yeo & Yeo CPA’s & Business Consultants, was a guest blogger for us and he wrote a very useful, informative and entertaining post with some tax tips for young professionals. If this past year you bought a house, got married, had a child or were paying on student loans and more, be sure to check out his post. He has some great advice to share whether you are doing your own taxes or using one of our great Chamber member CPA’s. (which you can find a list of qualified professionals here) Happy tax season everyone! Now let’s keep pushing for spring!

Welcome to Your “Quarter Life Crisis”

18 Feb

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So, this year on October 1st I turn the BIG 3-0! Yikes! I have never really been someone that puts much thought into age, nor have I ever thought, that I have ever acted my age (Blink-182’s  “What’s My Age Again?” song comes to mind as I typed that). But for some reason the thought the turning 30 actually kind of scares me. As many of you, I was rushing to turn 21 because that’s when the real fun started, right? And I must say that my 20’s really have been full of fun and lessons. But wow, is life different now in my 29th year of life than it was when I first turned 20. In the past decade I have graduated from college, moved to Virginia, Mississippi, Traverse City and Midland. I have gotten married, had several jobs, adopted a cat & dog (or two), bought a house, learned about the joys of home ownership and have found my dream job! Yes, really I love my job, and no I am not just typing that because I know my boss will be reading this article :).

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Now that I am barreling towards my 30’s I know life still has many more surprises, challenges, excitement and decisions ahead; and that I am going to need to call upon those around me to help me out from time to time. One of the best things about working at the Chamber, or as a member attending Chamber events, is that you get to know a plethora of people in a variety of vocations. So when I have a question about something, or need help, I usually know someone that I can call upon personally to help me out. Now I know that not everyone has the luxury of getting out of the office as much as they would like to attend events and meet new people. So that is why the MYPros Communication Committee has come up with a new featured segment we endearingly call “Quarter Life Crisis.” As we have our meetings each month we have come to realize that our age group is at a pivotal point in our lives, and that this is probably a point in many of our lives when there are more things changing and happening than ever! We are getting married, paying off student loans, buying cars & houses, paying property taxes for the first time, starting families, thinking about our children’s future and how to pay for their college and so much more! So with the help of our fellow Chamber member young professionals we will have advice relevant to young professionals from attorneys, accountants, realtors, lenders, insurance agents, financial advisors and more. We will also be sharing some of our own personal stories as we learn all about becoming an adult. I am still not sure I am ready to be an “adult;” I just don’t feel it’s for me! Anyway, I hope that you find this new segment informative, enjoyable and entertaining. Stay tuned for next week, we will have some great tax advice for YP’s just in time for tax season!

If there’s anything you would like to see featured in our “Quarter Life Crisis” segment, comment below and we will do our best to get questions answered and information out that is relevant to you and other YP’s.

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MYPros in 2013: We Didn’t Take This Year Lying Down!

15 Jan

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I was going to start off this blog post by saying something like “wow 2013 has come and gone, and… Can you believe it’s already 2014!” But that seems so generic and I tend to try to do things a little differently! So I am going to start by saying that I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for MYPros. In 2013 we accomplished so much and added a few more layers to this program. If you’re someone who likes to go by the numbers, here’s a breakdown of the 2013 MYPros program.

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  • There were 14 total young professional events.
  • MYPros hosted 10 total events for the year and we were hosted by Saginaw and Bay City YPs for four events, two per city.
  • MYPros held four luncheons, four social events (two were regional) and two Pilsners & Politics.
  • There were 527 total young professionals that attended at least one MYPros event.  I have to say that again…that’s 527 individuals!
  • We raised $2,300 to pay for MYPros t-shirts to be given out to YP’s. We raised this money by hosting the “Fury at Currie” golf outing.
  • We started a new giving circle in Midland specifically for young professionals, the 100 Young Professionals Club. The 100 YP Club’s goal is to obtain 100 members; in our first year we have 46 members.
  • The 100 YP Club held two meetings and donated a total of $3,900 in 2013; $1,600 to Midland Area Homes and $2,300 to Creative 360.
  • In 2013, the MYPros Communications Subcommittee created 12 newsletters, one every month.
  • The Communications Subcommittee also unveiled the new MYPros blog in July of 2013. To date we have had 2,146 hits in just six months.
  • The MYPros Marquee was created in 2013 as a resource for young professionals to find out what’s going on in the community and all the fun events happening.
  • 2013 was the last year our wonderful, fearless leader, Karl Ieuter of Ieuter Insurance Group, was Chair of the MYPros Steering Committee.  A special thank you goes out to Karl; he has devoted much of his time to this program and has been a dedicated Chair for the past three years. Thank you Karl!

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So after all this you might be asking, what’s next in 2014? Well here’s a peek into the upcoming year…

  • Ben Morlock of The Dow Chemical Company  will be Chair of the MYPros Steering Committee, and Trish Ross of Members First Credit Union will be Chair-Elect.
  • New this year, MYPros will host two orientation sessions for new members of MYPros. This will help new YP’s learn more about the program and how they can get involved. These sessions will be sponsored by Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School.
  • We will continue with our events, hosting four luncheons, social events and Pilsners & Politics.
  • The 100 YP Club will meet twice this year again and we hope by the end of 2014 we will reach our goal of 100 members!
  • We will continue to grow the MYPros blog and newsletter, as well as the MYPros Marquee.

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This is just a sample of what’s to come in 2014! Thank you to all of you who help to make the MYPros program what it is today, either by volunteering on a committee or attending events. Without all of your participation we wouldn’t have this program. So thank you again for making 2013 a success! If you have any comments or suggestions for programming in 2014, please feel free to email me your thoughts at jmaki@macc.org.  I always love to hear new ideas!

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16 Nov

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We’ve got a very interesting luncheon coming on December 12th at  D’Alessandro’s Tuscany Hall. We will have Dr. Todd Thomas who is a professor at the DeVos Graduate School at Northwood coming to do the True Color Personality workshop.  Dr. Thomas is a speaker, author, educator and coach who has provided seminars and presentations in over 20 countries. Dr. Thomas has coached and consulted with over 3000 leaders from 40 different countries spanning 4 continents.. He has been featured on Fox Business News, CNBC’s Squawk Box, the Wall Street Journal, the Street.com and other media and publications. 

“In this highly interactive and entertaining workshop, Dr. Todd Thomas will take you through the process of not only examining your own personality, but finding the strengths and barriers that your personality bring to effective leadership and relationships. Using the True Colors© tool, you will have a chance to develop new insights, even if you’ve taken many personality assessments before. This is one of Todd’s most popular workshops, presented to hundreds of leaders around the globe. Whether you are the direct “Just Get-‘er-Done” type of leader or the loving “Kumbaya” type,  you will leave this workshop with ideas you can put into action immediately.”

To register for this event or for more info click here.

Holiday Wishes Gala

15 Nov

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I am very excited about the next MYPros social event. MYPros and the Young Leaders United are getting together for a fun festive event that benefits the United Way Sharing Tree, Safe & Sound Child Advocacy Center and Midland Area Homes.  The Holiday Wishes Gala was started in 2009 by a group of Midland residents that wanted to help the community.  Since then they have hosted the event each year at the Dow Diamond. They came up with this fundraiser to help the United Way fill the sharing tree requests, as well as two other local non-profits.

I attended this event for the first time last year and it was blast! There is a ton of food, great prizes for auction, raffles, and ways to win prizes. Since I had such a good time at this event last year I thought it would be a great event to host a MYPros social at.  We will have a private reception just for young professionals from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the Great Lakes Reserve (the bar in the suite level), Sue Moody, Mortgage Officer at Chemical Bank has sponsored an iPad give away just for us. Peter Baiardi, Realtor at Ayre/Rhinehart has also sponsored the beverages for the YP reception.  Also, don’t forget to bring a new unwrapped toy to be entered in a special prize drawing that I am working on. Trust me the prize will be a good one, I have many businesses eager to donate to help out! The more toys you bring, the more tickets you will receive to be entered into the drawing. Click here to register or for more info.

Drink Local, Drink Well!

17 Oct

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It’s no secret that many of us young professionals would like to see a few more watering holes around Midland.  So it wasn’t a surprise that Midland was eagerly awaiting the opening of WhichCraft Taproom.  When I heard that WhichCraft was going to feature all local Michigan beers and wines I was so excited. Not only do I think Michigan beer and wine is fabulous, but I love that they are on board with WEconomic Power, and supporting Michigan’s economy by drinking local! I was curious to learn more about this unique new taproom in Midland, and I think many others are as well.  So I hope you enjoy our short interview with Richard and Sharon Caldwell, the owners of WhichCraft.

1. What Challenges are you facing right now?
We imagine they are similar to the problems faced by all start-up businesses. We are obviously still learning our systems and making tweaks as necessary. The first few weeks, we kept having to run to the store for food and beg our distributors to bring us more beer!

We have been overwhelmed (in a truly fantastic way) by the response we received from the community. We expected to be busy when we opened, but WOW, we were really busy! There was literally a line down the block on opening day. That was a surprise! Guests had to wait a very long time for their drinks/food those first few nights. But in all honesty, the crowds are wonderful as they forced us to learn our systems on the fly. We hope that people are patient with us (and our staff in particular, who are truly wonderful) as we continue to adjust things to improve customer service. The more we do it, the better we become!

2. How do you foresee WhichCraft shaping the future of Midland’s downtown?
We really hope to be just one of many businesses bringing people to downtown Midland. There are a lot of exciting things happening downtown, and we are happy to be just a small part of it.

3. What type of experience do you hope people will have at your bar, and how are you different from other local bars?
We hope people try something new! With 40 different types of beer, cider, or mead on tap at all times and a constantly rotating menu of draft selections, you will never see the same menu twice! Order a flight; try a style, brewery, or beer you’ve never had. Expand your horizons. Be brave!

We also hope people take a few moments to talk to their server or bartender. Our staff is extremely knowledgeable, and many of them are truly in it for the love of beer!

What sets us apart? First and foremost, it really is all about the beer. More than anything else, we are dedicated to bringing great products (beer, cider, wine, & mead), made right here in Michigan, to downtown Midland. Craft beer (and wine, cider, and mead) is passionately produced by artisans who care about the products they are producing and love the process of producing them. It has flavor; it has texture: it isn’t mass-produced, its artistry. It has a history, a purpose, and a story to tell.

Similarly, the building itself has a story to tell. Built in the late 1800s, it was originally a livery stable and later Glovers Pharmacy and Mashue Printing. It has been owned by the same family for generations. We wanted to preserve the history of the building, which is why we left the original brick walls exposed. You can actually see where windows were once filled in.

Finally, WhichCraft Taproom truly was built by hand. Richard fabricated the intricate tongue-and-groove bar front with wood he found in the basement. He built the bar top and table tops from a reclaimed bowling alley lane and created the community tables with wood from salvaged fallen trees found in the UP. The items Richard didn’t make himself (barstools, brushed metal tapwall, and room dividers) were handmade by Matt Weckesser of FAB Custom designs. From the art on the walls (aluminum overlaid with photography from local artist Ryan Aiman) to the hand-made ceramic Mug Club Mugs (by local artist Julie Tyrrell, through Serendipity 181), we wanted to showcase local talent that was both beautiful and relevant.
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4. Where did you come up with the idea for your business?
Honestly, it all started with an article in the Midland Daily News! We read an article talking about the plethora of redevelopment liquor licenses available in the downtown district and started to do some research.

5. How did you get started? What’s your background?
Richard is a fourth-generation native of Midland who earned an MBA and a Law degree from MSU before moving back to Midland to work for Dow Chemical, where he spent four years in the finance department until he left to open WhichCraft Taproom. Sharon is a native of West Michigan with a professional background in marketing and publishing.

6. Following you on Facebook, it looked like there were some hurdles to jump while trying to open. What were the struggles of opening your business?
There are always a few surprises when attempting to renovate a building that is more than 100 years old, but the biggest single hurdle was the installation of the walk-in cooler, part of which was actually lost in transit. The shipping company spent about a week looking for it before we realized that the missing parts would have to be re-made. Then, when it arrived, it was to different dimensions than we expected. We were able to improvise, but we did loose at least a month. In the end, everything works as expected, so we really can’t complain!

More than anything, we just underestimated the amount of time each particular step of the process would take! We really didn’t have any major hurdles, everything just took a little longer than expected.

7. What do you hope for the future of WhichCraft? 
We are interested in developing some house-branded beer.