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Winter Quarterly Newsletter

15 Dec

MYP-December V1


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.
Phone: (989) 316-6804


Little Fish, Big Fish [Guest Post, Quarter Life Crisis]

25 Mar

By Chelsie Schroeder
The Dow Chemical Company
on assignment by Kelly Services

Are you a big fish in a small pond or are you a small fish swimming in the ocean? When we graduated college we faced a decision about our career path… small business, non-profit or corporate. Each of these businesses certainly has its pros and cons and I have had the opportunity, first hand, to swim in each “body of water.”

Big Fish Little Fish

Most people have their preconceived notions about each particular type of business. Small businesses have no money or opportunities to grow, non-profits don’t make money and are less competent, and corporations are cut throat and only focused on the bottom line. However, working for each of these businesses has allowed me to clarify these theories.

Small businesses and non-profits have similar pros and cons regarding business structure and environment. From my experience, both allow more of a flexible work schedule, with a larger opportunity to be involved outside of the business. Networking experiences are easier to come across, simply due to the need to network and expand the business as far as possible. You may not get paid as much as you would in a corporation; however, there are several learning opportunities that you will not get in a large firm; for instance, seeing a project from its mere ideal state to completion and have a hand in each step. These types of projects make you feel like you are making a larger impact/difference in the community, and some of the best-run companies out there are small businesses or non-profit

The two biggest cons of these types of smaller businesses are obviously the pay/benefits and the limited opportunities for growth. Now don’t get me wrong, there are smaller businesses that pay really well and give you potential for growth; however, those are few and far between. Though they may want to, small and non-profit businesses usually do not have the funds to pay someone a larger salary for their work or provide them with learning opportunities, to expand their knowledge base.

Quiet, unfriendly, competitive, cut-throat…Corporate. No; however, corporate America does have a negative connotation about it. I believe that this is due to the challenging work environment that allows fewer individuals to make it to the top. Most people have to abide by more strict working hours and end up putting in more time outside of the work day to fulfill their recommended workloads. Individuals working within corporate businesses also have fewer chances to get outside of that working environment and network with people of the small businesses/non-profits because their schedules are simply too busy.

Although these things might deter someone from working corporate, there are several pros to be in the big business world. Obviously the pay/benefit options are going to be much larger than they are for small businesses. There is more money flow in these types of businesses allowing them to pay their employees a competitive salary with lucrative benefits and large opportunities for growth/learning. You may not see a project move from start to finish in a large firm, but you do get to be a part of a functional team that works together on their specific segment of the whole. Sometimes you may get in a team that is cut and dry or stuffy, on the other hand through my experience, I am working with a friendly group of people who have the same goal and are willing to help each other succeed.

So what is better…being a big fish in a small pond or are you a small fish swimming in the ocean? This answer is truly up to the individual, priorities and career goals. If you could choose to start over today, where would you choose to “swim?”

Chelsie Head ShotChelsie is a God following, creative, outgoing, curly haired, tall, vizsla loving, vino sipper, shopaholic who is addicted to volleyball, spinning, and her supportive husband. Contact Chelsie at

Welcome to Your “Quarter Life Crisis”

18 Feb


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 :).


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.


Things I’ve Learned from My Father

4 Feb


I’ve been a daddy’s girl my entire life – I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb with a fondness for my father.  The other night I was looking through some old photo albums and remembering fun times my dad and I have had together.  Doing so, made me realize that the values my dad taught me, whether intended or not, have impacted who I am both personally and professionally.  Often we forget that we learn the most from those we interact with daily, like our parents and peers and those interactions often shape and influence who we become and the career paths we choose.  Below, are some of my favorite values my dad has instilled into who I am today.

1.  Stay Calm and Think It Through
Staying calm can be hard to do, but somehow my dad has mastered it.  I recall my 10-year-old self, fishing on a small boat with my dad, brother and little cousin and getting “hooked”, which resulted in a minnow slowly making its journey down my back.  I of course freaked out, which I’m pretty sure I’d still do today at 30 but my dad told me if I didn’t stop wailing around I was going to flip the entire boat over and we would face a much bigger problem.  I think that is something we can all relate to, we stress ourselves out thinking about how a problem is going to effect ourselves but we don’t stop to think about how that same problem is affecting others as well, maybe with a greater impact.   So next time a problem arises, stay calm and think it through and if it’s still really bad, then allow yourself to freak out.

2. Don’t Hesitate to Help Others
If you know my dad, most likely he’s helped you in some form or fashion.  That’s just the type of person he is, he’ll gladly help anyone without a single complaint.  He’s always encouraged me to help family, friends, coworkers, and strangers in any way possible, knowing that those sometimes “unpleasant experiences” will lead to more meaningful relationships and some of my fondest memories.  And you know what?  He was right.  There have been many instances where it would have been much easier to say “that’s not my job or problem” but by taking the time to help someone it has benefited me both personally and professionally.  So next time you’re trying to come up with an excuse of why you can’t help someone, make the time to help them out in any way you can.

3.  Find Laughter, Humor, or Joy in Every Situation
How does staining a never-ending fence on a humid 97 degree day sound?  Well right now it might sound tempting being stuck in this polar vortex, but it didn’t seem so great this past summer on day 4 of our staining spree.  But sure enough, I could count on my dad to be whistling away while covered in stain, enjoying the time spent with his favorite (and only) daughter.  We’re often surrounded with so much negativity that we forget to look for any positive aspect of the moment.  So next time you face a difficult or unpleasant situation, take the time to dig up some laughter, humor or joy – trust me, it’s worth it.

These core values that I have learned from my father have greatly impacted who I am today, both personally and professionally.  As a mother of two little boys I’m eager to see what values they’ll learn from my husband and I, but also what I’ll learn from them.  What are some of your favorite values you’ve learned from your parents?

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

15 Jan


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.


  • 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!


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.


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  I always love to hear new ideas!


10 Things You Should Accomplish in 2014

7 Jan

The key to being better at anything is consistency. Whether you’re choosing a New Year resolution or having a quarter-life-crisis in June, identify a few simple things that you can develop into habits and build skills that will help you overcome career-changing and challenging situations.

1. Become a better writer

Writing is a simple way to improve communication overall. Committing to becoming a better writer will strengthen your communication skill and it will last forever. Start a blog to share your ideas with the world. I suggest WordPress or Tumblr to build a base with. Both are well known and easy to use.

Writing a journal is an alternative, low-pressure way to regularly write without the pressure of making your thoughts and writing available for public consumption. I recommend (and personally use) Day One, a digital private journal. It has a mac app for my computer and an iPhone app for jotting down quick thoughts on the go.

Make it measurable: Aim for at least 1 post a week.

2. Volunteer for something new

Volunteering gives you an opportunity to polish your skills while helping others. There is no better way to learn and grow than when you’re work is helping others. Choose an activity where you’ll get to meet new people with similar goals. Bonus: it strengthens your network.

Make it measurable: Sign up for 1 volunteer activity this year.

3. Pitch a new project to your boss

Suggest an improvement to a process or a new way to help the company you work for. It will give you an opportunity to develop a pitch, deliver it via report or presentation (polishing writing, and/or presenting!) and earn you some respect from leadership. It will probably add a little more work to what is already expected of you but it’s worth it.

Make it measurable: Choose one project in 2014.

4. Read more

It will help you be a better speaker and a better writer – we’ve already talked about that. Plus, by rotating novels and professional literature, you’ll learn while having fun too. Here are some suggestions for some recommended reading. Amazon has a bestseller list that’s worth choosing from regardless!

Make it measurable: Pick something you consider manageable. I’d recommend choosing 6 books in 2014 and switch between novels and professional books. Or if you prefer short form reading, perhaps subscribe to Fast Company and commit to reading each edition or download Zite and commit to reading daily.

5. Relax a little

Every day, the demand for our time will increase and become more valuable, making breaks a priceless opportunity. Don’t let that get out of hand and commit to managing stress by starting today. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to meditate or be alone will improve your overall well-being and give you the chance to recover from stress and other pressures put on you. Find 10 minutes to close your eyes and breathe, whether it’s in the parking lot every morning when you arrive to work or when you finish lunch. If the peace and silence is too much for your busy and active-prone style, walk around your work for a few minutes before or after a bathroom break. Take time for yourself for 10-minute intervals, 1-2 times per day for yourself.

Make it measurable: Build it into your day – Schedule it ahead of time and make it daily.

6. Find a mentor

A mentor is someone you can lean on for advice and can guide you based on experience. Don’t feel uncomfortable about asking for someone’s time because more than likely, they’d like to help. At the same token, if you have a mentor already and don’t feel as if you need another, decide to mentor someone else. Teaching is the best learning.

Make it measurable: Find a mentor, or seek out someone to mentor this year.

7. Subscribe to a podcast

Or five. It doesn’t matter. Find a news radio that you enjoy and keep up with the world while multitasking. Maybe it’s during your daily walk or on the way to work. It’s a different way to consume news and it will likely diversify what you know and learn a little more this year.

Make it measurable: Listen to the news round up on Stitcher at least once a week.

8. Invest your earnings

If you haven’t started investing your money, now is the time. I’m no financial planner and won’t pretend to be but I urge you to meet with a financial planner and ask about long-term investments like Roth IRA accounts, the 401K your company may offer, and how to pay off your debt if you have it.

Make it measurable: Meet with the adviser and set up your long-term saving and investment accounts. Find the appropriate amount of money of your earnings to invest or save. Many recommend 10% or more. You can find a list of qualified financial planners on the Chamber’s website.

9. Be humble

Oh how arbitrary you say? Humility is the quality of being modest or respectful. It’s also one of the top recommendations of Warren Buffet to young professionals. Recognize what you don’t know and what you can learn from others. Yes, this will be a hard one to measure but we will.

Make it measurable: Make a mental list (or a journal!!) of people you interact with daily and things that you think they’re good at. In conversation, ask them questions about how they do things and advice about things you think that they’re good at.

10. Sign up for a 5K

I’m biased because I’m a runner but I think everyone should try it because everyone can do it. You can literally run everywhere at any time with no need for a gym membership or special equipment. Start by downloading Couch to 5K on your iPhone or Android and make a commitment by finding a local race or color run. Signing up will hold you to it and you can make it a bucket list activity.

Make it measurable: Easy! Complete the race.

16 Nov


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 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.

4 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile Today

5 Aug

You wouldn’t go to a professional networking event wearing flip flops and a t-shirt, right? Surly you wouldn’t walk in and refrain from contributing to the discussion. The whole point is to be prepared and expand your presence. You certainly shouldn’t neglect your professional online presence either.

Using the examples of two leaders, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and The President of The United States, Barack Obama (yeah, he’s on LinkedIn) we’re going to evaluate the most important parts of a profile and how you can step up your game a bit, too.

1. Always Have a Professional Photo

You should use a head and shoulders style shot and of only you. Find one that is as professional as possible. Professional doesn’t necessarily mean your typical “corporate” head-shot, either. Notice that Mr. Obama isn’t looking at the camera almost giving a more casual demeanor. He also has a simple background. If it was not the president and perhaps you or I it’s something that could have been easily taken by a friend or cropped from a larger photo. Jeff’s is a more standard-looking corporate shot but it is simple and you can clearly tell who it is.

Both types of photos are great examples to aim for when choosing your own.

Obama LinkedIn

2.      Headline Title

Your headline is the description you give of yourself at the very top of your profile. This doesn’t have to be your official title because that will also be reflected within your experience section. This is an eye catching one-liner that describes you professionally. It should be clear and to the point. I guess if you’re the president or a CEO you really don’t need to elaborate any further than what they have. However, it’s not always that clear cut for everyone and many like to get creative with this liberty. To start, read some best practices from the pros and develop some options for yourself.

Have you seen some good headlines or think yours is noteworthy? Share some with us in the comments.

3.      Summary

Take this very seriously because this is going to be the last thing people are likely to read on your profile if they make it this far.

Think of your summary as your written elevator pitch. The best part about writing out this pitch for your summary is that you now have a practiced and thought-out elevator pitch when you need it. Harvard Business Review has some great resources for crafting your perfect pitch as well as a pretty awesome tool that walks you through building it out.

For LinkedIn, I recommend keeping it down to 1 paragraph of no more than 4 sentences. Always include a call to action. Some examples could include:

4.      Completed Job Entries

To complete your profile optimization list out all of your relevant job experience. Include the title of your last role at that company or break them out into 2 separate roles. For example, if you received a promotion or were in two different departments, decide if it makes sense to create a new entry. If not, be sure your most recent role is reflected for that company.

At least one sentence to describe your role is sufficient. Include measurable results if you can provide them. There are more advanced ways to elaborate on your role and if you’d like one of your experiences to stick out more than others consider adding a project or a presentation to that experience like Jeff did in his.

Jeff Weiner LinkedIn CEO, Experience

What would you add to this list as a best practice for LinkedIn?


Jessica Robinson

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.


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