Archive | Leadership RSS feed for this section

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

 

Advertisements

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.

 Image

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.

Behind the Scenes: Selecting Scholarship Recipients [Guest Post]

20 Feb

By Ben Tierney

Director of Communications, Midland Area Community Foundation

As a high school senior, I was the recipient of what I’m convinced is the most specific scholarship on our planet. It’s called the USS Indianapolis Survivor’s Fund Scholarship. To be eligible, you must be “a direct descendant of a survivor of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis”, per the scholarship website.

How rare is it to be a descendant of a survivor? For those non-WWII history buffs, the Indy (as my grandfather refers to her) was a heavy cruiser that was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine while on her way back from delivering the world’s first operational atomic bomb. Of nearly 2,000 men on board, 317 ultimately survived – after treading water and fending shark attacks for four days in the Pacific Ocean. It remains the single worst loss of life at sea in the history of the US Navy. My grandfather was a Marine on board the ship when it sunk. Incredibly, he was one of the 317.

While writing that scholarship essay to the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, I remember thinking that I could have drawn them a picture of the boat in crayon and still received the award, because, honestly, how much competition could there be?

As it turned out, several other students did apply, and a group of volunteers reviewed every scholarship application to ultimately determine a winner. Looking back, I’m glad I took it seriously. I think my Grandfather was too (“I didn’t jump off a sinking ship and fight sharks for four days so you could throw your future away…”). By the way, the USS Indianapolis Survivor’s Fund Scholarship now accepts applications from descendants of non-survivors, which I believe was a positive change.

While that particular scholarship is held at the Grand Traverse foundation, the Midland Area Community Foundation holds nearly 200 individual scholarship funds. Some are very specific (though not quite “descendant of USS Indy Survivor” specific), others are very general. They all, however, have one thing in common: they need committees to review the scholarship applications.

Image

Midland Area Community Foundation 2013 scholarship recipients

How it works

Scholarship review committees are made up of community volunteers. That’s you. Here’s how it works: you contact the community foundation at 989.839.9661, ask for our scholarship coordinator (Heather), and let her know you’d like to help decide who receives scholarships in 2014. The time commitment can be small (review 4-5 applications) or large (review 80-100 applications) or pretty much anything in between. That part’s up to you.

You’ll read short essays from high school seniors, current college students and adults seeking to further their education. You then work with your committee to vote on which students are most deserving of the award. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience, you’ll meet new people, and you’ll be doing a great service to youth in your community.

If you have ever received a scholarship for college, you remember the feeling that went along with it. It’s an outstanding opportunity, and thanks to many donors over the past 40 years, the community foundation has been able to give more and more scholarships each year to Midland County students – totaling well over $4 million to date.

Contact the community foundation no later than March 17th to sign up. Feel free to click on my email address below and ask me anything you’d like about this or other volunteer opportunities through the Midland Area Community Foundation. Happy volunteering!

Tierny, BenBen Tierney is the Director of Communications for the Midland Area Community Foundation. His job is to tell the story of the community foundation to the public, keep donors informed, and take pictures of people holding those giant checks. Ben earned his BBA in Marketing/Management from Northwood University in 2008. He is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Midland and serves on several local committees including the Midland Area Marketing Partnership, mi-Vibe, Midland’s Open Door “Dine on the Doors” event, Riverdays and the Inter-agency Network. You can contact Ben at btierney@midlandfdn.org.

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

15 Jan

Image

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.

Image

  • 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!

Image

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.

Image

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!

Image

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

truecolors

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.

So, What’s Being Built Downtown Near the Dow Diamond?

18 Sep

eastend_nov2012-u904

Conceptual image from http://www.midlandeastend.com/.

A lot of people have been asking,” What’s being built downtown?”  I know I am curious about it.  So far, all I know about the development is that it’s been dubbed the “East End” and that there will be offices and restaurants/coffee shops going in that building.  Like many of you, I can’t wait for the upcoming MYPros luncheon on September 26th at the Dow Diamond from 11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. This luncheon is all about the East End, and we have four of the key leaders in this development presenting on a panel for this event. We have Jon Lynch, City Manager of Midland, MI, Kevin McGraw, President of Caddis Development Group, Herb Spence, President & CEO of Spence Brothers and Pat Gillespie, President of Gillespie Group.

I look forward to hearing all about how this development got started, when the project will be complete, what economic impact it will have on Midland and what this means for the future of Midland and our downtown area.  I also can’t wait to hear all about the businesses going in the East End. I know like many of you I would love more local restaurants, bars and of course, shopping!  For more information about the luncheon and to register, Click Here.

Weblin 3

Meet New People, Have a Drink and Make a Positive Impact.

16 Sep

Midland Area Homes Check

Wow, time fly’s by! It seriously seems like just a week ago we held our first 100 Young Professionals Club meeting back in April.  I can’t believe we are already holding our second meeting this year in just 3 weeks, on Thursday, October 3rd. If you’re wondering what is the 100 Young Professionals Club? Well I am more than happy to tell you about it. The 100 Young Professionals Club was created earlier this year by a small group from the MYPros Steering Committee.  The club is a giving circle, which is just a group of people which come together and everyone gives the same amount of money (which is $50 for the 100 YP Club).  Then we just pool the funds together and vote on what to donate to in the Midland area.  It can be a nonprofit, service club, go to help rebuild a park, help purchase necessary items for schools, etc.  Then once we decide what cause we are donating to, we get to surprise whoever we picked with a check from all of us! The best part about being in the 100 YP Club is that you get to see how your smaller amount of money can really add up when everyone chips in.  You also get to choose where to donate to and how the money is spent, you really have control over how your donated dollars are used.

One of the things we were conscious of when we planned this group, is that we didn’t want the meetings to be stuffy.  We want the meetings to be more informal, and feel like you’re just out with a bunch of friends for a drink while being able to give back to your community.  We hope to have more YP’s join us as our goal is to get 100 young professionals (hence the name), then we will be able to give $5,000 to worthy causes in Midland! Our next meeting we will be at the Holiday Inn, feel free to grab a drink beforehand at Big E’s and bring it to the meeting. The meeting s is held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. If you are interested in more information, or to join contact me, Jennelle Maki at jmaki@macc.org or 989-839-9522 ext. 208.  I hope to see you there!

100-Young-Professionals_Logo Medium