Leading the Way in Northern Michigan

"The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born; that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born." - Warren Bennis, U.S. author and scholarThere are many programs and services available...

Looking Back On Ten Years

On January 6, 2003, two guys started their jobs as presidents of chambers of commerce in two of northern Michigan's most dynamic cities. I was one; the other was Carlin Smith in Petoskey. What follows is a look back at the work I have watched...

Shaking the Lethargy in 2013

One of my favorite bands is Rush. In the song "Circumstances," the second stanza goes: "All the same we take our chances/ Laughed at by time/Tricked by circumstances/plus ça change/plus c'est la même chose/The more that things change/The more they stay the same." ...

Retirees in Northwest Michigan Mean Business

Northwest lower Michigan has been a mecca for retirees for decades. That is no less true today than it has ever been and the region is all the better for it.The word "retiree" conjures an image of a person already checked out. One might envision...

Agriculture Industry Still Matters

In the middle of the "reinvention of Michigan," we have had the harshest of reminders that agriculture still matters. It always has, since the earliest days when Native Americans traded crops and food for tools and other goods. We have been reminded also that being...

Why investing in young children is imperative

Michigan's business voice is growing insistent regarding the need to substantially invest in children ages zero to five. This is no less true for the chambers of commerce that comprise the Northern Michigan Regional Chamber Alliance. "Investing" in these kids includes financial resources, parental engagement,...

Needed: A New International Trade Crossing

The fortune spent to oppose an international crossing between Detroit and Canada shouldmake our blood boil. It insults the intelligence of every person in the state. It is an unfettered attempt to squelch Michigan business access to international trade and global customers. At the same...

A Task Force for Energizing Northern Michigan

According to IEEE Spectrum magazine, the world consumes more than a cubic mile of oil per year; that's one trillion gallons! The U.S. consumes a quarter of that, of which 70 percent is used for transportation. Developing nations are creating significantly higher demand due to...

Region’s Energy: Questions Go Beyond Windmills and Solar Debate

There are voices screaming that an energy shortage in our region and in Michigan is inevitable. These voices come from people in the energy business; from small business owners highly dependent on reliable power; from environmental groups; and from business groups like the Chamber. ...

Collaboration: Still the Region’s Competitive Asset?

Collaboration is a tool with power to move agendas. It has been the hallmark of this region, a place where scarce resources made it necessary to work together to get things done. Seeing the water along West Bay instead of factories is the result of...