Blog: The Concentrate Team

Concentrate wants to change the conversation about Washtenaw County. It's very easy to criticize what's wrong.  But we believe it's just as easy to learn from what's right. So, who are "we?" Over the next week this blog will introduce you to the people and ideas behind Concentrate.

Post No. 2: Newcombe Clark

Newcombe Clark is 27 years old and a partner in Bluestone Realty Advisors, a commercial real estate brokerage and consulting firm based in Ann Arbor Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Japanese Language and Culture and a BSE in Mechanical Engineering. He serves on multiple boards and committees in the Ann Arbor area, including the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Theater Foundation, Dance Gallery Foundation, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Cool Cities Task Force, Citizens Advisory Council for the Downtown, and the Main Street Area Association. 

Newcombe is the publisher of Concentrate.

Just what is it we have in Washtenaw County that makes us here at Concentrate feel inspired and hopeful in what are surely challenging times? Why can we here in this community feel a buoyancy, or even an ability to surf, above the waves of a churning ocean of depressing news and dire economic forecasts?

We're optimists sure, and we tend to believe so are our readers. Yet we're not throwing a pep rally for a team we know will lose the big game. We are not delusional in our unwavering commitment—our very obsession—to our weekly examination of the fundamental aspects of our character that guarantee our current, future, and lasting success. In the people, projects, and ideas that define our community, Concentrate sees the best in us. We see progress over withdrawal, growth over loss, and hope over fear.

So why is the news these days so glum? We perpetually ask the skeptical, as well as ourselves, just what is it we don't have here that if reclaimed, or obtained, would take us back to rosier times when the headlines weren't so depressing. In our work and in our lives we see new companies growing and hiring. We see developers investing. We see the arts and cultural community advancing. We do not see deficiency. We do not see a community willing to just lie down and let bad news define and thereby destroy us.

It's true, Michigan of today as a whole does have significant challenges. Ones that are unfortunately in many cases more culturally indoctrinated and self-fulfilling than anything shifting markets or global economic forces has imposed upon us. But when one looks closely on the micro level of our greater Ann Arbor area one sees an ecosystem teaming with all the organisms and environmental characteristics that will lead us to a higher state of economic evolution and sustainable diversification.

Concentrate is a celebration not of what we need, but of what we already have. Each week you will read of multiple new economy jobs posted by fast growing and innovative companies. You'll learn of the people that are neither successful in spite of our economy, nor unique in that success. They are remarkable simply because our community attracts and retains the remarkable. What we have concentrated in this community is inspiration for Michigan, not desperation. Washtenaw County will lead as a shining example of what our state (and even the nation) can achieve when you bring together the amazing and let them naturally do the incredible. We need nothing new but a renewed exuberance in that which makes us special.