Local business leaders and innovators gathered together at the Courtyard by Marriott. Jennifer Veitengruber
Five awards were given to businesses and individuals in the region. Jennifer Veitengruber
Attendees were able to enjoy breakfast and conversation with each other prior to the event. Jennifer Veitengruber
Chris Rowley of the Mt. Pleasant CVB was one of the five awardees. Jennifer Veitengruber
MMDC's first Annual Meeting included an awards presentation and speakers.
On Tuesday, June 21, the Middle Michigan Development Center
(MMDC) hosted its first Annual Meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott at Central Michigan University, 2400 East Campus Dr.
During the event, attendees were able to enjoy breakfast and networking prior to local businesses and individuals receiving recognition for accomplishments in business and innovation.
Economic Development Achievement Awardees included:
Producer of state-of-the-art stainless-steel tankers MAC LTT is being recognized for choosing to expand and stay in Mt. Pleasant, instead of moving closer to their headquarters in Kent, Ohio. As they finish their location in the Mt. Pleasant South Industrial Park, they estimate that over the next couple years they will add 50+ new jobs and $8 million in local investment.
- MAC LTT, Stainless Division – Business Attraction Award
According to the MMDC, Bandit Industries, the largest global manufacturer of equipment for wood and waste processing, is one of the top area employers and continues on a path of growth. “Late 2021 brought about another major expansion…and the company has five more expansions underway, totaling $16.5 million in company investment and a projected 800 employees by the end of the year,” according to an MMDC press release.
- Bandit Industries – Business Expansion Award
Opening her doors just months before COVID-19 hit, entrepreneur Erica Yost was recognized for overcoming the standard and pandemic-specific challenges that come with owning a small business. Yost continues to expand Not So Shabby Gifts and Primitives due to growing inventory and sales, and she has been successful in both brick and mortar and online sales.
- Not So Shabby Gifts and Primitives – Small Business Award
In order to better support the small and micro-businesses in small, rural communities, the MMDC partnered with the Mid Michigan Region SBDC a year ago; due to the great success of their collaboration, the partnership will be extended for an additional year. The Mid-Michigan Region SBDC has helped to increase awareness of programs and services meant to support smaller businesses, and the MMDC noted their “...we’re all on the same team” attitude.
- Mid Michigan Region SBDC – Collaborative Partner Award
Chris Rowley, Mt. Pleasant CVBThe first-ever Mike Finney Innovation award recipient, Chris Rowley, was recognized for her dedication and innovation. For 15 years, Rowley has served in her role as Executive Director, and during her tenure she has worked tirelessly to make the Mt. Pleasant area a destination for families, tourists, and beyond. Like Finney, Rowley has displayed outside-the-box thinking and inventiveness.
In addition to award presentations, keynote speaker Quentin Messer, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), addressed those in attendance.
Messer, a member of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s cabinet, spoke about small business, agriculture, and population concerns in the state of Michigan, as well issues specific to the Mt. Pleasant area.
Quentin Messer visited with area businesspeople after giving the keynote.Messer says, “If we want this community to thrive…we need to rally around CMU. There needs to be greater connectivity to the companies here.” He explains that if a stronger connection can be made between young people, the CMU faculty, and the business community, he believes talent retention will come.
- Chris Rowley, Executive Director of the Mt. Pleasant CVB – Mike Finney Innovation Award
As Michiganders, Messer feels we can make a great impact on the future of our state simply by sharing its attributes freely with others. “We are on a quest for consistent greatness. We need to speak life into our state. We set the atmosphere by what we put in the atmosphere.”
Jennifer Veitengruber has spent the last 14 years as a high school teacher. She earned her bachelor's degree from Saginaw Valley State University as a Secondary Education teacher with a major in English and minor in history. In 2019, she earned her master’s degree from SVSU as a K-12 Literacy Specialist. Currently, she is also a freelance writer for Route Bay City. She resides in Bangor Township with her husband, two daughters, and four Labradoodles; her son is currently stationed in Washington with the United States Army. Aside from writing, she enjoys traveling the beautiful state of Michigan, reading, hunting, and time with family and friends.