Third annual MYPros Awards highlights community contributors

Highlighting young professionals in the Midland community for their active involvement, community contribution and evolving leadership efforts, the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce-affiliated MYPros hosted the third annual YP Awards last week.

Recipients received recognition and signed certificates from Governor Gretchen Whitmer, State Senator Jim Stamas, and State Representative Annette Glenn.

2019 recipients included:

Ben Tierney, marketing and communications manager for the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (and Catalyst Midland’s photographer), earned the Rising Star Award, given to a young professional who demonstrates noteworthy professional achievement, leadership, and a commitment to bettering the Midland area. Other nominees included Mike Schutte and Lisa Thompson.

Patrick McElgunn, co-owner of Grove Tea Lounge, won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, given to a young professional entrepreneur in the community. Other nominees included Nic Von Schneider and Michael Westendorf.

Helen Szabo, personal lines agent at Ieuter Insurance Group, won the Newcomer of the Year Award, given to a young professional who has become actively involved in the community and passionate about bettering the Midland area. Other nominees included Tori Hummelle and Hannah Long.

Additionally, Renee Deckrow of Live Oak Coffeehouse, Shelley Hobbs of Isabella Bank and Sarah Opperman, longstanding community leader and mentor, were all honored for their guidance and involvement.

"In my career I've been very fortunate to work for organizations that do incredible work throughout the community,” says Tierney. “In large part because of that, rooting for the success and progressive growth of this community comes pretty naturally."

In regards to receiving the recognition Patrick McElgunn noted that it was nice to be recognized among a group of peers and within a community that celebrates entrepreneurship.

“Being a part of the MYPros group is amazing, as they have built a community of over 250+ young professionals, and provide meaningful, fulfilling, and enjoyable opportunities for us as peers to connect and engage with each other,” says McElgunn.

“To even be nominated, let alone selected and recognized as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 by my peers in MYPros means the world to me. Both Nic & Michael are friends as well and are doing amazing things in the community, so it was fun even just sharing the stage with them,” says McElgunn.

“But as fun and awesome as it is to be acknowledged through awards like this one, it's not the reason why we do what we do. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey and I don't know a single entrepreneur who hasn't had moments of self-doubt, ‘imposter syndrome’, or sleepless nights,” says McElgunn. “Recognitions like this are so humbling, because they remind us that we're on the track, making a positive impact, and providing something that brings people joy!”

For more information on MyPros and other events see

Read more articles by Courtney Soule.

Courtney is a longtime Midland resident and enjoys telling the story of the community's evolution. As the Managing Editor of Catalyst Midland, her favorite topics are interesting people, change makers, outdoor recreation and design. Aside from Catalyst, her published work can be found various places including Elephant Journal, Thought Catalog and a number of other websites, papers, menus and the occasional one-liner. 
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