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The Leadership Lansing Blog is the open communication forum of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. In the Leadership Lansing Blog, we will highlight all things related to the Greater Lansing business community. We will feature posts from our staff, our membership and the legislative leaders of this region. If you have any questions or would like to be a contributor to the Leadership Lansing Blog, please contact Eric Dimoff, Marketing and Communications Director, at 517-853-6460 or We appreciate the continued support!


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Fidelity: The Third Principle of Great Leadership

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, July 20, 2015

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

                                                Helen Keller, Advocate for the blind and deaf

Les was a master of defining what is, and what is not, a worthy purpose. When he called the first-ever professional sales training program for representatives accountable to no one, the whining was deafening. On the first day of mandatory attendance one could feel the tension in the room as the new vice president of sales stood before his class. “Welcome,” Les began. “I know that many in this room would rather be working back home. I understand that.” And then he made this promise. “By this time tomorrow I’m confident that all of us will be on the same page.”

The next day a strange metamorphosis took place as every person in the room was engaged in the day’s discussions. It was later that I learned that Les had sent flowers to the wives of every representative attending the program. With each bouquet he attached the following note: “I want to personally thank you for allowing me the privilege to both train and inspire your husband. Your sacrifice will be rewarded in the near future. Best wishes, Les.”

It wasn’t long before my mentor earned the confidence of everyone on the sales team as we all signed on for a worthy purpose.

Helen was another leader that had a gift for motivating her team. As the new vice president for nursing, she was responsible for over 700 clinical professionals. However, her initial challenge was to address a serious morale problem among the nursing ranks.

The first day she started Helen asked her executive assistant to schedule one-on-one 30 minute sessions with every nursing supervisor, manager, and director in the organization. Around-the-clock meetings were held with over eighty staff.  No conversation was off limits as some nurses shared their anger, others cried, and almost everyone opened up with what he or she felt was both right and wrong with the organization.

Within two weeks this remarkable woman had won the respect of the entire nursing force. There were three reasons why Helen won their support. Helen listened. Helen was professional. And Helen had a great sense of humor. All three of these traits help to build a foundation of trust. And “trust” is fidelity’s cornerstone.

David Eich 
Marketing & Public Relations Officer
Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan

Tags:  Challenge  Confidence  Engagement  Fidelity  Listening  Morale  Motivating  Professional  Purpose  Sense of Humor  Team  Trust 

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Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, June 22, 2015
Updated: Monday, June 15, 2015


Business owners have precious little time to handle environmental challenges and when they occur, it seems to be at the most inopportune time, creating a major distraction from the real job.  

Whether you are running day-to-day operations, purchasing or refinancing real estate, under construction, or renovating buildings, environmental issues that are subject to State and Federal regulation can be present in virtually any project.  In no particular order, among the most common issues business owners face are:

Compliance, Plans and Permits

Understanding and complying with over 15,000 pages of ever changing federal environmental regulations can be a monumental effort even for the best run businesses.

Tool and die shops, metal fabricators, plastic injection molders, automotive suppliers, dry cleaners, specialty chemical companies, railroads, electroplaters, manufacturers, steel plants, gas stations, waste management companies, car dealerships, utilities, oil/gas producers, auto repair facilities, petroleum distributors, health care, general contractors, child care facilities, scrap yards, asphalt plants, print shops, and paper plants have parking lot runoff, parts cleaning processes, outdoor storage of raw materials, manufacturing scrap and rejects, air emissions, painting/adhesive/printing processes, chemicals used in manufacturing, vent hoods and booths, secondary containment and spill prevention systems that may be subject to regulation.

A facility inspection and informal report of findings conducted by an experienced professional, or in more complex facilities, a regulatory gap analysis and compliance audit, gives business owner a roadmap to achieve and maintain compliance. In some instances, this effort can even become a shield against fines and penalties.

Environmental Due Diligence

When purchasing or refinancing real estate, a visual and historical survey known as a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ASTM E1527-13) will daylight historic contamination, and provided the statutory procedure is adhered to, it becomes your first step to qualify for the innocent landowner’s defense to CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response and Compensation Liability Act).  Commonly known as “Polluter Pays,” buyers will be responsible for any historic impact on a site once they close unless they complete thorough environmental due diligence that starts with a Phase I. 

Note: To simplify our industry’s technical jargon, an extensive list of Environmental Acronyms and Metrics can be found at:

Vapor Intrusion

Vapor intrusion in the form of Volatile Organic Compounds (e.g. gasoline, paints, dry cleaners etc.) can migrate through soil and groundwater and seep into buildings, and has come under considerable scrutiny by regulators in the past eighteen months.  In fact, a vapor migration investigation standard (ASTM E2600-10) was published December 30, 2013.  Subsequent engineering controls, such as installing a ventilation system or sealing cracks in foundations with epoxy coatings, are now a few of the more commonly accepted remedies for soilgas.

Storage Tanks

Underground and Above Storage Tanks (USTs / ASTs) are used for backup generators, heating oil and specialty chemicals.  Depending on the size, number, use and contents of the tanks, users are required to have detailed spill plans and secondary containment systems.  A baseline audit identifies which tanks are regulated and establishes a compliance schedule.

Asbestos and Lead Based Paint

Asbestos-containing pipe insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, fire doors, plaster, window caulk etc. can be present in any building built prior to 1981.  Unfortunately, we still see foreign asbestos containing wallboard coming into the US and being used in construction to this day.  Similarly, Lead-Based Paint (LBP) can be present in any residence built prior to 1978.  LBP also continues to be used on structural steel.  Either of these conditions need to be inspected and quantified prior to any renovation or demolition project as there is intense scrutiny by state regulators.

Note: Child care centers licensed in the State of Michigan before December 7, 2006, located in a building constructed prior to 1978, have until January 2, 2017 to obtain a lead risk hazard assessment (paint, dust, soil).

Brownfield Redevelopment

Business owners and real estate developers seek brownfield property because the sites are well located, infrastructure is already in place, they are knowledgeable about incentives for environmental cleanup and typically the asking price is below market.  There are a number of ways a property can qualify for brownfield incentive programs:  a property with subsurface contamination above residential criteria, blighted or obsolete buildings, properties in a Land Bank and even if your property is not contaminated, any contiguous or adjacent property that is contaminated can get you into the program.  Eligible activities for reimbursement can include environmental assessments, infrastructure installation, urban storm water management systems, asbestos and lead paint assessment and abatement, interior and site cleaning and demolition, hard construction costs, debris removal, remediation or control of contaminated soils, transformers and other materials, parking structures, interest and some professional fees. 

Obtaining incentives to defray the cost of the above activities and ensuring that your project cash flows can be a long and arduous process. A preliminary review by an experienced consultant can help real estate professionals determine if they want to devote the necessary time and capital to redevelop a brownfield property.


The term Wetland applies to public and private lands regardless of zoning or ownership.  Wetlands are generally defined as “land characterized by the presence of water, that under normal circumstances, supports wetland vegetation and aquatic life,” and are commonly referred to as bogs, swamps and marsh.  Identifying Wetlands involves three factors: the predominance of wetland vegetation, hydric soils and signs of hydrology. Activities in regulated wetlands that require a permit include placing fill in a wetland; dredging or removing soils or minerals from a wetland; constructing, operating or maintaining any use or development in a wetland; or draining surface water from a wetland.

Real estate professionals should engage environmental consultants that speak in laymen’s terms, have extensive knowledge of current and pending requirements and a proven track record of navigating the maze of local, state and federal regulations in order to provide cost-effective solutions. 

This article was researched and written by ASTIs Director of Development Doug Brown.  Mr. Brown can be reached at 810/599-8131, 616/957-5601 or

Tags:  asbestos  assessment  brownfield  compliance  due diligence  environmental  facilities  facility  federal  lead based paint  permits  real estate  redevelopment  regulations  remediation  state  storage tanks  vapor intrusion  wetlands 

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What is Content Marketing and How Can it Help Your Business?

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, June 8, 2015

In a world where we are inundated with advertisements, emails, and social media updates every minute, it’s hard to imagine how businesses can successfully connect with their customers in a meaningful way. But there is.

Let’s talk about how you can create content that will resonate with your customers and how it will help your business.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing isn’t about selling - it’s about sharing value with the customer. Your content needs to be created with a particular audience in mind to offer the most relevant insight. These pieces are helpful and informative, leaving behind jargon and overly technical language. Businesses can create meaningful content through blog posts, videos, articles, infographics, and more!

How can content marketing help your business?

When writing content, we must be sure it’s serving a purpose by giving information and adding value to your customers’ lives. What problems frustrate them the most? What answers are they looking for? Here are some reasons it’s worth investing the time to craft authentic and relevant messages.

Build trust and relationships: Our ultimate goal is to build meaningful relationships with our customers. We want to behave in a way that causes our clients to view us as a trusted partner, advocate, and resource. The more we provide value to our customers and the more consistent we are in communicating with them, the easier it will be for them to trust and rely on us for needed solutions.

Share your voice and build credibility: To stand out, your brand needs to have a voice and a personality that relates to consumers. Also, one motivation behind producing useful, informative content is to build the credibility of your organization. We want people to know who you are and view you as an expert. While the focus of the content needs to be the client, the motivation behind it can be to enhance your credibility and differentiate your business from others.

Strengthen your online presence: When you create meaningful, engaging, and helpful content, people are more likely to share it with their friends! Your beautifully written content will help advance your business's online presence when you post it on multiple social platforms. Sharing your content consistently will ultimately increase customer engagement, and boost your website traffic.

These are just a few of the ways content marketing can help your business. There are many other benefits to well-written and thoroughly developed content. To schedule a brainstorming session to discuss how to create engaging and authentic content for your business, contact Rough Draft Solutions today!

Submitted by Amanda Washburn, Owner, Rough Draft Solutions 

Tags:  answers  articles  blogs  brand  connections  content marketing  credibility  customers  infographics  relationships  sharing  social media  trust  value  videos 

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Focus: The Second Principle of Great Leadership

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, May 11, 2015

Focus: The Second Principle of Great Leadership 

Good leaders achieve the expected. Great leaders deliver the unexpected. Fortunately for me I have had the honor to learn from the latter as evidenced by one particular encounter I will never forget.

I was making a sales call on an advertising executive in the automotive aftermarket business. I had never met this gentleman and knew little about him or his organization. Sitting outside his office his secretary asked, “David, have you ever met Mr. Anderson?” I explained that this was my first visit to their company. With that piece of knowledge she quietly said, “Well, let me prepare you. You are about to meet a monster.” I was stunned. “Let me explain.” she said. “A few years ago Mr. Anderson and his wife were in a terrible car accident. She burned alive while he was horribly scarred for life. Regardless, you will never meet a finer more upbeat person.” At that moment a voice on the intercom interrupted our conversation. “Peggy, please send David into my office.” I took a deep breath and proceeded to meet the “monster” on the other side of his office door.

Mr. Anderson was standing behind his desk with his back to me gazing out of his third-story window. Without turning around he said, “David, have you ever seen a bad day?” Recalling his secretary’s words I managed a timid response. “Well sir, I believe we have all seen or experienced a bad day.” His response was immediate. “Come over to my window and I’ll show you what a bad day looks like.”

Preparing for the worst I slowly walked over toward the statuesque man. He turned and smiled with a face that was no more. Turning once again to look outside he pointed to the ground below. Adjacent to the building complex was a cemetery! “David,” he continued, “now that’s a bad day. You and I are about to have a good one.” We did.

Mr. Anderson’s gift to me that day was simple: pay attention and focus, or be the focus of unwanted attention.

David Eich 
Marketing & Public Relations Officer
Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan

Tags:  achievers  attention  focus  leadership 

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Freedom: The First Principle of Great Leadership

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Thursday, April 16, 2015

Freedom: The First Principle of Great Leadership

Just because you’re right doesn’t mean you are right. At first glance this phrase seems contradictory. But the gift of freedom allows all those in leadership to empower others to make decisions especially when a “teachable” moment presents itself.

Case in point: The CEO of a major health system was known as “the wise old fox.” After receiving an offer to join his organization as the first-ever vice president of marketing I asked: “John, why would you hire someone who has absolutely no experience in health care?  He retorted: “Son, you’re not tainted.” And to be sure I remained that way his first assignment for this 35-year-old executive was to walk around the organization, ask questions, and come back and tell him what I learned.

Several months later I was having trouble with a few physicians who tried to undermine my hospital marketing strategy. I had all the evidence I needed to take my case before the CEO. I also had key members of the medical, nursing, and administrative staff supporting my position. All of my arguments were spelled out in a letter addressed to my adversaries highlighting their bad behavior and self-serving attitudes.

I met with John to articulate my grievance and shared a draft of the correspondence I intended to mail to the physicians. He read the letter, handed it back, and said, “David, you are absolutely right. The doctors are wrong.” John paused a moment and then continued. “But I’ll tell you what I want you to do. Put the letter in your desk until you have had time to think about your action. When you’re ready pull it out and read it again. If you still believe that mailing the letter is the best way to handle the matter, then send it. I will support whatever decision you make.”

As you probably guessed, I never mailed the letter.  A short time later the physicians became my strongest supporters—all because someone gave me the freedom to choose the right action, attitude, and agenda. 

David Eich
Marketing & Public Relations Officer
Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan

Tags:  action  agenda  attitude  empower  freedom  leadership  principle  teachable 

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As Member Companies Drive Energy Innovation, the Lansing Regional Chamber Sees New Recruitment Opportunity

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The office of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce literally looks out over what Tim Daman, its President and CEO, believes will be an important part of his region’s future. In the park behind the chamber’s building, the Lansing Board of Water and Light recently finished expanding its solar array for a total of 817 energy panels that will triple the generating capacity.

The utility is not alone in investing in renewable energy. Several of the chamber’s other member companies are driving advanced energy practices, responding to increased demand from their customers. “We’re seeing a situation where even If public policy doesn’t drive energy innovation,” Daman said, “business demand will.”

Daman says the trend toward energy innovation began several years ago when General Motors built a LEED gold assembly plant in Lansing Delta Township. At the time, the plant was the largest facility and the most complex manufacturing site to receive LEED certification.

Since then, the trend has accelerated with other leading chamber members engaging in clean energy work. Examples include the Christman Company, which is the general contractor for a $100 million LEED specified Energy Star rated expansion of a corporate headquarter building for Jackson National Life Insurance Company.

Additional energy efficient/LEED projects are being led by Granger Construction and Wieland-Davco Corporation, both national construction companies headquartered in Lansing. Clark Construction Company recently finished work on Michigan’s first LEED platinum net zero school, which will produce as much energy as it uses.

And Consumers Energy, the region’s largest utility, is nearing completion of a 105-megawatt wind farm that will allow the utility to meet a state requirement that it obtain a minimum of 500 megawatts of new capacity from renewable energy resources by the end of 2015.

All of this activity is leading Daman and his chamber colleagues to begin to think in new ways about how to refocus the region’s branding.  Having moved past the “Rust Belt” characterization of the past, Lansing can now promote a new story of how area businesses are revitalizing the region’s world-renown manufacturing infrastructure.

“As energy infrastructure ages and coal plants go offline across the country, it is critically important to have new and diversified sources of power to provide for a stable business environment,” Daman said. “Chamber member companies build better infrastructure and install more diversified sources of energy, Lansing can better recruit new businesses to the area.”

The Lansing Chamber can be found online here. The GM plant is profiled here. Previous Chambers in Action updates can be found here.

This article was originally published on October 3 on the Chamber for Innovation and Clean Energy and can be found by clicking here

Tags:  advanced energy  clean energy work  energy innovation  investment  LEED certification  renewable energy 

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What is the Chamber of Commerce?

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What is The Chamber of Commerce?

At the heart of the local economy and the backbone of virtually every great community you’ll find a chamber of commerce celebrating and promoting the diversity and uniqueness of their community.  Chambers of Commerce help form the fabric of America.  Their efforts result in business attraction, job creation, improved education, beautification and more.  Despite all of this, the question is still often asked, “What is the Chamber of Commerce?”

Technically, chambers of commerce are business associations generally incorporated as a 501(c)(6), that work diligently to improve the economic, cultural, and overall business climate for the areas they serve.  They are typically private, not-for-profit corporations.  Chambers are governed by a volunteer board of directors and employ professional staff to accomplish their mission.  While that is impressive, it is the daily work of chambers that moves communities, the state and this nation forward. 

Today’s chambers of commerce focus on a broad range of activities and support for both business and the community at large.  From community and workforce development initiatives to information dissemination and legislative advocacy, chamber professionals and members work with other talented leaders in business, community and government to create a positive environment and to make the community a better place to work, live and play. 

The beauty of chambers of commerce is that they truly embody the spirit of entrepreneurship, ingenuity and innovation of their communities and the businesses they represent; therefore, specific programs, products and services vary by chamber and are tailored specifically to the needs of the local community.  These programs often include:

  • Business development and growth programs for large and small businesses
  • Custom research, local/regional economic forecasts, or other analysis
  • One-stop shops for information or services related to starting a business, getting elected to public office or finding a job
  • Fighting for pro-business as well as important community relevant legislation and to form public and private alliances

This list goes on.  Whether it is economic development, tourism, community events, or those mentioned above the chamber of commerce is the “go to” resource for information.  It is the convener of people and a place where things get done.  In short, chambers of commerce provide the community leadership necessary to develop the economic well-being of their region. 

As you see, chambers of commerce are involved in many facets of the community (sometimes quietly) to help create places we call home. October is Chamber of Commerce month in Michigan. This month is set aside annually to reflect and show our appreciation for the work of many dedicated individuals and organizations across the state.

Now that you have a better sense of what the chamber is, you can better understand the role they play in your community.  With this new knowledge, take a moment to stop in and meet your chamber of commerce staff and learn more about the powerful work they do and the contributions they make on behalf of you, local businesses and the community.  If you already know them (and chances are you do), drop in, say thanks and tell them how much you appreciate them for their work!

Submitted by: Bob Thomas, Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals 

Tags:  business attraction  business climate  business development  chamber of commerce  community leadership  cultural  economic  entrepreneurship  ingenuity  innovation  job creation  public policy  regionalism  workforce development 

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Update from the 2008 Class of 10 Over the Next Ten Recipients!

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, September 22, 2014

Since 2007, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and Grand River Connection have annually recognized a group of young professionals who are expected to grow into this region’s business and community leaders over the next ten years. This recognition – the 10 Over the Next Ten award – now has a class of outstanding recipients that numbers 70 young professionals!

As we get ready to recognize the newest class of 10 Over the Next Ten recipients on Tuesday, September 23 at the University Club, we asked the question – What are our earlier recipients up to these days?

Here are some updates from our 2008 class of 10 Over the Next Ten winners!

Kira Carter-Robertson

Name/Age/Current City:

Kira Carter-Robertson/Age: 39/Resident of Grand Ledge, MI

Then (what was your occupation/employer when recognized):

Healthcare Administrator

President and CEO, Sparrow Specialty Hospital

Now (current occupation, title, employer):

Healthcare Administrator

President and CEO, Sparrow Specialty Hospital

What has happened since you were honored as a 10 Over the Next Ten recipient?

  • Got Married!
  • Increased involvement in Health System wide projects to include a short assignment at an affiliate hospital to fill in gaps until vacancy filled.
  • Increased involvement on both community and national boards: Capital Regional Community Foundation (Vice-Chair, Board of Directors), Dart Bank (Board of Directors), American College of Healthcare Executive Great Lakes Chapter (Board of Directors), National Association of Long Term Acute Care Hospitals (Board of Directors) and Lansing Symphony Orchestra (Board of Directors 2007-2009).
  • Received the “Athena Young Professional Leadership Award”, from the East Lansing Links Chapter in 2011.
  • Received the “Up and Comers Award”, from Modern Healthcare Magazine in 2008.

What factors have helped your development as a professional?

  • Establishing formal mentoring relationships with more seasoned senior level executives
  • Formal participation in leadership development program and assignment of executive coach 2012 – 2014
  • Organization’s commitment to professional growth and development

What is next for you?

Continue to take on increase responsibility across the Health System and seek opportunities to continue to grow and develop as a professional; as well continue to seek out opportunities to serve the community.

Advice to the newest class of 10 Over the Next Ten?

To the Class of 2014, I would like to say Congratulations and job well done.  My advice would be to share with them a short list of principals that I have learned and worked hard to implement along the way that have aided in my success as a leader.

  • Be guided by your values and beliefs. 
  • Live life on purpose for a greater purpose. 
  • Treat others with the same respect that you desire.
  • Show compassion for others in need.
  • Grow stronger with each accomplishment, and even stronger with each setback. 
  • Take accountability for your actions and don’t blame others.
  • Forgive often, but don’t forget, so you can learn from each experience.
  • Give thanks in some measurable way each day.
  • Laugh every day.
  • Reach for the stars
  • Know everything happens for a reason, and there is no better place to be than right here, right now.

"If you don't have your own plan, someone else is going to make you fit into their plan."

-Anthony Robbins


Brian Anderson

Name/Age/Current City:

Brian Anderson, 33, Midland, MI

Then (what was your occupation/employer when recognized):

Center City Director, Lansing Economic Development Corporation

Now (current occupation, title, employer):

President and CEO, Middle Michigan Development Corporation

What has happened since you were honored as a 10 Over the Next Ten recipient?

Since 2008, my wife Kasey and I have had three beautiful children and relocated our household to Midland in support of her career with The Dow Chemical Company. In 2010, I accepted the role of President and CEO with Middle Michigan Development Corporation, a regional economic development firm based in Mt. Pleasant. Shortly after our move, we both completed our Masters of Business Administration coursework at Northwood University. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t draw upon the experiences and relationships I built in Lansing, and because of that, perhaps the most difficult part of leaving the community was missing out on the incredible energy of the individuals who’ve elevated the community. Not being a part of that in a community I love deeply is one of the biggest conflicts of my life.

What factors have helped your development as a professional?

Having incredible mentors like Bob Trezise and an aggressive, unrelentingly positive leader in Mayor Bernero has had more to do with any personal success I’ve realized than anything I can single out. Without them and the incredibly talented individuals of whom I had the pleasure of working alongside, I’d never have been put in a position to receive the award or go on to manage my own organization.

What is next for you?

I hope to find contentment, being a father and husband is the most important job I will have in my life and managing a professional household pulls a person in all kinds of different directions. There are so many professional aspirations that I struggle with, I think I personally want to find ways I can be impactful on the world around me without “something having to give.” That means sacrificing some professional opportunities in order to satisfy personal values, so I hope I can find satisfaction in that balance between personal and professional lives. I look back to 2008 and it seemed so easy when anything was possible; now the great challenge is operating within a narrow margin and finding happiness.

Advice to the newest class of 10 Over the Next Ten?

When I first received the award, I hid it away in a box. I was embarrassed by it and didn’t feel I was worthy compared to those whom I’d been chosen alongside. I finally put it on the mantle when I came to realize that they don’t give you the 10 Over the Next Ten award because of anything you’ve done, it is all  about what you can do. This isn’t an award to compliment achievement, it is given to potential. To be truly worth of this award it should be your catalyst, you can’t rest on your laurels now. Get to work; everything for which you’ve received this award is out in front of you.

Camron Gnass

Name/Age/Current City:

Camron Gnass, 38, Lansing, MI

Then (what was your occupation/employer when recognized):

Traction (was called Vision Creative, but same entity), founder and creative director

Now (current occupation, title, employer):


What has happened since you were honored as a 10 Over the Next Ten recipient?

  • Awarded Outstanding Alumnus of Holt High School (2014)
  • Co-founded the Capital City Film Festival (2011)
  • Co-curated TEDxLansing (2010)
  • Co-curated IgniteLansing (2009)
  • Founded a sports publishing company in 2008 producing a monthly magazine and a book
  • Completed 6 years on the board of the Small Business Association of Michigan
  • Currently a Board Member of Impression 5 Science Center & Holt Education Foundation
  • Instructor at Michigan State University in the Advertising Department

What factors have helped your development as a professional?


What is next for you?

Expand the reach for my business. Find continued ways to make help the community a better place to be.

Advice to the newest class of 10 Over the Next Ten?

Don’t let your job title or the company you work for define your involvement in the community or business world. Don’t let naysayers project what could or couldn't happen; only you know what you are capable of.

 Congratulations to the entire 2008 class of 10 Over the Next Ten recipients!

Tags:  10 Over the Next Ten award  business leadership  community leadership  Grand River Connection  update  young professionals 

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Lansing Regional Sister Cities Commission: Lansing's Window to the World

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Lansing Regional Sister Cities Commission (LRSCC) is a non-profit organization 501C3. Our mission is to build peace through friendship. We plan, coordinate and carry out long-term international exchange programs using a framework of formally acknowledged city-to-city relationships. We connect Lansing to the rest of the world with global sister city relationships sustained by the dedication of our local and national volunteer citizen diplomacy network.

The sister city approach to international exchanges is personalized, inclusive, and centered on citizen-to-citizen diplomacy. We develop and sustain programs aimed at strengthening cross cultural understanding and diversity.

The LRSCC is affiliated with Sister Cities International, founded in 1956 by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as the People to People program. The sister cities programs help foster projects in areas including education, business, arts and culture, the environment, and humanitarian outreach.

Lansing’s first Sister City relationship was formed in 1968, with Otsu, Japan. Guadalajara, Mexico was added in 1982.  Saltillo, Mexico was added in 1994, Sanming, China in 1997 and Akuapim South District, Ghana in 1997. Asan, South Korea was added as a Sister City in 2008. Other global ties of local heritage or institutional connections are sometimes recognized formally and designated by the Commission as friendship cities:  Cosenza, Italy; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Lanzhou, China; and Sakaide, Japan. The LRSCC works to bring about a deepened appreciation in our community for the beauty and unique strengths of the world’s myriad cultures.  We are the Lansing Region’s window to the world.

In honor of our 20th anniversary, the Lansing Regional Sister Cities commission will be hosting “A Celebration of Global Diversity” fundraiser on September 19th to engage and educate the community about cross-cultural understanding and trends. The celebration will begin with luncheon sponsored by the Global Business Club of Mid-Michigan and hosted by Dr. Tomas Hult, Director, International Business Center at Michigan State University. The highlight will be Mary Kane, President/CEO of Sister Cities International who will speak about “Building Partnerships and Strategic Alliances.” The second session will be “Cybersecurity: Beyond Theories, Policies and Vulnerabilities”.  It will be led by Daniel Lohrmann, an international expert and formerly Michigan’s Chief Security Officer.  Next, the Global Diplomatic Roundtable will help to heighten understanding and knowledge of global trends and challenges with the aim of enhancing global awareness, cross-cultural understanding and community engagement in a global context.

The day will culminate with a gala beginning at 5:30pm to celebrate food, fashion and entertainment from all over the world. We will have special performances to honor our sister and friendship cities including the Silk Road Chinese Orchestra, tenor Gino Federici and musican, Alvin Waddles. Waddles will also be musical director for the day’s events.  

If you are interested in attending or supporting LRSCC’s 20th anniversary “Celebration of Global Diversity” with a sponsorship or ad, click here.  

Post submitted by: Kiley Kastl, International Relations Intern, Lansing Regional Sister Cities Commission

Tags:  20th anniversary  citizen to citizen  cross cultural understanding  diplomacy  global network  humanitarian outreach  international exchange program  non-profit  sister cities commission  world culture 

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Lawmakers Must Act on Transportation Funding

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, August 18, 2014
Updated: Friday, August 15, 2014

Lawmakers Must Act on Transportation Funding

William J. Kimble & Kevin McKinney

A recent Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) survey revealed that our members feel that the number one issue facing the Greater Lansing region is funding for roads, transportation and infrastructure.  In fact, over 70 percent of survey respondents said it was the most important use of their taxpayer dollars.

The LRCC Board of Directors representing over 1,100 businesses in the tri-county region recently went on the record asking our state lawmakers to support efforts to increase revenue for transportation and infrastructure in Michigan.

The LRCC Board and the organization have long supported the concept of increasing transportation funding and continue to recognize the critical need to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads to improve our overall economy. The cost to Michigan citizens and businesses are continuing to increase from added supply chain expenses to vehicle repairs.

The LRCC strongly believes that investing in transportation infrastructure will be a key driver for growing our economic base in Mid-Michigan. There are a variety of provisions that have been, are being or could be considered as part of a comprehensive road funding proposal. 

Unfortunately, the legislature failed to reach consensus before summer recess.

It now will take at least $1.5 to $2.0 billion annually to maintain our infrastructure, with that number continuing to increase exponentially. We believe the current proposals before lawmakers, while inadequate to meet Michigan’s transportation needs, is a good first start. We are encouraging the legislature to be aggressive in continuing to work to find a significant increase in Michigan’s transportation funding system.

We also continue to support Michigan’s historic commitment to funding roads through a user based system. We are open to new ideas, and believe the basic structure of this package is sound, but we would certainly like to see it go further. We also support opportunities for improved public transit, and encourage the Legislature to address the state’s full transportation structure and be equitable in the distribution of funding including local roads which are vital to business and economic development, schools, public safety, health care and the revitalization of our communities.

The business community is appreciative for the work that our state lawmakers do on our behalf, as well as the work of the Governor to develop policies that continue to grow Michigan’s economy. We want to encourage lawmakers to be bold and to unify behind a proposal that will produce structural changes and a long-term plan to improve Michigan’s infrastructure over the next decade.

We also encourage Chamber members to contact their local legislator and urge them to make the tough decisions necessary to fix our crumbling roads and infrastructure.

William Kimble is president and chief executive officer of C2AE and serves as chair of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Kevin McKinney is the owner of McKinney & Associates and serves as the Government Relations Division Director, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Tags:  economic driver  improved public transit  infrastructure  Michigan Legislature  road funding  transportation funding  user based system 

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