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News & Press: FOCUS

MAC Looks to the Future

Thursday, July 6, 2017  
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Stephan Currie was no stranger to the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) when he became executive director on January 1. Having served as its deputy director since 2011, Currie knew well the century-old association’s strengths, people and traditions. He also knew MAC would need to change to maximize its effectiveness in Lansing and beyond.

“No longer are people joining an association just because it is an association,” said Currie. “We have to look to add value for their investment.”

Founded in 1898, MAC has been the only statewide organization dedicated to the representation of all county commissioners in Michigan. Despite a well-documented track record of success through the years, Currie is using his opportunity to lead the organization to define a new path to the future.

“MAC needs to be that voice in Lansing for county boards of commissioners and all 83 county governments in Michigan,” said Currie. 

Currie and his MAC team are helping board members develop a strategic plan for the group to follow. Currie hopes to have a final product approved by the full MAC Board of Directors in the fall. The planning process already has paid dividends, in that it’s allowed staff and board members alike the opportunity to take a fresh look at the mission and vision of the organization, and to redefine priorities.

“We’ve been doing things the same way for a long time” said Currie. “The association world is changing and we must change with it.”

Perhaps the most visible change coming for MAC is the relocation of its Lansing headquarters. The move from its historic structure at 935 N. Washington Ave. to the heart of downtown, just steps from the State Capitol, will occur in September. The new location on the second floor of the Capitol Tower at 110 W. Michigan Ave. places MAC in the center of the legislative “campus” downtown.

“The move allows us to increase our exposure where we need it most and gives us a perfect setting to host fundraisers,” said Currie.

MAC is also looking to more effectively leverage strategic partnerships, including one with the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC). Currie sees exciting potential in the Capitol Council of Governments (CAPCOG) involving Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties, along with LRCC and Michigan State University.

“That is a very impressive group,” said Currie. “CAPCOG is something that could be used as a model for the rest of the state.”

Currie also sees the strategic partnership involving LRCC and MAC as an opportunity for both organizations to utilize new communications platforms to reach current and potential members in the future.

“It is a bit more complex to communicate key messages in the digital era when there are so many varied communications tools being utilized by our audiences,” said Currie. “Our partnership with the Lansing Regional Chamber is a creative way to allow both organizations opportunities to engage with leaders in the county and business realms.”

Click here to download the July issue of FOCUS. 

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