Entries by Ron Kitchens

Career Lesson Plans

When he was named president of Humphrey Products in April 2016, Dave Maurer inherited the desk of his recently retired predecessor. Within its drawers, Maurer found a sheaf of papers from 1998 describing a group of industry partners trying to solve a labor shortage. To Maurer’s eyes, the problem read painfully familiar.

LEADER 2 LEADER: Sydney Parfet Attorney/Partner LAKE, PARFET, & SCHAU, PLC

Define leadership.
Learning from others. Guiding others. Mentoring others. Listening to others.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My grandma, Martha Parfet. She is a modest, quiet leader, and she has made a tremendous impact in the community and continues to so every day in a caring way.

What excites you most about the future of Southwest Michigan?
The growth and the development that’s occurring here. I think it’s really becoming a place for young professionals to establish a family and to create a life.

LEADER 2 LEADER: Troy Clay President & Chief Executive Officer MNO-BMADSEN

Define leadership.
Establishing trust among a group of people that you are doing the best you can to carry forward under a given vision.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
There’s no doubt at all that it’s Jesus Christ. I’m a person of faith. First and foremost, that’s who I answer to and it’s who leads me. I have been blessed with some mentors and people who have influenced my life and we have great leadership within the tribe that influences what I do, even on our board of directors as well.

What excites you most about the future of Southwest Michigan?
I see a real commitment in terms of planning and action by leadership to inspire more leaders and to do what we can to make the best of this area.

The Blueprint for Economic Growth

If there is a blueprint for economic growth, a look at trend-setting regions around the nation tells us this: talent, education, and quality of life are key drivers.

In that respect, the news is both encouraging and cautionary for Southwest Michigan.

Among peer regions, Southwest Michigan has fewer high school dropouts than most—but it also has too many with some college education, but no degree. That can be problematic for employers seeking the best talent.

LEADER2LEADER: AMY MCCLAIN — MANAGER, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND EVENTS — STRYKER CORPORATION

Define leadership in 10 words.
A leader is committed to an organization’s goals and vision.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My grandfather was a civil rights leader in Chicago. When I was growing up, he had a talk show, and I would watch from the background as he interviewed community leaders. They talked about desegregation in Chicago and about other community issues. I didn’t realize my grandfather’s impact on me for many years. From listening to him, I learned the importance of being involved in community work, and I passed this lesson on to my kids.

LEADER2LEADER: Jamie Clark — President of Clark Logic

Define leadership in 10 words.
Thinking, understanding, listening, developing, working.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My dad, because I got to work with him every day, I got to have lunch with him every day, and dinner with him too, if that worked out. He taught me more than I even understood, and I didn’t look at it ever as leadership but, when I look back, it’s more leadership and wisdom than I could have gained from any book, tape, function, or leadership forum.