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Leader2Leader: Alan Smaka and Tara Vandestreek

Tara Vandestreek
Accounting Supervisor at Getman Corporation

Alan Smaka
Kalamazoo Office Director for Wightman and Associates

We sat down with two local leaders to get their insights on success, development, motivation, and more.

Mike Roeder

1963 | BORN IN CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND
My family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, when I was too young to remember. I had four brothers and sisters, so there was a lot of sharing. We shared toys, cars, bathrooms—you name it. Growing up, we were always in the street playing some sort of sport, whether it was going to the baseball field or making up our own sport using whatever we had on hand. Nowadays, it seems like everything’s much more structured.

A Community On The Move

READY, SET, GO! AND, THEY’RE OFF!
We are so excited to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Borgess Run this year. We’ve grown over the past four decades to include even more events.Thiswill be the ninth year for our main attraction, the Kalamazoo Marathon, but we also have 10K and 5K runs, plus a kid’s fun run and motivational mile.

Practical Application

Dream jobs don’t just fall from the sky.More often than not, making them a reality takes a lot of planning, networking, and coordination. For students like Western Michigan University (WMU) senior Katherine Collier, putting in that effort at a young age is paying off.“I’ve grown tremendously since I’ve started work here at Flowserve. Everything from my professional development to my supply chain knowledge has just blossomed,” Collier said.

Choosing A Path

HOMETOWN
Portage, MI

EDUCATION
Michigan State University (MSU)
Marketing Major; Retail Management Minor
Expected Graduation: May 2020

POSITION
Sales Operations Intern at SalesPage Technologies

Clear Mission Drives Dairy Cooperative Growth

Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has a simple mission statement: To market MMPA members’ milk to the greatest advantage possible. The succinct directive has proven to be successful.

Founded over 100 years ago, the dairy farmer-owned cooperative has grown to represent nearly 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The cooperative supplies over 1 billion pounds of milk per year to local bottlers who fill the milk jugs found on grocery store shelves. It also produces dairy products such as butter, nonfat dry milk, cream, and condensed skim milk.

The Story Behind the Visual Storyteller

HOW DO YOU APPROACH DESIGN AT IMAGESTREAM?
My business partner Tom Brooks and I started this company 20 years ago, in 1999.We were working for Pharmacia & Upjohn, handling its media center here in Kalamazoo. But when the company started moving its jobs to New Jersey [after it was acquired by Pfizer], we were offered new jobs. We had kids in school at the time, and we didn’t want to uproot our lives. So, Tom and I prepared a business plan and decided to buy the company and start ImageStream.

You Down With RTD?

Canned cocktails are exploding on the scene, transforming the category’s reputation.
Ready-to-drink, aka “RTD,” refers to packaged beverages that are sold in a prepared form and are ready for consumption. Unlike traditional beverage mixes or brew-it-yourself products, ready-to-drink beverages can be immediately enjoyed upon purchase.

Get Fired Up!

COMPANY
Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

PHILOSOPHY
To design and build the best outdoor cooking and entertaining equipment in the world.

LOCAL ROOTS
The company traces its lineage back to 1906, when the Kalamazoo Sheet Metal Company was founded to make stainless steel equipment for the dairy industry. Though heralded for its seamless welds, which reduced bacteria to ensure food safety, the company faced a challenge when the local dairy industry declined in the 1990s.

On Pace

On Highway M-60, where it winds past scenic lakes and lush farmland in St. Joseph County, sits a dynamic manufacturer of high-profile parts for the automotive, marine, agricultural, entertainment, and industrial sectors.

Revved-up auto enthusiasts readily seek out its products such as covers for the superchargers on General Motors’ Corvette, Camaro, and Cadillac supercars, and superchargers for Roush Racing that power the Ford Mustang and Raptor.