WHAT IS THE KEY TO GOOD LEADERSHIP?
Nick: Empowering your associates. That comes through building relationships. Communication is key—if you can’t communicate, you can’t build that trust. I have a “trust-but-verify” philosophy, but I let individuals make their own decisions and drive results.
Nancy: The key to good leadership is being genuine. People want to know that you act with a high level of integrity in everything you do and say. To foster that type of leadership, you need to be humble. You need to be supportive instead of craving to be the center of attention.
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Drive for Life was something my dad started years ago to help support those in our community who are battling cancer. Both of my grandfathers passed away from the disease, as well as both of my wife’s parents. You would be hard-pressed to find someone whose life hasn’t been touched somehow, some way, by cancer. The money we raise goes to the American Cancer Society but also benefits MRC Industries in Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Make-A-Wish Foundation. Donations are spent locally to support a ton of people in Southwest Michigan who are in need, including transportation for people who cannot afford to get rides to treatments.
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1970 | Born in Quincy, MI
I grew up in a strong family environment. However, my entire family is made up of die-hard Michigan State Spartans. So, when I got a last-moment scholarship to Western Michigan University (WMU) and decided to accept, there was more than a little tension in my household.
On March 6, 2019, a snowy, below-freezing day, excited staff and supporters huddled in front of Arbor Financial Credit Union’s newest location. The icy pavement didn’t stop the attendees from posing for a celebratory photo with their proud teammates. It was the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the bank’s eighth location, on Portage Road on the south side of Portage.
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The coast of Lake Michigan is home to some of the best-kept secrets the mitten state has to offer. From Muskegon to Holland, Grand Haven to St. Joseph, its beach-centric towns draw thousands of tourists each year during the summer months. In addition to the breathtaking views, these towns harbor some glorious breweries, many of which have helped put these communities on the map.
Greenbush Brewery is nestled in the small town of Sawyer, Michigan. Located right off of I-94 at Exit 12, the brewery has become a staple for visitors driving along the coast.
If you were to ask a manufacturer to tell you its biggest challenges, the search for skilled talent would likely land among its top three answers.
Michigan has worked hard to reclaim its spot among the top states for both manufacturing output and employment. As part of its efforts, the state listened to the employment struggles of industry leaders. It responded by establishing a workforce funding program that assists employers in training, developing, and retaining their current and yet-to-be-hired employees.
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HOW DO YOU APPROACH DESIGN IN YOUR ROLE AT NEWELL BRANDS?
I’m a staff industrial designer at Newell Brands, a leading global consumer goods company. We have a lot of great brands in our portfolio—since I started here, I have gotten to work on a wide range of products. I am now part of the Home Fragrance Team and design products for several brands, including Yankee Candle, Chesapeake Bay, and Woodwick.
At its inception in the late 1990s, Keystone Solutions Group set off to a glamorous start: growing and thriving in the basement of President Jim Medsker alongside his water heater and boxed-up holiday decorations. Although the company began with the single-tiered mission of product development, Medsker soon began receiving requests from clients that he take things a step further. They asked that Medsker start to manufacture and bring products to life. This kickstarted the evolution that’s made Keystone Solutions Group into the multi-layered company it is now.
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.
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Published on December 12, 2018
KALAMAZOO, Mich., – The region’s newest job and business development initiative is slated to help kick off 2019. Western Michigan University will begin development of the Business Technology and Research Park 2—BTR 2—in the next few months thanks to a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The grant will help pay for site development in the form of roads and utilities.
Published on December 10, 2018
KALAMAZOO, Mich., – Fifteen companies from throughout Southwest Michigan have been selected by 269 MAGAZINE as 2018 Wonderful Workplaces. This award celebrates the outstanding efforts made by local businesses in the region to make their organizations great places to work. Winners are recognized in the Holiday 2018 issue of 269 MAGAZINE.
Published on November 13, 2018
LANSING, Mich. – Metals and plastics recycling company Schupan & Sons Incorporated is expanding at two locations in Kalamazoo with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The project is expected to generate total private investment of $10.1 million and create 80 jobs. Michigan was chosen for the expansion over competing sites in Indiana and Ohio.
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Published on November 1, 2018
Santa Fe, NM (November 1, 2018) —OUTSIDE, America’s preeminent active lifestyle brand, reveals the top 50 best places to work in the U.S. and 50 honorable mentions in 2018. Winning companies provide great workplaces for employees and encourage a balance between work and enjoying life in the great outdoors, while also respecting the environment. Southwest Michigan First, the catalyst driving economic growth in Southwest Michigan, earned top honors.
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Published on October 19, 2018
KALAMAZOO, Mich., – Ka-Zoo Angels has had an active first year of contributing capital funding to help grow Michigan’s entrepreneur community. In the fourteen months following its inception, Ka-Zoo Angels has seen 19 startup companies pitch for capital and has invested $435,000 in eight companies.
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Our hope is that the readers of 269 MAGAZINE will become active participants in the world around them and join our mission to make Southwest Michigan the place to make a home, go to work, and bring dreams to reality.