From the Economic Development Desk of the
January 15, 2020
You are receiving this email because your organization is at one of the economic development tiers  with the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. As always, we encourage your comments and questions.
A message from Mike Mahler...
I am grateful and excited with the opportunity to take the mantle from Jim. As I walked out the door into retirement June 18th, I did not fear boredom as many retirees do on their last day of work. I had plenty of things that would fill my days including three young grandchildren and a new yellow lab puppy. During my summer off I had thought about what jobs (if any) would ever entice me out of retirement and only two jobs came to mind. One of those two jobs was working with Jim in economic development. In my role as a banker along with serving on the DDA and Brownfield Authority boards, my path often intersected with Jim’s. He served on the Economic Development Committee of the DDA with me, so I saw first-hand the impact Jim had and how he went about taking care of things. Jim was very effective and when he was successful, the community was made better. That type of impact really appeals to me. 
For me the interest in the role was twofold: I saw the role as an opportunity to give back to a community that has been so good to me, and secondly, I have gotten to know many people around the region and state and I felt I could leverage those contacts in the execution of this role. 

My thought was if Jim/economic development ever needed additional help, I would be glad to assist if they would consider me. When I saw the news of Jim’s departure, I immediately reached out to Jackie to share my interest. Two weeks later I committed to fill Jim’s void and now at the end of my first week, I am writing this update. I can already tell this was a great move for me. My calendar is filling up quickly as I was able to hit the ground running which is key to helping maintain the momentum that Jim built over the last eight years. I commit to all of you I will pour my heart and soul into this role as this is important work for the long-term benefit of our region. It deserves undivided attention and it will get it from me. 
The good news is the pipeline of opportunities that Jim was involved with when he left the Chamber is being attended to by me already. I expect no issues in terms transition. Thank you to so many of you who reached out sharing your nice messages, congratulations and words of encouragement. You continue to remind me of why I love Northeast Michigan. 
Thank you for your support of economic development and know your support is not misplaced. Great strides were made during Jim’s tenure I expect to continue that same trajectory. More to come….

Save the dates!
The Chamber's 2020 Annual Dinner will be on February 6, 2020.
The 2020 Annual Economic Development Breakfast will be on April 14, 2020.

You're doing WHAT with our money?
We are committed to using the money of our investors (that's you) with integrity and responsibility. But we realize, based on your feedback and our own analysis, that we need to do a better job of sharing with you exactly what is being done with the money you invest in this organization. We are going to use these newsletters in 2020 to do a better job of sharing that information with you. As we work to put that information into a format that most clearly explains things, we will start this month with the following.

You know that some of your money stays with the Chamber and some is sent directly to a 501(c)(3) organization known as Target Alpena. Since 2012, the Chamber has been handling the majority of administrative responsibilities for economic development. Chamber staff engages in economic development activities in addition to the work of the Director of Economic Development. Economic Development organizations and Chambers of Commerce are staff-heavy organizations. That means a large portion of their revenue is used to pay for people to do the work required for success. When you invest in this organization, you are largely investing in salaries to pay people to do the work, attend the meetings, make the calls, do the research, prepare the reports, pitch the ideas, etc. It is an entire team of people in the building at 235 West Chisholm who are engaged in activity for economic development and not just the Director of Economic Development. Most of the roles are supportive in nature, but all work is imperative to the success, as has been demonstrated since 2012 when the investment structure was first rolled out and the relationship between the Chamber and Economic Development changed.

Let's explore just one staff person right now. The position of President/CEO. This position engages in economic development by:

  • Meeting material preparation
  • Content writing
  • Workforce development preparation and activity
  • Workforce readiness efforts
  • Advocacy efforts
  • Public presentations
  • Strategy development
  • Staff oversight
  • Budget oversight
  • Event involvement
  • Leadership development
  • Misc. other activities

These activities, as they relate to economic development, take up approximately 70-80% of time of the person in that position. That means that although not the Director of Economic Development, this position is important to a successful economic development program. A percentage of each staff member's time is spent on economic development activities. At a recent economic development board meeting, the board agreed that both organizations - the Chamber and Target - are stronger together than separate and we want our members to have a better understanding of how that relationship works, and how their money is being spent. We will continue to tell this story as this year progresses.
We would like to recognize the following members who have made commitments to move up or joined at a higher tier:

Aflac - Sponsor Level
Building Express Inc. - Sponsor Level
Capital One Spark Business - Sponsor Level
Cocoa Capital Corp - Sponsor Level
KFC/WMCR - Sponsor Level
McDonald's Restaurants - Sponsor Level
Meridian Contracting Services - Sponsor Level
MidMichigan Health - Chairman Level
Northern Abstract & Title Agency - Sponsor Level
Stratford Group Ltd. - Sponsor Level
Tier4 Technical Support - Partner Level
Chairman Level ($3,201+)
Alpena Agency, Inc.
Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union
Alpena Community College
Alpena County
Alpena Power Company
Bannan Funeral Home
Besser Foundation
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Charter Township of Alpena
City of Alpena
Edward Jones - Eric Ferguson, Marc Ferguson, Charles Ingle, Pamela Kirchoff, Andrew Kowalski, Bryan Strong
H.P.C. Credit Union
Huntington Bank
Lappan Agency
MidMichigan Health
Presque Isle County
Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-Op
Wolverine State Credit Union

Leader Level ($3,200)    
Partner Level ($1,500) 
Alpena Community Credit Union
Alpena Public Schools
Bedrock Contracting and Excavating
Besser Company
Builders First Source
Chemical Bank
Clearview Car Wash
Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan
Downtown Development Authority
Decorative Panels International (DPI)
DTE Energy
Employment Services Inc. (ESI)
ITC Holdings, Corp.
Keystone Rental Equipment
LeFave Pharmacy
Northland Area Federal Credit Union
Pennzoil Ten Minute Oil Change Center of Alpena
PNC Bank
Propane Plus Inc., MI Stop Citgo, MI Stop Deli
Star Staffing Alpena
State Street Auto Wash
Tier4 Technical Support
Timm Construction Company, LLC
Sponsor Level ($475)
Alcona Health Center
Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Alpena Beverage Company
Alpena Biorefinery
Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library
Alpena Events Complex
Alpena Glass Company, Inc.
Alpena News Publishing Company
Alpena Supply Company
Art Van Furniture/Young Appliance
Austin Brothers' Beer Company
Ball Tire
Banner Realty
Besser Foundation
Besser Senior Living Community, Inc.
Boldrey, Senchuk, Rouleau & Williams, CPA's, PC
Bolenz Jewelry
Building Express Inc.
Capital One Spark Business
Cardell and Sons Landscaping
Century 21 Crow Realty
Clark Construction Company
Cliff Anschuetz Chevrolet Inc.
Cocoa Capital Corp
Compassus Hospice
Consumers Energy
Control Solutions Inc
Cutting Edge Construction
Dean Arbour Ford Lincoln
Downtown Union 76 LLC
The Drug Store/Northern Exposure Framing & Matting
Everett Goodrich, Inc.
Fiber Char
H&R Block
Holiday Inn Express & Suites
The Home Depot
Huron Engineering & Surveying
Industrial Image, Inc.
Lewis & Lewis Professional Surveying, Inc.
McDonald's Restaurant
Michigan Works Center
Neiman's Family Market
Northern Abstract & Title Agency
Northern Eye
Omega Electric & Sign Company Inc.
Ossineke Industries
Plowman's Collision Service
Pompeyos Mexican Grill
Presque Isle Township
R.A. Townsend Company
R.S. Scott Associates, Inc.
Ramada Alpena
RE/MAX New Horizons
Real Estate One of Alpena
ServiceMaster Home & Office
Sherwin Williams
Sixty Minutes to Freedom
Skiba Insurance Service
SkyWest Airlines
Specification Stone Products
Straley Lamp & Kraenzlein P.C.
Stratford Group Ltd.
Sunrise Behavioral Health Clinic
Switzer Veterinary Clinic
Tarkington Family Dentistry
Team Elmer's
Thunder Bay Accounting
Thunder Bay Electric, Inc.
Thunder Bay Eye Care
Thunder Bay Family Dentistry
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Thunder Bay Therapy & Sports Medicine
Thunder Bay Tree Services, LLC
Time to Shine Carwash
True North Radio Network
W.G. Benjey Inc.
Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating, Inc.
Werth Development, LLC
White, Wojda and Curtis
Wolf Family Dentistry
Wolgast Corporation
Zen 24 Hour Fitness Center