In November, Harold “Buck” Love, Business Retention and Growth Specialist, retired from the NLEA after more than six years with the organization. Buck joined the NLEA in 2017 bringing a breadth of experience from operating a small business for several years before working as a Businesses Support Specialist with Networks Northwest. Leveraging this background and NLEA
resources, Buck helped businesses access the financial and technical support needed to thrive in Northern Lower Michigan. Jessica Lovay, NLEA’s Community Development and Grants Specialist, remembers working with Buck fondly; “Buck brought a special energy to the NLEA, he will be greatly missed.”
One of Buck’s strengths in his role was the supporting business expansions through tax abatements. Over the years, Buck supported the 2018 Van Dam Custom Boats expansions, the 2019 Manthei Wood Products rebuild following a facility fire, the 2020 Industrial Magnetics Expansion and more. These projects and others brought roughly 16.1 million dollars of investment and 115 new jobs to the region.
In addition to working directly with businesses, Buck supported regional initiatives that pulled in many stakeholders, from Manufacturing Days that exposed hundreds of students to opportunities in the industry to Regional Hiring events that connected hundreds of job seekers with hundreds of open positions.
Not only did Buck leverage existing resources for the region, but he also helped introduce new ones. Buck coordinated the adoption of the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program in Emmet (2018), Cheboygan (2022), and Charlevoix (2023) Counties. The program is a mechanism for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on commercial properties.
NLEA Interim President David Emmel described Buck as critical to developing the NLEA’s business connections in the region. Emmel stated, “Buck has an ability to quickly develop deep and trusting relationships with people. This ability was key to his success at the NLEA and the relationships he fostered and sustained in the business community during his tenure. His integrity
and warmth will be greatly missed. Personally, I'm very much looking forward to seeing what the next venture will be on his beloved farm in northern Emmet County.”
From everyone at the NLEA, thank you Buck.