Entrepreneurial Spirit
to spawn new and viable small businesses by providing business support services and flexible office space. They also encourage collaboration between entrepreneurs who often share common sets of challenges. “We hope people will evolve and grow their relationships during their time here,” said Robin Miner-Swartz, another of NEO’s founders. “It’s much better than trying to grow your business from a coffee shop.” “We’re trying to foster creativity,” said NEO co-founder Tom Stewart. “Now, a start-up doesn’t have to go to Chicago, Grand Rapids or Silicon Valley. They can receive the support they need right here in Lansing.” The NEO Center, which opened in November 2011, is somewhat unusual as business incubators go in Michigan in that it is a private enterprise venture financed by its seven co-founders; Jaques, MinerSwartz, Stewart, Erik Larson, Jennifer Middlin, Dan Ryan and Chris VanWyck. The group continues to secure additional financial support from sponsors which already include; MSU Federal Credit Union, Arialink and Farm Bureau Insurance.
The NEO Center’s seven co-founders enjoying one of the perks of the job: (Top) Paul Jaques; (Middle) Erik Larson (l) and Tom Stewart (r); (Bottom l-r) Dan Ryan, Chris Van Wyck, Robin Miner-Swartz and Jennifer Middlin

“It’s not every day you get to work in an environment where the most incredible people are working alongside you,” said Jeff Smith, who serves as co-director of the New Economy Division of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), which jointly manages TIC with the City of East Lansing. TIC was launched by the City of East Lansing and its Downtown Development Authority in October 2008. TIC’s focus is in developing companies in the technology sector, with many of its clients having connections to Michigan State University. In four years, TIC has successfully helped many companies move into the mainstream marketplace, many of whom are growing rapidly. “You’re helping someone start something that hasn’t existed before,” said Ken Szymusiak, who joins Smith as the co-director of LEAP’s New Economy Division. “It’s key to growing our economic base.”

There’s something about a playground slide in the middle of an office building and an energetic group of seven entrepreneurs that just seem to go together. The slide is located on the main floor of The Center for New Enterprise Opportunity (NEO), a business incubator near Lansing’s north side. The slide is consistent with the mission of the NEO Center, which encourages entrepreneurs to collaborate, share ideas, do well, make money and, of course, have fun. “We want the environment to be fun,” said Paul Jaques, one of NEO’s founders. “We want people who work here to remember the joy they had as kids.” The NEO Center and the Technology Innovation Center (TIC) in East Lansing are two prime examples of a growing trend in the region towards providing more resources, support and encouragement for entrepreneurs and start-up companies as successful business ventures. These incubators are designed

Incubators like the NEO Center and TIC offer flexible work options which can be as simple as a desk with a work station to a fully equipped private office. Prices for permanent space at NEO range from $180-$450 monthly. NEO currently has 17 of its 21 available spaces leased. The real goal for business incubators is for its clients to become successful and then relocate to a permanent office setting. Leases are typically six months. Start-ups work from the incubator setting for up to three years. Businesses that “graduate” from the incubator then become tenants for developers in the area, and continue to grow and create more jobs. The NEO Center is emphasizing growth in the City of Lansing first, and then spreading to the Greater Lansing region. “We want graduates to put down stakes in our region and stay for a long time,” said NEO co-founder Chris Van Wyck. Incubators are not intended to serve as a place for cheap office space. The main benefit for a start-up working from an incubator is to develop a growing business in an environment that fosters creativity and collaboration. To people in the incubator industry, it’s all about the environment.

Neo Center co-founder Tom Stewart. “Lansing is now a place to start a business. If you want to do so, we have the resources to help it happen.”

Among TIC’s many graduate success stories is Phenometrics, which makes machines used in algae research. Phenometrics was recently named as Incubator Client of the Year by the Michigan Business Incubators Association. Other notable success stories include Good Fruit Video, a Lansingbased video production company, and Nicholas Creative, a boutique website creative agency. Two other companies, NamesforLife and Retia Medical, have successfully secured government grants. Though TIC has been solely focused on technology, there are plans to expand to other industries. The
continued on page 10



A Message From The President
We Need to Grow Our Own
With regards to economic development, there is now less of an emphasis on “hunting” for large companies with lots of jobs and now more of a focus on “gardening,” which seeks to grow the local economy from within. Economic gardening, an economic development policy started in the 1990s, seeks to encourage, nurture and help home-grown companies, whether they are outright start-ups or established industries that have been around for years. Michael Finney, president of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), spoke about his agency’s emphasis on economic gardening at the recent Port Lansing Global Trade Conference. Finney said economic gardening emphasizes growing businesses from inside the state without extensive tax credits that have historically been utilized to attract businesses from outside Michigan. For certain, we must continue to work hard to attract and retain major employers in our state. Greater Lansing is the perfect example of a region that continues to rely heavily on its historic economic base surrounding General Motors, Michigan State University and state government. However, as the global economy transitions to a knowledge-based economy, it is clear that in order to thrive our region must promote growth in both emerging and established industries to keep our outstanding young talent, nurture and grow new technologies and promote growth in new industries. This month’s FOCUS cover story highlights a successful strategy that is helping to position our region to be more competitive in the new economy. Business incubators like the NEO Center and the Technology Innovation Center (TIC) are spawning a new generation of entrepreneurs that will be our region’s business leaders of tomorrow. It is astounding to note that in Michigan, 84% of incubator businesses stay in the community after graduating from the incubator program. Incubators like the NEO Center and TIC have proven successful in increasing the longevity and diversity of local jobs and economies throughout Michigan. The incubator setting is also encouraging the development of great community leaders. The NEO Center, for example, has a strategy designed to encourage its tenants to engage in projects supporting the community in which the center resides. This is true social entrepreneurism that encourages more well-rounded, community minded business leaders.

2012 Board of Directors
Nancy McKeague
Michigan Hospital Association

Ron Simon
Auto-Owners Insurance

Paula Cunningham
Capitol National Bank


Jeff Hicks
Hicks & Mullett, PLLC

Tim Daman
President and CEO Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce

Jeff Fineis
Andrews Hooper and Pavlik

Tim Daman
Lansing Regional Chamber

Division Directors
Jean Schtokal
Foster, Swift, Collins and Smith, P.C.

We should all be encouraged that the Greater Lansing region has the talent, financial backing and entrepreneurial spirit that is creating exciting new businesses, jobs and investment that will lead our community into the 21st century economy and beyond.

Kevin McKinney
McKinney & Associates

Joe Ford
Netvantage Marketing

Deb Muchmore
Marketing Resource Group

Farm Bureau Insurance

David Baker

Lansing Board of Water and Light

J. Peter Lark

Melanie Bergeron
Two Men & A Truck

Dave Mulder
Meijer, Inc.

Lon Bohannon

Accident Fund Insurance Co.

Steve Reynolds Tim Salisbury
PNC Bank

Leslie Brogan

Jackson National Life Insurance

John Brown

Jason Sanders
Fifth Third Bank

Michigan State University

Mark Burnham Patrick Dean Pat Gillespie
Gillespie Group

Heather Shawa-DeCook
Demmer Corporation

Dean Transportation

Sparrow Health Systems

Dennis Swan Bob Trezise
LEAP, Inc.

Bill Kimble

Blue Cross Blue Shield ........................................5 C2AE ....................................................................6 CAMW ..................................................................3 Dean Black Car ............................................... BC Granger .............................................................14 M3 Group ..........................................................10 MSUFCU ...............................................................9 PHP .....................................................................15 Sparrow..............................................................13

“Growing on our own” represents the new frontier in economic development. We should all be encouraged that the Greater Lansing region has the talent, financial backing and entrepreneurial spirit that is creating exciting new businesses, jobs and investment that will lead our community into the 21st century economy and beyond.

Spartan Internet Consulting

Ryan Vartoogian

Emergent BioSolutions

Sean Kirk

Ross Woodstock Spartan Printing, Inc. Hot Prospects Direct Trumpie Photography






September Economic Club
Wednesday, September 12 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Kellogg Center Big Ten Rooms B&C Speaker: Michael Rush, Founding Director Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum Tickets: $40/$300 table of eight Register:
Tuesday, augusT 14 MeMber Mixer, 5 - 7 p.m., Wharton Center for Performing Arts with food and beverage service provided by Spartan Signature Catering. 750 E. Shaw Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824. $10 member, $30 nonmember. Includes hors d’oeuvres. government Relations Committees are in recess during July and august; meetings will resume in september. Tuesday, augusT 21 LansinG Open, 8:30 a.m. registration opens. Shotgun start at 10:00 a.m. at Eagle Eye Golf Course, 15500 S. Chandler Rd., Bath. Enjoy the summer weather and network at our annual golf tournament held at Eagle Eye Golf Course. Pre-registration is required. Pricing is $200 per person or $750 for a foursome. Player package includes greens fee & cart, player gift, beverage tickets, lunch and dinner. To reserve your place or a sponsorship, please contact Jennifer Wagemann, Manager, Events and Programming, at 517-853-6456 or ThuRsday, sepTembeR 6 ChaMber 360, 8 – 9:30 a.m., Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Insurance Capital Board Room, 500 E. Michigan Ave., Ste. 200, Lansing, MI 48912. New, veteran and prospective members are encouraged to attend Chamber 360, sponsored by ASK, to learn about the full range of Chamber benefits and how to maximize your investment. Meet our staff and find out how we are working for you through business growth and advocacy initiatives, exclusive member benefit programs, member exposure, networking and educational event opportunities. This is a FREE event, but space is limited. To register for this event, please visit Wednesday, sepTembeR 5 DeLta GOvernMent reLatiOns COMMittee, 8 – 9:30 a.m. Lexington Lansing Hotel, 925 S. Creyts Rd., Lansing, MI 48917. The Delta Government Relations Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month to provide a forum for business leaders to discuss important issues affecting Delta Township. This month, we are joined by the Delta Side Business Association in a joint meeting. To ensure adequate seating, please RSVP to Jason Green at jgreen@ Tuesday, sepTembeR 11 MeMber Mixer, 5 - 7 p.m., Location To Be Determined. Cost is $10 member, $30 non-member. Includes hors d’oeuvres. Wednesday, sepTembeR 12 eCOnOMiC CLub, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, East Lansing. Speaker: Michael Rush, founding director, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. Program begins at noon; please arrive early for registration & networking. Single tickets $40, or tables of 8 $300 (includes lunch). Pre-registration is required. To register for this event, please visit

News & Events
Wednesday, sepTembeR 21 east LansinG / MeriDian GOvernMent reLatiOns COMMittee, 8 – 9 a.m., Location TBD. The East Lansing / Meridian Government Relations Committee meets the third Wednesday of each month to provide a forum for business leaders to discuss important issues affecting East Lansing/Meridian Township. To ensure adequate seating, please RSVP to Jason Green at jgreen@ Tuesday, sepTembeR 25 10 Over the next ten, 6 – 8 p.m. Presented by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and Grand River Connection, these awards recognize the young professionals in our community who are viewed as tomorrow’s leaders. The awards will be presented in conjunction with GRC’s Fourth Tuesday networking event. This is a free event.

Event cost is complimentary for these enhanced membership levels:
Bronze Gold Silver Platinum



Welcome New Members

Chamber Milestones
We’d like to offer a special salute to these great organizations that reached milestone anniversaries as Chamber members this month. Thank you for your continued support through the years!
American Board of Emergency Medicine
30 years

a. scott grabel & associates 1650 Kendale Blvd., Ste. 110 East Lansing, MI 48823 (800) 342-7896 grotenhuis, Inc. 447 North Canal Rd., Ste. A Lansing, MI 48917 (616) 949-7950 TomCo asphalt, Inc. 3694 Columbia Rd. Mason, MI 48854 (517) 676-5600 minor Creations 693 Grand River Ave. Okemos, MI 48864-3110 (517) 347-2900 The Tobacco shoppe 4405 W. Saginaw Hwy. Lansing, MI 48917 (517) 327-0717 La Fille’ gallery 336 E. Michigan Ave. Lansing, MI 48933 (517) 526-7150

penn station east Coast subs 3020 E. Saginaw, Ste. 3 Lansing, MI 48912 (517) 993-5016 michigan Rock n brew, LLC 2001 E. Michigan Lansing, MI 48912 (517) 898-2217 arrow 53 6491 Lansdown Dr. Dimondale, MI 48821 (952) 456-3786 autism alliance of michigan 720 N. Harrison Rd. East Lansing, MI 48823 (517) 290-2676 www.autismallianceof march of dimes 2450 Delhi Commerce Dr., Ste. 11 Holt, MI 48842 (517) 699-4863 michigan

Insty prints downtown 209 S. Washington Sq. Lansing, MI 48933-1807 (517) 371-5205 simplified accounting & Tax service, Inc 4305 S. Cedar St. Lansing, MI 48910-5461 (517) 882-2441 american Laser skin Centers 2150 Association Dr., Ste. 240 Okemos, MI 48864 (517) 347-8240 u.s. Capital mortgage 227 S. Washington Sq. Lansing, MI 48933 (517) 351-5626

Fairview Realty Co.
20 years

Lansing Christian School
15 years

Sam Eyde Management Company, L.L.C.
10 years

Mayberry Homes
10 years

Bergmann Associates, Inc.
5 years

Meijer, Inc.
5 years

Please remember to use the member login portion of the Chamber website to keep your contact information up-to-date. This will ensure that you receive all Chamber communications in a timely manner. Contact us at 517.487.6340 if you have any questions or are not receiving our communications.

Thank You Renewing Members
Alro Steel Corporation American Board of Emergency Medicine Azzi Jewelers Bergmann Associates, Inc. CBI Rehabilitation Services Inc. Celebration! Cinema Central Michigan University Clark-Hill, P.L.C. Delta Flowers DeLuca’s Restaurant Dickinson Wright PLLC Ellis Cleaning Company Eric’s Refuse, LLC Fairview Realty Co. Flintoff & Klein CPAs Foresight Group, Inc. Frook Plumbing Gongwer News Service H.J. Umbaugh & Associates Hawk Hollow Golf Club & Banquet Facility Jackson National Life Child Development Center Kitsmiller RV Lake Trust Credit Union Lansing Charter Township Lansing Christian School Lansing State Journal Lyman & Sheets Insurance Agency Mayberry Homes, Inc. Medler Electric Company Meijer Inc. Michigan International Speedway Michigan Merchant Services Michigan Public Power Agency Mulder Company Netvantage Marketing Nip-N-Sip Catering, Inc. NTH Consultants, Ltd. Nuthouse Sports Grill O’Leary Paint Pratt & Whitney AutoAir, Inc. Quality Dairy Company Quest Software, Inc. Rehmann Sam Eyde Management Company, L.L.C. Security Alarm Co., Inc. T.L. Hart, Inc. Techmark, Inc. The Assured Limited Partnership The Centennial Group Wilson Heating & Air Conditioning Young Automotive Group, Inc.



Community Leaders Advance Regional Agenda
would improve the delivery of government services and enable the region to be more competitive in attracting and retaining business investment and jobs. In a recent letter to supporters, President Simon and LRCC President and CEO Tim Daman cited the need for follow-up on a pair of benchmark reports that provided insight into the efficiency of local government in the Metro Lansing region. Dr. Eric Scorsone’s Greater Lansing Fiscal Scorecard revealed that the region has 77 local units of government including 12 cities, 14 villages and 48 townships. Collectively, the services delivered by these governments represent a $500 million enterprise. The recently released Plante Moran Emergency Services Study calls for an incremental approach to consolidating fire services in the region. The study recommends the region begin with increased service sharing, including automatic mutual aid, and move towards the creation of an authority to include, at first, Lansing, East Lansing and Lansing Township. The letter states that the group intends to encourage Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas to move forward in implementing the recommendations. The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce has plans to conduct polling research this summer involving citizens and business leaders, which will provide data about the public’s understanding and support for meaningful change in the provision of government services. The group of business leaders plans to meet again in September to review research results and discuss progress of the Emergency Services Study.

the Greater Lansing Fiscal scorecard was publically released at the Lansing regional Chamber’s May economic Club on regionalism. the report highlighted many opportunities to explore more efficient delivery of government services in the region.

A group of community leaders that has been exploring strategies to encourage a more regional approach to delivering government services is urging local government officials to implement recommendations from a recently completed study on Emergency Services in the metro Lansing area. The group of regional business executives, Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon, and the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC), have been meeting for a year in efforts to develop a unified regional agenda that

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International Business
STEP Grant Helps Baker Drivetrain Expand Overseas
Thinking of taking your local company to the next level? The Pure Michigan State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) program allows regional companies to apply for financial assistance for export-related activities. As part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s strategy to support the growth of Michigan-based companies, STEP was developed to provide direct reimbursements of up to $25,000 in assistance. Financial assistance is available for opportunities including overseas trade mission and trade show participation, foreign market sales trips, subscription to U.S. Department of Commerce services, foreign language translation services for export marketing materials and website assets. A STEP grant was recently awarded to Baker Drivetrain—a motorcycle drivetrain company based in Haslett, Michigan. The company started with Bert Baker’s personal invention 14 years ago, which is now a transformational product sold throughout the world. Armed with a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan State University, a history in the motor cross circuit, and a mind for transmission construction, Bert developed the BAKER OD6—a 6-speed overdrive that transformed the H-D market. The news of Baker’s invention spread across America and soon there was a high demand for his BAKER OD6. Baker’s creativity and technical engineering skills, coupled with his wife Lisa’s talent for engineering and management, led to the development of Baker Drivetrain, with Baker as Chief Engineer and Chief Executive Officer and Lisa as President and Chief Operating Officer. Baker Drivetrain dedicates its focus to the American motorcycle drivetrain and remains the authority on V-Twin drivetrain to this day—using materials, labor and creativity only from the U.S.A. Baker Drivetrain soon established successful export channels in Australia, Canada, and several European countries, and is continuously looking for further expansion into foreign markets. This year, Baker Drivetrain received a STEP grant in the amount of $5,629.66 to help fund its trip to the 2012 Cincinnati V-Twin International Trade Show this past February. This show is the biggest international event within the motorcycle industry and brought together thousands of visitors including international distributors and dealers. The STEP grant was used to create an elaborate trade show display and for travel costs, as well as seminars relative to Baker Drivetrain’s product line. “The MEDC was extremely helpful, especially since we had never applied for grant money or assistance in the past,” said Baker. “Laura Deierlein, international trade development manager at MEDC, helped us navigate through the necessary paperwork.” The Cincinnati show proved successful for Baker Drivetrain as they had discussions with representatives from two major distributors in Japan and the Netherlands. “It has paid off already. When we informed our current distributor in Germany that we had spoken to the major distributor in the Netherlands, they stepped up their orders to us in an attempt to show us that they can handle the European market,” Baker said. Baker’s next steps are to travel with a sales associate to Japan and Europe to meet with prospective dealers and distributors and to gain a deeper understanding of their markets. “Companies should really take advantage of the MEDC opportunities, including the STEP grants,” he said. “There is big potential for overseas sales and we must cultivate it.” For more information about the STEP program, visit or contact Laura Deierlein at 517.487.6340 or at

Fifth location announced : Kalamazoo, Michigan
Building on our roots in West Michigan, our new Kalamazoo office will allow us to grow our services, foster our client base and engage new talent. • 866.454.3923




International Business
Deadline Approaching to Register for October China Trip
The deadline to register for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce’s (LRCC) trip to China is August 16. The trip, which takes place October 16-25, will provide people in the Greater Lansing region exposure to the culture, market and business opportunities that exist in China. The trip is targeted for Chamber members, but is open to other interested business and community leaders. “The opportunity to combine the enjoyment of China’s amazing historic sites and make important business connections while there makes this one of the most important trips any business person could ever make,” said Chris Holman, publisher of the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. “I have been doing business in China for many years, and look forward to being part of this great experience.” The Lansing to China all-inclusive trip will include visiting the historic cities of Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai. Members will also get the chance to see top tourist destinations such as the Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, Temple of the two countries by allowing both sides to learn how to work together for mutually beneficial business opportunities,” said Capital National Bank president and CEO Paula Cunningham. The cost for the trip for double occupancy is $2,388 per person and includes roundtrip airfare from LAX to Beijing, hotel accommodations, 17 meals and tours (flight to/from LAX, passport and visa expense are not included in price). Pre-travel cultural training is available through 7C Lingo. This package will include three hours of Chinese cultural training, business do’s and don’ts, along with etiquette training over a traditional Chinese meal and the option to have your business card translated. $285/person, $250/ each additional traveler.

Heavens, Tiananmen Square, and will also visit various factories to see how Chinese products are made. They will also experience authentic Chinese cuisine and explore global business and networking opportunities. “This trip will not only provide business professionals with the chance to network, but it will also help bridge the gap between our

New STEP Program Web Page on LRCC Website
the STEP program and the grant application process. The program is intended to assist businesses in all stages of exporting, including companies that have never exported but are interested in learning more, organizations that have exported on occasion and want to increase their involvement in foreign markets, and expert exporters seeking to expand volume and/or enter new markets. LRCC is the host organization for the Central Michigan Regional Export Network (REN), which consists of 17 counties: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Clare, Isabella, Gratiot, Midland, Saginaw, Shiawassee, Arenac, Bay, Genesee, Tuscola, Lapeer, Huron, Sanilac and St., Clair. LRCC’s role is to coordinate communication with client companies for training, development of export roadmaps and plans, and connections to public and private service providers involved in global trade. The new web page explains the STEP program, as well as providing information about upcoming export workshops and events. It also has a section of case studies on previous grant recipients for those looking to understand how the grant process can be useful for export initiatives. There is also a map of the four regional export networks (RENs) and their contact information for potential applicants to receive further assistance and other services in their region. Companies interested in applying for grants can read the eligibility guidelines and apply via an online application form for financial assistance. Visit the STEP web page at: http://

The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) now has its own web page on the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce’s (LRCC) website to serve as a resource center to further assist Michigan companies in understanding



Membership Services
Launching Businesses from the Tee to the Green Be a Part of the 2012 Lansing Open

the spectacular scenery at eagle eye Golf Course is always a highlight for golfers at the Lansing Open.

The 2012 Lansing Opening is only weeks away, so register TODAY for the summer’s most anticipated golf event on Tuesday, August 21 at Eagle Eye Golf Course. Registration and networking will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by a 10 a.m. shotgun start.

Golfers will gather together for an exciting opportunity to network with each other while enjoying a fun, relaxed game of golf. Volunteers, members and guests will have the chance to meet a potential client or maybe a future business partner. You never know who you could meet or what ideas might be generated at the tee.

The cost to participate is $200 for Chamber members, $245 for non-members and $750 for a foursome. Pricing includes green fees, cart, player gift, lunch, and dinner & beverage tickets. Sponsorship levels exist to match a variety of budgets. Sponsorship information, registration options and much more is available at www. or by contacting Jennifer Wagemann at 517.853.6456 or jwagemann@

Economic Club Set to Finish 2012 with Strong Speaker Line-up
Attendees at the September Economic Club luncheon will have the privilege of an inside look at the world-class Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum opening in November on the campus of Michigan State University. The presentation by Michael Rush, founding director of the Broad Museum, will mark the kick-off of the fall Economic Club series. The remainder of the 2012 Economic Club series will include the annual Healthcare Forum, Celebration of Regional Growth Awards and the 2013 economic forecast. Tickets are $40 per event or $300 for a table of eight. Tickets can be purchased at www. Economic Club luncheons are held from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Michigan State University Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

Fall 2012 Economic Club Speakers
Wednesday, September 12 Michael Rush, Founding Director Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum Healthcare Forum Laura Czelada, CEO & President Delta Dental of Michigan Celebration of Regional Growth Awards Mitch Stapley, Chief Fixed Income Officer Fifth Third Asset Management

Thursday, October 11

Thursday, November 1 Thursday, December 13


Membership Services
Nominations Sought for ATHENA and 10 Over the Next Ten Awards
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for the 2012 ATHENA and 10 Over the Next Ten awards. The ATHENA Award honors women and men who strive toward the highest levels of professional accomplishment, excel in their chosen field, have devoted time and energy to their community, and is a trailblazer for other women to follow. The ATHENA Award celebrates the potential of all women as leaders of the community and recognizes those who support them. The ATHENA Awards luncheon will be held on Thursday, December 6. The nominations are due november 1, 2012. For an application, please contact Michelle Rahl, director of marketing & events, at 517-853-6457 or Completed applications can be emailed to or faxed to 517-484-6910. 10 Over the Next Ten recognizes the Lansing region’s top young professionals who are expected to contribute significantly to our community over the next ten years. 10 Over the Next Ten applicants are judged based on their professional achievement, community involvement and personal success. Applicants are required to be 35-years-old or younger as of October 1, 2012, professionally centered in the tri-county area (Ingham, Eaton & Clinton) and with a minimum of two years working in the Greater Lansing region. nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m. on august 31, 2012. Applications can be downloaded off the Lansing Regional Chamber website and should be sent to the Chamber at the attention of Michelle Rahl, director of marketing & events at 517-853-6457 or

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Fostering Entrepreneurial Spirit
from page 1

Neo Center co-founder Chris Van Wyck. “We want graduates to put down stakes in our region and stay for a long time.”

Ken Szymusiak (l) and Jeff Smith (r), are co-directors of LEAP’s New Economy Division. LEAP and the City of East Lansing jointly manage TIC.

Justin Caine and Kraig Westfall of Good Fruit Video, one of the successful graduate companies of TIC.

fashion industry is one that Smith and Szymusiak see as a high potential highgrowth possibility. The ability to market and sell online has become a gamechanger in that entrepreneurs with designer clothing lines have affordable access to world-wide markets and no longer have to worry about the expense of a brickand-mortar location.

The folks at the NEO Center and TIC agree that a broader lesson can be applied to economic development efforts in the region, and that is that the incubator strategy can be used as a strategy to grow the overall economy. “We’re talking about part of the economy that has been missing,” said Smith. “We’ve learned how to leverage our resources and build a support network for new industries in ways that haven’t been done before.” What is clear is that entrepreneurial spirit and innovation is being nurtured and is flourishing in entirely new and exciting ways in the Greater Lansing region. Incubators like the NEO Center and TIC are offering greater chances for success for entrepreneurs and start-ups. More incubators are opening, including one planned for the fall of 2013 in the renovated Knapp’s building in downtown Lansing. “Lansing is now a place to start a business,” said Stewart. “If you want to do so, we have the resources to help it happen.”

“Now, a start-up doesn’t have to go to Chicago, Grand Rapids or Silicon Valley. They can receive the support they need right here in Lansing.”
“You have a person like former MSU basketball star Lauren Aitch, a hometown hero with a line of designer clothes,” said Smith. “We want people like her who decide to start a business in the community, to buy a house and remain here long-term.”

celebrating 10 years, countless high-fives and many memorable aha moments.

614 seymour ave. lansing, mi 48933 517 203 3333 |



Members On The Move
Highfields has selected Clone’s Country Market of Onondaga and andy sheets, a partner of Lyman & Sheets Insurance Agency, as its annual award recipients.Clone’s Country Market earned the andy sheets 2012 Partnership Award for the store’s long-standing financial support and involvement with Highfields. Andy Sheets earned the Robert Drake Citizenship Award for his longstanding support and involvement in Highfields’ fundraising efforts. publicom, inc., a fullservice marketing and public relations firm, has hired veronica Klem as production manager. In her new position, she will manage the production and delivery of all agency creative and production department work. Cooper and partners, a worksite wellness consulting firm has named Karen surdenik as managing partner. MAISA is comprised of superintendents and administrators representing 57 Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) in the State of Michigan. The physical therapy office of the therapy institute, LLC, is pleased to announce pamela Geboski, Mpt, CsCs has joined their office.
pamela Geboski

physicians health plan (php), a Lansingbased health maintenance organization, has been awarded accreditation offered by URAC, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare accrediting organization that establishes quality standards for the healthcare industry.

Cbre|Martin (Cbre) is pleased to announce that Jeff ridenour, a 25-year veteran of commercial real estate, has joined the company as an associate in brokerage services.

Expanding membership for non-profit associations is the goal of a new division and website (www. established by Michigan-based hospitality selling solutions (hss), according to shari pash berger, owner and founder of HSS. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and indian trails, inc., have teamed up to install “hearing loop” technology on a fleet of 17 motor coaches operating 34 scheduled routes that serve passengers throughout Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. Commercial blueprint, inc./Cblue printing is really on the move. The company has moved to a new location at 3125 Pine Tree Rd. Ste. B, Lansing, MI 48911. Located in the former Gunnisonville Elementary School, Little scholars north Campus opened in March and is enrolling children ages 0-6. For more information on Little Scholars Preparatory School, including curriculum and tuition prices, contact them at or 517-993-5195. Clark Construction Company recently completed construction of a 10,000 square-foot bingo room addition last month at FireKeepers Casino located near Battle Creek, MI. A grand opening of the bingo room was held on July 4, 2012.

veronica Klem

Karen surdenik

the Centennial Group of Lansing is pleased to welcome Dayna Dines, ryan underhill, nick McCleary, and ajay arumugam to its organization. After an in-depth selection process, they are entering the apprenticeship phase of the Advisor Development Program. s. Kogut, stanley Jr., superintendent of intermediate ingham school District, has been elected president of the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA).

the publicom team that successfully completed its pro bono publico! 24-hour blitz.

publicom recently presented seven Michigan nonprofits with approximately $135,000 worth of free marketing materials created during its Pro Bono Publico! 24-hour blitz. The round-the-clock work began at 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 14, and concluded at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 15. The 2012 Pro Bono Publico! clients included: · First Step (Plymouth, Mich.) · Gateway Community Services (East Lansing, Mich.) · Hope Medical Clinic, Inc. (Ypsilanti, Mich.)
continued on page 13

stanley s. Kogut, Jr.



Government Relations
Community Encouraged to Engage in Conversation on Education
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Center for Michigan (CFM), recently hosted a Community Conversation on Education for members of the business community and educational advocates. The forum, with over 50 attendees, provided participants an opportunity to discuss educational reform and establish key priorities on the future of public education. The discussion aimed to expand the knowledge of employers, educators and community members on the many educational choices facing Michigan today. Over the course of 18 months, the CFM will be conducting conversations (focus groups) to gather and amplify the voices of Michigan citizens to ensure what’s going on in Lansing reflects the views of its people. If you are interested in hosting a Community Conversation on Education, contact Amber Toth with the Center for Michigan at (734) 926-4284.

More than 50 people attended the Community Conversation on education held at the Lansing regional Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber Members Encouraged to Attend West Michigan Policy Forum September 12-13
Every two years, an event critical to the future of Michigan’s business climate is held in downtown Grand Rapids. Chamber members are encouraged to mark your calendars now and register today for the West Michigan Policy Forum (WMPF) September 12 – 13, 2012 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott and St. Cecilia Music Center. The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce is happy to be a partner in this year’s event, along with eight other Chambers of Commerce, five regional economic development organizations, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Business Leaders for Michigan. The WMPF is committed to ACTION and engaging attendees in face-to-face discussions about many of Michigan’s most pressing issues. Conference attendees will participate in helping build a set of regional priorities and set a collaborative business agenda for the future. The WMPF was launched in 2008 in partnership with many regional and local Chambers throughout the state. The idea was simple: Get the best minds in business and public policy together to help create a set of marching orders for our elected officials at the Capitol. The elimination of the Michigan Business Tax was a central pillar of the WMPF’s agenda (developed at the 2008 inaugural event) and was accomplished in 2011, along with a critical realignment in government spending. The work is not done. The 2012 Conference will host many world leaders in the areas of health care policy, talent attraction, innovation and transportation logistics. We’ll also hear from small businesses, the CEOs of some of the state’s largest employers and leaders of some of Michigan’s key economic development organizations about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Technology will play a major part in the conference experience this year, so bring your iPad or borrow one when you check in at the event. The conference will be utilizing an exclusive WMPF iPad app, allowing real-time discussions, the ability to ask questions of our presenters and for use in an agenda-setting vote at the end of the event. Registration for the conference and more information can be found at


Members On The Move
from page 11
· · · · Mason Public Schools Foundation (Mason, Mich.) McLaren Lapeer Region Foundation/Community Fitness Initiative (Lapeer, Mich.) Peppermint Creek Theatre Company (Lansing, Mich.) The Legacy Center for Community Success (Midland, Mich.)

rock star Warriors has joined in a formal agreement with the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Michigan National Guard. The collaboration of these entities brings to our veterans many more resources than any of the entities could provide individually. The collaboration was formalized at the recent National Veterans Conference in Detroit.

Sparrow is proud to be Michigan’s first member of the prestigious Mayo Clinic Care Network.
Sparrow is the first health system in Michigan and one of the first five in the nation to be selected to be a member of the prestigious Mayo Clinic Care Network. Through this collaboration, Sparrow physicians will have access to the latest Mayo Clinic expertise and clinical care resources to help care for our Patients. By working together, Sparrow and Mayo Clinic look to build new and innovative ways to provide the best possible care for mid-Michigan. Read more about how Sparrow is transforming healthcare in mid-Michigan by visiting

appearing together after signing a public/private sector agreement to provide employment support for veterans, l-r: Jason allen, senior deputy director for veterans affairs, Department of Military and veterans affairs, state of Michigan; brigadier General Michael a. stone, assistant adjutant general - army, Michigan national Guard; Major General Gregory J. vadnais, the adjutant general, Michigan and director of military and veterans affairs for Michigan; Julie Mann, CeO, rock star Warriors; Ken barrett, General Motor’s chief diversity officer; thomas J. hetchler, president, rock star Warriors; 1st sergeant (ret.)brigadier General (bG) Marianne e. Watson, director of manpower and personnel, national Guard bureau in arlington, virginia.

Send your news to Michelle Rahl at
8341.383.10.01 LRC Focus Ad.indd 1 7/16/12 2:29 PM


Chamber In Action

the staff at Grandhaven Living Center celebrate the opening of their facility at 3145 W. Mt. hope in Lansing. pictured l-r: (front) Melissa nay (LrCC ambassador), nora Luke, Diane Morey and samantha thelen. (back) Darcy Quisenberry, Jerry Mortinsen, Luann Diffin, sheila Ward, neil Kraay, tom nobel and June thompson.

the staff at the holiday inn express & suites - Windsor township, cut the ribbon marking the opening of their new hotel at 9490 Woodlane Dr. in Dimondale.


For nearly 50 years Granger has served mid-Michigan and communities nationwide as a leading comprehensive environmental management firm.


Chamber In Action

For 30 years, we’ve been the answer to “So, what’s the plan?”

renewed spirit has open its doors at 2110 hamilton road in Okemos. pictured l-r: Mandy Gallagher, shelley Fitzpatrick, heidi Foland and Marie savala.

When you choose PHP, you’re choosing to make your life and the life of your business easier. We offer flexible options, so you can choose what suits the needs of your business. It’s why we’ve been the plan of choice for 30 years. Find your plan at
soapy Joe’s is celebrating the opening of its newest car wash at 6008 W. saginaw in Lansing. pictured l-r: Jason berkhousen, eric harrison (owner) and Cynthia eiseler (LrCC).

An affiliate of Sparrow.



The Stadium District 500 East Michigan Avenue, Suite 200 Lansing, MI 48912 Ph. 517.487.6340 Address Correction Requested



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