Chamber Blog


 

carlin@petoskey.com
carlin@petoskey.com
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

STATE OF THE STATE, Jan. 2017

By Carlin Smith, President

Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce

 

It is always an honor and a bit of a thrill to be in Lansing for the Governor’s Annual State of the State Address.  I’ve attended several times through the Granholm and Snyder administrations and have had the pleasure of watching the speech from the house floor, or the balcony four times.  The capitol building prior to the speech is filled with energy and hosts a collection of the “who’s who” in Michigan politics.

 

Your Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is well represented at this event each year.  On the day of the speech, the alliance provides lunch for the staffs of Governor Rick Snyder and Lt. Governor Brian Calley in the Michigan Room of the Romney Building.  We also spend time with our friends in the lobbying firm of Acuitas and network with their clients.  And we attend some of the parties and receptions that accompany the State of the State, including the Governor’s reception where we made some excellent connections with lawmakers and agency directors.

 

We conclude our trip each year by hosting a breakfast the following morning for the lawmakers and their staff members from throughout the alliance footprint.  This year the breakfast was attended by four of the four senators and five of the ten representatives in the northern Michigan region including our own Senator Wayne Schmidt and Representative Lee Chatfield.  It’s a great chance for us to strengthen relationships with lawmakers, develop relationships with new lawmakers, and to solidify the northern Michigan caucus.

 

As I write this, I wonder how many of you, our chamber members, are not familiar with the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance.  It’s a source of some of the best work that we do, yet we don’t do a great job of telling our story.  The alliance started in 2004 as the Tri-Chamber Alliance and we can be proud that Petoskey, along with Traverse City and Cadillac, was one of the founding chambers.  At the time, the alliance took three chambers that had been dabbling in government relations work and set out to create a more sophisticated and influential advocacy program.

 

Fast forward to 2017 and you’ll see the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is now comprised of nine full chamber partners including:  Manistee, Benzie County, Traverse City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Gaylord, Alpena, and the Lake Superior Partnership in Marquette County.  We also developed an Associate Partner program to give smaller chambers a chance to participate.  They include:  Boyne Area, East Jordan, Harbor Springs, Cheboygan, and Elk Rapids.  Collectively, the alliance represents more than 6,500 member-businesses in northern Michigan and has made great headway in advancing our agenda and creating greater influence for northern Michigan in Lansing. 

 

The alliance has a full-time staff member, Kent Wood, who is a registered lobbyist, and works full-time on local, regional, state, and federal issues that impact businesses.  He is also available to help our chamber members navigate through challenges in working with state government.  In 13-years, the alliance has become what we envisioned in the beginning, a sophisticated and influential advocacy program. 

 

The State of the State?  We were pleased to hear the Governor mention and continue his support for tourism in Michigan.  He also emphasized his intentions to grow Michigan as a leader in Mobility and to continue to strengthen the state’s infrastructure, education system, and our communities as a whole. Some of the key statistics the governor shared in his “Michigan Cheerleading” message included:

·         Nearly 500,000 private sector jobs have been created in Michigan in the last six years (6th in the nation and 1st in the Great Lakes Region)

·         The state’s unemployment rate is 10-points lower than in 2009

·         Michigan ranks #1 in the nation for total manufacturing jobs created

·         75% of U.S. Automotive R & D spending is done in Michigan

·         Michigan ranks #7 in the nation for per-capita personal income growth

·         Home prices in Michigan have increased 44% in the past six years

·         Michigan’s population has grown five years in a row

·         Visitors spent nearly $20 billion in Michigan in 2015

 

As we begin a new legislature in Michigan and a new year of political wrangling, rest assured, your chamber and its partners in the alliance will continue to follow and advocate for the major issues impacting our region. 

carlin@petoskey.com
carlin@petoskey.com
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Declaration of Interdependence

As many of you know, I’m participating in a year-long study this year on the concept of Conscious Capitalism. In simple terms, it’s about how those businesses who do good things to improve the human condition in their community ultimately see larger profits. It’s a win-win. The business grows while those people around them grow too.

carlin@petoskey.com
carlin@petoskey.com
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Really Good Business

Last month I introduced the concept of Conscious Capitalism to the membership at the State of the Community Luncheon. Some members responded by saying, “Carlin has gone all ‘Bernie Sanders’ on us!” Since today is primary election day, I thought I should clear the record, to let you know what we’re really trying to accomplish with our Thriving Petoskey initiative.

carlin@petoskey.com
carlin@petoskey.com
Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ANNUAL REPORT TO OUR MEMBERS

Hello Chamber Members and Friends, Your chamber’s Board of Directors met last Tuesday at their Annual Meeting where they approved the chamber’s budget, strategic plan, and board meeting schedule for 2016. They also reviewed our current financial status, and looked back on the accomplishments of the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2015. I’m proud to report that your chamber of commerce is in sound condition. You can be assured that the chamber staff, board of directors, and volunteers are utilizing your investments in the chamber in a prudent way that offers strong programming while maintaining a reasonable fund balance. Since the chamber belongs to all of you, as investors, we owe it to you to provide this annual report. We tried to keep it as brief and easy to read as possible.

carlin@petoskey.com
carlin@petoskey.com
Monday, March 23, 2015

BALLOT PROPOSAL - BE IN THE KNOW, From Your President, Carlin Smith

Sometimes education is the best advocacy and that’s the case with Ballot Proposal 15-1 which will be before Michigan voters on the May 5th ballot. This complicated proposal is designed to raise the necessary $1.2 billion needed to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges without hurting the School Aid Fund and local units of government. With the help of our Director of Government Relations, Kent Wood, I’ve developed this message as a way to help you better understand the proposal.


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