We are proud to be celebrating the 32nd annual Strictly Business Forum, albeit in a somewhat different format than the 30 get togethers that preceded it. Even though the dialog took place virtually, this year’s participants were as insightful and enthusiastic as ever. The moderators kept the conversations moving and we now have a great issue for you to peruse.
Here is a brief overview of some of the highlights. Employee issues dominated the conversation in every group. Eric Zeisloft shared how Mold-Rite dealt creatively with a labor shortage and Tim Bresett revealed his plan to keep his seasonal workers on the job at Ausable Chasm. Richelle Gregory and Connie Wille both reported on the impact the pandemic has had on the mental health and well being of all segments of the area’s population.
Another topic that concerned employers was the shortage and affordability of child care. Jamie Basillere, of the Child Care Coordinating Council, put the scope of the problem in perspective when she reported the area has lost 20-25% of its service providers in recent times. Robin Pierce of the Advocacy & Resource Center had problems on many levels from staffing to regulations, but found her way through them. Nicole Laurin, the new head of the Joint Council of Economic Opportunity, emphasized the importance of dealing with the area’s problems of child care and affordable housing before we get caught up in the push to grow the area.
When our conversation moved to a discussion of the good things that marked 2021, Justin Ihne proudly explained his surprise at how supportive the YMCA’s members were. Elizabeth Pearl shared her approach to doing what is a faceto- face business under pandemic conditions and how she cared for her employees and her patients. Sarah McCoy was not one to wait out the pandemic. She drove an effort to solve the supply chain issues SterRx faced. For David Coryer of Coryer Staffing, 2021 was a time of opportunity and of growth. John Kowal stepped into the leadership role at Clinton Community College midway through the year and led the effort to bring the students, faculty and staff through a transition that has been good for the school. Garry Douglas, always the glass-half-full guy, talked about how the Chamber of Commerce stepped up its game to help area businesses through the pandemic.
As our conversations wound down, we asked each participant to share words of wisdom. Don’t miss their insights on pages 16 and 17.
Again, this year’s participants in the 32nd annual Strictly Business Forum were proud of what has been accomplished, guardedly optimistic about our future and committed to doing the hard work to make good things happen.
…and that’s good for business.
We send our very best wishes
to each and every one of you
for a happy, healthy and
prosperous new year.