www.mybaycity.com July 29, 2014
Rotary Article 9240

Felan Speaks To Rotary About The Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance

July 29, 2014
By: Stephen Kent

Matt Felan
Matt Felan, President of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, spoke to Rotary about the new direction of that organization. Matt began, however, by explaining that for the first few months of this job he was missing from Rotary as he traveled to other locations in the four counties the Alliance serves. He did get some good make-up, though, as he spoke to other Rotary Clubs.

Matt also commented on his abrupt exit from the McLaren Bay Medical Foundation after only 18 months at the helm. He assured the group, which includes many Bay Med Foundation board members as well as the new director, the he turned the Alliance job down numerous times before accepting. In the end, courted by some of the area's best known leaders, the offer proved to be a once in a lifetime opportunity that just couldn't be passed up.

In taking the job Matt had one question of the prestigious former leaders: "If you look at a fire truck, a police car, and a penguin, why would you hire the penguin?" The answer is that the job today is different. The former leaders build the brand for the region. The objective now is to promote that brand and "move the needle" for the region. He expounded on several areas.

Talent development through STEM education. "If you look at any other region in the country that has had prolonged economic prosperity, it's because they have dynamic, talented, well trained and routine work force". STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

He went on to compare the STEM needs in the state and our region, where STEM jobs predominate. STEM jobs are very complex, like chemists and engineers at Dow. The fastest growing field is health care, clearly a STEM job. But today, STEM extends to the skilled trades as well. Where we once thought that the trades was a dead-end, now it's a high tech STEM leader.

Michigan match scores are 42nd in the country. The Great Lakes Bay Region trails those scores by 4.5%. Math is building block ONE for STEM and Michigan is dead last. "We have got to stop and make massive investments in how we teach and focus on math", Matt said, "or we'll never go anywhere". The Alliance has decided to lead the charge in this area.

Transportation and infrastructure is a second area. The region is in an ideal place, a hub of manufacturing and distribution. Yet the region lacks the infrastructure to support it. "How many of you have flown from Tri-Cities? You just can't have an airport developed in 2012 served by roads build in the 1940's!". He talked about the lack of industry around the airport like you find in other major areas. We have to have infrastructure to reach that. "We're three lousy miles from US-10." Citing all of the government entities in that area, he said the Federal government simply must take over and do the roads.

"Secondly, we can't have flights that take us to Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, and once a week to Atlanta. We've got to be able go to New York, Philadelphia, D.C. When we fill those, then we'll worry about Cancun and Orlando."

The Saginaw River is another great resource. Remember the ship that got stuck in the river last year. Ships come in half full now due to the depth of the river. There's a group working now to do an economic impact study of what it would mean to have that river deep dredged to another 4 or 5 feet. Some of the ocean going ships could come then. "It would change the entire way we utilize the Saginaw River for Shipping."

Lastly, it's impossible to talk about our major companies without talking about affordable energy. Citing Hemlock Semiconductor, one of the states largest energy user, Matt said "there are some things that need to be done legislatively that we can look at to make energy more affordable."

The Alliance's third priority is Economic Development. "Everyone works on economic development, right?". Each county has an "amazing" EDC and they all do a great job except that no one is selling the entire region. When you put our four counties together, with 460,000 people, we have access to airports, infrastructure, water, beaches, higher education. "Why every company in the world would not want to move to our region, with that kind of access to higher education, is beyond me. But someone needs to go out and sell it."


President Ron opened the meeting with a greeting in Japanese (again, to the best of his abilities). The first club there was founded in 1920 in Tokyo with 20 members. The club disbanded during the war although some members met in secret. The 1961 Rotary Convention was held there and went on record as the largest in history. To date some 65 clubs have been formed and attributed to the Tokyo club.

Dr. Lee Newton presented the business spotlight for the day. Lee related how 15 years ago he was finishing optometry school and doing during his rotations in this area. He learned of a practice for sale. He also met Realtor Frank Janca who suggested Lee make the purchase. Upon receiving his state license Lee made the purchase and came to Bay City. Seven and a half years ago the practice moved from the original Center Ave location to the current facility on Wilder Road. Lee provides a full range of eye care services and treats a number of his fellow Rotarians.

Rob Clark spoke briefly about the club's upcoming food drive in conjunction with Hidden Harvest. The drop-off point will be in Rotary Park from 8am to 5pm on August 13. Following the drive the club will hold a Family of Rotary Picnic in Rotary Park. Everyone should make plans to attend.

Rob also said he'll be send out an e-mail blast with a link to the Facebook page about the food drive. If every member who uses Facebook will send that link to all of their friends the word should spread quickly.

SPECIAL NOTE: The Paul Harris statue dedication has been changed from September 11 to the 16th. More announcements will be coming. Cindy Chadwick presented a computer rendering of the statue sitting on the bench in Rotary Park along with the rock on which the plaque of contributing Rotarian names will appear. She said that the figure of Harris will be reading a Bay City newspaper that will contain the story of the construction of the County Building, in which direction the statue will face.

The International Night committee will meet this Tuesday, August 5th at 11:00 prior to the regular meeting.

The Community Grants application process is now open through August 15.

As part of the Centennial year, Rob Clark presented two plaques to the club. One contains the names of the founding members of the club from 1914-15. The other contains the name of all of the first 100 presidents. Rob noted that this was the largest name plaque he could get and it has room for precisely 100 names. As a result, the list goes through president-elect Brenda Scramlin. The Doubletree has told Rob that a place will be made available to mount these plaques for public display in the building.

The Centennial Committee plans to revise and re-print the 100 year book for the Bay City Club.

If you are interested in bidding on this project, please contact Ron Bloomfield.
Rotary Club of Bay City
View Centennial Year Celebrations Schedule
July 2014-June 2015

Rob Clark shows off new Centennial plaques.
These will be placed on public display in the Doubletree.


International Night committee - Tuesday August 5 - 11:00 prior to the regular meeting.

Family of Rotary Picnic and Hidden Harvest Food Drive - Wednesday August 13 - food drive all day - picnic 5:30 to 7:30 - food, beverage and entertainment - Rotary Park at the Pere Marquette Depot

Paul Harris Statue Dedication - September 16, 2014 - 5:30 pm - Rotary Park at the Pere Marquette Depot

International Night 2014 - October 23, 2014 - 5:30 to 9 - Bay City Country Club

Upcoming Programs

(See the official schedule at RotaryBayCity.org )

August 5, 2014: Bay Future Trevor Keys will talk to us about the key role Bay Future plays in business attraction and retention. He will highlight some recent successes and also talk about some of the historic challenges facing the organization. In addition, Trevor will address some of the regional initiatives and emerging long term strategies.

August 12, 2014: District 6310 Governor Visit: Delores Brock will present her vision for the District for the upcoming Rotary year. Governor Brock will also be a special guest at our 11:00AM board meeting.

August 19, 2014: Field Neurosciences Institute Mr. Thomas Cline will review the FNI as well as highlight its largest annual fundraiser, a concert that typically features Saginaw native Brian D'Arcy James.

Current and past DISTRICT DISPATCH newsletters are available on the District site shown in the LINKS section below.

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RotaryBayCity.org BayCityMorningRotary.com
District 6310 Web Site District Dispatch Archive
Rotary International Make-up On-Line at RotaryEclubOne.org
The Rotary Global History Fellowship rotaryfirst100.org
Rotary Global History.

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