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Gov. Snyder wows SBAM volunteers at Leadership Summit

October 25, 2013

By Michael Rogers, Vice President Communications

Gov. Snyder can’t block out two hours to talk with a group of interested citizens. It just doesn’t happen. Not ever. The busy demands of being Michigan’s chief executive put too many constraints on his schedule.

Until Oct. 17, when he spent 120 minutes – and more – with nearly 100 SBAM volunteers attending the organization’s first Leadership Council Summit at Crystal Mountain Resort near Traverse City.

The fact that the governor put an unprecedented two hours into a wide ranging discussion with small business owners is a sign of SBAM’s strong working relationship with him and recognition that SBAM – and the entrepreneurial community – have a powerful influence in shaping the state’s public policy agenda.

Gov. Snyder said economic gardening (a concept launched and promoted by SBAM) has dramatically improved economic development in Michigan. He also reminded the leaders that Michigan’s business tax reform – again, strongly supported by SBAM – has finally brought fairness to the tax system and provided strong incentives to small business growth. And he made a strong case for increased transportation funding and health care cost containment – two more SBAM policy priorities.

By the time the governor finally had to depart, he had made a striking impression on the Leadership Council volunteers who got to see first-hand evidence of the governor’s keen business acumen and his devotion to making Michigan a more innovative and entrepreneurial state.

The agenda for this first Summit provided plenty of other activities designed to enhance networking opportunities, leadership growth and improved understanding of how SBAM effects positive change in our state.

A panel of SBAM past chairs consisting of Mike Fox, Ingenuity IEQ; Chris Holman, Michigan Business; Cynthia Kay, Cynthia Kay & Company; David Rhoa, Lake Michigan Mailers; and Sharon Miller, Immediate Temporary Help Inc. (moderated by current SBAM Chair Bob Fish, BIGGBY COFFEE) gave insight into how participating as an SBAM leader impacts business success.

A Political Insider segment with Chuck Hadden, President & CEO, Michigan Manufacturers Association and Howard Edelson, The Edelson Group, provided frank information about the hurdles facing the successful voter approval of personal property tax elimination. Hadden and Edelson were followed up the next day by a presentation by David Jessup, SBAM’s Director Government Relations, Mike Marzano, SBAM’s Grassroots Coordinator & Policy Advisor, and David Palsrok, Government Policy Advisor for Dykema, on how SBAM member involvement has helped make the organization one of the mostly highly respected lobbying groups in Lansing.

The Summit concluded with a dynamic keynote address by author and leadership expert John U. Bacon on “Setting Your Vision – How to create, communicate and execute your plan.”

SBAM’s Leadership Council volunteers left this Summit armed with new ideas, new business relationships and a new appreciation for the value of their participation in the state’s premier small business organization.

Listen next week for audio interviews and reports from the Summit on Michael Rogers’ “Business Next” radio show on

Interested in learning more about the Leadership Council and its upcoming 2014 activities and events? Contact Ken Root at

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