Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities conference hosts three key note speakers this year

Port Huron is set to host a big CEC conference this August.

Annually, Michigan State University Extension’s Entrepreneurship work team partners with a Michigan community to host the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) conference. This year’s conference, scheduled for Oct. 5-6, will be held in downtown Port Huron, Michigan in partnership with Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce (BWACC) and the Economic Development Authority of St. Clair County (EDA).

Each conference has been different since its 2012 inception in Petoskey, Michigan. The difference between each annual event has been due to size of host communities, evening networking events, breakout session topics, and, of course, key-note speakers. Typically, the event is held once a year, but two conferences were held during 2015 at different times in Houghton, MI and Sturgis, Michigan. In addition to over 20 breakout speakers this year, attendees will hear from three key-notes speakers instead of the usual two. This year’s key-notes represent a wide range of expertise and they include:

  • Mark Walker, Founder and CEO of Michigan Mutual in Port Huron, will be this year’s opening key note. Mark attributes the success of his company to the exceptional service of each of the company’s team members, as the company has grown from four to more than 300 employees since 1992. Mark is passionate about his company’s core values-integrity, problem solving, family, and commitment.

On the second day, Oct. 6, attendees will hear from Chuck Reid, owner of CityFlats Hotel, Class Seating, and Sperry’s.

  • Chuck Reid will share his journey from teacher to trail-blazer over the years resulting in a number of thriving Michigan businesses that have led to him being awarded the 2010 Michigan Small Business Person of the Year award and the Character Award from the West Michigan Character Council, and the 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. Chuck will set the stage on day two of this year’s CEC event in Port Huron and share his successes that have led to bold new ventures across Michigan.

Closing out the noon-to-noon event on Oct. 6 will be Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan.

  • Dave Lorenz serves as Vice President of Travel Michigan where he is responsible for leading the state’s tourism branding, advertising and public relations efforts; overseeing the award-winning Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and, coordinating overall statewide tourism initiatives. He previously led Travel Michigan's efforts in the areas of international marketing, packaged travel, conventions and meetings, industry relations, golf and sports-event promotion.

Michigan State University Extension and partners for this annual event are thrilled to have all three key note speakers share their expertise. The participants attending this year’s conference will most certainly leave with a number of ideas that can make their community attractive places for entrepreneurs.

Registration can be found at the CEC event page.

Photos are available from previous conferences by clicking here.

Michigan State University Extension has been involved in helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses for many years. The CEC program was created in Michigan approximately eight years ago and was launched in an effort to educate communities on the various tools and resources available to help them help entrepreneurs grow in their communities. 

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