Building a Solid Foundation Behind Every Municipal Project
As I enter my 30th year in municipal service and look forward to the projects Meridian is on track to complete this year, I tend to reflect on the numerous people I’ve worked with and the long lasting relationships that have been built over the years.
It’s the relationships I’ve made that stand out above everything else. Collectively working on projects not only contributes to a sense of pride and community placemaking, but I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to build long lasting relationships from those projects. Building community spirit far outweighs the projects themselves. When we work together and build together, the gain is significant. Right now, in Meridian, we are doing just that with the Okemos Road Redevelopment Project, the New Central Fire Station, and the new Pedestrian Pathway Bridge over the Red Cedar connecting the community together.
I treasure what is to come in Meridian and the relational opportunities while serving here.
When I think about my former days, so many relationships stand out to me like working with former Jackson City Manager Bill Buchanan who gave me an opportunity to learn, listen and grow from my mistakes. While Bill and I have both moved on in our careers, our relationship has remained steadfast. Recently, Bill invited me to his retirement in Kansas from his position as Sedgwick County Manager. It touched my heart that he remembers our time together.
I also think about the early 90’s when I served as City Manager in Cedar Springs where my family formed a lifelong friendship with former Mayor Linda Hunt. Today, we keep in touch through Facebook, but it seems like yesterday when she attended the most important day of my life; my wedding on January 2, 1993. In 2012, I was honored to be asked to help Cedar Springs find a new city manager.
While in St. Joseph for 17 years, many valuable projects were completed. But it is the relationships, not the bricks and mortar, which added to a solid foundation for my career, and one in which I cherish as I build new relationships in Meridian Township.
As my family and I attend graduation open houses and weddings this summer, it is the relationships newly formed and long lasting that are a testament to the true foundation behind the projects for each of the communities I’ve served and am currently serving in Meridian. We have so many wonderful projects in Meridian, and I look forward to continuing to build more relationships on top of the ones that have already begun. I want to thank the hospitality the Meridian Team received while in St. Joseph during our annual team building; Laurie Moore, Bonnie Lewis, Christopher Heugel, Ken Kaszubowski and Carla Sykora, Janet and Phil Dykstra, Chris Cook, Mayor Mike Garey, Lisa Czanko Bartoszek, Retired President of Whirlpool Bill Marohn, Director of Global Communications for Whirlpool Corporate Headquarters, Jeff Noel and last but not least, St. Joseph Today Executive Director, Jill Stone.