1. Millennial Generation Share Practical Business Practices at Troy Chamber Event

    By: Ara Topouzian

    Next Generation Troy featured some very talented and inspirational panelists on October 26th at the Next Wave Lab auditorium in Troy, MI. I am only sorry for those that missed this event because as a Generation X’er, it was eye opening and thought provoking.

    Never one for stereotypes, this was a great opportunity to de-mystify how the younger generation of business professionals think and operate in today’s world. This blog will not do the event justice, but I will try my best to give some insight to the younger generation of business pros.

    Photo courtesy of Heather Marie Beach‏ @missheathermb

    Photo courtesy of Heather Marie Beach‏ from her Twitter address: @missheathermb

    Andrew Raupp is the Executive Director of and provided a unique keynote presentation (conversational) with Fox 2 Detroit anchor, Roop Raj. Andrew’s topic was Thriving in the Age of Disruption. He started with a great video that conveys the message that problems occur and we can solve them…just need to take that first step. Check out this fun video:

    Andrew asked the audience to close their eyes for a minute and ask themselves the following questions:

    1.) “How am I currently impacted by disruption?” (positively or negatively)
    2.) “How will I, or have I, adapted to it?”

    Andrew continued to cover topics including education (changing how we learn), employment (change how we work) and entrepreneurship (changing how we innovate).  He continued to show the audience how we should look to navigate through uncertainty in our lives and provided five great rules of thumb we could all use.

    1. Become more efficient.
    2. Consume quality information – read for at least five hours per week.
    3. Utilize the information you learn in order to position yourself for success.
    4. Take calculated risks and don’t be afraid to fail.
    5. Once you find success — give back, pay it forward!

    Next Gen Troy Panelists

    Andrew’s keynote was followed by a panel discussion consisting of Randi Olson, Rehmann; Dr. Anton Babushkin, Troy Psychotherapy; and Michael Taylor, SS Digital Media.

    When we surveyed our attendees, we received the following takeaways that they learned at Next Generation Troy:

    • We need to work together to bridge the gap between generations.
    • Get a side hustle.
    • Disruption isn’t always a bad thing; We have to embrace and use it to our advantage (i.e. social media!)
    • Must be communication between the various groups of people.
    • Take the chance – take a leap of faith.
    • Disruption only hurts when you’re not the one doing the disruption.

    There was so much more…told you this blog wouldn’t do it justice! If you are interested in more information about our Young Professionals Network, please click here.

  2. Wi-Fi KRACK: What a non-techie needs to know

    WiFi Hacking

    By: Dave Webber

    You’ve probably already heard about the new security problem with Wi-Fi.  You’ve probably looked at some online articles filled with technical gobbledygook.  But, if you’re a business person who just wants the shortest distance between here and “I’m OK”, then read on.

    Unfortunately, we have to approach this with a little understanding so some details are necessary.  I promise to keep them to a minimum.  There are four things you need to understand to get your arms around this thing.

    First, this problem deals with wireless, not wired, networks.  If you have a wired connection to your device you’re unaffected.

    Second, many people don’t realize it but there are four types of wireless, only one of which is affected by this security problem.  The four types are:

    • Bluetooth
    • Wi-Fi
    • Cellular
    • Satellite

    Wi-Fi is affected by KRACK, the others are not.

    Third, Microsoft released a patch for this problem last week.  Apple is testing a patch so it’s on the verge of being released.  Google (Android) is talking about early November for a patch.

    Fourth, computers tend to use Wi-Fi.  Smartphones and tablets use both, Wi-Fi and cellular.

    Putting this all together we get the following.

    • If you’re PC or laptop is using wired, not wireless, networking, you’re not affected by this hack.
    • Windows PCs & laptops using wireless – if you have Windows PCs & laptops that use wireless instead of wired connections, apply the Windows updates. Since the patch has been available for about a week once your system is up to date you’re covered.
    • Apple products – Put the update on once it’s released then you should be covered.
    • Smart phones and tablets – Since this hack affects Wi-Fi and not cellular, you can turn off Wi-Fi in your phone and just use the cellular until the patch is available for your device. If you shut off Wi-Fi you need to realize that your performance can be affected and you may see a difference on your bill, but it should only be for a couple of weeks.  Just remember to turn the Wi-Fi back on once you’ve got the patch installed.

    Oakland Solutions has been providing computer and networking services since 2005.  if you are concerned about this security issue, please feel free to contact us for assistance.

    Questions about this post? Contact David Webber at

  3. Wi-Fi KRACK: What a non-techie needs to know

    Wi-Fi KRACK: What a non-techie needs to know

    You’ve probably already heard about the new security problem with Wi-Fi. You’ve probably looked at some online articles filled with technical gobbledygook. But, if you’re a business person who just wants the shortest distance between here and “I’m OK”, then read on.

    Unfortunately, we have to approach this with a little understanding so some details are necessary. I promise to keep them to a minimum. There are four things you need to understand to get your arms around this thing.

    First, this problem deals with wireless, not wired, networks. If you have a wired connection to your device you’re unaffected.

    Second, many people don’t realize it but there are four types of wireless, only one of which is affected by this security problem. The four types are:
    – Bluetooth
    – Wi-Fi
    – Cellular
    – Satellite

    Wi-Fi is affected by KRACK, the others are not.

    Third, Microsoft released a patch for this problem last week. Apple is testing a patch so it’s on the verge of being released. Google (Android) is talking about early November for a patch.

    Fourth, computers tend to use Wi-Fi. Smartphones and tablets use both, Wi-Fi and cellular.

    Putting this all together we get the following.
    – If you’re PC or laptop is using wired, not wireless, networking, you’re not affected by this hack.
    – Windows PCs & laptops using wireless – if you have Windows PCs & laptops that use wireless instead of wired connections, apply the Windows updates. Since the patch has been available for about a week once your system is up to date you’re covered.
    – Apple products – Put the update on once it’s released then you should be covered.
    – Smart phones and tablets – Since this hack affects Wi-Fi and not cellular, you can turn off Wi-Fi in your phone and just use the cellular until the patch is available for your device. If you shut off Wi-Fi you need to realize that your performance can be affected and you may see a difference on your bill, but it should only be for a couple of weeks. Just remember to turn the Wi-Fi back on once you’ve got the patch installed.

    Oakland Solutions has been providing computer and networking services since 2005. if you are concerned about this security issue, please feel free to contact us for assistance.

    Submitted by:

    Dave Webber

    Oakland Solutions, LLC
    55 East Long Lake, #371
    Troy, MI 48085

  4. Retirement Planning

    The financial world is ever changing, in terms of investment products, government regulations, and individual goals/expectations. Much has been written over the past few years regarding fiduciary responsibility as well as appropriate investment expenses and returns. Personally I believe it all starts with your financial plan. If you haven’t prepared a plan, you don’t have any idea of the investment needed to reach your goals, the investment returns needed, and what level or risk gives you comfort. A financial/retirement plan, while no guarantee of success, provides a roadmap to your future and a benchmark to assess your investment account performance. Are you on-track to reach your goals? Should any adjustments be considered due to investment returns and changes in goals? What about family changes, how do they affect your plans? Most Americans today are racing toward retirement by the seat of their pants with no knowledge of how far off they may be. Studies have shown 1/3 of Americans have no retirement savings and more than half will retire broke1,2.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  5. How to Spot a Phishing Attack

    By: Stuart Feravich

    How to Spot a Phishing Attack from CMIT Solutions on Vimeo.

    In these email-dominated days, phishing attempts are a fact of life. More than half of all users who receive these fraudulent messages end up opening such emails — and many even fall for the scam.

    The aim of phishing emails is to gather personal information about you, generally related to your login credentials, passwords, or finances. Many phishing attempts are often so well-disguised that they escape the scrutiny of a busy employee who doesn’t have time to closely inspect each message. But here are a few tips to help you identify whether that email really came from your bank or is another attempt at defrauding you.

    What is a phishing attack?

    A phishing attack occurs when a hacker sends you an email that tries to convince you to perform a certain action. Phishing emails are effective because they look like regular emails and are hard to identify.

    Here’s how to spot one:

    1.) Check if the sender’s email address is correct.

    Do you know this person? Were you expecting this email? Is the domain name correct? At first glance, phishing emails might look like legitimate messages. But if you look closer by inspecting the details of sender name, subject line, and body copy, you might find minor mistakes that or strange phrasings that wouldn’t be found in a legitimate email.

    2.) Check to see if the email sounds urgent.

    Phishing emails tend to have a sense of urgency — hackers want you to feel rushed and make mistakes. Commonly used words to look out for include “ATTENTION,” “URGENT,” “CRITICAL,” “NECESSARY,” or “RESPONSE REQUESTED.” Spotting these anywhere in an email is your first hint that it could be a phishing attempt.

    3.) Check the spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

    Is the email easy to read? Are there lots of errors? Are any sentences or phrases written so awkwardly that you have to go over them two or three times just to understand them? If so, use caution — any legitimate email will most likely be spellchecked before it’s sent. And since email is the lifeblood of communication, any sloppy words or misspellings should be an immediate red flag.

    4.) Check if the URL links are valid.

    Hover over the link to make sure it is correct before you even think of clicking on it — if the words say, the preview link should also be Beware of long strings of nonsensical characters or any major differences between the link in the email copy and the preview link that shows up when you hover over it.

    5.) Use caution with attachments.

    If you’re concerned about the authenticity of an email, do not download any of its attachments as they could contain a virus that might install illicit malware or ransomware on your computer. In recent years, phishing attempts have employed ZIP files, PDF files, and even .WAV files masquerading as voicemails that are sent directly to your inbox. Clicking one of these infected files can cause widespread damage to your computer and any other systems it is connected to.

    6.) Other helpful tips:

    Company-wide Internet filtering and network security can stop some unauthorized phishing attempts. Employers should also take extra precautions to alert their employees when and from whom any critical communications will arrive. Also, notifying IT support staff — whether internal or external — when obvious phishing attempts do land in your inbox can also cut down on the future threat of fraud or infection. Even the best technology requires smart, savvy human beings whose insight and intelligence can help systems work properly.

    The bottom line? Be careful out there! New phishing attempts emerge on a daily basis, and real security requires a proactive approach to protecting your email accounts. At CMIT Solutions, we worry about IT so you don’t have to, and our North American network of more than 160 locations and 800 technicians work 24/7 to prevent our clients from being negatively impacted by phishing attempts, scams, hacks, data breaches, malware, viruses, and more. Contact us,, today to learn more.



  6. 7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

    7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

    Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

    There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

    With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn: Read the rest of this entry »

  7. Get Out of the Shade: Shed Some Light on Your Benefit Plans

    Be Eye-catching (1)

    Written by: Ann Marie Olszewski

    Depending on when your plan year renews, the summer months may be relatively quiet from a benefits perspective. Annual enrollment may have recently ended, or you may be just beginning the planning process for 2018. Take advantage of the lull by reminding your employees about the benefits available to them, and how they can be used to greater personal advantage.

    Here are some items to think about: Read the rest of this entry »

  8. REinvest Michigan addresses the economy, workforce, and business attraction

    On May 10th, Troy Chamber presented REinvest Michigan, a unique look at the Michigan economy and how it effects both the commercial real estate market and attracting business to the state in order to grow both the economy and workforce environment.

    Paul Traub addressing the audience at REinvest Michigan

    Paul Traub addressing the audience at REinvest Michigan

    Paul Traub, Sr. Business Economist for Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Detroit Branch), provided a robust and energetic economic update. His focus addressed both nationally, statewide and even metro Detroit area. Mr. Taub documents his thoughts on the current economy in his blog.

    A copy of his slides can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

    Panel discussion led by Dan Duggan.

    Panel discussion led by Dan Duggan.

    After Mr. Traub’s update, he was joined a panel that included Jennifer Nelson, Executive Vice President, Chief Business Development Officer of Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Matthew Farrell, CEO & Co-Founder, CORE Partners. The panel was moderated by Dan Duggan, Bernard Financial Group.

    The discussion was excellent and covered much ground. Some tidbits of information included:

    • Jennifer Nelson compared Michigan to Silicon Valley and no long is it one over the other, we are more alike than ever before.
    • MEDC has launched Planet M, a new website focused on the autonomous vehicle. Check out their video promoting the new site: 
    • Skilled workforce is still a needed commodity. Paul Traub urged that we need to invest in human capital.

    (Left to right) Lake Michigan Credit Union representatives, Dan Duggan, Paul Traub, Jennifer Nelson, Matt Farrell, and Ara Topouzian

    Special thanks to our presenting sponsor Lake Michigan Credit Union and event sponsors Oakland University and First State Bank.


    Here are some highlights from the event via Twitter:

    Ara 2 tweet

    Jeanette 2 Tweet

    Ara tweet

    Kirk Pinho tweet

    Dorn Berden Tweet

    Jeanette Tweet

  9. Hong Kong Trade Development Council Visits Troy

    Oakland County is home to hundreds of internationally headquartered businesses, with over 100 Chinese companies located in Troy, Michigan. Recently, the Oakland Press reported that close to $900 million in foreign investment has occurred in the past three years.


    Winchell Cheung, Midwest Director of Hong Kong Trade Development Council addresses a filled room at the Kresge Foundation.

    This prompted the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to reach out to Troy Chamber of Commerce to host a meeting in order to invite interested companies to hear about investment opportunities in Hong Kong. This event took place at one of Troy’s crown gems, The Kresge Foundation on April 5th.

    Mr. Winchell Cheung, Director Midwest, of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council in Chicago provided a great overview of the current economic conditions in Hong Kong by presenting on the topic of The Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Mr. Cheung also discussed the opportunities for U.S. companies along the new Silk Roads, and the economic impacts of this bold initiative by the China Government as it relates to U.S. interests.

    Over thirty attendees that included members from Troy Chamber, Detroit Chinese Business Association, and local economic development partners from City of Troy, Oakland County, DTE Energy and others.

    Mr. Cheung offered the following information:

    • Picture1The opportunity is great in China as the gross domestic product (GDP) from 2003-2014 has grown 10% along with actual trade increasing by 18%. In 2015 GDP growth: 6.9% (much higher than global growth of 3.1%)
    • China has a growing consumer market, middle class increase of around $230 million.
    • Tax ranking in Hong Kong is very low (see graphic for comparison)
    • Many top international brands are listed in Hong Kong, eg: Prada, L’Occitane, Coach, Samsonite.

    Special thanks to The Kresge Foundation for hosting this seminar. For more information about the Hong Kong Trade Business Council, please contact Winchell Cheung – Director, Midwest Tel: (312) 726-4515 Email:




  10. Troy Team Building: Work / Life Balance (Recap)

    On March 15th, the Troy Team Building series kicked off with its first session focusing on work/life balance. This session was led by Carrie Krawiec, a licensed therapist from Birmingham Maple Clinic.


    Krawiec provided a lively discussion that centered around the theory that in order to develop a balance between your work and personal life, you first need to be a happy person. She felt that much of the efforts to create a positive work/life balance begins with how we treat ourselves and adopting a positive attitude. She discussed adopting a 5:1 ratio which is a theory that says for every bad thought that enters our minds, you think of five positive thoughts which ultimately offset the bad ones.

    Krawiec described creating healthy boundaries as a good work/life balance is not all about managing time. Boundaries = self-discipline and healthy management of time. (Happiness = Reality – Expectations)

    When describing something or someone, avoid the word ‘should’ as it creates anxiety and also sets us up for failure.

    Create good goals for yourself that are:
    Future Focused
    Can be broken in smaller steps

    Redefine how you use your language:

    The word: ‘settling’ is a negative word and we should avoid using it.

    Finally, Krawiec shared problem solving steps we can all use:

    • State your goal (be positive, specific, think in the future)
    • Brainstorm (Be creative, all ideas are good ideas, be open minded)
    • Consider solutions (discuss pros and cons)
    • Rough out a plan (consider solutions, combine them and be realistic)
    • Write an agreement (Be specific and reward the success)
    • Try it out!

    The next Troy Team Building session is on April 12th entitled Change is Good and will feature Professor Lee Meadows, Walsh College. He will cover:
    Companies and teams need to evolve or die. This session will give you the ingredients for a successful change initiative and lets you navigate the tricky emotional waters when change happens, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or not. Help your people view change as a blessing instead of a curse by exploring practical tools and techniques to inspire them to become change agents.

    Special thanks to our series sponsor McLaren Health Plan

    Here are some testimonials from the team building event:

  11. Make a Splash: Advertising with the Troy Chamber

    5 Reasons you Should Advertise with the Troy Chamber

    1. Reach a Highly Targeted Audience

    With over 2,100 local business contacts, we’ve got the right audience for your message. Our database is comprised of business execs, sole-proprietors, managers, directors and employees from nearly 650 member companies in SE Michigan.

    2. Do More, Save More

    Compared to traditional media publications, our advertising prices are more affordable. Added bonus: we can provide awesome discounts if you purchase an advertising package.

    3. Customize Your Advertising Package

    Because we’re not restricted by any deadlines or guidelines, we can customize to fit your needs. With our custom package, you can be strategic about when, where and what you’re advertising.

    4. Increase ROI

    When you advertise with the Troy Chamber, you see results. Just take it from Sumit Banal, Owner of Troy Hand & Stone Massage & Spa:

    “As a Troy Chamber member, we did marketing through the Member-2-Member guide, Eblasts, banner ads and much more. It was amazing to see the number of people who took advantage of these offers. It is a very inexpensive way to reach so many people and the ROI is outstanding. Highly recommended!!!”

    5. Measurable Results

    When you invest in advertising with the Troy Chamber, you’ll get measurable results. No matter how big or small the advertising campaign, we provide post campaign analysis so you can use that information to optimize future marketing efforts.

    Want to get more information? Call Jessica Hruska at (248) 641-1606 or send an email.
  12. Economic Development Forum: New Michigan Media (Recap)

    On February 8, 2017, the first of a quarterly series entitled Economic Development Forum kicked off with a presentation from Dr. Hayg Oshagan, Director of New Michigan Media (NMM)


    Prof. Hayg Oshagan, New Michigan Media

    New Michigan Media (NMM) is a network of ethnic and minority media across the state of Michigan, organized in 2006 by Professor Hayg Oshagan, director of NMM, at Wayne State University’s Department of Communication. The NMM network includes 100+ ethnic and minority media outlets in Michigan, which represent hundreds of thousands of readers, viewers and listeners in the Michigan media market.

    Over forty-five attendees listened intently as Professor Oshagan discussed the need for a collaboration of the major ethnic newspapers in metro Detroit to come together to form this non-profit association. “Generally speaking, an ethnic group which has a minimum of 100,000 residents in a given area normally (should) have an ethnic publication” said Oshagan.

    Founded over five years ago, this is a unique collaboration – the only one of its kind in the United States — of the five largest minority newspapers. There was potential for greater thinking and influence. These five leaders represent five independent operations with the ability to represent their respective communities individually, as well as collectively.
    Michigan Chronicle: 40,000 readership, Arab American News: 40,000 readership, Latino Press: 35,000 readership, Jewish News: 35,000 readership, and Michigan Korean Paper: 20,000 readership. All weekly papers have a combined reach of 120,000 people which is the same as the Detroit News.  The newspapers are important to the communities they reach. Newspapers create a sense of community… they are the “mortar” for the foundation of these minority communities.


    Attendees at Economic Development Forum

    The three objectives of NMM are:
    1. Create a “louder voice” than each has on its own; to bring issues forward more broadly and to lead in this way.
    2. To create a sense of commonality/solidarity. Minorities tend to live in their own silos and this collaboration enables them to get to know one another.
    3. To have a place at the decision-making table.

    Listen to what three major educational institutions said about the event:

    “I am really inspired by Director Oshagan’s work in pulling together the diverse ethnic and minority community newspapers into a consortium. His work reminds us that our goal should not be tolerance, but the recognition that diversity is a strength to be celebrated and that integration is not just foreign born citizens learning about American culture, but all Americans learning, appreciating and helping to preserve the many diverse cultures of all nationalities,” said Douglas Smith, Executive Director, Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning, Oakland Community College.

    Mayor Dane Slater, Hayg Oshagan, Ara Topouzian

    Mayor Dane Slater, Hayg Oshagan, and Ara Topouzian

    “At every Economic Development Forum event, I gain new insights and make new contacts. This is quickly becoming my favorite Troy Chamber event,” said Brenda Meller, Assistant Vice President of Marketing, Walsh College.

    “This was a very useful presentation!! Well worth the time to attend. Good Q&A session as well,” said John O. Young, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, Oakland University.

    Mainstream media “don’t know how to cover minority communities,” Dr. Oshagan commented. While mainstream media focus on reporting objectively, ethnic media concentrate more on advocacy and activism, such as encouraging banks to invest more in minority businesses. NMM has published a statewide directory of approximately 140 ethnic and minority media outlets in Michigan. Dr. Oshagan said that while mainstream newspapers have shown dramatic declines in recent years, ethic newspapers have remained “more stable” because of the unique niche they fill for their target audiences.

    “Once again the Troy Chamber provided an instructive forum with another outstanding presenter. Dr. Oshagan’s insightful discussion about the value of minority newspapers to their respective communities was eye opening. It was also uplifting and reassuring to hear about the positive impact the NMM is having on our region and state, an impact made possible by such a unique collaboration; we are fortunate to have this organization in our economic and cultural mix. The forum was relevant, timely, and beneficial, especially in a diverse city such as Troy,” said Ellen Hodorek, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Troy.

    Fundamentally, these publishers help their minority audiences integrate without losing their identity. It’s not just about tolerance, but celebrating diversity as a strength.  Minority workers fulfill work gaps at the low end and high end. One of the examples Oshagan provided spoke of how Microsoft has to have a compound in Canada for the tech talent it needs for its Washington headquarters because immigration laws don’t allow for them to be the U.S.; it can be argued that fixing these laws and moving that compound here would be better for the U.S.

    The 2017 Economic Development Forums are all held at Rehmann and open to all members. On an average, 45-50 attendees attend these series. The next forum will be May 17th and will feature Sue Mosey, Executive Director of Midtown Detroit.

    Special thanks to our presenting sponsor: SMART and our event sponsor: Oakland University.

    (A special thank you to Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Hodorek and Sandra Burgess, Burgess Strategic Marketing Services  for helping us with this recap!)

  13. Event Recap: Best of Troy Awards & Annual Meeting

    The Troy Chamber kicked off 2017 with its Best of Troy Awards and Annual Meeting. The event attracted over 100 attendees.

    Lisa Berden of Dorn Berden PLLC and Vice Chair of the Troy Chamber Board, welcomed attendees and introduced the 2017 Executive Board and Board of Directors.

    Ara Topouzian, President & CEO of the Troy Chamber, presented the Best of Troy Awards to honorees. The Best of Troy award recognizes completed projects that best exemplify financial investment and aesthetic enhancement within the city of Troy.

    Pictured: Innovative Learning Group team poses for a photo with their Best of Troy Award

    Pictured: Innovative Learning Group team poses for a photo with their Best of Troy Award

    The Best of Troy honorees include:

    Thanks to our Best of Troy Awards sponsor HRPro/BenePro and media sponsors Corp! Magazine and Dbusiness.

    Following the presentation, Matt Cullen, Principal of Rock Ventures and CEO of JACK Entertainment, gave a keynote speech entitled, “We’re Just Getting Started,” which highlighted investments in Detroit made by Rock Ventures and its affiliated companies as well as future development plans for the city. Matt shared some awesome stats that really prove a strong economic comeback is occurring in the Motor City.

    stat tweet 1

    Matt Cullen also shared that Bed Rock Real Estate has 95+ properties owned, 15 million square feet and 500+ total tenants.

    Nearly 3,500 team members live in the city of Detroit and approximately 50% have lived in the city their entire lives.

    stat tweet 2

    Picture1QLine Stats: 

    -6.6 miles Both ways COMBINED

    – 12 Stops along the corridor

    – $140M CAPITAL COST


    The information shared by Cullen was inspiring to attendees and showed how the city is making a great comeback that has implications not only in Detroit proper but also in the surrounding SE Michigan region.

    Below are pictures from the event.

  14. Mayor’s Coffee Hour with Dane Slater (January 24th Recap)

    On January 24th, Troy Chamber held its inaugural event –  Mayor’s Coffee Hour with Dane Slater.  This exclusive opportunity was designed for our Gold and Platinum level members.


    City of Troy, Mayor Dane Slater

    This small and informal gathering allowed a free discussion of a variety of topics with the Mayor, who has always been gracious with his time and supportive of Troy Chamber.

    Dane Slater has been on city council since 2009 and has served as Mayor since 2012. Since the Mayoral position is term-limited, he will remain Mayor until 2019.

    Mayor Slater discussed the number one topic he hears from both the Troy residents and business owners – the roads.  The City of Troy has spent a lot of time and money helping fix some of the major roads these past few years and for the upcoming 2017 road construction year, the city will concentrate more on improving residential roads.

    The Mayor explained some of the conversations he has had with developers and potential new business/property owners interested in coming to Troy. “This is one of the best times to be in Troy with all of the new development” said Mayor Slater. With increased commercial projects comes traffic. The Mayor discussed the new shuttle service which began in late December along Big Beaver road. As this service is in its infancy stage, the city is currently testing it for the next six months.  His hope is that this will lessen some traffic congestion as well as offer greater mobility along the road. Read more about this service by clicking here.

    Members that were represented at this breakfast included:

    IMG_3017Balanced Home Care
    Stark Reagan, PC
    Inteva Products
    Dorn Berden, PLLC
    National Benefit Plans, Inc. 
    Giffels-Webster Engineers, Inc.
    Central Michigan University in Metro Detroit

    “Thank you Troy Chamber for giving local business people the opportunity to meet with the Mayor in such a personal, comfortable setting where we can openly talk about current projects and those still on the horizon for Troy. We are lucky to have such a great relationship between the city and businesses.” said Peter Arvant, Stark Reagan, PC.

    “I really enjoyed meeting the Mayor and thought it was very informative.  He seems like a true gem for our city and makes it shine even brighter.  I moved to Michigan in 1991 from Reno, Nevada and purchased a home in Troy in 1996, I have loved being part of Troy, MI for years. Meeting the Mayor and hearing the bright future was a  wonderful experience” said Vicki Ferguson, National Benefit Plans, Inc.

    “I thought the Mayors Coffee was a great way to start my day. It was low key and I appreciated the opportunity to hear from the Mayor in this setting. I learned a new perspective on Troy” said Loren Crandell, Giffels-Webster Engineers, Inc. 

    Special thanks to Julie Barge and the Hilton Garden Inn for hosting and providing a continental breakfast. This event will continue on a quarterly basis by special invitation. If this is the type of event you are interested in attending, let me know and I would be happy to talk to you more about it,  and other exclusive opportunities.

  15. Speakers Needed for 2017 Nonprofit Management Conference

    The 12th Annual Nonprofit Management Conference will take place at Walsh College in Troy on May 18, 2017.

    The Chamber is seeking speakers to address topics of interest to nonprofits in one-hour breakout sessions. Click here to see the day of event handout from last year’s conference.


    To be considered as a presenter, please email a paragraph description and bullet-point outline of your presentation. This does not have to be a final copy, but should contain enough info to give the committee a clear idea of your presentation. Keep in mind that presentation content must be educational rather than sales driven. To view a list of presentation ideas, click here. Requests should be submitted no later than January 9, 2017 for consideration by the committee.

    We’re looking for exhibitors, too!

    Table space is available for exhibitors for the 2017 conference. Exhibit tables (6 ft. covered tables) are just $200 per space. To receive an exhibitor form, click here, or e-mail

    Put a Spotlight on Your Business!

    Don’t miss out on this sponsorship opportunity to be in front of over 125 nonprofit professionals from SE Michigan.

    For more information, contact Jody House, Vice President, Troy Chamber of Commerce & Non-Profit Network Staff Liaison.

    PHONE (248) 641-3694
    FAX (248) 641-0545

  16. Troy Young Professionals Seek Mentors & Mentees

    Launched by the Troy Chamber of Commerce, the newly established mentorship program aims to match young professionals with more experienced professionals to exchange resources, provide insights and learn new skills. The goal is for participants to create a foundation of trust, to be professionally and personally rewarded by their conversations and establish connections.

    To be considered for the program, mentees and mentors must fill out applications.

    You can download the applications here:

    Mentee Application

    Mentor Application

    Please Note: The document must be filled out electronically and emailed to

    Once the application is filled out, mentees and mentors are placed in a matching process. Applications are analyzed to pair mentees with mentors that can provide the necessary resources and skills that the mentee has specifically called out in their application. Ultimately, the mentee decides who they want to be their mentor.

    Once a mentor is selected, there will be a preliminary “no strings attached” meeting to make sure that the mentor/mentee is a good fit for both sides. Once matched, there will be a 6-month checkpoint to evaluate the mentorship.

    It is recommended that there is contact each week, and one face-to-face contact each month set aside for interaction specific to the mentoring relationship.

    This opportunity is open to Troy Chamber members. Admission is rolling so you can apply at any time.

    If you have any questions, contact Jessica Hruska – (248) 641-1606 /

    About the Troy Young Professionals Network

    The Troy Young Professionals Network creates and implements programs to assist professional members 35 years of age or younger. We work with local businesses to enhance opportunities for young professional participation. Our goals are:

    • To create an environment where members can connect with individuals in the same stage of their career
    • To help early career professionals transition and thrive in the work force through educational programs and mentorship opportunities

    If you’re interested in being a part of the Troy YPN, contact Jessica Hruska.

  17. Troy Chamber Event Recap: Week of October 17

    The Troy Chamber was busy last week with 3 events! Here’s a brief recap:

    On Tuesday, October 18 we held our after-hours event, Off the Clock, at Steelhouse Tavern. Attendees enjoyed appetizers and networking on the restaurant’s outdoor patio. Thanks to our sponsor, Wealth Strategies LLC.



    On Thursday, October 20, we held our morning networker, Coffee, News and Networking (CNN) at St. Andrew’s Scottish Society. Celebrating 167 years, it’s one of the oldest organizations in Michigan. Their 150+ members are very active in the local community. You can watch a clip of our meeting below:

    Friday, October 21 was our Info Session with Troy School District to learn about potential partnership opportunities. The event was sponsored by Lake Michigan Credit Union. Representatives from a variety of industries were present at the event, including: financial institutions, medical, vocation-based industries and more.

    “World Class by 2020” is the goal of the Troy School District, said superintendent Dr. Richard Machesky. Here are some other insights we learned:

    troy-sd2 troy-sd3troy-sd

    Attendees learned about various programs that they can sponsor or participate in through the Troy School District.

  18. Troy Chamber Event Re-cap: Week of October 3

    The Troy Chamber hosted the final CEO Luncheon on Thursday, October 6, rounding out this year’s series.

    Hosted at the new Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, the CEO Luncheon featured a presentation by Doug Kuiper, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Ilitch Holdings, Inc. The presentation provided attendees with an inside look at “District Detroit” and the new Little Caesar’s Arena. The presentation focused on what the Ilitch organization is doing in Detroit as well as how their projects impact the surrounding community and bring new life to the area. Here are bits of the online discussion during the event:






    You can watch 5 minutes of the presentation recorded on Periscope here

    Thanks to our awesome CEO series sponsors this year, McLaren Health Plan and Hitachi Business Finance. Thanks to our media sponsor, DBusiness.

    We’ve got an engaging half-day conference coming up in a few weeks:


    You can register here! 


  19. Troy Chamber Event Re-cap: Week of September 26

    The Troy Chamber hosted two amazing events this week!

    On Wednesday, September 28 we held our final Power Lunch workshop, “The Art of Social Listening and Online Brand Engagement” presented by Nick Skislak, founder of SS Digital Media. Here’s some of the information we learned:




    Attendees learned how to create social media objectives, identify key influencers within their social eco-system, and how to prioritize social media listening efforts.

    Nick had some amazing real-life examples of his own experience with social listening. He was kind enough to share the presentation with us!

    You can download it here

    Thanks again to our awesome Power Lunch sponsor, Northwood University


    On Thursday, September 29 we hosted our highly touted event, “Top of Troy: Women of Influence.” Presented by the Women’s Business Forum, this annual event features four of the area’s top female business leaders for breakfast and a panel discussion. Our panelists were: Heidi Kassab, President & CEO,Cornerstone Community Financial, Leslie Robinson, Franchisee/Co-Owner, Edible Arrangements stores, Luanne Thomas Ewald, CEO, DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Lisa ToennigesOwner and CEO, Innovative Learning Group.

    Nearly 100 business professionals in attendance learned about the challenges these four women faced on their paths to success, the key tools they have used to remain focused along the way, the hard decisions they are faced with on a daily basis and how being a woman has affected the choices they made to get here. Here’s what some of the attendees shared:

    t-1 t-3t-2  t-4

    View pictures from the event here 

    Thanks to our wonderful event sponsors, LJPR Financial Advisors, Health Alliance Plan, Kelly Services and DBusiness

    We’ve got some awesome events coming in October, including:

    Doug Kuiper Illitch Holdings CTA.jpg


    And much more! Click here to view the event calendar

  20. Troy Chamber Accepting Best of Troy Nominations

    Troy  Chamber of Commerce’s Best of Troy Committee is seeking nominations of Troy businesses which have completed an exterior building project or interior upgrades to their office space during 2015-2016.

    Annually, the Troy Chamber’s Best of Troy Committee recognizes quality investment and reinvestment made by local building owners and tenants in Troy. The Chamber is looking for a variety of project types and sizes. Judging is based on function, uniqueness, use of space and aesthetics.

    “The City of Troy continues to see growth and redevelopment and as a Chamber, we want to recognize and honor those businesses which have made substantial investment in our community”, said Ara Topouzian, President & CEO of Troy Chamber of Commerce.

    Last year’s recipients included: Estia Greek Street Food, The Kresge Foundation, Magna International, Maplelawn Professional Center, Peter-Lacke USA, Simons Michelson Zieve Advertising and Troy Transit Center.

    Nominations should be submitted to Jaimi Brook at 248-641-0031 or by email no later than Friday, September 30, 2016. Awards will be presented at the Chamber’s annual meeting in January 2017.

  21. Troy Chamber Launches Young Professionals Group

    In June, the Troy Chamber of Commerce held an exploratory meeting with members potentially interested in creating a Young Professionals Group (YPG). After a productive meeting, it was obvious that there is a need for this type of specialized group in the area.

    Some reasons for starting a YPG included:

    • meeting others in the same age bracket and at the same stage in their careers
    • helping each other overcome communication and generational barriers at work
    • fostering a network where everyone knows each other
    • establishing mentorship opportunities
    • collaborating with other local YPGs

    We are excited to officially announce the launch of Troy Young Professionals. If you are interested in joining this group or receiving email updates, please contact Jessica Hruska, the chamber liaison and committee chair, at (248) 641-1606 or email

    We have our first committee meeting on Thursday, July 28 at the Butterfield Building from noon – 1p.m. If you are interested in attending this meeting or being part of the planning committee, contact Jessica Hruska (contact info above). We’re always looking for additions to the group!

  22. Nonprofit Marketers: YOU Can Be a Social Media Superstar

    By Brenda Meller, AVP Marketing at Walsh College

    Smart marketers realize that social media provides us with an opt-in audience and referral network to help supplement our promotional efforts, at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising, and with noticeable results. If you’re reading this blog, chances are, you are active on social media and you want to learn how to take it to the next level. Read the rest of this entry »

  23. Support Economic Development in your Community

    This week marks National Economic Development Week. It is a time for us to reflect and recognize the work that has taken place in building our communities.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  24. What the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act Means for Businesses

    By Kathy Ossian, Ossian Law P.C.

    The average person nowadays owns thousands of dollars in “digital assets” in social media and other online accounts. A new law takes effect June 27, 2016 to allow fiduciaries in Michigan to access a decedent’s or incapacitated person’s digital assets. The “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act” is one of a handful of such state laws throughout the country. Read the rest of this entry »

  25. I am often asked – what’s new at Troy Chamber?

    I am often asked – what’s new at Troy Chamber? Well, I am excited to say – quite a bit, with much more on the horizon! Read the rest of this entry »