Tag Archives: frank gublo

MSU CEC Team treated like rock stars in Nebraska

Mark Thomas, Kay Cummings, Andy Hayes, Khurram Imam, Micah Loucks, and Frank Gublo pose for a photo in front the Loop Brewing Co. brick building.

MSU Extension Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) From left to right: Mark Thomas, Kay Cummings, Andy Hayes, Khurram Imam, Micah Loucks, Frank Gublo. Photo courtesy of Andy Hayes.

This week, we’ll hear from Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator Andy Hayes sharing about the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) Team’s experiences in Nebraska:

Our MSU Extension CEC Team traveled to McCook, Nebraska, to participate in the state’s first CEC conference. Patterning their conference after our successful Michigan model, the Nebraska Extension team added their own flair and expertise and created an outstanding entrepreneurship conference.

MSU Extension team members Frank Gublo, Mark Thomas, Kay Cummings, Micah Loucks, Khurram Imam and I traveled to the conference and also gave breakout session presentations on a variety of entrepreneurship topics.

Approximately 80 people from 40 Nebraska communities participated. After hearing excellent keynote speakers in the local restored vintage movie theatre, participants attended breakouts around town in a wide range of businesses such as shoe stores, coffee shops, antique furniture stores and jewelry stores.

Nebraska Extension team members were so appreciative of the multi-state partnership between Michigan and Nebraska and our coaching and guidance; and participants were grateful that we traveled all that way to attend and participate; we truly felt like rock stars. And McCook is a cool town – the perfect setting for the team’s first conference.

Some of us even ventured out to the plateau at 5:30 a.m. to watch the mating dance of the prairie chickens. (Honest, you can’t make this stuff up!) It was seriously cool, and the scenery while watching the prairie wake up with the sunrise would make anyone want to live there.

While en route, we picked up a traveling companion from the University of Minnesota Extension, which made the trip even better. We ate beef in a local restaurant in York, Nebraska, and had time to tour the Food Innovation Center on the Nebraska Campus. All were truly impressive.

A great trip, and what makes it even more perfect is that we probably learned way more from our partners in Nebraska than they did from us.

Thank you, Andy, for sharing the stories from your trip. We’re thrilled about the positive impact that you and everyone on the CEC Team are having on the people of Michigan, and we’re proud that your ideas are spreading nationally.

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Filed under Conferences, Economic development, Entrepreneurial, Partnerships, professional development

NACAA awards recognize Extension educators on all levels

Congratulations to our National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) state, regional and national award winners! The NACAA is a professional Extension organization geared toward agriculture, horticulture, forestry, natural resources, 4-H youth development, community development, administration, aquaculture and Sea Grant educators. The award recipients have been announced and will receive recognition at the Future Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference July 24‒28 in Little Rock, Arkansas. This year, our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension colleagues will take home a large number of awards.

Frank Gublo, MSU Extension educator specializing in sustaining community prosperity and serving in the Thumb region, is a national winner for the 2016 Achievement Award.

James Isleib, MSU Extension educator in crop production and food and animal systems in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.), received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award.

James DeDecker, MSU Extension educator specializing in specialty field crops and bioenergy and serving northeast lower Michigan, is a regional winner in the Audio Recording Award category.

Phillip Durst, MSU Extension senior educator specializing in food and animal systems in northeast and central Michigan, is a state winner in the Computer Generated Graphics Presentation award category and national winner in the Search for Excellence in Farm and Ranch Financial Management category.

Erwin Elsner, MSU Extension small fruit and consumer horticulture educator based in Grand Traverse County, is a national winner in the Fact Sheet category.

Stan Moore, MSU Extension senior dairy educator serving northwest lower Michigan and the eastern U.P., is a state winner in the Feature Story category and national winner in the Personal Column category.

Heidi Wollaeger, MSU Extension educator focusing on horticulture in floriculture and nursery crop production and pest management in southwest Michigan, led a collaboration to submit and win national finalist for the Learning Module, regional winner for the Newsletter and national winner for the Publication categories. Her teammates were Raymond Cloyd from Kansas State University; Roberto Lopez and Erik Runkle, both faculty members from the MSU Department of Horticulture; and David Smitley from the MSU Department of Entomology.

Joanne Davidhizar, MSU Extension educator focused on agriculture, product development and business management, received a regional win for the Program Promotional Piece Award.

Phillip Tocco, MSU Extension educator in food safety and animal systems, was selected as state winner in the Published Photo and Caption category.

Please join me in congratulating all of our award winners!

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MSU Extension association reps attend Public Issues Leadership Development Conference

Each year, our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension associations choose a representative to attend the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference held in Washington, D.C. This year, April 10 through April 13, a large Extension crew attended. MSU Extension educators Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and me.

On Monday, we took part in several sessions focused on the conference theme ‒ Innovation: The Story of Extension. One thought that I really want to share is that MSU Extension is an agency that helps people across the lifespan from the cradle to the grave. We have an impact on our communities and our neighbors throughout their lives. It is such a powerful imprint that we are privileged to impart. Through our work, we as individuals and as an organization leave our legacies in the communities that we serve.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had the opportunity to meet with our senators and congressional representatives, and their staff members and thank them for their continuing support of MSU Extension. MSU Extension receives federal funding through the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that established the Cooperative Extension Service, and every year we say, “thank you,” and share the great work that we do because of their investment.

Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler, Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Gary Peters.

Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Gary Peters.

A final important highlight for me personally was the opportunity to get to know my MSU Extension colleagues and learn about the work that you’re doing and the outstanding impact that you’re making. In a world where we’re wearing so many hats and sometimes only see the faces of those we share offices with, it is so important to have opportunities to meet each other and get to know each other from all over the state.

 

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Filed under Conferences, strategic connections

Extension educators talk business

It’s always great to be able to tell our story and get the word out about Michigan State University Extension’s contributions to the state’s residents. One method of communication is radio.

 Andy Hayes, MSU Extension educator in the Greening Michigan Institute and president of the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, does a weekly Internet-based radio show on the Michigan Business Network called “Around the State.”

 His program airs every Thursday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. It can be downloaded afterward anytime online as a podcast. Each session, Andy focuses on a theme and all six interviews that hour tie to that theme.

 On the May 8 broadcast, the theme was MSU Extension. Andy interviewed six MSU Extension educators including:

  • Mark Breederland on the importance of educating to advance entrepreneurship
  • Frank Gublo on emerging farm management
  • Mark Hitchcock on the importance of supporting our own food systems to in turn support our economy
  • Kathy Jamison on the importance of educating future entrepreneurs for overall career success
  • Mark Thomas on the MSU Product Center
  • Kendra Wills on the Grand Rapids Downtown Market

 Click on the following link below to listen to each 6-minute session: http://michiganbusinessnetwork.com/radio/Around_the_State

 Check out the Michigan Business Network website to listen to more shows that include MSU Extension educators.

 If you have a business-related topic you’d like to discuss on the air, contact Andy at ANDY@NORTHERNLAKES.NET.

 We’re grateful for the opportunity to communicate our message.

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Making It in Michigan Conference promotes and educates food and agricultural entrepreneurs

It’s evident that many creative and hard-working people live and work in Michigan – a good number of them building their own businesses. Many of those entrepreneurs attended the Michigan State University Product Center’s fourth Making It in Michigan Conference Nov. 1 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. The conference promotes and educates food and agricultural entrepreneurs.

Prior to the conference, MSU Extension educator and Product Center Food-Ag-Bio innovation counselor Frank Gublo received the Innovation Counselor of the Year award. Innovation counselors are professionals from MSU and partnering organizations strategically positioned around Michigan to guide entrepreneurs as they make critical decisions about market opportunities and business and product development. Frank serves the southeastern part of the state. He has worked with more than 100 entrepreneurs in the last year, assisting them in business planning, navigating the regulatory maze, entering the supply chain and securing capital. In addition, he assisted clients in accessing campus resources for product testing, nutritional labeling and packaging assistance.

During the conference, nearly 240 people participated in the morning educational sessions. Two hundred people registered in advance, which meant that there were almost 40 walk-ins. With the state of our economy and all of the consumer interest in locally produced foods, many folks aspire to launch new food-related businesses. Sixteen individuals registered at the conference to become new Product Center clients. Additional requests are still coming in.

 Bob Fish, CEO and co-founder of BIGGBY COFFEE, served as conference keynote speaker, contributing an inspirational talk on entrepreneurship.

The afternoon trade show featured 160 vendor booths occupied by 141 companies. Two-thirds of those vendors were Product Center clients.

A number of buyers in attendance made connections with the exhibitors to carry the products in their retail establishments.

Westborn Market selected three exhibitors who won shelf space in Westborn’s three stores in southeastern Michigan. Winners included Dago Joe’s Specialty Foods of Macomb, Johnny Secreto Foods of Rockford and Esch Road Great Lakes True Foods of Honor.

The Product Center gives out annual awards that recognize their clients for special accomplishments. During the conference, the Product Center presented awards to three clients.

Ben Tirrell of Tirrell Farmstead Specialties of Charlotte won the Entrepreneur of the Year award. Ben exemplifies the new generation of farmers adding value to their operations by focusing on consumer-driven agriculture.

Ben Tirrell receives award

Ben Tirrell of Tirrell Farmstead Specialties of Charlotte receives the MSU Product Center’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Product Center director Chris Peterson at the Making It in Michigan Conference Nov. 1, 2012, at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Erin Groom

Michigan’s only sheep dairy, Tirrell Farmstead Specialties produces sheep milk it makes into artisan cheeses marketed to high-end retail markets. In addition to the cheeses, Ben produces pasture-raised beef and lamb he supplies to retail stores and restaurants. He also adds value to his wool crop by processing the wool and selling woolen items in the on-farm store. Consumers come to the farm for special events like “Spring Fling” and “Lamb Safari,” and enjoy shopping in the on-farm store. Ben also participates in several farmers markets.

Tony Menyhart receives award

Tony Menyhart of Easy Artisan Bread Mix of Tecumseh receives the MSU Product Center’s Start-Up to Watch Award from Product Center director Chris Peterson at the Making It in Michigan Conference Nov. 1, 2012, at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. Photo credit: Erin Groom

Tony Menyhart won the Start-Up to Watch award for Easy Artisan Bread Mix of Tecumseh that he owns with Sally Gralla. Tony, a long-time amateur baker, developed the first recipes for his “One Bowl, One Minute” bread mixes in 2010. He began selling the mix at the Saline Farmers Market and later debuted his product at the 2011 Making It in Michigan Trade Show. His product began selling in retail stores in late 2011. Today, you can find Easy Artisan Bread Mix in more than 150 stores in Michigan. Tony intends to expand to other states.

Grand Traverse Pie receives award

Mike Busley (left) and Tim Rice (center) of the Grand Traverse Pie Company receive the MSU Product Center’s Barrier Buster Award for a Stage 2 Company from Product Center director Chris Peterson at the Making It in Michigan Conference Nov. 1, 2012, at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich.

The Grand Traverse Pie Company, started by Mike and Denise Busley,won the Barrier Buster Award for a Stage 2 Company. The company has worked with the Product Center’s HI-VAT (High Impact Venture Action Team) program that assists larger companies in taking the business to the next level. The Grand Traverse Pie Company has overcome many barriers in moving from a small company with six employees in downtown Traverse City to one that now employs more than 300 people in 15 Grand Traverse Pie shops across Michigan and Indiana.

Watch this ANR Communications video with Product Center director Chris Peterson. It gives an excellent overview of the services the Product Center Food-Ag-Bio offers clients.

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A pierogi plug for the product center

There’s nothing like a client’s voluntary testimonial to tell us that one of our programs is working. We have several of those in today’s Michigan State University Extension Spotlight, and the first one is borne out of a passion for these Polish dumplings. The People’s Pierogi Collective (PPC) is a Detroit-based enterprise whose mission is “bringing pierogies to the people” by vending customized pierogies at the Detroit Eastern Market and other farmers markets in Michigan. PPC has been a client of Frank Gublo and Dianne Novak, MSUE innovation counselors working with the Product Center for Michigan Agriculture and Natural Resources, and their blogger Kimberly Strickler recently recognized the Product Center folks for their assistance in helping her to expand her market opportunities. Her blog testimonial (blogimonial?) suggests she may be working with students from MSU’s packaging program this fall to give them a meaningful context for applying what they’ve learned about packaging to a customized food item like PPC pierogies. We make a big deal about the diversity of Michigan agriculture, but we also should make a big deal about the diversity of Michigan’s ethnic traditions. PPC is capitalizing on that by creating such innovations as hummus-filled and peanut butter and jelly pierogies. I suppose a pasty pierogi would be redundant but uniquely Michigandish.

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