Street Talk

Street Talk: A positive senior moment

The Cup runneth over.

June 27, 2014
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In his June 2 Special Message to the Legislature on Aging, Gov. Rick Snyder warned that Michigan “has more work to do to prepare for its aging population. It’s time to reinvent the way we think about aging, in a positive way.”

By 2030, he said, almost one in four Michigan residents will be 60 or older. Seniors are living longer, too; the fastest-growing segment of the state’s population is 85 and up.

“We want Michigan to be a state where we live well and age well,” Snyder said. “Ensuring that more older adults have the opportunity to be healthy, independent and productive individuals in ‘age-friendly’ communities that support their needs will be critical as the state plans for the future.”

Kent County Commissioner Harold J. Mast of Kentwood is the chair of Michigan’s Commission on Aging, which works closely with the governor’s office to assure Michigan seniors are provided with quality-of-life services. Mast said Snyder has recognized “the unique economic potential that Michigan’s seniors have for our state.”

“In his message, he emphasized and offered encouragement that seniors think of themselves as part of our economic future, rather than perceiving themselves as the ‘retired’ generation and needing others to care for them. He is offering incentives for business firms to hire retired executives and specialists as special consultants to help grow businesses by tapping both senior and younger generations to partner on new endeavors. He also recognized that seniors with entrepreneurial skills can help the younger generation start new businesses and grow our economy that way,” said Mast.

“While West Michigan is blessed with an over-abundance of senior living centers, it is no longer in vogue to build massive senior living centers and separate them from community activities. We lose out on many of the benefits seniors bring to community living, and the unique ways they can continue to contribute to their quality of life, and to community good, from neighborhoods.”

Oh, Boy George

Professor Gregg Dimkoff at the GVSU Seidman College of Business recalls all too painfully the textbooks he had to read as a student at MSU in the early 1960s.

“They were so boring — just awful,” said Dimkoff. “Nobody cared if you learned or not.”

The textbooks were seemingly written with no thought toward making the subject matter more interesting.

But Dimkoff, who has been teaching at Grand Valley for 38 years and formed the finance department there years ago, says textbooks have changed. Now even the hardest subjects are usually covered in a more lively writing style that encourages learning, often through the use of real-life examples.

This summer he is working on a revised edition of a textbook he wrote a couple of years ago: “Modern Risk Management and Insurance.” He tries to include something on every page that will make the material more meaningful to the students, and thus easier to remember.

In a chapter dealing with liabilities, he poses the question: What is unlawful imprisonment? Then he gives the example of Boy George.

Boy George, aka George O’Dowd, was the lead singer of Culture Club, a successful English band from 1981 to 1986. In 2008, he hired a young male “escort” to come to his apartment to pose nude for photos. Well, things somehow got out of hand and the escort was prevented from leaving when he wanted to. Mr. George was subsequently charged with unlawful imprisonment. He was found guilty in a London court and sentenced to 15 months in jail.

That type of behavior was most definitely a liability, in anybody’s book.

Dimkoff is willing to guarantee that once students have read his book, “nobody will ever wonder what unlawful imprisonment is. They’ll know.”

Retail summit

More than 500 independent store owners are expected to descend on West Michigan beginning today.

The seventh annual Retail Success Summit, hosted by Bob and Susan Negen and their team at WhizBang! Training, offers two days of high-level strategy, in-depth tactics, case studies, best practices and retail success tips. Bob Negen said store owners leave the conference with an action plan to improve store operations and increase sales.

“Local stores are the backbone of healthy cities and towns,” he said. “But being a local store isn’t enough to earn customer loyalty. A local store must also be a well-run store with excellent customer service. That’s what we teach at the Retail Success Summit.”

The event also features nationally recognized guest speakers. This year’s speakers are Ari Weinzweig, CEO and co-founder of Zingerman's Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor, and Jim Kwik, a recognized world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance and accelerated learning.

The two-day event sets up shop in DeVos Place.

The other half

Does your company do this?

Signature Associates, an independently owned and operated member of the Cushman & Wakefield Alliance, recently marked its 25th anniversary with a cruise in Detroit aboard the yacht The Ovation.

Everybody went from all eight regional offices — all 150 of ’em. And their significant others. The evening included a 10-piece band, a comedian, five-star cuisine, the Detroit Ford Fireworks show, and transportation and accommodations for all guests.

According to a press release trumpeting the event, Signature Associates was founded June 30, 1989, by Steven G. Gordon and 11 other brokerage professionals.

“This team was known in the industry as the ‘Dirty Dozen’ when they left a major local commercial real estate firm. Nine of the original dozen still remain with the firm, including John R. Boyd, executive vice president,” according to the release.

Gordon, who serves as president, was a bit more succinct.

“And they said we wouldn’t last!”

See the World

Now that Tim Howard and Team USA have pushed through to the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup, there are rumblings for a massive viewing party here in GR.

Admittedly, the Business Journal would not be the first place most would look to rally for such a sporting-related event, but kudos to Brian Selk of Hope Network for finding the business angle in his request sent through grbj.com.

“Put some pressure on someone (Barfly Ventures LLC?) to pull together a big USA World Cup viewing party next Tuesday — but for sure next Saturday if USA makes it!”

Well, we don’t know about pressure, but there are some suggestions that might be worth noting. Mark Sellers and his Barfly crew certainly could pull off an event of this proportion, especially with a little help from Kris Larsen and the gang at Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

DGRI is the same agency that brings you Movies in the Park at Ah Nab Awen, so it already has that big screen and the system in place to handle crowds …

But if nothing comes of that and you want to root for the good old Red, White and Blue with scores of people you’ve never met, Eric Albertson and the staff at SpeakEZ Lounge in the Monroe North Business District already are deep into a successful tournament run and would welcome your company.

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