2009 Boundary Crossing conference logo 





Conference Speakers


Charles W. Fluharty


Topic: Livable Communities/A Livable Countryside: The Rural Considerations Within the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act and the Obama Administration's Domestic Policy Agenda


Click here to view the presentation (PowerPoint)


Abstract: The recently-passed stimulus package includes significant infrastructure investments across our nation’s rural landscape. Since its passage, the White House has announced a Cabinet-level Rural Tour, in which USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and his colleagues are holding rural listening sessions across the nation, regarding the unique rural challenges in this recession, and ARRA investments to address these challenges. Secretary Vilsack has also indicated a major re-assessment of USDA’s rural policy framework and practice is being undertaken, in an effort to assure better federal integration and stronger leveraging of state, local, and philanthropic investments. This is consistent with a new examination underway within those federal departments responsible for metropolitan policies and programs. This presentation will discuss these dynamics, and the potential they hold for a new Regional Rural Innovation approach, critical to the future of our nation’s rural people and places.


Charles FluhartyBiography:

Charles W. Fluharty is the founder, President Emeritus, and Vice President for Policy Programs of the Rural Policy Research Institute. RUPRI is the only national policy institute in the U.S. solely dedicated to assessing the rural impacts of public policies. This comprehensive approach to rural policy analysis involves faculty from founding member institutions  at Iowa State University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Nebraska, as well as researchers, policy analysts and practitioners from other universities, research institutions, governments, and non-governmental organizations. Continual service is currently provided to Congressional members and staff, executive branch agencies, state legislatures and executive agencies, non-governmental organizations, and rural researchers.


Since RUPRI's founding in 1990, over 300 scholars representing 16 different disciplines in over 100 universities, all U.S. states and 30 other nations have participated in RUPRI projects. National RUPRI centers, initiatives, policy panels, workgroups, and research projects address the full range of policy and program dynamics affecting rural America, including rural economic and community development, health and human services, regional competitiveness and innovation, entrepreneurship, telecommunications, natural resources, and new governance. Collaborations with the OECD, the European Commission, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the German Marshall Fund, and other international organizations are contributing to RUPRI's comparative rural policy foci.


A Research Professor in the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Chuck Fluharty is the author of numerous policy studies and journal articles addressing the rural differential in public policy decision-making, and has presented dozens of Congressional testimonies and briefings. He is a frequent speaker before national and international audiences, and has delivered major public policy addresses in over a dozen nations. He has also provided senior policy consultation to most federal departments, as well as state and local governments, associations of government, planning and development organizations, and diverse rural institutions and organizations worldwide, including many foundations. Chuck was born and raised on a fifth-generation family farm in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio. His career has centered upon service to rural people, primarily within the public policy arena. He and his wife, Marsha, are the parents of two sons and a daughter.



Leslee Fritz


Topic: The Recovery Act in Michigan


Click here to view the presentation (PowerPoint)



Governor Jennifer M. Granholm tapped Leslee Fritz to lead the newly-created Michigan Economic Recovery Office (ERO) on February 13, 2009, one day after the passage of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.  The ERO is responsible for coordinating with state agencies to ensure that Michigan’s Recovery funds are used effectively and transparently to create jobs, jumpstart the economy and protect citizens during this time of economic challenge.


Before taking on the role of ERO director, Fritz served the Granholm administration as a Senior Project Manager, Communications Director for the Office of State Budget and Deputy Communications Director for the governor. Prior to joining the governor’s team, Fritz worked as staff director for the Senate Democratic Caucus.  She was a partner in the Phoenix Consulting Corporation, based in Jackson, MS and has served as communications director for the Michigan Democratic Party.


Leslee Fritz holds a bachelors degree in political science from Albion College and is a member of the Okemos Community Church.  She is the proud parent of a 13-year-old son.





Conference Workshops


Successful Grantseeking in Tough Economic Times

Deborah ClarkWorkshop Abstract: Talk to your associates and it seems that granting cycles are either feast or famine. Either government or private funders seem to be "giving money away" or have no money available for the worthiest of causes. In truth, successful grant awards arise when you target the right source, with the right project, in the right manner. Many of the factors determining success or failure are under your control. Join Deborah for a helpful overview of strategies for smart grantseeking in a competitive economic environment.

Presented by: Deborah Clark, Sponsored Research & Program Officer, CMU


Deborah Clark is Research and Sponsored Program Officer in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Central Michigan University. She has worked in the field for the past 11 years as a grant writer, grant program developer, and grant research administrator in the areas of community development, education, health, arts and science. She is passionate about grantwriting and its capacity to make a difference through research, resources and programs.





Asset Based Community Development:
Shifting our Communities from a Deficiency Orientation to a Capacity Identity

Lisa HaddenWorkshop Abstract: Asset Based Community Development (or ABCD) offers opportunities for rural areas to redefine themselves based on their strengths, assets and capacities. Historically, communities present themselves through the lens of a needs assessment which captures only the deficiencies, problems, needs and weaknesses. However, no community was ever built on its deficiencies. Therefore, if we are not asset mapping and inventorying our capacities, we are not able to present the bigger picture of our community's strengths. This workshop will introduce participants to the basics of ABCD and review various tools that can be used for community building and asset identification. It will also present case studies of how other communities have used the ABCD approach.

Presented by: Lisa Hadden, President & CEO, Mt. Pleasant Chamber of Commerce


Lisa Hadden spent her early career rising to positions of Executive Director and President & CEO of both for profit and non-profit corporations. She spent years in health care administration, working in graduate medical education, practice management, primary care system development, and serving by gubernatorial appointment as Chair of the Michigan Certificate of Need Commission, which had full legislative authority to enact laws. At age 47 she left the executive suite and went to work for a decade on the streets of the east side of Saginaw to discover what creates and sustains a healthy community. Her transformation from viewing health from a traditional bio-medical model to a community development model led her to Asset Based Community Development or ABCD. Utilizing an ABCD approach, she gained the respect and trust of neighbors and residents who rallied to identify the assets and capacities in their neighborhoods to make positive changes in their lives. Ms. Hadden also has conducted ABCD trainings in the remote Canadian wilderness in the province of Quebec presenting the story of her work in Saginaw and how a rural community can also shift from a "deficiency orientation" to a "capacity identity."

Ms. Hadden received both her B.A. and M.A. from Central Michigan University. She holds faculty appointments from the College of Human Medicine, Department of Family Practice, at Michigan State University; the College of Nursing and Health Sciences from Saginaw Valley State University; and is a faculty member of the ABCD Institute at Northwestern University. She was awarded a Healthy Communities Fellowship from the American Hospital Association and received the Woman of the Year Award in Saginaw in 2004 from Zonta International. She is recognized internationally as an expert in Asset Based Community Development and has conducted workshops nationally and internationally in addition to publishing several articles detailing her work in Saginaw neighborhoods.


Evaluating Program Outcomes

Workshop Abstract:Non-profit organizations and governmental units are under increasing pressure to document the outcomes of their programs. In this workshop, we will discuss and practice ways in which we can move to an outcomes orientation in our thinking about successful programs. In addition, we will present a variety of ways of gathering information to document successful outcomes, without diverting substantial energies and funds from the critical efforts of program delivery. Examples of agencies that have moved to documenting outcomes for funders, administrators and program improvement purposes will be highlighted.

Mary Senter 

Presented by: Mary Senter and Jean Toner



  • Alicia Haley is currently seeking her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at Central Michigan University. She is interested in how educational institutions serve the public good and partner with community leaders and organizations for the future of Mid-Michigan.


  • Mary Senter has been a faculty member in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at Central Michigan University for 30 years. She is currently the Director of the Center for Applied Research and Rural Studies, a CMU research center designed to assist non-profit organizations and governmental units in central and northern Michigan with data collection and data analysis needs.


  • Jean TonerJean Toner is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at Central Michigan University. Prior to joining the CMU faculty, she worked as a clinical social worker, primarily in rural areas and in the addictions treatment field. Her research interests follow her social work practice in rural social work and addictions.










So, You Want to be an Entrepreneur?

Workshop Abstract:  The workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to participate in the facilitated discussion focused on attributes related to being an entrepreneur. Topics to be addressed include entrepreneurial characteristics, business idea generation, business idea evaluation information resources, the role of networking, and local sources of no cost support. Attendees will be given an opportunity in this session to begin self-assessing and looking into whether or not entrepreneurship is suitable for them. The session will conclude with discussion concerning where to go once ready to make the entrepreneurial jump.

Click here to view the presentation (PowerPoint)

Presented by: Tony Fox, Regional Director, MI-Small Business & Technology Development Center, Mid Michigan Community College


Tony Fox is a Regional Director with the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center hosted locally by Mid Michigan Community College. He also currently teaches Marketing for Entrepreneurs as an adjunct instructor at MMCC. Mr. Fox is a MI-SBTDC Certified Small Business Consultant.   


Mr. Fox grew up in an entrepreneurial family where he worked from a young age in the family Residential construction and Maintenance business. Mr. Fox then graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Entrepreneurship and dual minors in Finance and Business Administration. At that time he started up his own construction company which he owned and operated for 4 years prior to joining the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center as Regional Director.


The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) enhances Michigan's economic well-being by providing counseling, training, research and advocacy for new ventures, existing small businesses and innovative technology companies. With offices statewide, the MI-SBTDC positively impacts the economy by strengthening existing companies, creating new jobs, retaining existing jobs, and assisting companies in defining their path of success.




Information Sessions

MEDC's Community Assistance Team Focus Group

Katharine CzarneckiInformation Session Abstract: Come talk with the manager of the MEDC's Community Assistance Team about the ways in which they can help your community.

Click here to view the presentation (PDF file)

Presented by:

Katharine Czarnecki

Manager, MEDC's Community Assistance Team



Katharine Czarnecki is the Community Assistance Team Manager with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation where she oversees the operations and management of the Community Assistance Team. In her current position, Ms. Czarnecki leads the CATeam's efforts with revitalizing Michigan's communities through a variety of programs.


Prior to joining the MEDC, Ms. Czarnecki worked in several communities around Michigan and most recently with the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Economics and has completed graduate coursework in Urban Planning at Michigan State University.



Out of the Park:

Park Library as a Community Resource


Information Session Abstract:This session spotlights Park Library special collections, databases and online services available to conference attendees.


Topics include:

  • Federal and State Documents Collections Online

  • American FactFinder

  • Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER)

  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

  • Lexis/Nexis Statistical Universe

  • Regional Economic Information System (REIS)

  • Social Services Abstracts

  • STAT-USA/Internet

  • State Bear Facts

  • State Data Center Program


David Shirley and Rui WangPresented by: David Shirley and Rui Wang, Reference Librarians, Park Library



  • David Shirley, Government Documents Librarian at Park Library, manages the Federal and State of Michigan Depository Library collections and online services. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Transylvania University, Honors Diploma from the Defense Information School, and M.A.L.S. from the University of Michigan.


  • Rui Wang, Social Sciences Librarian at Park Library, studied Chinese language and literature at Northeastern Normal University in China and was one of the earliest graduates after the Cultural Revolution. She holds a M.A. in Sociology from the University of Arkansas and M.L.I.S. from the University of South Florida.




YOU Have a New Business Idea? Working with the CMURC Smartzone

Information Session Abstract: Many individuals of varying ages and social economic parts of our communities have ideas that they think could be made into a new business. Young people are in touch with many markets particularly those which utilize technology more efficiently, creatively or effectively.  But they do not know who to work with to see if their idea has market merit. Teachers often think of new products while working with students but lack the time to investigate the concept. Doctors and other health professionals conceive new health devices or services because they see patient need but are overwhelmed with serving their patients with today’s products and technologies. Shopkeepers see a plethora of new products everyday and while they develop new ones in their mind they seldom know how to develop them into reality. Homemakers, farmers, bankers and craftsmen all face the same barriers to starting new businesses.  They do not know how to develop the idea. They do not have the resources to start a new business.  They do not have the time and some do not have the desire.  America and particularly Michigan need these new businesses. 

America was built by individuals who had an idea and through hard work, often with others, developed it into a business.  Over time these businesses manifested a wide landscape of sizes, products and services. Communities were built around many of these businesses. Lives were enriched and improved.  We have become, however, increasingly reliant upon big business and government.  We no longer successfully start up new businesses. We have the opportunity to change this by starting the new business of our dreams.

Ken Van Der WendeCMU-Research Corporation (CMU-RC) is a not for profit designed to increase the economic development of our state by leveraging the vast resources of CMU while also providing our students an increasingly dynamic learning environment. CMU-RC works with potential new business owners in developing business and marketing plans discerning if the concept has sufficient opportunity, in what markets and at what costs. While many business incubators merely provide office or lab space, CMU-RC also provides the valuable business development skills and capabilities needed to explore ideas.  The CMU-RC Sales Program even enables the new company to hire sellers for its early marketing. In short, CMU-RC may be your opportunity to explore and launch the new business idea you have been incubating. Michigan needs your entrepreneurism.

Click here to view the presentation (PowerPoint)

Presented by: Ken Van Der Wende, Erin Strang, Cason Thorsby and Scott Weller


Erin StrangBiographies:

  • Ken Van Der Wende is the President and CEO of CMU-Research Corporation. He is responsible for leading economic development with a focus on higher tech and manufacturing. He is operationally responsible for wet labs, office incubator, prefab office buildings and 350 acre business development park. < Read full bio

  • Erin Strang is the Grant Development Director of Central Michigan University Research Corporation, one of 15 Michigan Economic Development SmartZones. In her current role, she connects companies looking to implement new ideas and grow their businesses with alternative funding sources. She has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Lake Superior State University. She previously worked as an Assistant Director of Business Innovation at Oakland University Business INCubator and the Marketing and Sales Director for the Michigan Virtual University. 

  • Cason ThorsbyCason Thorsby is a Business Development Manager at CMU Research Corporation. He graduated from CMU in May 2008 with a major in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Marketing. He enrolled in graduate school in fall 2009 where he earned a full-time Graduate Assistantship position. His MBA concentration is in Consulting with an expected date of graduation of May 2010. At age 23, Cason has already owned and operated three businesses, one of which he’s already sold for profit. He’s the founder & Chief Marketing Officer of Dixie Dave’s Wild Game Soup Company; the Chief Operating Officer for Last Call – An all natural hangover relief supplement that will be packaged in a convenient  2 oz. shot (similar to 5 Hour Energy); and in the process of starting a not-for-profit company, Revolution-E, (Revolution of the Entrepreneur) which will be an online clothing company targeting white collar workers, with all of the profits to fund other start-up companies. In addition, he is the President & CEO of Thorsby Enterprises.

  • Scott WellerOver the past four years, Scott Weller has worked with a Fortune 500 media firm in New York and production houses in Los Angeles. He is the President and CEO of Swagola, LLC and the President of Innovative Baking Co., parent company of the "Perfect Cookie." He also is President and CEO of Wells Ventures, LLC. He also serves as a business development manager at the CMU Research Corporation. Scott graduated from Central Michigan University in May of 2009 with a major in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Advertising. Currently, he holds a full-time graduate assistantship for the dean of the College of Business Administration at CMU, Dr. Michael Fields, and expects to complete his MBA with a concentration in Consulting in May of 2010.






Business Development with M-TEC: Expand, Diversify and Train Workers

Information Session Abstract: Join representatives from the Michigan Technical Education Center (M-TEC) at Mid-Michigan Community College (MMCC) to learn about the variety of programs and training available to area businesses and industry, including:

  • Where to turn for help: government contracting and state initiatives into new emerging technical areas
  • Free trainings available through MMCC's partnerships with vendors such as MiWorks!
  • M-TEC Quick Start, Surviving to Thriving, Quick Books, Small Business Basics and more
  • Individualized training and grants to pay for it


Scott Govitz

Click here to view the presentation (PowerPoint)


Presented by: Tony Fox and Scott Govitz




Serving as a member of several local economic development agencies and statewide initiatives, Scott Govitz continues his work to improve the climate for business and manufacturing in the central Michigan region.  Over the last eight years, as the Executive Director of the M-TEC at Mid Michigan Community College, Mr. Govitz has actively formed collaborations and partnerships to enhance local economic development. Designed to meet workforce training needs in a flexible format, the M-TEC at MMCC works with local businesses to train employees and provides job training for those seeking employment.  In addition to individualized training in the construction, medical and manufacturing areas, programs under the M-TEC umbrella include customized training for groups of individuals and one-on-one counseling for existing or would-be entrepreneurs through the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center.  A graduate of the Public Administration program of Central Michigan University, Mr. Govitz is also a former City Administrator and Mayor.  This experience has given him a unique perspective as he works directly with business to promote their vitality.  He has also worked in the automotive industry and as a staff assistant to a member of Congress.



2009 Conference Sponsors


WCMU logo 


Mid Michigan Community College logo 






M-TEC logo 



Mt. Pleasant area Chamber of Commerce logo