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On Manufacturing, Gen Y, and Your Leadership Dynamic; Annual Holiday Luncheon of the Solon Chamber of Commerce

On Tuesday, December 6th, we got up early to attend a program middle-market forum put on by the Greater Cleveland Partnership that took place at its office on Huron Road East. It was titled "On Manufacturing, Gen Y, and Your Leadership Dynamic" and it featured three dynamic speakers addressing three topics which all intersected at the junction of establishing a thriving, productive, and lucrative enterprise.

The first speaker was Mr. Ethan Karp, CEO, of "MAGNET" who talked about new trends in manufacturing. He contended that the future of manufacturing will require application and adoption of new productivity and improving technologies; the ability to attract, retain and develop new people; and continued focus on innovation products. He also discussed exciting new possibilities in the areas of 3D printing and technologies.

The second speaker was Mr. David Haskin, National Leader of the Advance Workplace Solutions Team of "Steelcase" who discussed how millennials have the power to enhance and successfully transform the workplace for the betterment of all. Mr. Haskin's presentation involved comparing how the millennials operate in comparison to people of other generations, namely the one of the baby boomers in which we ourselves are a part of. He did this via an analysis of contrasting styles in areas pertaining to working and careers. These areas included successful collaborations; imperative trust; the role of technology; methods of training and growth; the concepts of work vs. work-life; and the usage of space to create a more productive work environment. The conclusion was that "all generations can benefit from an ecosystem of spaces designed to adapt and evolve over time, optimizing real estate while fostering higher levels of employee engagement."

Lastly, Mr. Ralph Dise, CEO of "Dise and Company" talked about how adopting a less strenuous work schedule and creating a more open and trusting work environment in one's company can pay off immensely. He listed three rules that have improved his life and the effectiveness of his company since he adopted them which were always be home by 6pm and not to bring any work home; do fun things now instead of waiting for retirement; and build a team that can be trusted. We were thrilled when Mr. Dise talked about how rewarding it was for him to start to learn to play the guitar at age 52 and giving a concert (not a professional one but one that could easily be enjoyed without having to be polite) on his 60th birthday.

Even though the forum started very early at 7:30am about 75 people turned out for it. We explained what "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" does in terms of immigration law to Mr. Rob Paskert, Ms. Megan M. Malone, and Mr. Adam R. Decker from "Plante Moran" and what our own role is there. We then we said hello to Mr. David Humphrey from "Ohio Desk" who recalled being present at the "Rotary Club of Cleveland" luncheon in February, 2014 when Ms. Margaret W. Wong was honored with its International Service Award.

Next we hurried over to Solon for the annual holiday luncheon of the Solon Chamber of Commerce which took place at the "Bertram Inn and Conference Center" at 600 N. Aurora Road in Aurora.

We thought we had arrived early so we did some catch-up work in our car before going in and learning that our GPS was just a little bit off and we were at the "Atrium of Santa Maria" at 800 N. Aurora Road. Nevertheless Ms. Tara Younce, the concierge, was very understanding and directed to us to the correct location. After we had arrived at the luncheon we spoke with Ms. Diane Barben and Mr. Nathan Lippencott who actually work at the "Atrium of Santa Maria" who both laughed and said that people get confused quite often and Ms. Younce is a real pro at straightening out such matters.

During lunch, we shared a table with Pastor Cindy Theobald and Ms. Michelle Geller, church secretary, both from Solon United Methodist Church which closely follows conditions in Liberia since its Camphor Mission is there. As it turned out, we all knew of Ms. Janjay Bass-Davis from "Plant a Seed for a Child" who has been working for years to build a school in the Bong County, Kokoyah District.

We also met several chamber members who knew of people from such divergent places as Mexico and Hungary who had worked in the United States temporarily before they had to return to their countries of origin but would really like to immigrate to the United States on a more permanent basis. We gave them our contact information in case they wanted to contact "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" for assistance.

We then kicked back and listened to a concert from the Solon High School Madrigals which has been performing at the chamber's holiday luncheon for 30 years. The concert was conducted by Mr. Gary Lewis who has been nurturing talent at Solon High School for 10 years now. We loved hearing old favorites like "Deck the Halls", "It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas", "O Little Town of Bethlehem" as well as a medley of Hanukkah songs and some little-heard Russian Christmas carols.

Mr. Lewis explained that it had been quite a day thus far for the "Madrigals" who started their day at Fox 8 TV and went from there to perform at an elderly care facility in Solon before coming here. After performing, Mr. Lewis and the Madrigals skipped off (some of the young people really did skip) to another room at the Bertram Inn to enjoy some pizza. To be sure, the Madrigals have quite a schedule but, according to what Mr. Lewis mentioned, there is never a shortage of students wanting to join up. In fact it was said that each year after the seniors graduate, "we do not regroup, we just reload!"


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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