Spring Arbor University’s Thomas H. Cobb President’s Leadership Speaker Series, in association with the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, hosted Rich Studley and nearly 80 community members and students for a luncheon on Wednesday, March 19. Studley, who serves as president and chief executive officer of Michigan Chamber of Commerce, one of the nation’s largest state chambers, provided an update on Michigan’s economic competitiveness. According to the second annual Michigan Chamber Foundation Study, Michigan moved up to 39th from 47th nationwide in economic competiveness.
The luncheon provided a great opportunity for Spring Arbor University and the community to join together to discuss key issues surrounding the local and state economy. SAU President Brent Ellis noted that 3,000 SAU alumni are Jackson County residents with another 15,000 throughout Michigan. Ellis and SAU work to encourage students and graduates to stay in Michigan and invest in local communities. This challenge is no easy task.
Over the past couple of decades, Michigan has lost more residents than it has gained, but as Studley noted, serious challenges also reflect opportunities to makes a difference. He challenged the audience to consider ways they could help. “If you care about jobs and the economy, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work,” said Studley.
Studley joined the chamber’s business advocacy team in 1981. He serves as a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Committee for the 2013-2014 election cycle. During his tenure, the Michigan chamber was accredited with distinction by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an honor shared by only three other state chambers. In 2013, Studley was elected to the board of directors of the Council of State Chambers and serves as chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Council of 100 and the chamber’s accreditation committee for state and local chambers. He is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives’ Leadership Development Program at the Center of Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C.
Born in Pontiac, Ill., Studley grew up in Kalamazoo. In 1993, he graduated from Central Michigan University where he earned a master of science in administration degree. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has been ranked as a top-lobbying organization in every survey conducted by Inside Michigan Politics newsletter and ranked as a top-lobbying organization by MIRS State Capitol Survey for five years.
For information about the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, visit michamber.com.