A celebration 100 years in the making brought past and present Traverse City business leaders together for a glamorous start to 2015. The third largest chamber in Michigan partied like it was 1915 for a centennial bash that honored the past and ushered in hope for a bright future. Attendees flocked to the Grand Traverse Resort for a strolling dinner, short presentation, and mix and mingle reception on Friday, Jan. 23, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Some really got into the spirit, dressing in flapper dresses and Roaring ‘20s attire. Mark Eckhoff, the chamber’s 2014 board chairman, addressed the crowd. He remarked that Traverse City’s lakefront location certainly hasn’t hurt the region, but that the vacation destination’s popularity and success is due to a lot of hard work and dedication from the local business community. “It is a symbol of the good that can be accomplished when people work together,” Eckhoff said.
BCBSM’s Jeff Connolly, senior vice president, large group business, and president, West Michigan, will serve as the chamber’s new board chairman for 2015. Connolly is a native of Traverse City and his family currently resides there. He said his travels and work with other communities through his work with Blue Cross have shown him how highly regarded the Traverse City chamber and business community are.“We’re doing something right,” he said. “My goal is to continue to support a very good thing.” Connolly said he was humbled by the opportunity and hopes to uphold an already strong business culture in the Northern Michigan community. The evening was also an opportunity to honor longtime community volunteer and fundraiser, Susanne Janis, with the 2014 Distinguished Service Award.