Written by: Cherryland

To some, the word “accounting” brings up memories of high school math classes, long lectures and a blur of numbers and equations. Mike Stave, Cherryland’s newest accountant, would disagree. To him, the word “accounting” means reaching his goals.

Stave was born and raised in Traverse City. He attended Grand Valley State University and completed his degree through Ferris State University’s extension program in Traverse City.

While finishing his degree, Stave worked for Bill Marsh Auto Group in Traverse City as an oil express technician and manager. “In those seven years with the dealership, I learned a lot of practical skills,” says Stave. “That’s knowledge I can take with me for the rest of my life.”

With the support of his dad, Stave felt confident in pursuing his goal of becoming an accountant. “I am lucky that my dad, a fellow accountant, is just a phone call away. He has been a great resource and mentor to me along the way.”

That goal became a reality in October 2016 when Stave joined the Cherryland accounting team.

The transition from the automotive world to the co-op world wasn’t too big of an adjustment for him. “Like Bill Marsh, Cherryland’s culture is centered around the people they serve and the people they employ,” says Stave. “It didn’t take me long to get acclimated.”

While others only see numbers and spreadsheets, Stave compares being a Cherryland accountant to being a detective. “The numbers tell a story,” he explains. “I like diving deep into the details and figuring out what makes the co-op work.”

One year after coming to Cherryland, he still finds the co-op’s accounting department to be a great fit. “A big prerequisite of mine was that Cherryland employees had to have a sense of humor. That checks out,” jokes Stave. “More importantly, I have great people around me to help me learn more about the cooperative model, the electric utility industry and my profession.”

When Stave isn’t crunching numbers, he is nurturing his true love: sports. He takes advantage of all the athletic opportunities northern Michigan has to offer, including skiing and disc-golfing. But his passion for sports doesn’t stop there. “I’m obsessed with University of Michigan football and basketball,” laughs Stave. “I also have a borderline addiction to Fantasy Football.”

While accounting may not be everyone’s calling, the co-op is lucky to have goal-oriented people like Stave who see numbers as an opportunity to tell a story.

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Written by: Cherryland

If you wanted to live your life dealing exclusively with cooperatives, could it be done? Cooperatives represent a wide variety of industries that affect our daily lives including food, education, banks and more. While their products and services may be different, these businesses are bound together by a similar set of principles. These principles include being not-for-profit and democratically controlled by their membership.

This National Cooperative Month, we sought out to introduce you to other cooperatives in our community and give you a glimpse into what makes cooperatives so special.

TBA Credit Union

TBA Credit Union (TBACU) began in 1955 when several Traverse City teachers pooled together $50 in a cigar box to help fellow educators and school staff with their finances. Today, the credit union offers a wide variety of financial services to over 16,000 members in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties. TBACU prides itself on being responsive to the financial needs of its membership and its continued exploration into innovative banking technologies.

“The cooperative difference means focusing on our community and members’ well-being, not the bottom line. When a new member walks in the door, our goal is to save them time and money, help them earn more money, add convenience to their daily life, and provide peace of mind.” –Christie Dompierre, Marketing Director, TBA Credit Union

Oryana Community Cooperative

Oryana Community Cooperative has sold high quality food as well as health and wellness products in Traverse City since 1973. Being the region’s first certified organic retailer, the co-op stocks items that are grown and produced using clean, sustainable and socially-just practices. Members of the cooperative enjoy a variety of store discounts throughout the year as well as discounts to other area stores in their Community Partners program.

“Being owned by the folks that use the cooperative means we work toward our quadruple bottom line: people, planet, purpose, and lastly profit. Being a cooperative is being an asset to a wonderful community.” –Steve Nance, General Manager, Oryana Community Cooperative

Traverse City Cooperative Preschool

For more than 40 years, the Traverse City Cooperative Preschool has operated as the only parent-run preschool program in the Grand Traverse area. The program combines teacher-led education with self-directed play time designed to develop skills that, later in life, will prepare the students for academic learning. Member-parents are encouraged to assist in the classroom and take an active role in their child’s development.

“It is extremely important as a parent to show my kids a positive example of living cooperatively in a society. This will not only enable them greater success as adults, but it will result in them being more caring and engaged citizens.” –Natalie Bailey, Board President, Traverse City Cooperative Preschool

CHS Inc. – Traverse City

CHS, the nation’s largest cooperative, serves farmers, consumers and home builders around the world through agronomy, eggs, energy, feed and lumber businesses. CHS Traverse City is one of four Michigan locations for this Fortune 100 company. In addition to access to global markets for export, CHS members are eligible for patronage in the form of shares and cash as well as voting rights in selecting their board of directors.

“Cooperatives are great to work for because they recognize that their employees are the most important asset they have; not only to the organization, but to the owners that they serve daily.”

Jeff Layman, Manager, CHS-Traverse City

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Written by: Cherryland

Co-op Energy Talk

The Grand Traverse area attracts all types of people: tourists, foodies, outdoorsmen, even celebrities. But what about business owners? In this episode, we sat down with members of the recently configured Grand Traverse County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) board and discussed the opportunities and challenges to growing, retaining, and expanding businesses in our region.

Featuring: Warren Call, Regional Manager of The Private Bank at Huntington National Bank; Mike Naughton, Lawyer and Partner at North Coast Legal; Jessica Sullivan, Vice President of the Hagerty Group Office at Hagerty

Download and subscribe to our podcast on Podbean or iTunes.

If you are hearing or visually impaired and would like a transcript of this podcast episode, please contact us.

CATEGORIES: Monthly Podcast