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Ed Thirlby: The Michigan Automotive Parts Association board of directors elected Ed Thirlby, of Thirlby Automotive, Inc. in Traverse City, to the position of District 1 director.

Late last year, Grand Traverse County Commissioners approved an expenditure of nearly $280,000 for construction code and permitting software for the county’s construction code office. It was a rather non-controversial item, and simply reported in the newspaper in a blurb along with a list of other approved expenditures.

The gamy scents of the great outdoors permeate Altus Brands of Traverse City. Located at 9542 Sullivan Road just west of Chum’s Corners, the business has developed a reputation for producing fine outdoor sporting equipment including high-tech hearing protection, weapon storage and accessories, game calls and a cache of animal scents that are sure to taunt the human nose.

Two cities on the opposite sides of Grand Traverse Bay tell slightly different stories regarding their real estate markets in the last year, but both Northport and Elk Rapids report robust sales with quick turnover.

"Everybody is competing for the same students, the same employees. You have to differentiate yourself and separate yourself to attract and retain employees." — Matt Schwarze, secretary for the Grand Traverse Area Manufacturing Council

Our Great Lakes are the largest source of the world’s surface fresh water — and Traverse City is right in the middle of it all. Lake Michigan always has been behind our area’s cultural and economic prosperity and it is quickly taking on new importance. The quality and availability of fresh water is fast becoming a critically urgent issue worldwide.

Geography has much to do with northwest Lower Michigan’s business identity. We’re a beach town, a forest town, a water town. Our geography remains as beautiful as ever — but our identity is changing.

The policy arena can be a contentious world on occasion. Every now and then, I’ll hear a comment about not understanding why the Chamber would take a policy position on a legislative or local issue.

Interlochen Arts Academy named Clyde Sheets as Director of Comparative Arts.

"This mission to me is everything. When I get up in the morning, I feel good about what we do for a living." — Bruce Odom, owner of Odom Reusable Building Materials

Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra has a new conductor — Leslie B. Dunner.

"None of us are what I would consider business people. We didn't know what a business plan was. Truth be told, we probably still don't. We just knew we wanted to do something that we loved." — Jeanine Ruthbert, co-owner of Pine Hill Nursery

TRAVERSE CITY — Ski resorts in northern Michigan work hard to find profitable summer activities that draw guests to their properties, helping them make money year-round.

John Aiken moved his company, Web Canopy Studio, to Traverse City from Indiana 12 months ago.

Scott Williams: Kingsley Lumber & Hardware named Scott Williams as President and Chief Operating Officer. (Plus more)

TRAVERSE CITY — Hagerty officially came into being three decades ago as an insurer of wooden boats. Today it insures classic metal — cars, that is.

“Communities seek business, business seeks talent and talent seeks community.” Matt McCauley, CEO of Networks Northwest

TRAVERSE CITY — There’s a semitractor-trailer truck in the right lane of the freeway. You ease into the left lane and accelerate, trying to get past the carrier of commerce as quickly as possible.

Kendra Balderach on Jan. 1 became executive director of the Builders Exchange of Northwest Michigan. A Traverse City native, Balderach graduated from Indiana University and has sales and management experience with companies including Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Huntington Bank and Wells Fargo Wealth Management. (Plus more)

"... It gives them something they can try to do that they will be successful at, because they are coming to a community center that has all the support that they would need. Once they've had those early successes, they can go further." — Philip Leete, Quarkmine Space

COPEMISH — It's one of the most unlikely of places for a Renaissance man to turn his dream into a reality.