Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Leadership Ann Arbor: Class #1

Cara, Jenn, Peter, Mike, and MikeI think my head is going to explode.

Today was our first day of the actual Leadership Ann Arbor classes. Peter Allen of Peter Allen and Associates, Inc (pictured to the right, with the red pants) led us through a very full day on the topic of economic development in the Ann Arbor region. You might remember me mentioning the homework I had to do to prepare for the class a few days ago. Well, that homework acted as a flashlight in the darkness of my ignorance of the ins and outs of Ann Arbor. Today's class was closer to a lightning strike. Very bright, very quick, and I'm left trying to make sense of the after-images seared into my brain.

We met this morning at eight o'clock at the Downtown Home and Garden, a great shop over on Ashley Street. I found out today that it was originally a feed and seed store long ago. The owners attribute part of its success to adapting and changing with the times. Now, not only do they sell "feed and seed" but they also offer a wide variety of gardening tools, furniture, and lawn art. Inside they have a variety of high end kitchen supplies. Right now they are getting out their fun, retro Christmas ornaments. They were also the first shop not owned by Zingermans to offer Zingerman's baked goods.

And that was what we learned in about the first ten minutes. Now imagine that same density of information spread over eight hours and I think you'll get some impression as to why my head feels like it is going to explode!

Mike and II was chatting with Mike Stevens, the CEO of Midwest Financial Credit Union and my seatmate on the bus as we drove around this afternoon. We were both amazed that, despite the fact that we had each lived in Ann Arbor for years, a huge amount of the information today hadn't even made it on our radar. This was just the first day. I can only guess at how many more times my head will feel stuffed to the bursting point!

So, what cool stuff have you learned about the town in which you live?

54 days.

No comments: