Saturday, February 24, 2007

Stopping in to Say Hello

Joe SchulzOne of the more pleasant duties of being an Ambassador for the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce is acting in the role of a Road Runner. No, it has nothing to do with an anthropomorphic coyote with a penchant for improbably complex schemes and an unhealthy dependence on the ACME Corporation. Rather, this kind of Road Runner goes out and about on the town to welcome new members of the Chamber, delivering their "Welcome" kit which includes their membership plaque (to be proudly displayed in their place of business).

For me, I love this part of the job. I get to visit people in their offices (or restaurants, or kitchens, or even in their homes). I get to learn about the cool work that they do -- often completely foreign to my previous experience. I get the opportunity to start a possible friendship with someone whom I might otherwise not have met.

On Friday I got to visit my most recent new member, Joe Schulz of Schulz Development & Consulting, LLC. After chatting with him for just a short time, I felt a strong kinship with him. I have a suspicion that the reason, in addition to just being an interesting person to chat with, is that, in the broad strokes, our careers have been somewhat similar. For fifteen years he worked for another company, safe and secure in the regular paycheck. Then, in January, he decided to go off on his own and live the entrepreneurs dream -- he opened his own business. Sound familiar?

Now he's running his real estate development and consulting business out of a second-floor office on Fifth Ave in downtown Ann Arbor. Of course, he's excited about the opportunities, but being self-employed brings its own set of challenges. One of the ones he's having to deal with right now? After 15 years of working in an office with ten to fifteen other people around, he's finding it a little tough to deal with the quiet. He's says he needs the radio on because the silence is just too distracting!

At any rate, if you should see him around town, be sure to say hello and ask him about his latest projects. If you are lucky, some of the passion and excitement he has for his new life might rub off on you!

So, who have you met recently that inspired you with their enthusiasm?

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