Gov. Snyder shares optimistic message at Michigan Press Association convention

State Rep. Peter Pettalia (center) was joined by Alpena News publisher Bill Speer (left) and Advance publisher Richard Lamb at the Governor's Luncheon. Both Speer and Lamb serve on the Michigan Press Association board of directors.

Publishers and editors from all over the state gathered in Grand Rapids last week for the annual convention of the Michigan Press Association (MPA). In addition to learning about technology updates from industry experts, the MPA hosted its annual Governor’s Luncheon with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder as the keynote speaker.

MPA members were encouraged to invite their local legislators to the event, and 32, including Rep. Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle) participated in the event.

Snyder offered an optimistic view of Michigan’s economic situation, telling the MPA he believes Michigan’s best days are in front of it.

“It is time to stand up and say we are on the pathway to being a great state again. And you can see that and feel that energy,” Snyder said.

He complimented the MPA for inviting many college newspaper staffers to the event, saying it is good to see so many young people doing positive things.

The governor said there is much talent in the state, which needs to be matched to opportunities.

“We have a mismatch of supply and demand. There is a demand for talent out there, skilled trades people, engineering talent, great opportunities,” Snyder said. “I think we have a broken system in our country, not just in Michigan, to match the supply and demand of talent.”

The MPA membership also elected new members to its board of directors and its leadership. Chris Huckle, publisher of the Cadillac Evening News, will be the association’s new president. He succeeds Jim Young of the Oceana Herald Journal.

Other members of the executive board are Mickey Hirten, president-elect, of the Lansing State Journal; Bill Speer, treasurer, of the Alpena News; and Joe Warner, of the Gross Pointe News.

Newly elected to board seats are Richard Lamb, publisher of Presque Isle Newspapers; John Bebow of the Bridge Magazine; Grace Perry of Observer & Eccentric Media; and Jim O’Rourke of the Macomb Daily.

The new directors join Doug Caldwell, of the Petoskey News, Alan Campbell of the Leelanau Enterprise; Julie Topping of the Detroit Free Press, Paul Keep of MLive; Nancy Cain of AAA Michigan; and Brad Thompson of the Detroit Legal News.

Industry experts Kevin Slimp and Chuck Underwood were among the presenters at the convention.

The MPA Foundation also awarded $1,000 scholarships to 12 talented young journalists selected from universities across the state.

The Michigan Press Association was established in 1868 and promotes the freedom of the press through its public policy work, “ease of use” advertising placement, professional development programs and legal hotlines. The association has 320-plus members.