March 7, 2018
Thirty years ago, newly-named Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce chairman Kevin Schlueter was preparing to graduate from NMC. Now, as he embarks on his latest leadership challenge, he continues to credit the college and hopes to illuminate the sparkle from the “gem that we have in Traverse City” to the Chamber’s 2,000 member businesses.
“Everything that I have, I owe to NMC,” said Schlueter, 49, also the president and CEO of Kalkaska Screw Products. “It’s just flat-out factual.” Here’s how NMC is woven, both professionally and personally, into Schlueter’s life:
- Scholarship – a Presidential scholarship covered the St. Francis High School graduate’s bills. The scholarship required him to keep up his GPA, which in turn meant he was admitted to the competitive Michigan Technological University, where he earned a bachelor’s in engineering in 1992. A master’s at Central Michigan followed in 1998. Neither degree, Schlueter says, would have happened without first graduating from NMC, in 1988.
- Family – Schlueter met his wife Leana when both were students at NMC. They have two children, son Cameron and daughter Lydia.
- Industry – In the eight years he’s led Kalkaska Screw Products, the company has increased employment more than sixfold, from 19 to 125. In his Chamber role now, Schlueter wants to play a liaison role between the manufacturing industry and the economic development and business community to help boost the skill set of potential employees. He sees NMC as well-positioned to do that. “It’s not just a local college that perhaps is affordable. The education is superior,” he said.
In addition to his Chamber leadership, Schlueter also serves on the NMC Foundation Board, the Scholarship Open golf committee, and the Alumni Relations steering committee.
“I’ve got an opportunity to give back, and I like doing that,” he said. “Every time I stretch my comfort zone a little bit, I grow as a human.”