For Brian Tylisz, Vice President of Commercial and Industrial Sales at Sullair, LLC, serving on the board of the Economic Development Council of Michigan City (EDCMC) is a privilege.
“When EDCMC Executive Director Clarence Hulse approached me to be a board member, I was honored,” Tylisz said. “It didn't take me very long to say 'yes'."
Tylisz, a life-long Michigan City resident, leverages his deep connection to the community to help plan the EDCMC’s economic development strategy and implement the resulting planning goals.
"I really think of it as creating a road map to figure out where we can go,” he said. “I really enjoy that piece of it."
A big component of EDCMC planning success, he said, comes down to how well the organization is working with everyone else in the community– the city officials, the business community, and residents.
"The Economic Development Committee is really getting a lot of traction because they approach things with a can-do, positive attitude. I love being part of an organization like that."
"I tend to think of myself as an optimist,” he continued. “If you think it can be done, you can find a way. The attitude is what starts it all."
His efforts focus around four core pillars– business retention and expansion, business attraction, housing development, and workforce development.
The goal of business retention and expansion is to help to keep existing local jobs and add more opportunities. Business attraction and development initiatives aim to bring new businesses to the city. Housing development initiatives work to augment living options for current residents and encourage new neighbors into the area. Workforce development projects develop skill sets and provide training for job seekers.
"If we can enhance the effectiveness of any or all of those programs, then we're on a path to winning," Tylisz said.
While there is a lot of pride involved in seeing the city prosper thanks to his efforts, Tylisz’s biggest win for the EDCMC is also a personal one. Last year, he brought his company, Sullair, LLC, together with Michigan City High School to launch an air compressor academy.
"We took the steps to donate equipment to start the program,” he explained. “We donated a compressor and we donated training to the teaching staff."
That workforce development program generated so much excited and positive feedback from students and employers that other manufacturers have already approached him about joining in.
“We're really proud of that,” Tylisz said. "One of my favorite things about positivity is it generates results."