Mike Murphy is 2014 Citizen of the Year; chamber presents other awards
Community leader Mike Murphy was honored as the 2014 Citizen of the Year at the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on January 22 at Crystal Gardens Livingston. Brent Earl, the 2013 Citizen of the Year, made the announcement after recounting anecdotes in Murphy’s life.
Currently the Livingston County Undersheriff, Murphy’s career spans decades in law enforcement. In 1994, he was voted young Law Enforcement officer of the year by the Howell and Michigan Jaycees. He is active in many community organizations including Livingston Sunrise Rotary Club, Work Skills, Leadership Livingston, Genesis House, LACASA and OLHSA’s Walk for Warmth.
Personally, Murphy is an only child, has been a demolition derby driver and loves football. At one time, his bedroom was decorated in Detroit Lions honolulu blue. He met his wife Penny at a car wash in Webberville. The couple celebrates their 25th wedding anniversary this year.
The annual Citizen of the Year Award has been presented by the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce since 1957. Mike Murphy is the 58th Citizen of the Year. The award winner is selected by a committee of previous winners and is a closely-guarded secret until the announcement at the annual dinner.
This year’s event was sponsored by Saint Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital and PNC.
Other awards presented
The Howell Area Chamber of Commerce presented five other awards, and recognized the accomplishments of those people who have made exceptional contributions.
Thai Summit America received the Jobs and Prosperity Award for the $64 million expansion of its Howell campus. Thai Summit America – a leader in sheet metal stamping and a Tier 1 auto supplier – is also expected to hire 130-150 new workers in the next two years.
Last year, the company was part of a collaborative group in Jackson, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe and Washtenaw counties that received a Prosperity Award from the State of Michigan. It received a $113,000 grant from the state’s Skilled Trades Fund to provide leadership, die finishing and on-the-job training. In turn, these funds leveraged an additional investment of nearly $175,000 from Livingston County Michigan Works! and the company. In addition, Thai Summit hosted its own job fair, which attracted more than 100 applicants and resulted in more than 60 hires.
A Life Member Award was presented to Rich Perlberg, who retired as publisher of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus but still remains active and involved in the community. Perlberg, a former two-term member of the Howell chamber board, has also served as its chairman, and he chaired the chamber’s bylaw committee. Currently, he’s on the Good Morning Livingston planning committee and volunteers at the annual Michigan Challenge Balloonfest.
Courtney Tarara received the Young Professional Award. Tarara is one of the owners of the Frontal Lobe Coworking facility, and point person on the Heart of Howell project in downtown Howell.
In addition,, she was recently recognized by DBusiness Magazine as part of its “30 in Their 30s” list of business movers and shakers in Southeast Michigan.
A Howell native, Courtney moved back to Michigan three years ago to get involved in the family business in Livonia. Then she fell in love with renovations, downtown Howell and coworking. With her husband, Fabrizio Tarara, she’s co-owner of Frontal Lobe, the coworking facility in downtown Howell that houses many talented entrepreneurs.. She’s secretary of the Howell Downtown Development Authority Board and is chairperson of its design committee.
The Community and Educational Impact Award was presented to Tom Sullivan for taking Cleary University from a business college to a full-fledged university with master’s programs, international students, sports teams, student housing, a regional conference center, recreation center, and world-class art. Tom is retiring this year after leading Cleary University for 26 years.
Cleary’s Howell campus enhances the entire Livingston County community. This amazing transformation would not have been possible without Sullivan’s vision, dedication and leadership. Since Cleary is known for its outstanding entrepreneurial programs and services. Sullivan was a natural to help spearhead LegUP!, the chamber-led initiative for entrepreneurs facilitated by Cleary.
Heart of Howell received an Architectural Investment Award. Heart of Howell owner Joe Parker and his family had a vision that resulted in one of the leading investments ever in downtown Howell: a multi-million dollar project that took three under-used-but-historic buildings, and combined them into one magnificent, multi-use facility that is preserved for another 100 years — at least.
The Parker family is passionate about Howell. That passion shines through brightly at the Heart of Howell.
The idea for the investment started with the purchase of one building, but quickly escalated to three. Tenants so far include Your Peace of Mind on the top floor, Silverstone Jewelers and Encore 118 on the street level, and 2FOGS Pub, soon to open in the lower level. Renovating a building over 100 years old is a challenge, but through it all, Parker and his family stayed positive and committed and hands-on.