Community Forums

2014 Forums

October 9, 2014 – “Healthy Neighborhoods: Planning for Battle Creek’s Success”
Rebecca Fleury and Chris Lussier from the City of Battle Creek shared information about the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan which governs how federal housing and community development funds are spent in Battle Creek.  Also, George and Denisha Reed discussed their new home in Urbandale and the assistance they received from Neighborhoods Inc. and federal HOME funding through the City of Battle Creek.  Click on the following links to view additional event information: Meeting Notes, PowerPoint presentation, Community Development Snapshot, and the Community Development Needs Assessment Survey – also available online at  To view a video of the forum, please click on the following – Forum Video.

June 19, 2014 – “Connecting Leadership and Community to Strengthen Battle Creek”
A facilitated panel discussion about Battle Creek and the opportunities that exist right in our backyard with James McKernan from Bronson Battle Creek, Rob Peterson from Battle Creek Unlimited/Downtown Partnership, David Schmaltz from the Battle Creek Fire Department, Dr. Maria Scott from the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center and Dr. Evon Walters from Miller College.  Click on the following links to view additional event information: Discussion notes and  forum video.

March 20, 2014 – “Youth Entrepreneurship Education: A Call to Action”
Cheryl Peters from Generation E Institute and Josh Etheridge, a Generation E participant and owner of ClienTec, LLC., discussed the importance of youth entrepreneurship education and the opportunities available in Battle Creek.  Click on the following links to view additional event information: Discussion notes,  video and PowerPoint presentation.

2013 Forums

October 22, 2013 – “Battle Creek City Commission Candidate Forum”
Moderators asked candidates a series of questions based upon what was heard from community members through community conversations held in partnership with the Beacon Community initiative.  During these conversations, community members shared their hopes and concerns, discussed how issues affected them personally and contributed ideas of how we could do things differently.   Residents were able to hear from both Ward candidates and At-Large candidates.  Click on the following links to view the forum:

Candidate Forum Videos:

Candidate Forum Intro & All Wards/At-Large (Wards 1 & 5 begin at 6:30, Wards 2 & 4 begin at 39:10, Ward 3 begins at 81:10 and At-Large begins at 126:30)
Wards 1 & 5 Candidates
Wards 2 & 4 Candidates
Ward 3 Candidates
At-Large Candidates

We asked candidates to share their responses to audience questions that we weren’t able to ask at the forum (due to time constraints) so we could share them with attendees, 20/20 members and the community.  To view their responses, please click on the following link: Candidate Forum Follow-Up – Audience Questions.  This document will be updated as additional candidate responses are received.

June 26, 2013 – “More Community Conversations about Battle Creek”
A facilitated conversation about community aspirations, what’s keeping us from making progress and what might make a difference in strengthening Battle Creek.  The conversation notes are posted as follow:

Conversation facilitated by Talia Champlin, Note Taker – Nadina Williams
Conversation facilitated by Teresa Durham, Note Taker – Thomas Crothers
Conversation facilitated by Matt Lynn, Note Taker – Cheryl Peters
Conversation facilitated by Laura Otte, Note Taker – Diane Marquess

February 27, 2013 – “Connecting Education & Career Opportunities
Laura McGuire from Kellogg Community College’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center, Paul David from Duncan Aviation and Kara Beer from the Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce shared ideas and opportunities for students to connect with career opportunities.

Click on the following links to view additional event information: Discussion notesvideoPowerPoint presentation and volunteer card.

2012 Forums

February 21, 2012 – “Healthcare in Battle Creek: A Plan for Excellence”
Denise Brooks-Williams, President & CEO of Bronson Battle Creek, and Frank Sardone, President and CEO of Bronson Healthcare Group, shared information about the BCHS/Bronson merger and discussed improvements/changes that have come about as a result and future plans for growth.  In an effort to spread the great news about Bronson, please take a moment to forward on the following document to others – Bronson Card.

Click on the following links to view additional event information: Meeting video, discussion notes and PowerPoint presentation.

April 25, 2012 – “A Community Conversation: The Future of K-12 Education”
Project 20/20 partnered with the Center for Michigan, Michigan Radio and the Battle Creek Enquirer to host a community conversation on Michigan’s pre K-12 education system and student learning.  Cindy Ruble of the Battle Creek Educators’ Task Force also share information about local K-12 initiatives.

Click on the following links to view additional event information: Meeting videoDiscussion NotesPowerPoint presentation and the Center for Michigan Discussion Guide.

May 30, 2012 – “Preparing for, Getting in and Moving Ahead in the Workforce”
A facilitated panel discussion to shed light on resume building, relevant work experiences for a valuable resume, interview techniques, the importance of networking and building a professional network, etc. Panel participants were: Patricia Adams, Vice President of Operations & Physician Services at Bronson Battle Creek; Trina Lewis, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Business Partner at Kellogg Company; Chris Sargent, Chief Professional Officer at United Way of Greater Battle Creek; Lisa Westbrook, Regional Manager at Employment Group.

Click on the following links to view additional event information: Meeting VideoDiscussion Notes and Employment Group’s Secret to Success (interview tips, etiquette  etc. for job seekers).

June 27, 2012 – “The Changing Face of Leadership”
Project 20/20 partnered with the Battle Creek Area Leadership Challenge and the Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce to host a panel discussion about leadership and collaboration. The panel consisted of Jason Cain from OMNI Community Credit Union and the Leadership Challenge; Chris Christ from Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher; Ken Tsuchiyam from the City of Battle Creek; and Sr. Master Sergeant Jayne Wilson from the Michigan Air National Guard and the Leadership Challenge.

Click on the following links to view additional event information: Meeting VideoDiscussion Notes and 2012-13 Leadership Challenge Application.

October 24, 2012 – “We Champion Battle Creek”
Karl Dehn, President and CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited; Erick Stewart, President of Stewart Industries; and Coby Fletcher, Principal of Battle Creek Central High School with Malyk Laws and Esperanza Jamison, Seniors at BCCHS shared success stories, highlighted community assets and shared what’s working in Battle Creek.

Click on the following links to view additional event information: Discussion NotesVideoDowntown Transformation Overview and We Champion Battle Creek PowerPoint.  Battle Creek Unlimited also has a new promo video for Battle Creek.  View it here – Welcome to Battle Creek Michigan.

2011 Forums

February 17, 2011 – “What Youth & Young Professionals REALLY Want”
Nicole Finkbeiner of the Battle Creek Area Young Professionals, Gabrielle (Gigi) Fitzpatrick of the Youth Alliance Committee and Jeremy Andrews of the Battle Creek Metropolitan Area Moustache Society (BCMAMS) shared their ideas and what they are doing to help make Battle Creek more attractive to young people.

Click on the following links to view the notes and video from the meeting: Youth Forum Discussion Group Notes

April 19, 2011 – “Education, Health & Neighborhood Initiatives to Advance Community Change”
Rod Auton of Project G.R.U.B., Jean Krohn of the Elementary Enrichment Program, Pastor Rosalind Mathis of Hope Meets Christian Center/New Beginnings Damascus Church and Kathy Szenda-Wilson of the Battle Creek Community Foundation/Healthy Neighborhoods in Schools initiative shared what they are doing to improve neighborhoods and the community.

Click on the following links to view the video and additional information from the event: Forum Video and 4/19 Meeting Notes

May 4, 2011 – “Commitment to a Better Tomorrow: A Community Conversation on Race”
Area college students Brock Grosso, Ernest Jackson, Tha Par and Jalen Richards shared their perspectives and insights on race in Battle Creek. Sharon Davis (National Resource Center for Racial Healing) and Michael McCullough (Battle Creek Enquirer) co-facilitated the conversation.

Click on the following links to view the video and additional event information: 5/4 Forum Video, 5/4 Meeting Notes, Battle Creek Area Race & Cultural Resources and NRCRH Racial Healing Mini-Seminars and Information.

October 18, 2011 – “Early Learning is Good Business – A Business Summit on Early Childhood Education”
Sterling Speirn from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Mary Barkley from Early Childhood Connections and Dave Tomko from PNC Financial Services discussed the impact and importance of early childhood education.

Click on the following links to view the meeting video, discussion notes and additional event information: Forum Video, Group Discussion Notes, Business Action Steps to Support Early Learning, Business Commitment Card, Business Information Packet (~5 MB), Early Learning is Good Business PowerPoint and Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything Video.

November 10, 2011 – “Building Momentum: Battle Creek Downtown Transformation Year 3”
Dr. Julia Bradsher of the Global Food Protection Institute, Dr. Linda Hicks and Connie Duncan of Battle Creek Public Schools, Ken Tsuchiyama of the City of Battle Creek, and Karl Dehn and Jim Hettinger of Battle Creek Unlimited discussed progress made on the Downtown Transformation Initiative and plans for 2012.

Click on the following links to view the meeting video, discussion notes and additional event information: Meeting Video, Discussion Notes, PowerPoint Presentation, Downtown Transformation Overview Flyer and Building Your Momentum Off Our Momentum real estate opportunity.

2010 Forums

February 16, 2010 – “Creating Opportunities for Educational Success”
Cindy Ruble (Chair of the Battle Creek Educators’ Task Force (ETF) and Superintendent of Lakeview School District) and Pete Christ, presented information about the ETF’s collaborative work within the area school districts and the Battle Creek community. The ETF also presented The Battle Creek Community Compact for Children, which requires the community to support and work collaboratively to ensure all children in Battle Creek graduate from high school with the character, skills, and abilities to be successful in the next endeavor of their lives. Additional speakers included Dr. Ed Haring from Kellogg Community College speaking about accelerated pathways to education and dual enrollment and Ivan Lee from Habitat for Humanity speaking about their Youth Build program.

April 20, 2010 – “Developing Community Solutions to Eliminate Health Disparities”
Jill Wise from the Regional Health Alliance presented information about how the Regional Health Alliance and several other community partners are working to eliminate health disparities in Calhoun County. The Regional Health Alliance needs assistance from the community to help raise awareness and enhance understanding, engage the community and develop intervention strategies to address this issue in our community. Jim Rutherford of the Calhoun County Health Department spoke about the Health Department’s commitment to address health disparities through its programming and staffing initiatives. Denise Brooks-Williams, President & CEO of Battle Creek Health System, shared information about their Equity in Care Program.

To view the video from this event, please click on the following link: Meeting Video

June 15, 2010 – “Positive Opportunities for Youth Engagement”
A panel of youth program representatives and youth participants shared their knowledge about and experiences with three youth programs in our community. Participating on the panel were Cheryl Peters (Executive Director) and Bronson Reed from the Generation E Institute, Courtney Brown (Youth Program Manager) and Raina LaGrand from the Youth Alliance Committee and Ashley Choker (Youth Program Coordinator) and Jason Crape from Project T.R.U.S.T. Kenny Read, a recent Lakeview High School graduate, was the panel moderator. The panelists shared information about their programs and ways the community can help to engage youth in these programs.

To view the video from this event, please click on the following link: Meeting Video

November 10, 2010 – “Battle Creek Downtown Transformation – What’s in it for You?”
Several speakers gave updates on the Downtown Transformation Plan. Battle Creek Unlimited CEO Karl Dehn provided an overall look at the Downtown Transformation’s progress at the two year mark. Stephen Benoit, board member for the Global Food Protection Institute (GFPI) and International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), provided information on the success of the growing food science and protection industry in Battle Creek. Susan Buckham of Covance (a new food safety and testing company downtown) shared goals for industry leadership and regional jobs. Battle Creek Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Linda Hicks and Connie Duncan from the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center (BCAMSC) gave an update on the BCAMSC and the importance of STEM education. Lastly, Jim Hettinger, Senior Advisor with Battle Creek Unlimited, addressed blight issues in Battle Creek and its impact on attracting visitors, businesses and residents to our community.

Click on the following links to view additional information: Meeting Video, Discussion Group Notes and Attendee Questions & Answers.

2009 Forums

February 17, 2009 – “Building on Recent Economic Success”
Keynote speakers were Jack Miner of Battle Creek Unlimited and Bill Prochazka of Duncan Aviation.  Other leaders from the business and education community also presented information. They are Bernard Young (B.C. Self Employment Program), Erick Stewart (Internship Program with B.C. Area Catholic Schools), Cherise Buchanan (Youth Public Engagement Internships), Beth Seiler (WMU School of Aviation Internship Program), Paul Ohm (Curriculum Development with Service Provider), Chris Lapekas (B.C. Math and Science Center), Diane Kirkham (Middle College Education Concept), Marty Feilen (Fiber Optic Cable Benefits), and Roberta Gagnon (Regional Manufacturing Technology Center).

April 21, 2009 – “The Business of Healthcare”
The Business of Healthcare in the Battle Creek Community. Where are our opportunities? What are our options? What can you do?

The keynote speaker was Denise Brooks-Williams, the new President and CEO of Battle Creek Health System. Denise shared her perspective on her new role and healthcare opportunities in the Battle Creek area. Also, speaking was Erv Brinker, Summit Point; Samantha Pearl, Calhoun County Health Plan: A. J. Jones, Family Health Center; and Jill Wise, Regional Health Alliance.  This forum was an opportunity to learn more about the issues affecting healthcare in our community and make connections with others who want to see Battle Creek continue to prosper.

To view the video from this event, please click on the following link: Meeting Video

June 15, 2009 – “Shaping Community Success”
An inspiring and informative forum focused on the role and responsibilities we must assume in shaping community success.

The keynote speaker was Ken Tsuchiyama, B.C. City Manager. Ken talked about the challenges city government must overcome in delivering services in this tough economic climate and how people and organizations can contribute to making Battle Creek a vital, desirable place to live. Also speaking was David Neilsen, chairperson for the Resident Leadership Coalition, and Kathy Szenda Wilson, Battle Creek Community Foundation Neighborhood Programs. David reviewed a community vision document that has been created and supported by B.C. neighborhoods. Kathy spoke of the various programs that have successfully supported community and neighborhood initiatives.

To view the video from this event, please click on the following link: Meeting Video

October 20, 2009 – “Education Opportunities Developing & Retaining Talent”
A thought provoking forum about the options and possibilities of nurturing talent in Battle Creek. Area advanced education options abound with solutions to support economic development and prepare a workforce that will take us successfully into the future.

The keynote speaker was Dave Harris, President of Miller College. Dave talked about the customized programs available at Miller College and the collaboration with area business needs. Other speakers were Ed Haring – President, Kellogg Community College; and Steve Benoit – President, National Center for Food Protection. Ed helped us understand the scope of KCC and the role they have been playing in meeting the needs of a diverse student population. Steve helped us see the exciting future that can take place in Battle Creek with the International Food Protection Training Institute.

To view the video from this event, please click on the following link: Meeting Video

2008 Forums

November 19, 2008 – “Youth Engagement, Part II – Mining Youth Talent”
Youth Engagement, Part II – Mining Youth Talent. The speakers for this event were two local high school students, Leiah Hess and Chelsea Bess.

At the previous meeting, attendees told us that more information was needed about how to get engaged. To that end, we had representatives from various local organizations and initiatives who are providing support to the development of area youth. Each representative organization will provide information on how you can support their efforts. Time did not allow us to include every organization that is doing great work, and we will strive to provide opportunity for additional exposure at future meetings.

October 22, 2008 – “Youth Engagement”
This was a new location for events, a new time of day and a different format. Each meeting will be different and speakers will vary. Positive feedback tells us that we are moving in the right direction with how to effectively inform and engage the greater Battle Creek Area. The panel speakers were: Jim Edgerton of Big Brothers Big Sisters; Robin Parker, a Professional Painter and worked with Habitat for Humanity’s Brush with Kindness; and Megan Russell of HandsOn Battle Creek.

Their success stories of working with community youth inspire us to invest our energies where they can be most effective. Part II in November will build on what we learned and offer us additional information about ways to personally be engaged in positive change.
To watch the video from this meeting, please click the links below.
Video (4 segments available)

Forum – October 22, 2008: Opening and Closing Comments
Forum – October 22, 2008: John Barrett Session Overview
Forum – October 22, 2008: Panel Session Part 1
Forum – October 22, 2008: Panel Session Part 2
Forum – October 22, 2008: Panel Session Part 3