ROYAL OAK, MI — David O’Connor was invited to hear Governor Rick Snyder speak at the Oakland County International Airport in Waterford in October 2011 on behalf of the Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, a group in which he is an active member and Chair of Government Affairs. It was there, after speaking to executive level representatives of the Chaldean Chamber and Asian Pacific Chamber, that he first conceived the notion of forming the Michigan Irish American Chamber of Commerce.
He began researching his idea and started asking people what their thoughts were. The two immediate reactions were, one “people couldn’t believe there wasn’t one already” and two, “that is a great idea.” He spent the next several months strategically developing a plan to launch a chamber that would bring the Irish community together.
In June of 2012 O’Connor officially launched the Chamber with the following mission: “The Michigan Irish American Chamber of Commerce is an organization of individuals and business people, and other community members working together to advance the business, culture, education, and civic welfare of the citizens of Michigan who are of Irish decent.” Since the launch the Chamber has quickly grown to 20 members and O’Connor plans to have a minimum of 100 members by June 2013.
O’Connor, a Financial Consultant with Blue Water Financial in Royal Oak, carefully interviewed and chose a board of directors which includes Honorable Daniel P. Ryan, who sits on the 3rd Circuit Court bench in Detroit and serves as the Chamber VP, Joseph McGill, a litigation and transactional attorney who serves as Treasurer, and Theresa Anaya, President of the Gaelic League who serves as Recording Secretary.
Other Board Members include Ron Cooley, co-owner of Slows BBQ and O’Connor’s Real Estate, Sean Dare, a Master Electrician who owns Green Wire Systems in Royal Oak, Patty Sullivan, an immigration Attorney and law professor at Cooley Law, Paul Cusick, an assistant Attorney General in the criminal department in Detroit, and Mike Kelly, Founder & President of Environmental Maintenance Engineers.
“Most of our members are business professionals, which costs $200 per year to join,” says O’Connor. “Our second tier individual members include anyone who wants to be involved but are no longer in business. Also, anyone holding an elected office is allowed to join free of charge as long as they continue to hold an office.”
“My intent is to have the approximate 30 Irish and Gaelic organizations such as the AOH & LAOH with over a 1000 members, the Irish Lawyers, which has 150 members, the Knights of Equity, and so on in Michigan to work together to meet the goals of the mission statement. There are a lot of events and community involvement within the Irish community yet there is no hub where information can be found. I expect the MIACC to be that hub. In addition, many times people do business with those they like, know and trust, therefore being involved in the Irish community can definitely help people expand their business by helping and being involved.”
For more information about the Michigan Irish American Chamber of Commerce, please contact David O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.michiganirishchamber.com.