Five leaders in the Ludington and Scottville community have been named the 2022 Future Five.
Marissa Barnett, Elliott Plummer, Alex Richert, Brittany Septrion, and Patti Skinner were chosen by the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to receive this designation, based on professional growth and excellence in their respective fields.
These individuals are currently influencing the growth, prosperity and quality of life in Mason County and demonstrate the ability to positively impact the area in the future through professional accomplishments and community involvement. To have been considered for the award, nominees must have been under the age of 40 by December 31, 2021.
“In 2022, we have been so impressed by the young men and women who are affecting change in Mason County,” said Brandy Miller, Chamber of Commerce president/CEO. “Hard work, resilience and collaboration all come to mind when we talk about this group. Each has truly demonstrated ways to make favorable contributions, not only through their employment, but also in their personal lives.”
The 2022 Class of Future Five:
Marissa Barnett is the owner of Lakeshore Swim School – and although she has lived in the area only a couple of years – she is making an impact on the community by offering parents more options to educate their children on water safety and swimming. She has been actively researching the needs of local citizens and creating solutions for issues identified.
In 2022, she has offered seasonal swim lessons but hopes to expand her business to a year-round venture. This facility would focus on drowning prevention, diversity in programming (swim lessons, aquatic classes, physical therapy, etc.), and inclusion of all ages and abilities.
“This project would impact the future of the Ludington area by giving many people in our community a chance to improve their health, wellness, water safety, and water competency,” Barnett said. “There is a very high chance that this would also bring people from surrounding towns and cities into Ludington, with the potential to bring more consumers for local businesses.”
Barnett also has plans to create a local “think tank” to gather more input on propelling the community forward.
“I would like to bring together a group of families to start discussion about what we could bring to the Ludington area to extend the community experience during the summer to the long days of winter,” she said.
Elliot Plummer is the choir director for Ludington Middle/High School and West Shore Community College. A father of four, he was nominated for Future Five for his dedication, strong character and integrity – and how he serves as a role model to young people. Plummer returned to the area after his college career at Grand Valley State University to teach, sing and raise his family. He is presently working on his Master’s degree and nearly completed.
“The Ludington area has presented me with opportunities to share my love of music in many different settings, including: the school, private lessons, vocal coaching for WSCC musicals, conducting community choirs and leading congregational singing at our church,” he said. “I can’t (nor do I want to) see myself living anywhere else.”
Two of his goals include creating a summer choir camp for youth and a Ludington Youth Chorus, comprised of local elementary, middle school and high school students.
Alex Richert works for his family business, SFM Group, that supports West Michigan manufacturing by providing training on quality and leadership. In a nomination, Richert was referred to as “genuine, authentic and a great leader.”
“Our local businesses are struggling to retain talented employees due to the unusual job economy,” Richert said. “With this project, I hope to impact local businesses in a positive way through helping to guide them through a very intimidating process of becoming excellent at training and documenting best practices.”
Richert says he wants to “lead by example to be collaborative and humble in an era where there is division and pride everywhere.”
“I believe working alongside people with differing beliefs and values, and being able to disagree but still respect each other, should become much more of a priority.”
He and his wife, Bailey, recently welcomed their third child.
Brittany Septrion is the owner of Britter’s Twisted Whisk, a home-based bakery that has recently pivoted to a downtown Ludington location within The Port. Her nomination noted that she “expanded her skills, expertise, determination and resilience” over the past 10 years while building her business from the ground up. She was also commended for her giving back to the community through donations to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital staff, COVE, youth sport activities and more.
“Ludington is my hometown, and I’ve always felt very privileged to live here,” Septrion said. “We are currently working on new products for the storefront, building our wholesale clientele locally… and shipping nationally. This nomination has let me know that I am taking a step in the right direction.”
Septrion hopes to inspire others, asserting that “anything is possible if you put in the time and effort.”
Patti Skinner is the director of library services at West Shore Community College and has a passion for West Michigan and helping others succeed.
Skinner was nominated for her work in creating and launching Unbound, a program that provides more access to books to kids of all ages in the Mason County Central School District. She has been previously employed by the Mason County District Library and now works to directly impact local students at WSCC.
“I am currently working on increasing access to information to foster student success,” Skinner said. “This is especially important to first-year students and linked to higher rates of degree acquisition. I will be working with incoming students through their First Year Seminar course on honing their information gathering skills. Having a strong understanding of accessing information will impact the Ludington area by creating a higher rate of degree and certificate completion and contributing to a more prosperous community.”
Skinner also hopes to encourage others as leaders.
“I feel it is important for me to empower other females in their leadership journeys,” she said. “I have been inspired throughout my career by strong female mentorship, and I would love to give back to this community from which I have received so much.”
The Future Five awards will be presented during a ceremony on September 22 at Lincoln Hills Golf Club. Nominees for the Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Community Service Award will be also honored during the presentation, prior to announcement of the winners.