John Schmitt, Senior Business Consultant, “Restaurant Guru,” and 2017 Michigan State Star, has been part of Southwest Michigan Region for nine years. John can often be found helping out at client’s opening days or advocating change for food-related laws. In addition to helping clients access millions of dollars in capital, John makes a positive contribution to the MI-SBDC culture with his contagious high spirits and invaluable advice. He tackles new challenges with excitement and enjoys being involved in the community, making John the ultimate team player.
Every year, SBDCs from across the nation recognize an outstanding member of their team as their State Star. The criteria that needs to be met is: be an exemplary performer, make a significant contribution to their state, and display a strong commitment to small business. John meets each of these requirements and was recognized as Michigan’s 2017 State Star at the national ASBDC conference in Nashville. Read on for the inside scoop on John Schmitt:
If you could have any meal made for you right now, what would it be?
“If I had to pick one meal it would be Pasta Bolognese, made the old school Italian way, with an antipasta platter and a simple green salad with fresh baked Italian bread. Canollis and Grappa for desert.”
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Kalamazoo?
“For social interaction, my favorite place to go is the Old Dog Saloon. To clear my mind, I ride my bike on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail.”
What is something people might not know about you?
“I was the co-founder of the Kalamazoo Curling Club and I also have 1 gold, 2 silvers and 4 bronze medals from the Muskegon Luge track. When I owned Food Dance Cafe, I would rent out the Muskegon Luge track for the night and we would have a luge competition-all were invited. Some years I had over 35 lugers and some years only 5 or 6.”
What is one thing that you’ve learned in your time working at the Michigan SBDC?
“How absolutely compelling the life stories I get to hear are from the many clients I have worked with. Studs Terkel wrote a book years ago called ‘Working’ – if I had writing skills I would love to write the same type of book called ‘Owning’. Small business owners rock!”