Thursday, September 30, 2021

Veteran Chamber of Commerce leader moves on

The Northville Chamber of Commerce is seeking a new director.

Jody Humphries resigned the position after 17 years at the helm of the nonprofit which represents 300-400 member businesses in Northville and surrounding communities. Humphries has accepted a new job as director of the Washtenaw Contractors Association in Ann Arbor.

Long-time chamber employee and Associate Director Lindsey Butzen will lead the chamber while a search for a permanent replacement for Humphries is under way, a task most agree will be daunting with her record of success leading the group.

Humphries led the business organization through both the Great Recession in 2008 and the recent COVID-19 pandemic which was devastating to small businesses across the country.

“I think Jody did a fabulous job by keeping (members) connected and moving through to the next phase during the downturn,” said Patti Mullen, local real estate agent and former chamber board member and president. “I saw her shine when we needed information and guidance.”

That information included notifying businesses of available grants and COVID-19 loans and other aid from local and federal government sources.  Humphries also made sure business owners knew how to obtain those funds.

“This past year will always be a life benchmark,” Humphries said. “The pandemic impacted everyone. We stepped up and were able to help people through it. Whatever business you're in, you should align yourself with an agency like ours.” 

Among Humphries other achievements are Tapped in the Ville, and hosting the Military Banner Program, which began in May 2018 with 30-plus banners and will number 170 when installed next month. One of those on the memorial banners is a tribute to her father, Bill Humphries, who served in the Navy. 

The Farmers' Market is also under the direction of the chamber and Humphries, Butzin and Market Assistant Susanne Dudzik reorganized the market to adhere to COVID-19 health restrictions, allowing only growers (not crafters) to sell to maintain social distancing. 

Humphries said she has made some lasting friendships with business owners, community leaders and others. “Both my parents passed away during my time here and I feel like I received a big Northville hug each time,” she noted. “I could not have asked for a more supportive and caring group of people and I will never forget that kindness.

“It's such a great community and a great business community. It's a gem,” Humphries said. “I inherited a strong organization. There's a saying to 'leave it a little better than you found it.' and I did that.”