Friday, February 29, 2008

Citizens Engaged!

“We saw the economic downturn and its impact upon Jackson and decided that we had to try to do something better because we all loved living here so much,” Dr. Salah Huwais was explaining to me how he initiated the setting up of the Jackson Citizens for Economic Growth (JCEG).

Since setting up JCEG in March, 2007, the group has met weekly and initiated a series of talks from experts in the field on what they can do to help turn Jackson around. I was their speaker in February.

Allan Hooper, my favorite MI ED guru with Citizens Energy in Jackson, had this to say, “Dr. Salah Huwais, a Syrian immigrant, is one of the founders of JCEG and its most prominent member. He is also an unlikely economic developer. He is a periodontist specializing in implant surgeries. He teaches and travels the world learning and demonstrating techniques. One wonders how he finds time to be a volunteer economic developer. However, he became concerned about the economic vitality of a community where he chose to set up a practice and raise his family. He wants his young children to have opportunities in this community. His passion for his community and its success quickly wins over those who might otherwise wonder why a foreign-born periodontist is so interested in the future of his community.”

Dr. Huwais told the group of his successful implementation of new technology which allowed him to do the first navigational dental implant surgery in the state. The technology used was from the Far East, Europe, the USA and Israel. It was used by a Syrian immigrant on a Michigan patient.

My two messages from this blog:

1. Community changers can come from any sector of a community. Often the ones who are busiest are also the ones who get more things done.

2. Globalization is transforming our societies and those communities that grasp it the quickest are the ones that are going to set themselves up for the future.

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