Michael Betz

Michael Betz

School of Communication

Michael Betz

2007 Alumni Academy Inductee

Michael BetzMichael is a co-owner of ImageStream - Creative Communications, a full-service new media production company in Portage, Michigan.

In 1975, Michael arrived at Western with an AS in Audiovisual Technology (honors) from Macomb College, and enrolled as a mass communication major.

Graduating in 1977 (BS, cum laude), he landed his first professional job in WMU's Television Services, moving down the hall from Studio C to Studio A. Western's first color television camera recorded on a two-inch quad VTR (nearly the size of Michael's apartment).

Appointed to the Community Access Center board, in 1982 Michael became the first manager of this still-essential facility.

The Vice President of Public Relations at The Upjohn Company was also the Access board Chairman. Convinced (partially by Betz) that corporate video had matured enough to be useful, Michael was hired in 1986 to establish and later manage its media center, create a global satellite communication network, and produce employee news programs. Upjohn also largely paid for his MA in Communication, received in 1987.

Michael returned to Western in the 1990s to teach some of the same classes he enjoyed as an undergrad. These eight years of part-time teaching remain one of his favorite jobs.

Simultaneously, Upjohn merged to become Pharmacia and Upjohn, then Pharmacia (and, today, Pfizer). Outsourcing and downsizing became the corporate mantras. Corporate media centers were closing. The trend was impossible to ignore. When told by senior executives that his entire staff was being "rightsized," Betz presented a plan to buy the building and equipment and, with two partners in 1999, founded ImageStream.

Betz seems to be the only one surprised by ImageStream's impending 10 th anniversary. Thanks to a broad client base - including multinational corporations and a very favored cruise line - Michael is very fortunate to travel the world from Kalamazoo. But now he uses tiny high-def cameras with digital storage. He greatly appreciates the continuing education his work provides, and he enjoys the warmth and comfort of a wonderful family, and an amazing wife.

Ultimately, though, it's all about communicating.


School of Communication
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008 USA
(269) 387-3130 | (269) 387-3990 Fax