WMU News

BlueGranite CEO is next Keystone speaker

Dec. 9, 2003

KALAMAZOO--The chairman and CEO of a local company is slated to discuss the way his company has gone about developing its leadership team at a presentation Friday, Dec. 19, at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business.

Dan Blackledge of Portage-based BlueGranite will present "Leadership and Community Involvement: Building a Business to Stand the Test of Time" as part of the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Series. The free presentation, which includes a continental breakfast, will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Room 2150 of WMU's Schneider Hall. The free Haworth College of Business program is sponsored by Keystone Community Bank. Parking will be available in the Fetzer Center parking lot. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the business dean's office at (269) 387-5050.

"Over the past several years, we've made a concerted effort to develop leadership skills among our top people," says Blackledge. "We've studied general leadership principles like effective decision making, skillful communication and vision-setting; top business and community leaders have given presentations to our staff regarding their own leadership style; and we're currently taking a look at political leadership and how it affects small businesses. BlueGranite has also made a concerted effort to be involved in the community, and I hope to share some of the reasons behind that effort and the rewards we've already seen."

Prior to founding BlueGranite in 1996, Blackledge owned AlphaGraphics, a design and printing business in Kalamazoo. He sold that business in 2001 to devote his energies full time to BlueGranite. Blackledge has also worked for RE/MAX Real Estate, eventually becoming president and co-owner of RE/MAX of Connecticut, and he has a long history in the education field, having taught at the high school level and worked as a staff member in higher education. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Kansas State University.

Slated to become a tenant in WMU's Business Technology and Research Park next year, BlueGranite is currently based in Portage. The company provides software development and global networking services to clients across the nation. Among the philosophies that guide BlueGranite are beliefs that "employees should enjoy and take pride in their work," "the best improve through goal-setting and personal development," and "integrity is more important than profit."

As part of the 2003-04 Keystone series, business leaders from around West Michigan are slated to discuss the triumphs and challenges of finding success in this area, and how they have grown and prospered despite tough economic times.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

WMU News
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