Elite 40 Under 40 2015 – Forum 1

Tuesday morning, May 5th, kicked off the first of a series of Oakland County Executive Elite 40 Under 40 Forums. The forums are designed to bring together a few class members at a time with Oakland County officials in a more intimate setting to build friendships and foster collaboration. Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson, hosted the event and was joined by Oakland County CIO and Deputy County Executive Phil Bertolini, Deputy County Executive Matt Gibb and the Elite 40 Program Coordinator, Kristie Zamora. In attendance from the Elite 40 2015 class were Melody Arabo, Treger Strasberg, and Jessica Thomas.

Elite 40 2015

Treger Strasberg, L. Brooks Patterson, Melody Arabo, and Jessica Thomas

Melody Arabo, winner of the Elite 40 2015, is coming to the end of a very busy year as the 2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year. She just returned back from a trip to Washington D.C. where she met the President. Next week, she’ll hand over her title as the 2016 honoree is named. Melody is eager to get back in the classroom to start implementing what she has learned in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District. Melody is also the author of, “Diary of a Real Bully” and hopes to incorporate this message into Oakland County’s youth suicide prevention efforts.

Treger Strasberg is the Founder, and Chairman of the Board for Humble Design, a non-profit organization that helps families transition out of homeless shelters by providing furnishings and design services. Humble Designs has helped furnish over 500 homes in 6 years and is looking to expand their Oakland County footprint and offer their services nationwide. Treger is also passionate about using Humble Design to decrease veteran homelessness and will be collaborating with the Oakland County Veterans’ Services team to make this a reality.

Jessica Thomas recently made the move to go out on her own as a entrepreneur. Building on her expertise in financial and business consulting for the public sector, she will be helping distressed schools and municipalities navigate through difficult financial times to prosperity. Stressing the impact of economic development on the public education system, Jessica has been invited to join the Oakland County One Stop Ready Program in order to bring awareness and proactive tools to our communities.

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The round-table discussion inspired collaboration between the county and Elite 40, as well as provided warm introductions across the state. The Elite 40 noted how this was a unique opportunity to meet with people outside of their own profession, build relationships, and make strategic connections in their community. Patterson encouraged the Elite 40 to “Keep it up!” and noted how “ [It’s] Exciting to hear what you are doing to contribute to the quality of life in Oakland County. Let’s continue this connection throughout the year and beyond.”

Learn more about the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 program at AdvantageOakland.com and view the entire class of 2015 HERE. Then stay connected with the program on social media with #Elite40 on Advantage Oakland’s Twitter & Facebook.

Blooming in Royal Oak


On May 10th, while some may be enjoying a Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed, many will be getting up early, and heading down to the Annual Royal Oak in Bloom plant and flower sale in the Williams Street parking lot next to the Royal Oak Public Library.

Royal Oak in Bloom is in its 22nd year of celebrating the end of winter and the start of warmer weather and bluer skies.

More than 70 vendors from across the state will bring truckloads of perennials, annuals, vegetables, small and large plants, and other items pertaining to yard and garden decor.

Royal Oak In Bloom
Sunday, May 10, 2015 – 7:00am – 2:00pm

If you miss out on this event, many of the local farmers markets are opening too. Check our farmers market list for one near you.

May 2015 Business Workshops

Small business owners and entrepreneurs, are you ready to take your business to the next level but don’t know where to start? The Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center specializes in connecting you with the right resources and network of public and private sector partners to help you grow your business. This May they are offering a number of hands-on seminars designed to take your business to the next level!

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We Love Art – Summer 2015 Art Festivals and Fairs


What is Art?

American painter Georgia O’Keeffe once said, “Filling a space in a beautiful way. That’s what art means to me.”

I like that simple definition. However, I would change ‘beautiful‘ to ‘beautiful to the individual viewer,‘ since what one appreciates and thinks as beauty, should not be a group effort or popularity contest.

Here in Oakland County, We Love Our Art! We want it in our homes, our communities and as a enhancement to the experience of our day to day life. Like a reflection in a lake, our art reflects us.

Since we love our art, summers can be filled with exploring the Outdoor Art Fairs and Festivals in many of our communities. On the Summer Art Fair and Festival page, you will find a list of many of these events.

When you get there, you can expect to find every kind of art imaginable: paintings, crafts, pottery, jewelry, photography, woodworking, glass, metals and more that include works from local and national artists.

Many of the fairs and festivals will have a crafting area for kids, food court, live entertainment and the art fair may be associated with a larger community event.

Get all the details on our Summer Art Fair and Festival page.

Wild Turkeys: Gobbles, Wattles and Snoods



Meleagris gallopavo, the Wild Turkey, is strutting his stuff on the wilder side of Oakland County. This colorful bird, wanted by Benjamin Franklin as our national emblem, spreads his tail feathers, gobbles up a storm and dances about with dramatic wing drags. It’s all in effort to show his dominance and lure the hens. The show starts every morning in the early days of May, just as sunlight filters through the trees.


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