JA Hall of Fame Announces Honorees


After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, the Junior Achievement of North Central Michigan Business Hall of Fame will honor four outstanding business leaders. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, March 9 at the H Hotel in Midland.

The winners are Richard Dolinski and Sarah Opperman, chair of the board of directors of Isabella Bank Corporation and retiree of Dow; Rising stars are Chris Chandler of Great Lakes Bay Invitational and Sports Solutions, Dow and Dan Reimer of RE/MAX of Midland.

Dick Dolinski was born and raised in Detroit. He earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Detroit, then began a 32-year career with The Dow Chemical Co. His roles there included research, technical service (including Asia), sales management and a corporate vice president.

He developed an interest in public education and served for 30 years on the Midland Public Schools Board of Trustees and the Delta College Board of Trustees, where he also held leadership positions. After retirement, Dolinski continued his involvement in education and youth development by founding the Legacy Center for Community Success which focuses on understanding and addressing barriers to learning and development outside of the classroom. class.

Working with Midland County Probate Court Judge Dorene Allen, Dolinksi went on to found Midland Kids First, a nonprofit that focuses on high-risk youth, especially those in the juvenile justice system. The two organizations are working closely with several youth-serving agencies in Midland County to achieve significant gains in improving learning outcomes and reducing risky behaviors.

Dolinski’s personal highlights include introducing and implementing the concept of developmental assets in the community, creating the Youth Success Model which provides a model to advance youth success, creating the scholarship Ready for School preschool curriculum at the Midland Area Community Foundation, and the recent launch of the Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) program to prevent the incidence of child abuse. Dolinski is also actively involved in several Rotary projects related to education in Africa, in addressing local mental health issues, and in some of his church ministries.

Dolinski has been married to Donna for nearly 59 years. They have three children, six grandchildren and their great-granddaughter Sydney is due in June. In his spare time, Dolinski enjoys reading, traveling and, more recently, writing. He is currently the author of a book on the effects of poverty on learning and development outcomes in children and the policy considerations for addressing the issue.

Sarah Opperman is an executive with 40 years of experience, including a wide range of leadership roles in business and philanthropy. She has served as a director on the boards of Isabella Bank Corporation and Bank since 2012 and was elected Chair in May 2021. She began her career at Dow in 1981, retiring in 2009 as Vice President Business global governance and public policy. At Dow, Opperman received the Genesis Award, Dow’s highest honor for people leadership.

In 2018, Opperman served as interim President and CEO of the Midland Business Alliance and received the Chairman’s Award for her leadership in strategic realignment and reviving the organization. In 2019, she received the ATHENA award for her professional excellence, community service and active help to other women.

Opperman graduated from Central Michigan University with a major in business and journalism in 1981. She was appointed to the CMU board of directors in 2009 for an eight-year term, including two years as president. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce from CMU in 2019. She is a member of the MyMichigan Health Foundation Board of Trustees, the CMU Advancement Council, the Contemporary Review Club, and the Midland 100 Club. She has also served on other boards such as United Way of Midland County, Midland Area Community Foundation and Midland Country Club.

Opperman and her husband Dan have two adult sons, Thomas and Matthew.

Chris Chandler grew up in Petoskey and enjoyed playing and watching all sports and being active his entire life. He graduated from Northwood University in 2002 with a BBA in Marketing and Management while playing college golf and earned his MBA in 2003 from the Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management.

Chandler co-founded an event marketing agency in 2004, Experience Marketing, where he led customer event marketing strategy and activation for Volvo, Ford and General Motors. In 2010, he made the transition to corporate events by joining Dow as a leader of external and internal customer and business events. He now oversees Dow’s sports marketing partnerships with the LPGA, LET, GEO Foundation, PGA TOUR, WTA, Jaguar Racing in Formula E, RCR in NASCAR, USA Luge and several sponsored athletes.

Chandler is married to Kelly (also at Dow) and they have two children, 11-year-old Graham and 9-year-old Lilly. They all love to travel, golf, boat, hike and enjoy all that the Great Lakes Bay Area has to offer.

Chandler is a big supporter of his community and has been recognized for his leadership by several organizations. He is Chairman of the Big Give (local giving club), Michigan Baseball Foundation Fund Development Committee, Member of the Men’s Golf Fellowship, 2020 GLBR First State Bank Ruby Award Recipient (recognizing leaders in business and community), graduate of the 2019 Great Lakes Bay Region Institute for Leaders Class, recipient of the Northwood University Alumni Achievement Award, and gives back to Northwood University as an academic advisor, guest speaker, and mentor.

Dan Reimer has been an outstanding leader in the real estate industry for nearly two decades. He is a licensed Michigan real estate broker and owner of the RE/MAX of Midland franchise. Celebrating a strong career as an award-winning real estate agent, a resident of Midland since childhood, Reimer’s highest priority is to optimize the Midland experience.

Reimer earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwood University, where he continues to be an active alumnus and exudes “the Northwood idea.” He is a strong supporter of campus events that raise scholarships; he twice chaired the Northwood Auto Show Gala Committee raised over $200,000 for scholarships. He is an active member of the Midland Business Alliance, a graduate of the Midland Leadership Program, the Men’s Big Give, and served as President of the Northwest Little League for many years. Professional distinctions are multiplying, including annually. Sales Excellence Award and, more recently, the RE/MAX International Lifetime Achievement Award.

Reimer has resided in Midland for over 30 years. He was fortunate to be surrounded by an exceptional group of professionals that includes the RE/MAX team in Midland. With the trust of new and returning customers, RE/MAX of Midland continues to grow rapidly. It officially opened its new, expanded location at 4900 Eastman Ave. in September.

Reimer is an avid collector of sports memorabilia and often remarks that he would like to open a baseball card store when he retires from real estate. He and his wife, Christina, are very busy raising their three sons, Colin, Cale and Crew, especially during baseball season.

For more than 20 years, the JA Business Hall of Fame has recognized outstanding business leaders who have demonstrated excellence through their contributions, not only to the business world, but also to their communities. Honorees, nominated by community members, are elected for induction into the Hall of Fame by consensus of past honorees.

“This year’s group of winners embodies what JA is all about: entrepreneurship and business leadership. They each bring their own flair to the business world and gladly share their success with the community. We are proud to have them join the JA family,” said Mike Rush, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of North Central Michigan.

For tickets or more information about the JA Business Hall of Fame, contact Junior Achievement of North Central Michigan at 989-631-0162 or visit www.janorthcentralmi.org.


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