Ryan Bladzik, 34

Ryan BladzikBackground
I was born and raised in Manistee, and attended Michigan State University, completing degrees in Political Science and International Studies, as well as a Master's Degree in Communication. After spending several years in Florida working for the University of Miami, I returned with my family to Michigan and settled in Holly, where I live with my wife Amanda, and our children Max and Alex. I've always been a creator, which shows in my hobbies of gardening and cooking. One of my biggest inspirations and mentors was my high-school cross-country coach Jerry Brown, who taught his teams that success comes through teamwork, focusing on a goal, and pushing to be more than you think you are. I'm still an avid runner to this day and race regularly, and hope to complete a marathon later this spring.
 
Current Position
I'm currently the Executive Director of the Oakland Schools Education Foundation, which supports educational enrichment programs and outreach for Oakland Schools and its 28 constituent school districts. Being a "one-man show," it's been both a joy and a challenge working to grow the capacity of the Foundation and being responsible for building everything from fundraising, data management, marketing/communications and event planning. I'm privileged to work with a dedicated and caring board of trustees, whose support has enabled thousands of students in every corner of Oakland County have the opportunity for increased success in their future educations and careers-building the foundation of future prosperity throughout the County.

Community Involvement
As someone who has a hard time saying "no" when asked for help, my days and nights are often filled up with volunteer efforts. Along with several other community volunteers, I founded and serve as the President of the Holly Outdoor Recreation Coalition, a non-profit charity devoted to advocating for outdoor recreation and improving facilities and programs in the Northwest Oakland County area, and serving as the coordinating organization for the KaBOOM! Organization's Playful City USA program. I was also elected to serve a 4-year term on the Village of Holly Council, and was honored to be chosen as President Pro-Tempore, as well as previous appointments to the Village Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. I am also a board member and coach of the Holly Little League, and will be serving as Master (president) of Holly Lodge No. 134, Free & Accepted Masons for 2013. I'm also a proud member of the Leadership Oakland XXIII class.

Oakland County Involvement
The old saying is true, that a "rising tide lifts all ships," and I feel that the work and volunteering I do within the Holly community to improve our quality of life is not only lifting our own ships, but contributing to the greater Oakland County community as well. Being involved in many different organizations allows me to build connections across groups and share resources to bring greater success than just working alone, and makes the challenges we face easier to overcome. Holly was the first community in Michigan, and only one of 52 at the time, to be named a Playful City USA-a unique reflection on the resources we contribute to the quality of life in Oakland County, which makes the entire area attractive to families and employers. I hope that my continued involvement and leadership will continue to add to the prosperity we all enjoy as Oakland County residents.

The information presented here was accurate as of January 2013.