Jim Petzing Bringing Creative Ideas, Direction To SABA As New Interim President
The all-volunteer organization formed to provide support to the business communities of the area - the Saugatuck-Douglas Area Business Association (SABA) - has become a “catch-all for everything” and has lost some of its “identity,” says newly appointed SABA Interim President Jim Petzing.
The SABA board announced Petzing’s appointment at its Wednesday meeting held at The Old School House in Douglas.
The change in leadership came following the recent resignation of the organization’s co-presidents, George Waden and John Robinson.
“My goal is to do fewer, bigger and better things well rather than a lot of little things that aren’t making a big impact,” said Petzing.
“Jim (Petzing) has a very strong background and a demonstrated record of bringing people together,” SABA Marketing and Member Services Manager Elizabeth Burns, told Observer Newspapers.
“He also has a record of starting and finishing events and doing them very well. We thought we had the logical choice to move us forward in this interim period.” Local resident and owner of Zing Eat/Drink restaurant at 310 Blue Star Highway in the City of Douglas, Petzing will remain interim president until October when SABA will elect a president, which Petzing may well become a candidate for, among others.
His 30 years of marketing experience has included management positions at General Foods, Nestle and Citicorp. While based in Chicago, he founded an integrated communications agency and international marketing training and consulting company.
Petzing said there is a big need to forge a clearly distinct identity for SABA. “There is some confusion among its members and the community at large,” he said, giving an example.
“There is confusion about the role of SABA vs. the CVB (the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau). Who does what? Who should be doing events?”
He further said, “For the past few years, I think SABA has been
trying to be everything for everyone, but it has been no one to anyone…I think members of SABA would relate to that. SABA is going a little bit through an identity crisis.”
In 2011, Petzing took over a foreclosed restaurant, renamed it, got the appropriate liquor permits and brought it up to health code standards.
He also has been active in the community, participating in “Dancing for the Arts,” a Saugatuck Public Schools fundraiser, and supporting the Saugatuck-Douglas Rotary Club, among other community activities he engages in.