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Don Harkness is almost a household name in Milan; a friend, like family, to many. Don came to Milan when he was just 3 years old. His father moved the family here from Pennsylvania so his dad could work in the Milan Federal Correctional Facility.
Don owned his own company, forming Sturdevant Corporation in 1969. He sold that and began Motor City Plastics in 1974. He worked hard over the years, always striving for the best. Between the two companies he employed around 150 people. Don retired in 2007. ‘Retired’ hardly seems like a likely description for this familiar face around town.
Don is one of only two Life Time Milan Area Chamber of Commerce Members, a designation rarely given. He was also designated by the Chamber, as one of Milan's first Community Service Award Recipients for 2005-2006. Don has been a member of the Milan Area Historical Society for nearly two decades. Don was a representative on the once Health Awareness and Action in Milan, (HAAM ), now known as Healthy Milan, from its birthing. He was a big promoter of Character Counts in Milan (a National Organization). In years past, Don brought renowned guest speakers into the Milan Schools to promote good character. He is a big supporter of our young people, of being educated, while at the same time, believes much is to be learned through apprenticeship; a valuable tool that unfortunately seems to be a thing of the past. He served diligently on the M.O.R.E. Coalition that was instrumental in rolling out a Regional Plan for Milan and the area. Don is also an active member of Peoples Presbyterian Church.
Don Harkness served as President for two years on the Saline Hospital Advisory Board, as well as was one of 15 members serving on the Hospital System Board that oversaw three hospitals in Livingston, Saline and Ann Arbor. He stepped down from that position in 2008.
In 2004 Don was inducted into the Milan Alumni Hall of Fame. He was one of 3 founding members of the Greater Milan Area Community Foundation. (Isabelle Schultz and Millard Phillips, the other two). Because of the persistent vision of these 3, today the GMACF has awarded over $230,000 in Grant dollars to Milan Community Non Profits and another $79,000 in scholarships.
He was one of 9 investors with vision to bring a sit down family-style restaurant to our downtown area. Although it has changed hands the vision was never lost and a very popular restaurant still remains in that very location.
A man of high integrity, well-read, broad minded, listener, communicator, continuous vision, hard working, and passionate for the city he grew up in and loves. Don always looks for the positives and believes we can learn from the things that didn't work. Don is looked to as a mentor for countless people in our community. His standards are one we can only hope others will follow. Anyone who knows Don on a personal level knows he has never been one to bring attention to himself, rather wanting to always help the other person, and that he has certainly done. He was instrumental in helping a very dedicated, young Milan woman, who had a dream of owning her own business, and realize it, through his assistance and mentoring. She isn’t the only one who has felt his assistance over the years, but he is very reluctant to give out details, only stating, “Life is spent to encourage others.” He also said, “The thing I like to do best, is support other people with their responsibilities. Rather than be an office holder, I like to work with other office holders to help where I can; be it community, church or organizations.”more...
Hear the Milan Chamber on the Lucy Ann Lance Business Insider, Monday mornings at 9:15 a.m., on WLBY-AM 1290
Carl Pribyl is our Soldier of the Month.
Milan Area Chamber of Commerce • 153 East Main Street • P. O. Box 164 • Milan, Michigan 48160
Tel. 734-439-7932 • Fax 734-241-3520 • Email firstname.lastname@example.org