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Greater Niles Chamber hosting in-depth panel on impact of current supply chain, employee shortages on local businesses

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November 18, 2021

NILES, Mich. – We’ve all heard numerous stories of supply chain disruptions and worker shortages leaving small businesses in a pickle going into the holiday season. 


For our annual presentation, the Chamber will be joined by economics and workforce professionals to do a deep dive on why they are being caused and what local businesses can do to survive this changing economy. It’s designed to be a full explanation with suggested solutions for improving the workforce in our community. 


“It’s important for our small businesses to fully understand the forces at play so they can be in the best position to navigate them going into the holiday season,” said Jeff Rea, President & CEO of the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce. “Sometimes just reading a short headline or article isn’t enough. We want to take the time to truly explain what’s happening and help people develop a complete understanding of what they’re facing and why, then offer up solutions going forward.”  


The following topics and more will be covered: 

  • Workforce statistics—which ones matter, which ones don’t and what they actually MEAN 

  • What are the main causes of the worker shortage? 

  • What can employers do to attract workers the current environment? 

  • How can employers expand their labor pool to hire more workers? 

  • What’s the cause of the current supply chain disruption? 

  • What does it mean for Southwest Michigan? 

  • How can businesses adapt their buying habits to cope with the current supply chain mess? 

The event is free for Chamber members and open to the media. If there are any specific questions you want asked, please email them to by 7:00 a.m. Friday morning. The slides and presentation outline are also available ahead of time upon request, but embargoed until after the event. 


Event Details: 2021 State of the Economy 

Friday, November 19, 2021

8:30 AM to 9:30 PM EST  

Zoom link: 

The two panelists, Al Pscholka from Kinexus group and Lisa Augustyniak from Lake Michigan College, have more than a decade of combined experience studying economics and workforce development in Michigan. Their bios are below: 


Al Pscholka, Vice President Public Relations and Government Affairs

Kinexus Group


Al Pscholka joined Kinexus Group in March 2018 after serving in the cabinet of Governor Rick Snyder as Budget Director. Pscholka developed the administration’s final two budgets, which left more than $1 billion dollars in the state’s rainy day fund, and paid down more than $24 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities.  Prior to that, Pscholka served three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives, and was Chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.  He authored 64 public acts, more than any other House member during his tenure, and was named by MIRS News the “most effective member of the House” in 2015. He was named “Freshman Legislator of the Year” in 2011.  He was named Legislator of the Year by 10 statewide organizations during his time in the Legislature.  Pscholka previously owned two successful small businesses and was District Director for Congressman Fred Upton.  He continues a sports broadcasting career having done play-by-play for high school and college games for the last 37 years. Pscholka lives in Stevensville, Michigan with his wife Suzanne and has one daughter and two grandchildren.  He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and received a Distinguished Alumni Award from WMU in 2016.  


Lisa Augustyniak 

Business Faculty, Career & Workforce Education department at Lake Michigan College 


Lisa Augustyniak is an economics and workforce development professor at Lake Michigan College. She holds a Ph.D. in Higher Educational Leadership and an MBA with a concentration in finance. Like many of her colleagues, she graduated Lake Michigan College and Siena Heights College. She resides in Kalamazoo with her husband of 25 years and her daughter who graduated in 2017. She has been a go-to expert on workforce issues and solutions throughout the coronavirus pandemic, being interviewed several times for stories on local TV stations.


Education: Masters in Business Administration, Central Michigan University, 1997 Doctorate in Higher Educational Leadership, PhD, Western Michigan University, 2015


Awards: Beta Gamma Sigma - 1997 - Present, Lifetime member of Betta Gamma Sigma (Highest academic honor that can be bestowed on a Business Student).


Contribution: Strategic Planning in Higher Education, Doctoral Dissertation.


Published Articles: Augustyniak, L. (2015). "An Exploration of Strategic Planning Perspectives and Processes within Community Colleges Identified as Being Distinctive in Their Strategic Planning Practices" [Doctoral Dissertation - Western Michigan University]. Scholarworks.



About the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce: 


The Greater Niles Chamber is a nonprofit organization serving the Niles area since 1919. The chamber works to foster a diverse and thriving business community through business education, business advocacy, economic development, and through a general focus on the success and growth of industry, trade, civic activities, publicity, and public relations for the greater Niles area.