There is an intersection between business, networking, communication and community service.
And there, fortunately right in the middle, are Taylor’s businessmen, Keith Lehman and Larry Wright.
The two are behind the new Taylor Business Alliance, a recently launched association to create a wellness space where professionals can share information and experiences, encourage each other and support the quality of life at Taylor.
“It’s all about the connection,” said Lehman, a Taylor resident of 13 years and a regional vice president at a financial planning firm.
“We want to help businesses and help businesses help the community.”
Another goal of the group is to educate and inform the business community of the changes and trends facing Taylor and its more than 3,000 businesses.
The group’s inaugural meeting – held on January 13 at Taylor’s Lakes Golf Club – featured a presentation and discussion of the ambitious improvements and developments coming to the Eureka Road corridor from Telegraph Road at I-75.
About 55 people attended, ranging from business professionals to elected officials to those who simply wanted to know more about the new group and its purpose.
“Covenanting isn’t just about socializing,” Wright said. “We want everyone to learn something too, and not just hand out business cards.”
The idea has broad appeal, observed Wright, who said early registrants for the kickoff meeting came from more than 30 different business disciplines.
The idea for the Taylor Business Alliance has been germinating for a few years, delayed by concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wright, current president of the Taylor Rotary Club, said Lehman raised the idea of the alliance shortly after joining Rotary two years ago. The suggestion resonated with Wright, who noted that Rotary was founded in Chicago more than a century ago by business professionals.
Two Rotary mottos embrace this history: “Serving Before Self” and “A Profit That Serves Best.”
The alliance also offers Taylor businesses a close-to-home approach to complement membership in the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce. From its headquarters in Taylor, the regional chamber provides business networking, legislative support and committees to support economic development and quality of life across the Downriver region.
Lehman said the Taylor alliance hopes to coordinate some activities with the regional chamber.
The Taylor Business Alliance seems a logical choice for Lehman and Wright, whose life experiences are a mix of business activism and community involvement.
Originally from Dundee in Monroe County, Lehman is regional vice president of the financial services company Primerica, offering individuals and businesses advice on investments, insurance and other financial matters.
For 15 years, Lehman coached football, basketball and track and field at schools in Monroe and Lenawee counties. As a member of the church, he served as a minister of relationships to foster fellowship and bonding among members.
Wright hails from Taylor and – in 1966 – was among the first class to graduate from Taylor Kennedy High School. Along with his wife, he has operated Wright’s Landscaping Services, located on the border of Taylor and Brownstown Townships, for over 46 years.
A longtime member of Rotary, Wright was one of six Rotarians around the world to receive the organization’s Responsible Business award on Rotary Day at the United Nations.
The event recognized Wright’s leadership in creating LaunchDetroit, a microloan program to develop entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Detroit metro area. The program has benefited some 50 businesses with small loans, mentoring, networking and business planning, Wright said.
Lehman said the Taylor Business Alliance is open to Taylor-based businesses and businesses with significant community activity.
For more information, call Lehman at 734-407-2415, email Wright at [email protected], or find the Taylor Business Alliance on Facebook.
The group’s next meeting is set for April 20 at 6 p.m. at Lakes of Taylor, 25505 North Line Road.