40 Under 40 Award Winners from Buchanan and Niles
by Rebecka Hoyt, Editor & Photographer
Jordan Lynch, Cameron Ondresky, Charlie Van LuVanee, and Kenny Fraker (all with ties to the Buchanan & Niles, MI communities) each received the 2022 Pat Moody’s Moody on the Market 40 Under 40 Award. This award goes towards young professionals who are under the age of 40 and are making a difference in their communities. I got the chance to meet with the guys and asked all the same questions. Read on to learn more about each of them.
Jordan Lynch, age 29 who is the Owner of two Subway restaurants in Watervliet and Coloma, as well as the Assistant Band Director of Buchanan Middle and High School Bands. When Jordan found out he was in the Class of 2022 40 Under 40, he didn’t like that he had to keep it a secret until it was made public. “I got 40 messages while teaching and then found out that the list was released,” said Jordan. His mother was the one who nominated him. He was approached to buy the Watervliet and Coloma Subway locations during the pandemic. On his father’s side of the family, business runs in it. How does he manage the two locations as well as being the assistant band director? It’s pretty good, but when communication with corporate goes not as planned then it gets stressful. Being the director is a stress reliever for him. He originally went to school to do this with Deanna Russell (director of Buchanan Bands). What Jordan is most proud of at all three places: with both stores exceeding the sales compared to before he owned them. And then all the first place and high rankings here with the band, “small but mighty,” he added.
What drew Jordan to Buchanan? “I volunteered when Mrs. O’Brian was the band director in 2011/2012, and then Deanna got hired in. Then I applied for a position, didn’t get it, applied the next year and now I am here,” states Jordan. He majored in Music at SMC for two years, and then to KVCC ½ year for Graphic Design. I grew a love for music and with the help of Deanna playing at SMC in the ensemble and now has added Southshore Concert Band at LMC. I asked him, what advice would he give to a high school senior/grad; a college student when it gets tough and an entrepreneur. “For a high school senior/grad, don’t feel forced to go to college, the availability to do trades and to work up in a business like I did. In college, maybe a change in your career, take a couple of classes that are fun or in a different major, and that can lead to a different major or even a change in school. Entrepreneur advice: Wing it! I have zero business training just only through Subway and what has happened, has happened. Just go,” he stated with a smile. Jordan does not expect awards or to receive this award. In 2021, he received a business award from the Chamber of Commerce. There are others he knows that received the 40 Under 40: Mark Hartman for the Eau Claire Band and Sean Newmiller last year at LMC. Some fun questions: What is your favorite snack? He answered quickly with, “anything chocolate, nacho cheese Doritos & Mountain Dew.” Would you think of opening a fast food place in Buchanan? “Honestly, no. As I get older, I would open a Ma & Pa place,” stated Jordan. Final words: “Yeah, good for you (other band director who won) to represent districts and band directors!”
In Buchanan, Cameron Ondresky, manager of the Starks Family Homes and Cremation Services is another recipient of the 40 Under 40 award. When he heard that he got it, “I was surprised, felt honored to receive the acknowledgement which takes time and then not as surprised to get it.” Cameron is not sure who nominated him for the award, but he thinks it was a coworker. I asked him what his influence was to pursue this career. He likes “being involved with the community. I majored in nursing to be a nurse anesthesiologist as my family raised me caring for other people.” Cameron is most proud of the funeral home by “the way we take care of people. People are never 100 percent feeling good all the time.” His education was at LMC and Wayne State University. Cameron’s advice to a high school senior/grad is, “believe in yourself and surround yourself with those who believe in you.” For a college student when times are tough: “celebrate your successes to appreciate what you’ve done, and give yourself a pat on the back for that positivity.”
Did he know anyone in the Class of 40 Under 40? Just a couple of names stood out to him of Jordan Lynch and Lanie Schrubba. Gummies of any kind are his favorite snack. Cameron volunteers with the Lions Club but is limited when he can as he has two young daughters with his wife at home and likes to keep his family sane. Here are some fun facts about him and the funeral home: the love he has for his 8-month-old and 4-year-old daughters. “My job is rewarding where we give acknowledgement and compassion back – the healing of laughter, crying, and talking with families.”
Kenny Fraker and Charlie Can LuVanee
Head over to Niles, MI and you will find Chef, Kenny Fraker and the Head-Distiller, Charlie Van LuVanee of Iron Shoe Distillery who were each given the 40 Under 40 award. To have both of them receive this award, Kenny said that “it was pretty cool and a little confused as they were the younger guys,” and Charlie mentioned “it’s good to see the hard work we do gets noticed and for Kenny too.” Their boss was who nominated them. Kenny grew up with his grandpa and fell into cooking with him so that was his influence to be where he is now. For Charlie, he didn’t have many influencers, however he appreciates hard working people for that standard. Not only do these guys work at Iron Shoe Distillery, they have other jobs. Kenny moves furniture with Bud Kyle and Charlie is an Army Firefighter in the National Guard. I asked them what are you most proud of being at Iron Shoe Distiller. Kenny said “to make this place work since it opened in 2019,” and Charlie “likes it as being part of the community.” So, what drew them to the distillery? Kenny said that he “used to work at Cheers, checked Iron Shoe out for a part-time position and now I’m full-time.” Charlie said “that he heard they were looking for an assistant distiller and then learned all things here.” Kenny attended Andrews University after high school.
I asked what kind of advice they would give to a high school senior/grad, a college student when things get tough and a to-be chef/distillery master. Kenny states for a high school senior/grad “you may not know what you’re going to do, but it falls into place, work hard and the same for college. For a chef, to try a lot of food/ethnicities and don’t be scared to fail.” Charlie says “for all of them you will either like it or you don’t like it. Get ready to fail, not everyone is going to like what you put out.” Charlie did not know of anyone else who won the award, however Kenny did and that was Wilson Chandler. Kennys’ favorite snack is quesadillas and chocolate milk and Charlies’ is donuts, and eggo waffle flavored Pop Tarts. Do they have a dream to open a restaurant and if so, what kind? Kenny would like to do an Italian restaurant as where he grew up in upper state New York there are a lot of italian eats there. He would also like to do Mexican. Charlie wants to open a whiskey and spirits tasting room near the water. Their final words to me, “We (Iron Shoe Distillery) has LIVE music on Wednesdays, and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays for about five weeks.”
The Buchanan Chronicle congratulates these men on receiving this award and thank you for taking the time to let us interview you.
The Buchanan Chronicle congratulates these great people for doing what they do and also to the rest of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2022 (full list HERE). If we did not have these amazing people, who knows what kind of experiences we would be having in our communities. We wish you well and good luck in your continued success.
Hi, this is Pat Moody! Join me and local business leaders as we once again identify forty dynamic young professionals making a difference in our community. It’s time for the 2022 edition of the 40 Under 40, a prestigious recognition program reserved exclusively for professionals under the age of 40.