Greg Stuchell of Hillsdale’s Ward 1 was not only elected to the city council at the ballot booths in November, but he was quite literally sent by the people.
His name wasn’t even on the ballot, but 101 people wrote in his name, giving him 42 percent of the vote in Ward 1.
Stuchell had no intentions to run for office, after 37 years in business with Kellogg, he stepped out of his comfort zone and made an attempt for city council after his neighbors urged him to.
“This is my time to try and do something,” he said. “This is my chance to give back.”
Stuchell attended Western Michigan University as a part time student and a full time employee. He graduated with a degree in product engineering and was hired at Kellogg soon after. He has spent most of his professional life there.
Over the years he held a variety of roles at Kellogg, from production manager, to innovation manager to quality controls manager. Stuchell said he was never idle. He never held a position for more than three or four years and he was always on the rise, always ready to face new challenges.
With his busy career, he said he was always on the road and was never able to dive into the community. He laughed as he suggested an interview with his wife and two daughters, all of whom he said have done more for the community saying,“I just work.”
This is the first elected position Stuchell has held, and he said it was only made possible by his friends and family who not only encouraged and believed in him, but requested his run for office.
As he tells the story, Stuchell walked into the house of his good friend and neighbor, Peter Jennings, assistant professor of management at Hillsdale College, to grab a beer, when all of his neighbors bombarded him and asked him to run for city council.
Jennings claims not to remember that specific interaction, but says it doesn’t surprise him that Stuchell said he said that.
“In the summer evenings, Greg would be out on his back deck and I’d join him and we’d just shoot the breeze,” Jennings said.
Jennings said he shared with Stuchell his idea that in order to rebuild our country, it has to start in the families and in little towns like Hillsdale.
“Their whole family is wonderful,” Jennings said. “They’re role models of citizenship and exactly the kind of people you want to be leaders in the community.”
Stuchell said he remembers the request of his neighbors.
“My first thought was that write in candidates don’t win, so I guess I could run,” he said.
Another issue that pushed him to run for office was that two other candidates were in favor of legalizing marijuana. He wanted to offer an alternative.
But as Stuchell continued to think about running for office and his neighbors persisted, the idea grew on him and he recognized that his life experience in business could really bring a powerful change to the city of Hillsdale. But, unable to add his name to the ballot because of the timing, Stuchell and his friends encouraged community members to write in his name.
As Stuchell finds his footing at the decision table and takes his seat for his first term which expires 2022, community members said they are enthusiastic for what he has to offer to the people of Hillsdale.
“Greg brings his lifelong Hillsdale area principles and a stellar business background to council and I’m positive he’ll prove to be a guiding force for this council,” Mayor Adam Stockford said. That experience has already been a very present force at city council meetings.
Stuchell said what really concerns him is the amount of information they have to sort through in such little time. He said he hopes that with his fellow councilmen, they can slow down the process and set agendas and priorities, in order to assure they are best serving the people of Hillsdale and encouraging business and growth.
“My first priority is public safety and then infrastructure, everything else takes care of itself,” Stuchell said.