The Millennials: Investing in the future of our youth.

February 21, 2015
Lynda Matson

Lynda Matson

Editor’s Note: Sustaining a community and keeping it vibrant requires diversity on many levels, especially among age groups. An unintended movement the last few years has been the increased number of millennials who have taken a role in community and business leadership in Mason County. A millennial, also known as Generation Y, is defined as a person who was born in the early ‘80s and sooner. This generation grew up in the digital age and often offers a unique and fresh perspective to leadership.

This is the fifth  story in our weekly series on the area’s millennials who are making an impact in our community. 

Sponsored by All Access Care of Ludington. Located at 329 N. Jebavy Dr. in Ludington; 231-425-4544; www.all-access-care.com.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

Small town living isn’t for everyone. For others, it’s everything. Lynda Matson was fresh out of college, living in Florida when she had a moment of clarity while grocery shopping.

“I walked into a grocery store, looked around and realized that I was never going to know anyone in that store, no matter how many times I came there,” she says. “Then, it occurred to me that I would spend my holidays boarding a plane if I wanted to see my family. I knew I belonged back home.”

all_access_sponsorship_100114Lynda was recently hired as the principal of the West Shore Educational Service District’s Career Technical Education (CTE) and Academy of Science, Math, and Technology (ASM) programs based at West Shore Community College’s Victory Township campus.

At 35-years-old she has already had a major influence on local business and industry.

Lynda is a 1997 graduate of Mason County Central High School. She grew up in Amber Township near Crystal (Hackert) Lake, the daughter of Joe and Pat Daugherty. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising from Grand Valley State University, she moved to Orlando, Florida where she worked in the customer complaint department at Walt Disney World Resorts.

An opportunity to work in marketing for Lake Michigan Carferry Service, owners of the S.S. Badger, opened up and Lynda took on the job.

“It was a fun time,” she says. “It was the ship’s 50th anniversary. Travel writing was a big thing at that point. A lot of magazines were sending freelancers to write about the ship. I would ride along with them.”

When the director of customer service position became available, Lynda moved into that job.

“I really enjoyed working with the younger generation. We actually had a wide range of ages working on the ship, but that age group had a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It really got me excited about working with teens and young adults.”

Eventually, Lynda was promoted to vice president of customer service and marketing.

Marriage and children created challenges for a job that often requires you to be on the ship five days a week, meaning long days.

“My second child came along and I needed a little more balance. The Badger was facing some issues with the Environmental Protection Agency, so the hours were strenuous. I started looking for something that would give me more time with my family.”

Lynda was hired by West Shore Educational Service District (formerly Mason-Lake Intermediate School District and Oceana Intermediate School District) as a work based learning coordinator.

“I got to work with that age group I really enjoy working with. I placed second year CTE students with local businesses and industries. I loved getting involved with the companies and helping the students.”

The job worked closely with West Shore Community College. About a year into it, she was offered the job as director of the WSCC Business Opportunity Center.

“It was a job similiar to what I was doing but now on a larger scale. The program offers training programs and community outreach, helping local industries and businesses.”

Recently, she was offered the CTE/ASM principal job, working again for the ESD.

Lynda says her dad would always tell her to work her way out of a job.

“I guess I have been doing that throughout my career,” she says. “It seems like I have been through a lot of jobs in my life but I feel they have all led up to this point. I’m extremely content in this job. It offers a lot of things my personality needs in order to be successful: change and synergy, student involvement and the ability to make a difference. It’s also a really great time to be involved with CTE. The governor has recently changed the Michigan Core Curriculum that recognizes the classes these students have taken.”

Lynda believes in being involved with her community as well. She is the chair of the Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and has served on the United Way of Mason County board. She and her husband, Brian, volunteer in other areas of the community as well, including the annual community Thanksgiving dinner held at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Ludington.

They live in Victory Township with their children, McKoy, 4 and Lola, 2.

“Our family is pretty close,” Lynda says. “My husband was born and raised here and graduated from Mason County Eastern. We feel extremely fortunate to be able to have our parents here and be part of our children’s lives. This area and the people who live here have been very good to me. I’ve always felt this is home.”

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