About the Blue Water Young Professionals
The Blue Water Young Professionals (BWYP) is a nonprofit community group that prides itself on enhancing the Blue Water Area. Started in the fall of 2009, we’ve continued to grow and prosper in both membership and involvement in our community. In the spring of 2011, through our “I Will Stay If…” initiative, the BWYP identified two areas of focus with the help of area residents. Our two main focus areas are downtown & nightlife enhancement and arts appreciation and growth. It is our belief that placemaking is one of, if not the key element in today’s economy. Developing an attractive place draws the type of young, creative people who in turn create jobs and stability for the future. We’re dedicated to making the Blue Water Area a place young professionals want to stay, play, shop and give back!
The BWYP mission is to be a catalyst of community enhancement for the Blue Water Area by collaborating with fellow forward-thinking, community-oriented individuals who are active in the civic, social and business activities of our region. We plan all of our activities around making the Blue Water Area a place where young professionals want to stay, play, shop and give back! The two main focus areas of the BWYP is downtown & nightlife enhancement and arts appreciation and growth.
Board of Directors
Dr. Adam James Armbruster, president
A.J. founded Blue Water Young Professionals in 2009 to show his passion and appreciation for the area. Working as the president of the board since it incorporated, his main objective has been to get young professionals involved in this community early on in their professional lives in fun and worthwhile ways.
Currently involved with the Black River Walk and Volleygrass committees, A.J. has also volunteered for most of the events BWYP has worked on or participated in, like the SC4 vs. BWYP Hockey games and Chilly Fest Bed Races.
When he’s not busy with the YPs, A.J. works at his day job as a chiropractor at Shaw Chiropractic in Port Huron. He earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic at Life University in Marietta, GA.
In his free time A.J. enjoys all things sports. Big into golf and volleyball, he loves the outdoors and takes pleasure in cold bonfires and snowmobiling during the winter, and believes if you’re not enjoying the water during the summer you aren’t doing Port Huron right.
Jacquelyn Hanton, vice president
A veteran of the Blue Water Young Professionals, Jackie helped A.J. Armbruster form the group in 2009, and has acted as the group’s vice president since its nonprofit formation in 2011.
Jackie loves the energy of BWYP and the ideas that come from brainstorming sessions. It’s one of the ways for her to be involved in supporting our community’s economic and social prosperity.
Tirelessly working for the group, Jackie has been part of pretty much every sub-committee at one point or another. She recently chaired the Black River Walk committee and always enjoys being part of the Chilly Fest Bed Races.
Outside of BWYP, Jackie works as vice president of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. She previously worked as Managing Director and Trust Officer for Talmer Bank and Trust in downtown Port Huron. She is a certified trust and financial advisor, and holds a bachelor’s from Michigan State University and Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
She loves traveling and has been blessed to trek the globe with her husband, places ranging from anywhere from up north to Australia, and plans on visiting many more.
Matthew Gregor, treasurer
A transplant from Sterling Heights, Matt has spent the past two years working hard to establish roots in the Port Huron community.
To help with those roots he joined the group in early 2015 and then the board in 2017 as treasurer. He wants to aid the group to continue to be a force of change in the community.
Matt works as a financial consultant for investments and insurance at his Axa Advisors office in downtown Port Huron with his business partner.
When he isn’t working, Matt spends time playing with his cat, Holly, and indulging in his passion for music. He frequently travels the country to hear his favorite bands like Phish, Umphrey’s McGee and the Grateful Dead live in concert.
Matt is studying for his Certified Financial Planner designation on top of building up his business. He earned his bachelor’s from Michigan State University in 2010 for Supply Chain Management.
Korissa Wilkins, secretary
A longtime member, Korissa first joined the BWYP when she moved back to Port Huron from Chicago. She has been on the board since 2011.
Meeting with fellow YPs re-energizes Korissa as they all have the same goal: to make our community a better place to live, work and play.
She believes it is important our group exists because it not only benefits the community, but provides a sense of being that there are other young professionals that care about the future of the area.
An active member from the start, she has been involved with Real Estate Roam, Chilly Fest Bed Races, the Art Hop Committee, “If I Stay…” and the SC4 hockey game among other things.
Outside of the BWYP, Korissa works as an associate broker at Kramer Commercial Realty. She also serves on the McMorran Civic Center Authority Commission. She holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration and Marketing from Western Michigan University.
When not busy with her other duties, she loves traveling, cooking and entertaining , and spending time with friends and family like her husband Evan, a former board member, and their dog Radar.
Audrey Sochor, media specialist
Audrey joined the BWYP after she moved back from Grand Rapids in 2014, and believes you get the most out of the group by being an active member. She has served on the board since 2016.
She serves on the St. Clair, Bed Races and Volleygrass committees and occasionally the social committee as well. She also publishes the quarterly YP newsletter.
Her passion for community involvement carries over into her day job. She works as the office coordinator for the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. She earned her degree in journalism from Grand Valley State University.
In her free time, Audrey likes to read, garden, spend time with her dog and binge watch shows on Netflix while she takes sabbaticals from working out. She also suffers from a severe case of wanderlust and travels to places near and far as often as she can.
Kendra Lake, media specialist
Kendra has been in the BWYP for a number of years and has served on the board since November 2014.
She currently acts as part of the media team. She also helps with Chilly Fest Bed Races, Volleygrass, and has worked Art Hop committees and volunteered at the Gus Macker.
Kendra feels that the organization provides a collective voice in our community for the young professional. Being a member means she gets the chance to play a small part in many projects and events she would not be exposed to otherwise.
She’s also gotten to meet some wonderful people through the YPs. And she likes that while we are making a difference in our community, we have a lot of fun doing it!
She works as Director of Library Services at St. Clair County Community College. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Kendall College of Art & Design and a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University.
In her free time Kendra likes to kayak, run, bike, hike and play with her mutts. Reading, ceramics, cooking, gardening and DIY house projects are her other hobbies.
Sarah believes anyone who is capable to do so should give back to their community and the people living in it.
That belief led her to joining the BWYP in 2012 and our board in 2014. She likes that the group focuses on creating enthusiasm and a drive to stay, play, shop and give back right to the Blue Water Area.
Sarah actively assists with the St. Clair group because it’s her hometown and feels it’s important. She has helped organize Bike and Burger Night, the Pine River Poker Paddle and Make An Impression. She also used to lead Chilly Fest Bed Races
She is an avid runner and has completed 235 racing miles in 2014 alone with over 25 races including her first ultra-marathon. Her goal is to do a race in every state. She also loves to travel and spend time with family and friends.
Sarah works as a teacher at Memphis High School and earned a degree in Mathematics and Psychology from Grand Valley State University.
Rafe MacKenzie, membership chair
Although one of the newest board members, Rafe doesn’t hold back when it comes to being part of the BWYP. A familiar face at socials and morning meetings, he’s also involved with the social, Volleygrass and Bed Races committees.
Originally from Houghton Lake, MI, Rafe has been a member for three years. He works as a research chemist for Cargill Salt in St. Clair.
Community enrichment is his main goal. He also believes it’s important for small towns to try to lure the young professional age group because an aging or stagnate community is hard for growth.
Rafe is a huge fan of all sports, so in his free time he tries to get out to games when he’s not traveling for work. He also likes to hunt and fish.
He previously worked for Dow Chemical as a lab technician. He graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a minor in business.