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About Us > A2Y Chamber Blog
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In 1996, USA Hockey launched a revolutionary new initiative called the National Team Development Program, based in Ann Arbor, Mich. In its 17th season of play in 2013-14, the goal of this full-time development program is to prepare student-athletes under the age of 18 for participation on U.S. National Teams and success in their future hockey careers.

The program is composed of two squads - the U.S. National Under-18 and Under-17 Teams. The Under-17 Team competes in the United States Hockey League and also participates in three international events annually.

The Ann Arbor Ice Cube, a first-class facility consisting of three ice sheets, locker rooms, offices, a training area and weight room is home to the NTDP. Over 30 home games are played at “The Cube” each season and tickets range from $5 for students / seniors to $7 for adults, with special discounts for youth hockey players.

Annually, the NTDP averages over 60 former players skating in the NHL. Famous alumni include Jimmy Howard, Patrick Kane, Ryan Suter, Phil Kessel, Ryan Kesler, James van Riemsdyk and Jack Johnson. Nine players on the 2014 Olympic Team once played for the NTDP right here in Ann Arbor.


Posted: 4/21/2014 9:11:13 AM by Katie Jones | with 0 comments


Christi-Rankin-Photo-(1).jpgMartopia Public Relations Group (MPRG) is a Michigan-based public relations practice with offices in the Ann Arbor, Charlotte, Chicago, and Denver areas. The firm helps clients create excitement and build awareness for their companies, products, services, people, culture and causes. It also works with clients to transform crises, build reputational equity, and tell their unique stories in a way that is authentic, engages their stakeholders and influences outcomes.

With a diverse group of PR professionals that range from Baby Boomers to Millenials, the MPRG team brings impeccable public relations credentials and an insatiable hunger for results that keeps them focused and motivated every day.

So is it all blue skies and sunshine at MPRG? Yes it is – not only because the MPRG office has blue sky ceiling panels, but because a well-planned and well-executed public relations program connects companies and their audiences in ways that can make a positive difference. It can help shape the discussion, make a measurable impact on brand awareness, boost credibility, help bridge divides, change minds, and inspire action.

From the Fortune 200 to the start-up entrepreneur, MPRG has been there and promises to bring value to the conversation.


(Martopia's President, Christi Rankin)

Posted: 4/15/2014 12:05:43 PM by Katie Jones | with 0 comments


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Amy Nesbitt has been part of the senior management team at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival since 2007. She has been responsible for overseeing all production, operational, and logistical issues for the festival while also programming the talent for the festival’s outdoor, free activities at Top of the Park. Initially hired as the festival’s operations manager, she then was appointed the festival’s general manager and associate director prior to becoming the festival’s interim executive director and now executive director since February 2014.

Prior to the festival, Amy worked as a national booking agent for the Ann Arbor office of Fleming Artists. Additionally, Amy has a diverse producing history of both film and nonprofit management projects from her tenure in the New Orleans arts and culture sector. She is a graduate of Syracuse University.

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival is a celebration of performing arts, outdoor entertainment, and community spirit. An international arts gathering, the nearly 4 week festival offers over 140 events each season and attracting a diverse audience of more than 75,000 people. The festival continues to grow as a major cultural event in the Ann Arbor community, and as a leading multi-arts celebration that enriches the cultural, economic, and social vitality of the region.

Posted: 4/7/2014 11:20:17 AM by Katie Jones | with 0 comments


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Serving the Ann Arbor and Detroit regions since 1921, Lewis Jewelers' reputation and continued success stems from our belief that a successful jewelry store is built on integrity, quality customer service and quality products.

To ensure every client that walks through our doors, or peruses our virtual store, is taken care of, we have a non-commissioned sales staff that's always ready to provide professional experience, advice and expertise.

With a location in the bustling city limits of Ann Arbor, Michigan, we proudly serve the Ann Arbor and surrounding Southeastern Michigan communities by providing an exquisite selection of designer jewelry and the Pandora jewelry collection, as well as excellent customer service to its residents and visitors.

Posted: 3/31/2014 12:13:45 PM by Katie Jones | with 0 comments


15326_148A-(1).jpgThe College Nannies + Tutors franchises have one common goal- to Build Stronger Families®. Sharon Ragland-Keys knew her years in Human Resources Leadership roles combined with her passion for helping others made owning a CNT franchise an easy decision.

Sharon looked at several businesses and chose CNT because it aligned with her professional experience, and it’s a full services model for families needing assistance from cradle to college. As a working parent, Sharon identified the need for an agency like CNT, and since opening in 2009; she has been dedicated to providing nanny and tutoring role models for families across Southeastern Michigan.

Her positive impact on the community doesn’t stop there. In 2009, Sharon joined the Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan’s board and serves on the governance committee promoting the organization’s work to make professional services available to women who need help at affordable costs.

Sharon hopes to continue CNT’s vision and is committed to helping families and her employees have an amazing experience.
Posted: 3/24/2014 12:57:33 PM by Katie Jones | with 0 comments