Chamber Breakfast Will Feature Heads of The Parade Company and the Detroit Jazz Festival

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DEARBORN, MI – The Parade Company president and CEO, Tony Michaels, and Detroit Jazz Festival president and artistic director, Chris Collins will share practical business expertise and the story behind America’s Thanksgiving Parade, presented by Art Van, and the largest free jazz festival in the world at an upcoming Business Builder Series breakfast hosted by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, November 9, from 7:30 to 9:30 am at The Dearborn Inn.


The event, sponsored by the TPC Michigan, is open to the public and will include breakfast and networking, to be followed by an informative presentation from Michaels and Collins, including a question and answer session with the audience.


“This is a remarkable opportunity for our members and the general public,” commented Jackie Lovejoy, president of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. “The story behind two of our most treasured organizations in Metro Detroit will inspire attendees to reach new levels within their organizations and personal careers!”


Space is limited and registration is required for this event. Early bird pricing is only $30 until November 8. Prices will increase for walk-ins if seating is still available. To register and for more information, please visit the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce online at or by phone at 313-584-6100.

Be sure to follow the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook at, on Twitter @DbnAreaChamber and the Chamber website for all the latest Chamber news and events.


The Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce provides 600+ members with the opportunities and resources to engage and network with other businesses, enhancing financial growth, professional development, and the ability to contribute to a thriving community environment.





About Tony Michaels:





Tony Michaels joined The Parade Company in 2009 as the President and CEO and was on the Board for over a decade. The Parade Company creates and produces America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van and The Ford Fireworks. In addition, The Parade Company produces several other Detroit jewels including the Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot and Hob Nobble Gobble presented by Ford Motor Company. For generations, the organization has produced some of the greatest traditions in the City of Detroit, not only to bring smiles to thousands of people, but create significant economic impact each year. In addition, The Parade is now broadcast in over 165 cities across America, and is annually ranked among the very top parades by U.S. News and World Report.
In addition to Tony’s responsibilities as President and CEO of The Parade Company, he also serves on boards within the region such as the Board of Directors of the Detroit Economic Club, the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester, and the Marketing Committee of the Detroit Zoo. Furthermore, he is the Executive Director of The Woodward Dream Cruise and is the Brand Advisor to Gretchen Valade’s Detroit Jazz Festival.
Tony’s regional community involvement also includes the Boy Scouts, Crittenton Hospital Medical Center, Leader Dogs for The Blind, and the Executive Committee of the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation. Tony was also instrumental in the development of Operation Can Do, while at Elias Brothers, along with WXYZ and the Boy Scouts, which collected over 200 tons of food each year for 20 years, to help feed the hungry. Currently, Tony is involved with Ford Motor Company and Gleaners in a campaign to help feed the hungry.
Previously, Tony was the CEO of Elias Brothers Restaurants from 1998 to 2000 and also held that same position from 2001 to 2008 at the newly formed company, which he worked on developing called Big Boy Restaurants LLC. Tony took over Elias Brothers as the company was headed into financial trouble and successfully structured a deal that allowed for the company’s assets to be purchased under new ownership. This plan resulted in the company experiencing significant growth, including preserving existing jobs and the disciplined creation of new positions that supported the local and national growth of the brand. During this time, a complete rebranding of the company also occurred. Nation’s Restaurant News took notice and named Big Boy Restaurants, LLC as the exclusive winner of the “Hot Again Concept” award in 2007. Prior to 1998, he served as Chief Marketing Officer at the company.
Tony is a 1981 graduate of Central Michigan University, with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing. He and his wife Clarice reside in Rochester Hills and have three grown children.


About Chris Collins:

By Andrew

Chris Collins is a professional jazz woodwind player who has toured throughout Japan, South Africa, Europe and North America as the leader of his own ensembles and as a featured soloist. Cited as holding a singular place in the jazz scene of Detroit, he is also a Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, and the President and Artistic Director of the  Detroit Jazz Festival (the largest free jazz festival in the world.)

He has performed at jazz festivals including: Cork, Ireland, Montreux-Switzerland, Panama, Pori, Nice, North Sea, and Glasgow — And won numerous awards, including the first American to receive the Brusoni Award in Italy in 2011.

His most recent CD release “Detours Detroit” for Clarinet and Harp quartet blends classical and jazz elements. His “Electro-Monk, Acoustic-Funk”, fuses techno and acoustic jazz with stunning originality. His successful “Jazz from the Shamrock Shore” (Harriett Jazz/ASCAP) features extended compositions which artistically combine the instrumentation, musical vocabulary and repertoire of the Irish folk tradition with American Jazz.