It was with great shock and sadness the community learned of the unexpected death of Mike Tann Wednesday afternoon.
The utter surprise of this event, something which naturally happens so many thousands of times every day, was created because this time it happened to coincide within our circle.
This affected so many because the lost individual contributed so much of his life to public and community service.
After completing his undergraduate work at the Ohio State University in 1966 he spent a generation gaining diverse experience as a teacher, businessman and successful entrepreneur.
Mike married Judy, and they started a family. In the middle of his developing life, and in a move that exemplified his confidence in taking a chance when opportunity knocked, he went back to school. In 1979 he was awarded an MBA degree, again from Ohio State.
In 1985, after a successful business career Mike switched gears and was appointed to the position of finance director with the city of Huron. It was with this organization he found his groove and made his most indelible mark professionally. Promoted to the position of City Manager in 1993, following the tragic loss of Mike Solomon, Mike Tann would spend the next 12 years of his career leading the city toward his unique vision.
During his tenure, the city created a new level of comprehensive emergency service protection and established its first-ever Parks & Recreation Division.
The development of the city’s Boat Basin, pursuit of the former Conagra property and the construction of the city’s Corporate Park all started during this same tenure. Part of Mike’s legacy will live on in these assets as they continue to provide community benefit and his legacy will grow as many of his visions have yet to be realized.
His greatest ability was in selecting and developing young and untested professionals. I experienced this directly when, on Sept. 7, 2004, Mike selected me out of a competitive field of more seasoned and experienced candidates to be the city’s first assistant city manager.
He gave me my first real opportunity to do something of professional importance, and I will be forever indebted to him for his confidence in gifting me a life-changing opportunity.
My experience is not isolated. There are many examples of Mike’s vision and belief in the traditionally overlooked among us. There are several individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with, because of Mike, who have advanced to high level positions in the same fashion.
Collectively, Mike’s personnel selections have ascended to positions managing Huron’s Parks and Recreation division; a Parks and Recreation department in Arlington, Texas, and another in Irondequoit, New York; a human resource director at Heidelberg University by way of executive stops in Sandusky and Erie County; a recently retired finance director from Huron; a corporate executive in Illinois; and his own successor as city manager.
What we will miss most in Mike’s absence is the silent satisfaction we were greeted with when running into him. He was proud of us when we did well and supportive when we were challenged.
We will continue to try to earn his approval and aspire to promote similar benefits he provided to us, to future generations of young professionals.
We will look for the things he saw and strive to make things better.
Mr. Tann, Mr. Manager, Colleague, Friend, Mentor, Mike — goodbye, God Bless.