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Orion Township Operations Director resigns, to serve Pontiac



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Allan Feys, right, was never too far from former Township Supervisor Matthew Gibb, left, whom he first met while attending university. Photo submitted (click for larger version)
March 07, 2012 - Orion Township's Operations Director Allan Feys left his position late last month to venture south to Pontiac where he hopes to sort out the ailing city's finances.

But he said in the two years he served in Orion, his career was punctuated with two supervisors, huge projects and real challenges.

I started in November 2009 as a manager before they promoted me to director, and I have to say the most memorable part of my jobs were the supervisors," he said. "Matt Gibb was a dynamic visionary and working with him was essentially trying to keep up with him - it was a lot of fun. JoAnn VanTassel is real bulldog and the most dedicated human being I've ever known. Her motor goes all day long and she's tough, but I think the most interesting thing people don't know is that she is a lot of fun to be around. She has a terrific sense of humor."

Feys began the path towards his career after graduating from Birmingham Brother Rice High School, Western Michigan and the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his masters at the latter school and said with a Masters in Fine Arts he was given the choice to either teach or find work, so he found work.

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It was during his time in higher education that Feys met Gibb, whom he said knew what he wanted to do even then. Before Gibb even entered law school, he told Feys he wanted to go into politics and Feys said he found that his focus that early in life was one of the most interesting aspects of Orion's former supervisor.

Before starting in the township, Feys worked in manufacturing for 30 years where he worked in the instrumentation and controls industry. He later entered staffing press work for the Lansing based Entrotech but got a call from an Gibb who invited him out Orion to work in government - a transition he said was more fun than he expected.

"It's a big difference working in government - the transparency of the public sector is a stark change from the private," said Feys. "You also don't face quite as many rules and regulations in private industry. Government is basically customer service brought to the highest level. You are dealing on a very direct basis with the people of the township and it can be very exciting and gratifying."

But now that he's taken the job as the Public Works Director in Pontiac, working for Emergency Financial Manager Lou Schimmel, he's looking forward to righting the downward shift Pontiac is going through. He called it an exciting opportunity and said he's looking forward to the real challenge to serve the people of Pontiac. Still, he said working in Orion has been an exciting time in his career.

"It's a great city and this is my opportunity to held get things turned around," he said. "It was an honor to work in Orion Township with all the accomplished people in the parks and recreation crew, people like Building Official Tom Berger, Clerk Penny Shults, Treasurer Alice Young and all the rest. The township has a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to."

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