|Note: This article first appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Focus.
Wayne Lobdell credits his business success to two things: the example of his father’s work ethic, and a ninth grade cheerleader who looked past his poor circumstances to see his potential.
Terry taught me the importance of education her support and example changed everything, he said.
From the beginning, Wayne and Terry Lobdell have operated as a team. With Terry’s encouragement, Wayne became the first member of his family to graduate from high school.
Together, Terry and Wayne worked their way through Michigan State University. She became a teacher; he obtained a degree in hotel and restaurant management.
The Lobdells chose to raise their three sons and daughter in Traverse City in 1972. Terry and I placed a lot of importance on where to raise our family, he said. Three elements were crucial a good education system, good health care, and business development opportunity.
We’ve been fortunate to live in a community that is so generous, he said. Once we reached the point that we were able to do so, we felt it was our responsibility to give back. We play a small part among the many people who have come before us in helping this community.
Sons Jeff and Greg operate numerous restaurants in Traverse City and else¬where. Wayne is a diversified business developer, and is currently Chairman of the Board of Hospitality Restaurant Group (HRG) and a General Partner of Renewable Energy Development (Red One). HRG owns Yum brand restaurants in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, N.Y. Red One develops natural gas wells on the property of Fort Knox in Kentucky. Wayne also has worked in money management with Lobdell Capital Partners, and works with venture capital investing. Terry and Wayne now enjoy summers in Traverse City and winters in Hillsboro Beach, Fla., where they also are involved in community philanthropy.
The family’s generous gift to North¬western Michigan College resulted in Lobdell’s, A Teaching Restaurant for the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. Wayne and Terry also became members of Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation’s Heritage Circle by including Munson Healthcare in their estate plans. All proceeds from Wayne’s new memoir, Climb from the Cellar: How One Michigan Kid, Born in a Basement, Found His Way Up to the American Dream, is benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of America.
I was fortunate enough to be born in this wonderful country, Wayne said. Making the choice to be part of this community provided the foundation for our modest success. The success we’ve had, my wife and I did together. We’ve tried to give a little bit back here and there.