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About Mike

Born and raised in Washington County, on Vermont Street in Williamsport, Mike has spent a lifetime of lifetime of recreating, raising a family, and building success in Western Maryland.

A graduate from Williamsport High School, Hagerstown Junior College, and Frostburg State University, he also raised three daughters in his hometown; all three graduating from his Alama Mater of Williamsport High School. Today he lives in Garrett County with his wife Jan, where they created and operate Fronterra Resources: Savage River Lodge, The Cornucopia Café, and Little Crossings Pantry.

Mike began his career soon after college working for Backer-Wibberley and Associates in the environmental engineering division. He spent years doing outdoor studies and acid mine research on projects in Garrett County in the Youghiogheny and Potomac River headwaters. His entrepreneurship began when he opened a small construction operation and a pre-cast concreate plant. After that successful business, his mom Mary Dreisbach who worked at Fairchild Aircraft for 28 years as a “Rosie the Riveter” suggested it was time for him to get a better job with benefits and healthecare since he was beginning to raise a family.

Mike began his manufacturing career with Fairchild on the shop floor working second shift as an assembler. He worked at Fairchild helping to build the SF-340 and the A-10 Warthog. After few months, he transferred into the Engineering group that was responsible for the plans and job details on assembly, later working on Boeing 747 projects.

At Fairchild he joined the United Auto Workers Union (UAW), Local 842, and was later elected by his co-workers as shop chairperson, unit chairman and ultimately, the became President of Local 842. Local 842 was an amalgamated local union representing three different companies Pangborn, Angstrom, and Fairchild. Later Rohr Industries purchased Fairchild and Mike lead the negotiations for a new participative contract that involved the employees in the day-to-day operations. His skill as a responsible negotiator earned him recognition and a special assignment at UAW training center in Black Lake, Michigan. Mike understood the importance of having employees more involved in the jobs and creating a workplace that had many rewards other than a paycheck.

His ideas on empowering people were successful tools in developing some of the most participative, non-traditional workplaces in the United States and Canada. In addition, while at Fairchild, Mike’s entrepreneur spirit lead him to become a partner of a wild game call business called Perfection Turkey Calls. He developed and manufactured friction calls while at Perfection and became a champion turkey caller. Which went hand-in-hand in Mike becoming a professional guide, leading guided hunts all over the United States.

After 10 years in the UAW, he became a labor mediator for William Usery and Associates in Washington DC before starting his second company, a mediation business, Workplace Community Associates. Working in the aerospace, auto, chemical power generation and coal mining industries across North America and Canada he also served as Executive Director of the Cumberland Area Labor Management (CALM) organization where he brought together public and private labor unions and their employers in Cumberland, MD. Mike has spent almost two decades in the coal industry all over the US and Canada as a mediator.

In the early 1990’s he and his wife Jan envisioned building a retreat center in Garrett County to take advantage of the areas beautiful four seasons. They purchased the private land in the center of the Mt. Aetna Tract of the Savage River State Forest, and created the business plan for Savage River Lodge. Construction began in 1997, and the first guests staying in 1999.

The Lodge is recognized as a premier tourism destination across the eastern United States continues to have a major economic impact in Garrett and Allegany Counties. In 2012, Mike and Jan invested in Garrett County again by purchasing a riverfront property in Grantsville, MD that they have turned into The Cornucopia Café, Little Crossings Pantry, and Grant’s Mercantile.

In addition to running his businesses, Mike is the Executive Director of Garrett Trails and committed to opening Garrett County to recreation for all. Mike’s memberships include of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Grantsville Business Association, Wild Turkey Federation, Trout Unlimited, The Sierra Club, American Hiking Society, Mason Dixon Canoe Club, Allegany County Chamber of Commerce, Izzak Walton League, Ruffed Grouse Society, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Nature Conservancy, International Dark Sky Association, and more!

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