By Chris Hagan
Review Staff Writer
When Brian Birney and his wife were looking to leave the congestion of Madison Heights, their house hunting took them all over.
Brian, a Beverly Hills native and, Kathy, who grew up near Traverse City, were looking for a community that could unite an active lifestyle with a relaxed feel. They both came to the conclusion that Orion Township was to be their home.
In the four years since Birney and his family moved to Orion, he’s immersed himself in the community personally and professionally and now he’s stepping into the political arena.
“I want to give back. I want to make sure that everything I came here for is going to be the same reasons other people come here or why others want to stay here,” he said.
Birney, a Marine Corp. veteran who served eight years and was deployed for seven months in Africa, is hoping to join the Orion Township board as he has announced his candidacy for trustee. The 35-year-old father of four is looking to be a decision-maker; a voice of reason with common sense. Three things he says can get diluted in the world of politics.
“In anything, from the Marines to the board of trustees, that’s what it’s all about. It’s having the foresight and the ability to make decisions for the betterment of the organization or the community that you’re representing,” he said. “I’m not interested in all the things that have happened in the past. All I care about now is the future of the township.”
The Ferris State graduate has spent much of his educational and professional career in the marketing sector. He spent six years at Detroit Media Partnership and oversaw the Detroit Free Press Marathon for two years as race director. He then accepted a position with Crittenton Hospital as the marketing and communications director.
While he was employed there he started his own marketing company, The Birney Directive. After three years, Birney had developed enough of a client base to part ways with Crittenton in 2013 and dedicate his time to his business.
Since moving to Orion Township in 2012, he became a member of the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce where he has been president for the last two years. The chamber has seen their numbers grow to more than 400 members and Birney hopes voters will see the positive work he’s helped in accomplishing.
Earlier this year that work paid off as he was selected as one of the Elite 40 under 40 in Oakland County, a program that honors exceptional individuals under the age of 40 who excel in their fields.
Birney said that even though his time as a resident might not be as long as those running against him, he says he views that as a positive. He said he hopes people will look at his work ethic and character above all else.
“I chose to move here and I think that says a lot of somebody when they choose to live somewhere and get so involved so quickly,” Birney said. I think doing that in short order and gaining the trust of local business leaders and community members to be able to vote me in as the president of the chamber for two consecutive years I think says a lot of my character and what I can bring to the table as a trustee.”
One of the things he says about that character is that he plans on making decisions based on facts and what he feels is right, rather than getting bullied. He said where some people may lose sight in politics is having the ability to keep a strong backbone and make tough decisions.
Birney wants voters to know that even if people are hesitant or think something’s a risk, he’s more willing to take those risks if he feels strongly about it.
“That’s one of the things I think will define my candidacy and hopefully, if I win, the fact that I can make decisions,” he said. “I’m all for listening and doing what’s right for the community but in any position hard decisions need to be made and if you don’t have the gumption to be able to then you’re not fit for that role.”
“We have a lot of great things going on. We have a lot of momentum. I don’t want politics or any nonsense to obstruct any positive momentum that we have or could have.”
Birney is having a campaign fundraiser at Lockharts BBQ, 37 E. Flint St. Wednesday, May 18, at 5 p.m. For more information people can go to votebirney.com or search Vote Brian Birney on Facebook.
By Chris Hagan