My Story Started at GRCC: Walker Mayor Gary Carey says GRCC prepared him for careers in business, public service

Walker Mayor Gary Carey smiling.

Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

Gary Carey has two professions – and his GRCC experience has helped him with both.

An Introduction to Marketing class taught by Mark Mulder helped him find one career.

“Mark was a retired business executive and passionate teacher who challenged us to be inquisitive and understand the ‘why’ behind things,” Carey said. “My class experience was why I changed my career path and went into business for sales and marketing.”

After getting his associate degree, he earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies with a leadership emphasis from Grand Valley State University. His 30-year business career has taken him to positions at IKON Business Solutions, Canon Business Solutions and Paycor. Currently, he is the Michigan market leader for Gibson Insurance.

Public service is Carey’s other career: He has served on boards and committees in Walker since 1999. He was elected to represent the 2nd Ward on the City Commission in 2013 and became mayor in 2019.

GRCC has helped Carey with that calling as well.

“Just as our community has residents and businesses that come from diverse backgrounds and have different plans and goals in life, my time at GRCC was no different,” he said. “My experience in understanding that everyone has a story – and no one story is more important than another – has helped prepare me for a successful business career and serving in elected office.”

Carey appreciated how his GRCC instructors helped him “connect dots” from the course materials to the real world.

“This was done in smaller class sizes with instructors who are recognized in their field as subject matter experts,” he said. “Even today, I see some of those instructors out in our communities and it still surprises me they remember people and names, and still provide support for our lives outside the classroom.”

 Let GRCC help you start your story. The first chapter starts at

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