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Wayne Law Alumnus Utilizes Knowledge Gained from Legal Education, Professional Work Experience in New Post as Mayor of Traverse City

January 20, 2010

DETROIT (Jan. 20, 2010) - Chris Bzdok, a 1996 Wayne State University Law School graduate, understands how to collaborate with government officials to implement change. As a successful environmental attorney and resident of Traverse City, Mich., he's been doing so for more than a decade. Now in his new role as Traverse City mayor, he hopes to use the knowledge gained from his legal education, professional work experience and his role as a community member to improve the way business is done in the City.

Bzdok, who began serving on the Traverse City Commission in 2007, was elected to a two-year term as mayor of Traverse City in November 2009. Driven by the desire for positive change, he has already outlined an agenda that involves changing the way business is done in the City.

"I want to know if you can run a smaller city like a grass roots organization," Bzdok said. "My goal is to make city government work at the direction of city residents by getting their input at the beginning of a process rather than their reactions at the end."

He added, "In high-level government it just isn't possible to get that kind of feedback. In local government, you should be able to involve citizens from the beginning."

One way Bzdok gets public input is through the Web site he created, Residents use the site to submit ideas about what is needed in the community, suggest how things may be accomplished and learn about what is being planned already.

Based on feedback thus far, Bzdok hopes to help implement new energy measures, increase infrastructure funding and improve waterfront facilities. Bzdok also wants to work to make city services more efficient, attract new developments and increase the City's tax base.

"I see Traverse City as a unique brand that serves as a bright spot in the future of Michigan," Bzdok said. "This is my home. I have a vested interest in seeing it continue to offer a high quality of life and finding ways to further enrich it. I am very optimistic for the future.

"I can't imagine a better political office. It's a great city with a lot going on, but it's still small enough to get the community involved."

Although Bzdok is not a Traverse City native, he has been involved in the community since his summers as a law clerk for James Olson while attending Wayne Law.

"I attended Wayne Law because I thought it would offer a unique learning experience," he said. "I was not disappointed. I was able to gain practical experience at the Law School in Detroit and in Traverse City. My experience clerking turned into a full-time opportunity and helped guide me to where I am today."

In addition to his new role as Traverse City mayor, Bzdok still works full time as a principal with the firm Olson Bzdok & Howard PC, where he practices environmental, land use, and energy law.

About Wayne Law
Wayne State University Law School has educated and served the Detroit metropolitan area since its inception as Detroit City Law School in 1927. Located at 471 West Palmer Street in Detroit's re-energized historic cultural center, the Law School remains committed to student success and features modern lecture and court facilities, multi-media classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, and the Arthur Neef Law Library, which houses one of the nation's 30 largest legal collections. Taught by an internationally recognized and expert faculty, Wayne Law students experience a high-quality legal education via a growing array of hands-on curricular offerings, client clinics, and access to well over 100 internships with local and non-profit entities each year. Its 11,000 living alumni, who work in every state of the nation and more than a dozen foreign countries, are experts in their disciplines and include leading members of the local, national and international legal communities. For more information, visit