For about five years, Brad Mantela has been an active member of the Bay College Foundation Board. His ownership of businesses in both U.P. counties that are home to Bay campuses has made him uniquely suited for this role.
Mantela has been on the foundation board since 2016. That winter, he was asked about joining the board as a representative of the local business community - at that point, he had owned Dobber's Pasties for nearly a decade.
"I was approached by (board chair) John Anthony, and he asked if I wanted to represent a cross-section of people who own local businesses. Bay College has campuses in Delta and Dickinson County, and I also own businesses in both of those counties," he said.
Mantela's parents established Dobber's Pasties in 1975, and Mantela had worked there since 1999. He purchased the business in 2008 and has maintained ownership of it ever since.
Before he became a foundation board member, Mantela did not have any direct connections to Bay beyond some summer classes he had previously taken there. However, he was familiar with the college due to its role in the lives of various Dobber's employees.
"As a business owner, I've had many employees who are Bay graduates or folks who have been going to Bay. I think it's a great asset - Bay students are typically some of our best employees," he said.
In the years since he joined the foundation board, Mantela said things have been going well.
"We represent many different scholarships and endowments and other monies given to the college. Being the stewards of that, we've been able to help maintain that and help it grow," he said.
Thanks to an uptick in donations, along with the board's successful management of its assets, it has been able to boost the financial support it provides to Bay students as of late.
"Last year, we gave away just under half a million dollars in scholarships from the foundation. The amount we can give has grown - it's a percentage, but because the giving has increased and our investments have been doing well, the size of that percentage has increased," Mantela said.
Mantela has also enjoyed serving on the board on a personal level. He said one of his favorite things about serving on this board has been seeing the success of the college firsthand. Additionally, he has been happy to provide financial guidance to students hoping to continue their education at Bay.
"We can point them towards financial aid that is available - that can be a great incentive for people to finish their degrees," he said.
Mantela encouraged people interested in studying at Bay to seriously consider the financial support that could be available to them.
"If you're thinking about attending Bay or having one of your children attend Bay, look into the availability of scholarships and financial benefits from the foundation. Even if you don't think there will be anything there for you, there might be. There are some very specific scholarships available for people from different communities and people going into different degree programs," he said.