I’ll start out since I was the one who first founded SurfGrandHaven (SGH). It wasn’t that Julie didn’t care, but she was busy in her career with the City of Grand Haven Department of Public Works. Julie was not only very supportive in the early days of SGH, but also offered a lot of great suggestions along the way.
Installing a webcam grew out of my frustration of living in Grand Rapids in the 1960’s and wanting to know if there were waves in Grand Haven. Besides watching endless weather reports on the television, and listening to even more weather reports on radio, I was never satisfied in my quest for up to date information about Lake Michigan in Grand Haven.
Finally, in April 2007 technology caught up with my dreams and a change in careers. I took a gamble with $10,000 and created Grand Haven Weather LLC and the SGH website. The first images of the Grand Haven pier were broadcasted on July 5th, 2007. My goal was to have 1,500 viewers a month which was blown out of the water when I reached my goal in 24 hours!
It was an exciting time as many people remarked how much they enjoyed SGH and local media radio, tv and newspapers wanted the scoop on SGH. The webcam was deemed a success and the statistics showed over 600,000 viewers on the site in the first year. It was all great fun with trips to the store for groceries that turned into SGH “infomercials” in the produce area with both new and long-lost friends of SGH.
Running SGH is a very involved process because maintaining a webcam, creating a website, and operating a weather station 24/7 through our long Michigan winters can be challenging. Fortunately, we have been assisted by many outstanding individuals along the way besides Julie who has been there since the start. Here is a partial list of contributors who worked on SGH in chronological order: Mitch Dennison of Masana Web Design, Brian Curry of EarthCam, Davis Weather Equipment, Rich Nowakowski who is a friend, Meteorologist Jeraca Benson, and Robert Woonacott of Shape Web Designs and friend!
In summary after 12 years of operation, SGH has been the realization of a life-long dream and a wild ride in the media world. My biggest thanks are to the SGH sponsors who operate the very best businesses in the Grand Haven area. Current and long-term sponsors are Mark Wierenga of ReMax, Josh Casemier of Casemier Lawn Care, Scott Rant of Bridgeview Insurance and Dr. Matt Dirkse of Healthzone Chiropractic. Over the years there have been dozens of sponsors who have kept the webcam alive. We share a love of Grand Haven and have found that we are equally fond of all the people who live and visit Grand Haven too!