BY SHERI TRUSTY
There were lessons Judi Halstead learned growing up on Catawba that molded her into the woman she is today – an independent, successful businesswoman and a compassionate philanthropist. As owner of Integrity Productions, she has been the marketing impetus that launched many community businesses and organizations into the public eye.
She has made it her passion to promote the town she loves.
At age 10, Halstead began a four-year journey as one of 80 members of an all-female drum and bugle corps, the Vacationland Sweethearts. As a majorette with the group, she had the opportunity to tour the U.S. and Canada and, in the process, learn the lifelong lesson that attention to detail is important.
“I learned discipline there, and I learned how to care for things,” she said. “The corps was run by a former Marine, and we had white boot inspections. We had to be our very best.”
That desire to do her best would eventually build Integrity Productions into a successful, respected business, but first she had to discover who she was and what she wanted to do with her life.
One of her earliest jobs was at African Safari, where she worked the exit gate and helped care for exotic animals. She worked at Cedar Point “for a minute,” she said, and found her first passion when she answered an ad for a job at Figure Magic International (FMI).
“That started me on a path of fitness,” she said.
She managed an FMI salon in Sandusky and then in Niles and eventually took employment with Gloria Marshall Figure Salons. In 1980, Halstead discovered her true calling when she responded to an ad looking for someone to work in marketing.
“That started me on the path of marketing and advertising. I realized I could help grow someone’s business by finding the right marketing path for them,” she said. “I worked for a couple of different companies and then realized I could do this myself.”
In 2000, Halstead formed Integrity Productions marketing firm in Avon Lake. Her clients include medical professionals, attorneys, and the Avon Lake School District.
In 2004, she returned to her hometown, bringing her business and her philanthropist heart with her.
“That’s when I started realizing I wanted to immerse myself in my community again. I’d been gone and wanted to reconnect,” she said.
But Halstead didn’t just connect with old friends; she connected the entire community together. As the organizer and emcee of the popular RiverFront Live music events, she draws hundreds of people to downtown Port Clinton on summer Friday nights, where they connect with each other, with local businesses, and with the musicians who perform for free. RiverFront live has been a way for longtime musicians to give back to the community, as well as a way for new musicians to gain exposure and find paying gigs.
Halstead dedicates countless hours to planning the events and scheduling musicians, and she gives up every Friday evening in the summer to host and
emcee RiverFront Live, which is now in its ninth year.
“Each one of our performers plays gratuitously. I am so honored when a performer agrees to play again. It shows they are performers who love to do it for the art and to give back to the community,” she said.
Halstead serves on several committees on the Port Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Port Clinton, including Main Street’s promotions committee and Walleye Fest committee. She serves as emcee of the Walleye Fest and Christmas parade.
Moving back home and utilizing her skills to promote Port Clinton was, she said, a great decision.
“I love being back in my hometown,” she said. “I love my downtown. I’m proud of how much we have grown.”