In the inaugural event partnering Olivet Nazarene University’s Weber Leadership Center and the Center for Law and Culture, Martin “Marty” Ozinga III addressed students and community leaders on the topic of economic liberty and free enterprise.
The grandson of Dutch immigrants, Ozinga shared his family’s story of living the “American Dream.”
Shortly after graduating from college, he took over the family business and grew Ozinga Bros. into what it is today — the largest privately owned concrete company in the United States. Along the way, he maintained an active involvement in Church, state and society, including a run for a U.S. congressional seat in 2008.
“We live in the greatest country on the face of this earth,” he said. “I’ve traveled many places around the world, and whenever I return, I feel like kissing the ground. We are so blessed, and we are so free. This is the land of opportunity.”
And he doesn’t take that opportunity for granted.
“Freedom isn’t free. It took a lot of conviction and sacrifice to secure this system, this way of life for all of us.”
Ozinga challenged the students in attendance to live up to that gift by seeing whatever career they pursue as an avenue for service.
“As those who love the Lord, we need to work hard every day in whatever job God has given us. We need to engage in public life, to be salt and light, for the health and well-being of our country and our world.”
He also encouraged them to remain optimistic about the impact they can make.
“People are always asking me, ‘Why do you stick your neck out?’ ‘Why are you going out on a limb?’ The answer is: that’s where the fruit can be found.”
“Young people,” he said, “don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, that it’s too hard. Go for it! Change the world! That’s the only way the world will ever change.”
Throughout his presentation, Ozinga repeatedly credited any success his family has achieved to God’s blessings.
“All of this belongs to God,” he said. “And whatever we have, we have a responsibility to use it to glorify and serve Him.”
In thanking Ozinga for his presentation, Dr. John C. Bowling, University president, expressed gratitude for the legacy he has left for his family and the next generation of leaders.
“Marty Ozinga is a living example that you can have success in life and also be a person of integrity.”