top of page

Event Archive 2021

October 28, 2021 - 

Hans Van Sumeren is the Director of the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Michigan. While at NMC he has collaboratively developed several new initiatives in water related research and education including associate degrees in both Freshwater Studies and Marine Technology, a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Technology, Offshore ROV Pilot Training credential, and an associate degree in Surveying. Hans has also created and numerous other professional development opportunities for the marine industry as part of the Marine Center.


Prior to Northwestern Michigan College, Hans worked at the University of Michigan in the Ocean Engineering Laboratory and the Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratories. Hans is the Marine Technology Society – Great Lakes section chair and is also a trustee at large with The Hydrographic Society of America, both international societies supporting the sustainable understanding of both the world ocean and the Great Lakes. He completed a BSE and MSE in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan and is a Chartered Marine Technologist with the Marine Technology Society and Society of Underwater Technology.

September 18, 2021 - 

Josh Rogin is a columnist for the Global Opinions section of the Washington Post and a political analyst with CNN. He is also the author of Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, Xi, and the Battle for the 21st Century, released March, 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcout.

Previously, Josh has covered foreign policy and national security for Bloomberg View, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy magazine, Congressional Quarterly, Federal Computer Week magazine, and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun.  His work has been featured on outlets including NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, MSNBC, NPR, and many more. 

Josh has been recognized with the Interaction Award for Excellence in International Reporting and as a Finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. He has also received journalism fellowships from the Knight Foundation, the East-West Center, and the National Press Foundation. 

Josh holds a BA in international affairs from the George Washington University and studied at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife Ali Rogin of the PBS News Hour.

August 26, 2021 - 

Jennifer Szunko has served as the Executive Director of TCNewTech since January of 2020. She has a passion for entrepreneurs and has worked in a number of industries including hotel, cruise, wine, magazine, and book publishing. As a connector of people, she is constantly flipping through her mental Rolodex looking for ways to bring people together. When she is not hosting TCNewTech pitch events you can find her enjoying the outdoors and dreaming up new ideas.

Kelly Ignace has worked independently for the last eight years as graphic designer and web developer, helping to advance companies near and far, through her company WorkshopSIX7. Kelly is also the co-owner of a hospitality brand —, which provides cleaning, maintenance and concierge services focused on, but not limited to, the short-term rental market. During her time serving as President of the Board of Directors for TCNewTech, Kelly has been instrumental in systematically stewarding the organization’s mission in a number of ways including the website buildout, community outreach, strategic planning and automation of internal processes.

July 22, 2021 - 

Paul Britten grew up in Traverse City and is a Traverse City St. Francis grad, class of 1979. After two years getting toughened up at West Point, he transferred to University of Detroit School of Architecture, graduating as an apprentice architect in 1985. Less than a year later, he founded Britten Banners in Washington, D.C., and moved the company to TC in 1992. Darcy is still married to Paul after 35 years and they have 7 children and 5 grandkids so far!

June 18, 2021 - 

SUNEEL GUPTA is the founder of RISE and is on faculty at Harvard University. Using the seven steps inside this book, Suneel went from being the face of failure for the New York Times to being the “New Face of Innovation” for the New York Stock Exchange. His ideas have been backed by firms like Greylock and Google Ventures, and he has invested in startups including Airbnb, Calm, and SpaceX. Suneel also serves as an emissary for Gross National Happiness between the United States and the Kingdom of Bhutan.

May 21, 2021 - 

Benjamin Marentette has served as City Clerk for the City of Traverse City since the confirmation of his appointment in September 2011. In his role as City Clerk, Benjamin essentially functions as Chief Operating Officer for a city government in one of Michigan’s most thriving and engaged communities with annual cash flow in excess of $150 million and assets that nearly equal that amount. He has oversight and leadership responsibilities in areas of finance, risk management, governance, licensing, elections, policy development and more. Benjamin believes in providing white glove service and works to inspire excellence in the city’s delivery of services.


In 2017, Benjamin was accepted into and completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard’s Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., and in that same year was named as Michigan’s City Clerk of the Year, selected by his peers from across the state. Benjamin serves as an advisor to numerous community organizations and has provided high-level advice on Constitutional implementation to the Department of State. Benjamin proudly serves on the Rotary Charities Board of Trustees. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree, with a concentration in finance and leadership, from Lawrence Technological University and a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Development from Spring Arbor University. He loves a hilly run, is an avid sailor and aspiring chef; and he and his husband Matt Turner, live in the city limits on the base of Old Mission Peninsula.

April 23, 2021 - 

Bob O’Hara has been a nonprofit executive for most of his adult life.  His 35-year career with Boys & Girls Clubs has included work at all levels of organizational management, in four Midwest states.  With a great interest in the power of nonprofits and home ownership to benefit the entire community, Bob finds the Home Builders Association to be a natural fit for his talents.

Bob and his wife Sara have a long-standing interest in home renovation, having adopted and renovated a century-old home overlooking Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.  They currently live on the Old Mission Peninsula, where Sara grew up, and are renovating her childhood home.

In his earlier years, O’Hara ran eight marathons – including the Boston Marathon, twice.  He is also an avid reader of history and mysteries.  His geek dream is to compete on Jeopardy!

O’Hara holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and English from the University of Sioux Falls, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Michigan.


Dawn Crandall joined the team at the Home Builders Association of Michigan in 1996 as the Political Affairs Director and in May will be promoted to the Executive Vice President of Government Relations where she will oversee the associations advocacy program.  She will also be responsible for the Friends of Housing Political Action Committee, and lobbying on behalf of the members on issues that impact education, taxation, workforce development and economic development.


To complement those efforts, she is also the executive director of the HBAM’s non-profit, Skilled to Build Michigan Foundation.


Prior to joining the Home Builders Association of Michigan, Dawn spent ten years working in the Michigan Legislature – starting as an intern for a state Senator, and ending her time as the legislative director for a state Representative.


In her spare time, Dawn is the President of the Michigan Excellence in Public Service Series, and the Founder and CEO of She Holds the Key Michigan.  She also currently serves as the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan Treasurer.  Dawn is also a founding board member of Vote Run Lead.

March 19, 2021 - 

Dr. Samuel Gregg is research director at the Acton Institute, Michigan, as well as a Visiting Scholar at the Feulner Institute at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. He has written and spoken extensively on questions of political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. He has an MA from Melbourne University, Australia, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in moral philosophy and political economy from Oxford University.

He is the author of thirteen books, including On Ordered Liberty (2003), his prize-winning The Commercial Society (2007), Wilhelm Röpke’s Political Economy (2010), Becoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture, and How America Can Avoid a European Future (2013), For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good (2016), and Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization (2019). He has also co-edited books such as Profit, Prudence and Virtue: Essays in Ethics, Business and Management (2009), and Natural Law, Economics and the Common Good (2012). Two of his books have been short-listed for Conservative Book of the Year. Many of his books and articles have been translated into a variety of languages.

He publishes in journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy; Journal of Markets & Morality; Economic Affairs; Law and Investment Management; Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines; Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy; Ave Maria Law Review; Oxford Analytica; Journal of Scottish Philosophy; Foreign Affairs; and Policy. He is a regular writer of opinion-pieces which appear in publications such as the Wall Street Journal Europe; First Things; Investors Business Daily; Washington Times; American Banker; National Review; Public Discourse; American Spectator; El Mercurio; Australian Financial Review; Jerusalem Post; La Nacion: and Business Review Weekly.

He has also been cited in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Weekly Standard, Time Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and the Holy See’s L’Osservatore Romano.

In 2001, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Member of the Mont Pèlerin Society in 2004. In 2008, he was elected a member of the Philadelphia Society, and a member of the Royal Economic Society.  He also sits on the Academic Advisory Boards of Campion College, Sydney; the La Fundación Burke, Madrid; and the Institute of Economic Affairs, London.


February 19, 2021 - 

As a digital financial services product manager at Gemini, Jamie Chapman works to create elegant and secure cryptocurrency trading and investing experiences. She has led numerous teams through Gemini’s rapid growth from small start-up to sophisticated international company, and specializes in building financial products for the mass retail market. She recently launched Gemini Earn, a crypto lending and interest-earning program offering up to 7.4% APY. Her aim is to make complex financial services easy to use and understand.

Prior to joining Gemini, Jamie trained as a professional athlete on the United States National Rowing team with the goal of competing in the Olympics, where her teammates won a gold medal. She placed 4th in the 2016 Olympic Trials Double Sculls event and is a two-time Elite National Champion. She also competed for the Vesper Boat Club Elite team and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project.

Jamie holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, where she majored in Environmental Studies and captained the rowing team. She now races triathlons at the international level and is an active volunteer with Row New York. In Traverse City, she spends her summers windsurfing on West Bay and hiking the dunes, and her winters skiing at Hickory Hills and the Vasa trail network.

Gemini Trust Company, LLC (Gemini) is a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian that allows customers to trade, store, spend, and earn cryptocurrency. Gemini is a New York trust company that is subject to the capital reserve requirements, cybersecurity requirements, and banking compliance standards set forth by the New York State Department of Financial Services and the New York Banking Law. Gemini was founded in 2014 by twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.


January 22, 2021 - 

bottom of page