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Speaker Archive 2022

Many thanks to our November Monthly Presenter Sponsor,

Bonek Insurance Agency, an experienced insurance agency offering personal and commercial coverage.  In business since 1934 and based in Suttons Bay, they have access to a multitude of policies for client needs paired with a dedicated, local team.  

Dr. Nick Nissley became Northwestern Michigan College's 11th president when he took office on January 1, 2020.


Nick Nissley, Ed.D. is an education executive with more than 25 years of experience including K–12, community college and university settings. He has leadership experience in fundraising, professional development, human resources, teaching and the arts. His areas of focus include helping build individual and organization capabilities that support organizational effectiveness and innovation cultures in support of educational excellence. Dr. Nissley describes himself as a collaborative servant leader and “possibilitarian.”


Dr. Nissley's previous position was Executive Director of Cincinnati's School for Creative & Performing Arts (SCPA) — the first K–12 public creative and performing arts magnet school in the country, recognized as a model magnet arts school and a crown jewel of Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS). Before that, he served as Dean of the Business Division of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, one of Ohio’s largest community colleges with over 10,000 students.


Before joining Cincinnati State, he served as Executive Director for the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Canada’s premier arts and culture institution, where he was responsible for executive leadership of an organization renowned for combining leadership development and applied creativity in service of leadership transformation, organization and community development.


On September 3, 2019, the NMC Board of Trustees selected Nick Nissley as their first choice of five finalists to become the next president of NMC, from an initial field of 67 applicants for the position.


Dr. Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and oversees the Research group at the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He supervises and is responsible for a wide range of research activity for the association including NAR’s Existing Home Sales statistics, Affordability Index, and Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. He regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1.4 million REALTORS®.


Dr. Yun creates NAR’s forecasts and participates in many economic forecasting panels, among them the Blue Chip Council and the Wall Street Journal Forecasting Survey. He also participates in the Industrial Economists Discussion Group at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. He appears regularly on financial news outlets, is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences throughout the United States, and has testified before Congress. Dr. Yun has also appeared as a guest on CSPAN’s Washington Journal.


Dr. Yun received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Martin G. (Marty) Lagina has 40+ years of experience in the production and sale of energy. He has extensive experience in conventional oil and gas production. He is a past Chairman of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association. In addition, he has approximately 15 years of experience in building and operating utility scale solar and wind farms. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Michigan. He is also a graduate of the University of Michigan law school and a member of the State Bar Association. 


 As children, Marty and his brother Rick discovered the classic story of buried treasure on Oak Island in a 1965 copy of Reader’s Digest they’d checked out from the school library. That article led to a lifelong fascination. After purchasing the island, they now star in their own TV shows The Curse of Oak Island and Beyond Oak Island, on the History Channel.  


Marty Lagina and his family started Mari Vineyards in 1999 in Traverse City, Michigan. The winery is named after his Italian grandmother and features an enclosed tower atop walls of Upper Peninsula dolomitic limestone. Mari Vinyards produces world class red wines.

After growing up in Pittsburgh and graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Jamie Gallagher began what is now a 40-year career in the creative products industries. For sixteen years he was a key sales and marketing executive with LEGO working both in the US and Canadian markets. He then continued the trend of working with high quality, privately held toy brands by serving as President of Playmobil USA.


 In 2003, Jamie assumed his current role as President and CEO of Faber-Castell USA, the US subsidiary of the 260-year-old German parent company Faber-Castell.  Most recently he has played a pivotal role in the “Enriching Lives Through Creativity and Self-Expression” strategic platform within Faber-Castell while also serving on the global company’s Leadership Essentials development team.


In his current efforts to promote the importance of creativity, Jamie makes regular stops at college campuses and business gatherings to speak on the topic, “The Importance of Creativity in Business and in Life.”


 Jamie served for fourteen (14) years in a volunteer role for the Toy Industry of America as a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Recently he served as a member of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) Strategic Council and American Specialty Toy Retailers Innovation Council. His volunteer work also includes a role as one of the earliest board members of “Operation Respect” an anti-bullying organization as well as a member of the Board of Trustees for LaRoche University and a volunteer mentor for Traverse City Economic Development.


 Jamie and his wife, Mindy, share time between Cleveland and Traverse City.

Ali Rogin is a producer and correspondent at the PBS NewsHour, and previously worked at NBC News and ABC News. In 2021, she received a Peabody Award for her work covering the global COVID-19 pandemic. She is the author of Beat Breast Cancer Like A Boss, which she was inspired to write after her own experience with the BRCA-1 genetic mutation, which increases a woman's risk of breast cancer to over 80 percent. 

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New York Times bestselling author John U. Bacon has written twelve books on sports, business, health, and history. His newest title, released September 2021, is Let Them Lead: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High School Hockey Team.


He free-lances for The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, and others, appears often on TV, including HBO, ESPN, Fox Business, MSNBC, and the Big Ten Network, and delivers weekly essays for Michigan Radio and occasionally NPR, which awarded him the PRNDI prize for nation's best commentary in 2014.


Bacon is a popular corporate speaker, executive coach, and leadership consultant, who occasionally teaches at the University of Michigan, where the students awarded him the Golden Apple Award, given to one instructor annually for "Excellence in Teaching."


John is also a decent Spanish speaker, an average hockey player, and a poor piano player, but he still enjoys all three! He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and son.

Created in 2015 and located on Bates Road in Williamsburg, the Traverse City Horse Shows and Flintfields Horse Park has grown into one of the top events and venues in North America. In 2021, the Traverse City Horse Shows hosted 12 weeks of competition, riders from 48 states, 28 countries, Olympic athletes and 5,109 horses all competing for collectively $6.1 million in prize money.


Chris Towner is the Research Director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, where he analyzes budget, tax, health, and retirement policy as well as manages the day-to-day workflow of the policy team. Prior to this, Chris advocated for children in federal budget issues at First Focus on Children, leading the annual production of First Focus's Children's Budget. This is Chris's second stint at the Committee; he was previously a policy analyst after serving in a variety of positions beginning as an intern. Chris was the lead analyst for the McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative, where he managed the production and publication of two volumes on improving the Social Security Disability Insurance program. 

Originally hailing from just outside Chicago, Chris holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree in Political Science from Boston University.

Skip Pruss is the co-founder of 5 Lakes Energy LLC, a clean energy consultancy and until recently, the Board Chair of FLOW (For Love of Water).  Prior to that he served as the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth Director and Michigan’s Chief Energy Officer, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of Michigan's clean energy economy diversification efforts. 

Skip has served as Governor Jennifer Granholm’s Special Advisor for Renewable Energy and the Environment and served on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee which provided input to Energy Secretary Steven Chu on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and programs and policies under the Obama Administration. Skip has also held office as the Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

An attorney by background, Skip was the Assistant Attorney General, overseeing Michigan's Consumer Protection Division and also chaired the Department’s Public Protection Practice Group.

Tony Anderson took over as General Manager of Cherryland Electric Cooperative in March of 2003. Anderson has been in the electric cooperative business for more than 38 years and previously managed cooperatives in Wisconsin and Wyoming.


Community activities include recipient of the 2018 Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award, 2012 Governor’s Service Awards Michigan Volunteer of the Year, Past Chair of Traverse City Chamber board, board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan, founder of Marathon4Kids, a charitable fundraiser for BBBS. Anderson is also Vice President of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Vice President of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association.  


Hobbies include Green Bay Packers football, writing and running marathons. Tony has completed 51 marathons in 50 states plus DC while raising $900,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of NW Michigan. Tony has been married to his last prom date, Mary, for 37 years. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

Bob Mannes is the President and CEO of Core Energy, LLC based in Traverse City, MI, a company he founded 19 years ago. Core Energy is an oil and gas producer that specializes in producing low carbon intensity oil in Northern Michigan through a process called CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery. The only project like it in the Midwest, Core’s operations capture CO2 that would otherwise be emitted to the atmosphere and inject it into permanent storage underground. To date Core has captured over 3 million tonnes of CO2 and is continuing to capture at a rate of 900 tonnes daily. This is the equivalent emission to 70,000 cars per year.

Bob was a founding member of the Carbon Capture Coalition which is a policy advocacy organization comprised of over 80 organizations ranging from oil and gas companies to steel companies to environmental organizations like the National Wildlife Federation and others. The coalition is active on the federal level and operates based on 100% consensus of its diverse membership.


Bob has an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy generation and is a proponent of finding ways to decarbonize baseload power as a needed complement to renewable energy. Bob serves on the Board of the Michigan Oil & Gas Association and the Executive Committee of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Bob is also an early investor and Board member of ALGIX, LLC which holds patents on converting algae into plastics and forms of rubber.

Bob graduated from Calvin College and he and his wife Kristen have lived in Traverse City all 30 years of their married life. They have 3 kids that have left the nest and one grandson.

Director of Institutional Asset Management at Ritholtz Wealth Management, Ben Carlson is the author of four books, a columnist for Fortune, the creator of the blog A Wealth of Common Sense and co-host of the popular Animal Spirits podcast.

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