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Speaker Archive 2023

Many thanks to our January Monthly Presenter Sponsor, Honor Bank, serving businesses and people in northwest Michigan since 1917, with offices in Bear Lake, Benzonia, Buckley, Copemish, Honor, Lake Ann and two in Traverse City.  Visit, or follow Honor Bank on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Member FDIC.


T. Rann Paynter is the president and CEO of the Michigan Bankers Association. He has held leadership positions with state banking associations for 26 years. Rann joined the North Carolina Bankers Association as meetings director in 1996, ultimately serving as executive vice president. He served as executive vice president of the Virginia Bankers Association before joining the MBA in 2015. He serves as co-chair of the American Bankers Association Grassroots Committee and chairman of the Graduate School of Banking.


As teenagers, the Porter brothers came up with an idea that would soon flip the action sports industry on its head. The idea to put LED lights on our snowboards came to them one evening when they were about to drop in on a dark ski slope. They wondered what it would feel like to shred through fresh powder or launch a hanging 360 with LED snowboards and dreamed about being the inventors of a product that would allow just that for every action sport enthusiast. That evening they made the biggest decision of their lives; to double-down and make that dream a reality. The next two years were spent on designing and engineering this product – now known worldwide as ActionGlow.


Being only 13 and 16 years old when starting AG, they were faced with quite the learning curve. However, one thing they were excellent at was not being afraid to reach out for help when they needed it. With assistance and guidance from anyone in the area who was willing to give us the time of day, they created their first iteration of ActionGlow; an aftermarket, low profile, and lightweight lighting system for the action sport enthusiast looking to create their own path and separate themselves from the pack. Today with their product ActionGlow, they get to travel the world, work with the professional athletes that inspired them, partner with elite brands such as Jeep, the World Surf League, and RedBull, and even landed a dream deal with Robert Herjavec on ABC's Shark Tank. 


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You’ve probably heard the old adage, “jack of all trades – master of none.” At eFulfillment Service, they do one thing: ecommerce order fulfillment, and they do it well.  eFullfillment Service's core focus is one of the reasons they have been called the “ultimate choice in order fulfillment,” and why the Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA) has described them as “one of the best and brightest” within their industry.  Since 2001, eFulfillment Service has been consistently recognized for their friendly, flexible terms, and first-class level of service.  They were among the first internet fulfillment companies to offer retailers advanced, web-based fulfillment software that allows for integrated shipping with multiple shopping carts.


On March 17th our speaker is Steve Bulger, President of eFulfillment Service.  In his role, Steve sets direction for the management team, prioritizing the goals, strategy and structure for the company's continued success.  Steve guides business strategies which center on lean management principles, training the team early on to identify challenges to goals.


For nearly 5 years, Steve served as Chief Operating Officer and was responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations as well as guiding strategic planning.  His leadership provided cohesion between the company’s production teams and senior management. Additionally, Steve has led both eFullfillment’s sales and marketing departments, leveraging a background in creative agency and business development. 


Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Central Michigan University. He sits on the board of the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, enjoys being with his kids and playing the occasional round of bad golf.


JOIN US to hear Steve Bulger share the complexities and logistical coordination necessary to win and compete in the efullfillment industry.            


Marguerite Bolt is the hemp extension specialist at Purdue University’s Department of Agronomy. In her role as an extension specialist, she links growers to production facilities and the research community through online resources, field days, and workshops. She received her bachelor’s degree in entomology from Michigan State University and her master’s degree in entomology from Purdue University. She is currently working on her doctorate degree in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue, focusing on disease management in outdoor grown hemp.



Kevin Klein is in his 21st year with Cherry Capital Airport – started in 2002 as Operation Manager and was promoted in 2004 to Assistant Airport Director. In February 2011, Mr. Klein was appointed to the Airport Director position and became Chief Executive Officer in October of 2021 - upon the successful governance transition to the Northwest Regional Airport Authority. 


Mr. Klein is an Accredited Airport Executive and a member of the American Association of Airport Executives since 1994. He is a Past President of the Michigan Association of Airport Executives. Mr. Klein has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology and Operations Management, and a minor in General Business from Western Michigan University. Mr. Klein is a licensed airport manager with the State of Michigan and holds a Private Pilot Certificate since 1991. Mr. Klein has received numerous professional awards including the FAA Airport Partnership Award for his work on the FAA’s Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment Group, helping to rewrite the FAA Advisory Circular on Winter Operations. Mr. Klein was instrumental in securing several prestigious awards for Cherry Capital Airport including the FAA Airport Safety Excellence Award; the Balchen Post Award for Winter Safety Excellence and the Airline Pilots Association’s ‘Airport of the Year.’  Mr. Klein was awarded Airport Manager of the Year by the Michigan Association of Airport Executives in 2017. 


Most importantly, Kevin is married to Leslie Klein, and they have three wonderful sons Mark, Joe, and Nicholas. 


Many thanks to our June 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.


President Matthew A. Scogin ’02 is the 14th president of Hope College. He was elected by the Board of Trustees on December 7, 2018, assumed office on July 1, 2019 and was inaugurated on September 13, 2019. Previously, Scogin served as chief administrative officer at the global financial advisory firm of Perella Weinberg Partners in New York City, where he oversaw operations, strategy, corporate services, human resources and communications at the firm, which has 11 offices around the world.  


Prior to that position, he was at NYSE Euronext, where from 2009 to 2014 he served as the senior vice president and chief of staff at the 3,000-person company that ran the New York Stock Exchange and five exchanges in Europe. He served as a key member of the executive team and played a leading role in the overall strategic direction of the company during a time of tremendous change, while also overseeing the offices of Global Affairs and Government Relations and of Corporate Responsibility, and the Office of the CEO. During 2008 and 2009, he was chief of staff and senior adviser to the CEO of Wachovia Bank, at the time the nation’s fourth-largest commercial bank. 


Before joining the corporate sector, Scogin occupied several senior roles in government. From 2006 to 2008, he was the senior advisor for domestic finance at the U.S. Department of Treasury, where he provided the secretary of the treasury and undersecretary of the treasury with counsel on a broad range of economic and financial policy matters. In 2006, he served as a fiscal policy adviser to the governor of Massachusetts; from 2002 to 2003, he was the legislative director for a Michigan state representative; and during 2001, while participating in Hope College’s Washington Honors Semester, he held an internship at the White House. 

He majored in political science and economics at Hope, and has a master’s degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. After finishing graduate school, he spent time in Germany as a fellow with the Robert Bosch Foundation studying unemployment and labor market policy. He has published several articles on issues related to public policy and finance. He received the U.S. Treasury Department Exceptional Service Award in 2008, and was one of 19 leaders of New York City to be named a David Rockefeller Fellow by the Partnership for New York City in 2013. Hope recognized him with a Young Alumni Award in 2014. Among other community service while in New York, he was on the Board of Directors for Restore NYC, a Christian non-profit dedicated to ending sex trafficking in New York City, and on the Board of Directors of the SIFMA Foundation for Financial Education. He also volunteered as the CFO and as a lay pastor at Lower Manhattan Community Church in New York City. 

He has also been extensively engaged in the life of the college since graduation, including serving as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2016. Among other involvement through the years, he spoke during a Hope Chapel service in September 2017, was the featured speaker in the Student Congress Speaker Series in March 2010 and was highlighted in an alumni profile in the 2008-09 Hope College Catalog. While on campus to receive his Young Alumni Award, he also presented a workshop on leadership development hosted by the Hope College Alumni Association.

His wife, Sarah, is also a 2002 graduate of Hope, where she majored in music and computer science. They have three children at home: Sophie, Lucy and Oliver.

July 21

Many thanks to our July Monthly Presenter Sponsor, Fitzpatrick Insurance, a hassle-free insurance agency providing everything you need, and only what you need.


Linda Hubbard

President and Chief Operating Officer, Carhartt, Inc. 

Linda Hubbard is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Carhartt, Inc., an apparel manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer. Carhartt-branded products are manufactured, sourced and sold globally. In her role as President, Linda develops and executes corporate strategy and is responsible for connecting all facets of business operations to deliver on the Carhartt brand promise of building rugged products to serve and protect all hardworking people. She has oversight of all areas of Carhartt’s business including product merchandising and design, marketing, sales, EMEA operations, finance, human resources, planning, information technology, and the company’s global manufacturing, sourcing and distribution supply chain spread across more than twenty countries. She also serves as a director on Carhartt’s Board of Directors. Linda joined Carhartt in 2002 and during her 21 years at the Company has served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Linda is the first non-family member to hold the position of President during the Company’s 134 years in existence.


Carhartt has thrived for more than a century, which is a testament to its ability to grow and adapt outside of its original scope. Examples of Carhartt’s growth and adaptation under Linda’s leadership include the launch of a women’s line for hardworking female consumers and an expansion into direct-to-consumer channels, including and the brand’s company retail stores.


Prior to joining Carhartt, Linda was an audit partner at Plante Moran, the 11th largest CPA, management and consulting firm in the country. At Plante Moran, Linda provided audit assurance, tax and consulting services to clients in manufacturing, real estate, construction, and distribution. 


Linda is a 1982 graduate of Michigan State University’s Broad School of Business and holds a BA in Accounting.  She is a CPA and CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant). 

Linda is a Director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and serves on the Executive and Audit Committees.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of Hibbett, a publicly traded athletic-inspired fashion retailer. Additionally, she serves on the boards of the Michigan State University Foundation, the Detroit Economic Club, and the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. 


JOIN US to hear Linda Hubbard share Carhartt's story.  Back in 1889, their founder, Hamilton Carhartt, worked directly with railroad engineers to learn how to build a better pair of bib overalls. Then he went out and built it.   Headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, Carhartt employs more than 5,500 associates worldwide.

August 25

Trevor Tkach is a distinguished leader in the tourism industry, currently serving as the President and CEO of Traverse City Tourism in northern Michigan. With a decade of experience leading the National Cherry Festival, Tkach is a seasoned professional with a passion for promoting the region's unique assets and agricultural heritage. He is an active member of several nonprofit organizations and serves on the board of Networks Northwest, the TC Boom Boom Club, and President of the Michigan Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. Tkach holds a master's degree in business from the University of Michigan-Flint and enjoys living in his hometown with his wife and three children.

September 15 (Annual Dinner)


When the world’s top companies want to understand what’s next for their businesses and how they can create the next big breakthrough in their industries, they turn to world-renowned futurist Sheryl Connelly. Connelly is a global trends and consumer expert whose mastery at identifying what’s coming around the corner and the potential influences on customer attitudes and behavioral patterns that directly impact business strategy is unparalleled. For more than two decades, she was a cornerstone presence on Ford Motor Company’s global trends and futuring team, working her way up the ranks at the automotive juggernaut and becoming the company’s chief futurist. Connelly draws upon her business foresight expertise and experiences at Ford to help organizations in any industry identify and analyze global consumer trends in order to lay the groundwork for long-term, future-focused planning and strategy across the entire company, and anticipate the ever-evolving needs and desires of the people they serve. 


Connelly leads audiences on a fascinating journey into the potential futures of their industries. She helps leaders and their teams make sense of how STEEP factors — social, technological, economic, environmental, and political trends — will affect their businesses in the short- and long-term, while providing a big picture outlook of the key trends that are reshaping the way we live. With unique perspectives designed to revolutionize approaches to long-term planning and strategy, Connelly reveals how anyone at any level of an organization can think like a futurist, and delivers the insights leaders are looking for as they look for new methods for sparking innovation in their teams and facilitating the growth of their organizations in this new age of never-ending disruption. 


As Ford’s chief futurist, Connelly led a team of researchers, engineers, marketers, and anthropologists tasked with tracking trends, spotting signals of change, and identifying outliers to develop uniquely compelling insights designed to test the power innovation across the enterprise. Data-driven insights collected by Connelly and her team were pivotal to all aspects of Ford’s operations, including corporate strategy, product development, and design. Prior to joining Ford’s trends team, Connelly spent eight years in various marketing, sales, and service field positions at the company. She began her unconventional career path practicing law. 


When Connelly speaks, the business world takes notice. She has twice been named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and was listed among TechWeek’s “Top 100 Innovators.” Her thought leadership and strategic viewpoints have been featured in leading publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Financial Times, Forbes, and the BBC. She has also appeared on CBS’s “This Morning with Charlie Rose,” CNBC’s “Fast Money,” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” 


Connelly is passionate about her work, but readily admits that the road to where she is today included a few unexpected twists and turns. She teaches design research at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, has been a guest lecturer at MIT, the University of Michigan, and Wharton School of Business, and is a former member of the Global Advisory Council on transportation for the World Economic Forum. 

October 20

Many thanks to our October Monthly Presenter Sponsor, Kuhn Rogers - a fixture in Traverse City, Michigan for well over a century. The firm offers clients throughout the state and region sophisticated solutions to even the most complex legal problems. With a broad range of practice areas, and attorneys who are deeply experienced in each of them, Kuhn Rogers is uniquely qualified to provide exceptional service, value, and results.


As the Senior Vice President of Regional Prosperity, Matt oversees matrixes and cross-organizational collaboration to ensure efficient and effective execution of MEDC strategy and organizational alignment. Matt leads the proactive engagement with companies and communities to create an environment conducive to business growth and expansion, community and place-based enhancement, and comprehensive economic and community development that is uniquely tailored to each individual region of the state.

Matt McCauley is passionate about the unique needs and assets of each region of the state, appreciating the rich diversity that defines Michigan while guiding a comprehensive planning and partnership approach to help Michigan build a championship economy. In his previous role as CEO of Networks Northwest, Matt had an established track record in leading a team to adopt a strength-based approach to drive growth throughout Northwest Michigan.

Considered a proven leader in his field, Matt has a rich background in advocacy on behalf of rural and diverse communities across Michigan, having provided testimony on the U.S. Farm Bill around sustainable development practices among other activities.


Matt has degrees in business and public administration from Grand Valley University and is a previous German Marshall Fund Urban and Regional Policy Fellow.


JOIN US to hear Matt McCauley share the good things happening in Michigan and the companies, entrepreneurs and communities thriving across our state.      


Many thanks to our November Monthly Presenter Sponsor, the Eaton Cummings Group - with over 50 years of combined strategic planning, fundraising and volunteer and executive coaching experience. They specialize in helping non-profit organizations expand their capacity to lead, innovate and implement.

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Jennifer Yeatts is Director of the Higher Grounds Coffee Learning Lab. 

She has worked in specialty coffee for over 20 years, starting as a barista and growing into roles involving marketing, communications, quality control, inventory management, training, and public relations.


Jennifer is an Authorized Specialty Coffee Association trainer, licensed Q Grader, and a certified Coffee Quality Institute Lecturer.

Did you know?

  • Coffee is cultivated in tropical regions, roughly 20 degrees north and south of the Equator. 

  • The vast majority of coffee (90%) is grown in developing countries. 

  • Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee, exporting over a third of the global supply.

  • 70% of all coffee is produced by small family farmers who have fewer than 25 acres of land.  

  • The average coffee farmer earns just $300/year from coffee production, making it difficult (if not impossible) to survive without additional sources of income.  

JOIN US to hear Jennifer Yeatts share the Higher Grounds commitment to long term, mutual beneficial trade relationships and their tireless commitment to peaceful, resilient, and sustainable global communities.        

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