Phil is an expert on organizational strategy, innovation, branding, and entrepreneurship, a successful entrepreneur, and a consultant to a wide range of for-profit and non-profit organizations. Currently, he is CEO of Great Lakes GrowthWorks (GLGW), an innovation and growth strategy consulting firm that helps both large global organizations and emerging companies (particularly those in the health, wellness, sustainability, and “craft” consumer products arena here in the Great Lakes region) to grow, prosper, and make a positive difference. Phil was previously CEO of Among Friends Baking Mixes, a natural/healthy baking mix company. Prior to that, he was Managing Director of GfK Strategic Innovation, the practice area formed by the acquisition of Arbor Strategy Group (ASG) by GfK Group, a leading global marketing research and consulting firm Phil founded ASG in 1998. Phil held previous positions as Chief Marketing Officer for Frank’s Nursery & Crafts, Senior VP Marketing for Little Caesars Pizza, President of Delicious/Frookie snack company, and Managing Director of Marketing Corporation of America’s consumer industry consulting practice. Phil started his career in brand management with the Quaker Oats Company.
In additional to his role with Michigan LCV Education Fund, Phil currently serves as Board President of our sister organization the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. Phil also serves in board or leadership capacity with a variety of other non-profit organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation, Michigan Wolfpack, the Michigan Economic Center, and the University of Michigan’s Zell-Lurie Commercialization Fund.
Phil earned a BBA from the University of Michigan and a MBA from Harvard. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Emma White owns her own public opinion research and communications consulting firm, Emma White Research, LLC, where her clients include conservation organizations, labor unions, and local governments. She previously spent 9 years at Belden Russonello Strategists in Washington DC and her work there was instrumental in helping a coalition of conservation groups secure federal funding for Great Lakes Restoration. Emma has a BA in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College and an MS in Survey Methodology from the University of Michigan; she lives in Ann Arbor with her wife Stephanie and their young son and spends as much time as she can enjoying Lake Michigan and the state’s other treasures.
Michael O’Donnell is a successful cardiologist. He received his MD from Loyola University and his Cardiology career has spanned multiple highlights in Illinois, California, and Michigan. Dr O’Donnell has held numerous administrative posts and faculty appointments; and has published an impressive array of medical journal articles and abstracts in the field of Cardiology.
Currently, He is an adjunct assistant professor in Biomedical Engineering at U of M, an innovator and the Co-Founder, of multiple start-up companies. He also volunteers at at Hope Clinic in Ypsilanti, MI seeing un-insured patients.
Dr O’Donnell and his family have a second home in Leelanau County and are very active in the Leelanau Conservancy. Their love and concern for the future of our air, land and water has lead him to work with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. A position he truly feels makes a difference.
Mike lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Jan Garfinkle, the founder and managing director at Arboretum Ventures. They have three grown daughters, all of whom majored or minored in environmental science in their collegiate education.
Gary Bice, Secretary, Bloomfield Hills
Gary is a Senior Vice President of Wealth Management and the lead investment strategist responsible for non-core asset selection for his team, the BP Group in Birmingham. He also heads up the tactical fixed income management and the team’s Portfolio Management Program. Gary graduated from Wayne State University with a BA in Economics. He is a Certified Portfolio Manager (CPM®) and has been selected as one of the “Top 40 Financial Advisors” by Crain’s Detroit Business in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Gary lives in Bloomfield Hills with his wife Wendy and has three grown children. He is still a competitive swimmer and a member of the Wayne State University Athletic Hall of Fame. In addition to being a proud member of the Michigan LCV Education Fund Board of Directors, Gary currently serves a member of the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University Planned Giving Committees. In his spare time, he enjoys sailing, biking, and all genres of music.
Julie Bennett, Pinckney
Julie Metty Bennett is a senior vice president at Public Sector Consultants. As an owner of the firm, Ms. Bennett works with her partners to set the vision and strategy for the firm, appoint and oversee the principals of the firm, set policies, and make all major decisions about corporate financial and business matters. She also manages the firm’s Environment and Energy Division, provides strategic counsel and facilitation services, conducts research and analysis, and manages projects for the firm and its clients on a wide range of subjects, including energy, water quality, solid waste management, land use, community and economic development, and natural resource management. Additionally, she oversees the PSC’s Marketing and Communications Division. She also serves as a co-founder and manager of program design and innovation for Michigan Saves, a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization managed by PSC that provides financing solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. In this capacity, she designs new and improved existing financing products, advises the executive director on financial, strategic, and operational issues, and assists with fundraising. And she serves as manager of the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, a multimillion-dollar private foundation managed by PSC. In this capacity, she manages staff, budgets, and project tasks; provides strategic direction; and manages grants made to a variety of nonprofit and governmental entities.
Prior to joining PSC in 2000, Ms. Bennett worked for the Michigan United Conservation Clubs as an environmental policy specialist, representing the organization before local, state, and federal policymakers on energy, air quality, and waste management issues. She also managed a variety of issue-specific public education campaigns and coordinated grass-roots activities related to the 1996 voter initiative Proposal G. She then joined the National Wildlife Federation, where she successfully and strategically managed energy policy advocacy campaigns to educate and mobilize individuals, organizations, and federal, state, and local policymakers in furtherance of Great Lakes protection issues.
Ms. Bennett holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science, with a concentration in Environmental Policy and a second major in Political Science, and an MS in Resource Development, with specialization in Environmental Toxicology, both from Michigan State University.
Laura Berman, Birmingham
Laura is an award-winning Detroit-based journalist and writer. She was a featured columnist at the Detroit News for almost 30 years, writing and reporting from Detroit and destinations as far-flung as war-ravaged Bosnia, Moscow, and London. At the Detroit Free Press, where she worked for ten years, Laura covered politics, business, and worked as a Sunday Magazine writer.
Laura’s commentary and feature writing has appeared in many national publications, including full-length profiles of Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert in Fortune and of Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne for Time. Her journalism awards include a National Headliner Award for column writing, best Michigan columnist awards from AP and UPI, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Detroit chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, the professional journalism society.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, she lives with her husband, Brian Dickerson, and their 16-year-old daughter Lina in a Detroit suburb. She is currently working on a non-fiction book about the mercurial rise, slow fall and remarkable rebirth of a Detroit square mile.
Before stepping down in 2012, Janis served 24 years as the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner. She was re-elected to the position five times and has been applauded for advancing sustainable storm water practices and increasing public education efforts around water stewardship in the County. As an officer with the Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners, she worked to ensure that water quality protection and environmental resource management became integral parts of Drain Commissioners’ jobs in Michigan. Before becoming Water Resources Commissioner, Janis worked as an Environmental Planner and Manager of Water Quality Programs for SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments). In addition to serving on the MLCVEF Board, Janis is currently serving as one of Ann Arbor’s representatives to the Huron River Watershed Council Board and Executive Committee. She is also a citizen member of Washtenaw County Parks Commission, and serves on other non-environmental nonprofit Boards. She holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.
Irene is a forester for the City of Lansing and an active labor and environmental organizer.
Irene joined the Michigan LCV Board in 2000, serving as the board president from 2003-2004. Irene is an active member of numerous other organizations across the state, such as the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance Committee, the Michigan Forestry and Park Association, the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association Legislative Committee, and the Michigan State University Stakeholders Committee. Whether at home in Howell or at work in Lansing, Irene is constantly advocating and organizing for a healthier and more accessible Michigan environment.
The many honors Irene has received over the years include the Environmental Quality Award from the US EPA in 1991 and the Horticulture Woman of the Year in 1989 from the National Association of Women in Horticulture.
Andy is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, a position that holds joint appointments at the School of Natural Resources & Environment and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He is also Education Director at the Graham Sustainability Institute.
Andy’s research focuses on corporate strategies that address environmental and social issues. His disciplinary background lies in the areas of organizational behavior, institutional change, negotiations and change management.
Andy has published fourteen books and over one-hundred articles. Prior to academics, Andy worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency, Metcalf & Eddy, the Amoco Corporation, and T&T Construction and Design, Inc. In 2004, he was a Senior Fellow with the Meridian Institute.
Andy includes among his many teaching interests competitive environmental strategy, strategies for sustainable development, organizational behavior, negotiations, green construction, and organizational change.
Before retirement, John had a career as a Intellectual Property Attorney with McGarry Bair PC from 2001 till 2015. He also spent 18 years beforehand as an attorney with Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt and Howell. In his practice of law, John has taught, directly or indirectly, international IP law, its intricacies and strategy, to many IP lawyers. Highly respected for his thought leadership, his colleagues hold him in the highest esteem for his contributions to the field. Named in “The Best Lawyers in America” in the practice areas of: Copyright Law, Litigation – Intellectual Property, Patent Law and Trademark Law, 2013-2014. Elizabeth Major Nevius Award for Leadership, Scholarship and Citizenship, 1961.
John received a Bachelors of Arts in Applied Science from Lehigh University and a degree in Intellectual Property Law from Georgetown University Law Center.
For the past seven years, Milton has been the president and CEO of ENRG Power Systems LLC, and then principal and CEO of 232 Advisors LLC. He is also the Co-Chair of the MI Innovation Alliance, promoting new and emerging technologies on a global basis for implementation in Michigan. Milton has extensive experience in working across diverse geographies and company cultures, with a background that includes the clean-tech, automotive, health-tech and manufacturing arenas. He has recognized expertise in integrating engineering, finance and sales to achieve maximize organizational effectiveness, and customer satisfaction / growth. Milton’s previous executive-level positions include: Vice President of North America Sales and Business Development for TATA AutoComp Systems Ltd, a unit of the Tata Group; Vice President of North America Sales and Engineering for Weidmann Plastics Technology AG; Executive Director, Sales & Business Development for Newcor, Inc; and Director of North American Program Management for Delphi Interior & Lighting.
Milton received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
Rob is president of ConservAmerica, a national organization dedicated to solving environmental issues like climate change through conservative and market oriented policies..
Prior to joining ConservAmerica, Sisson spent 22 years in the financial services industry in west Michigan, primarily as a commercial banker. In the year 2000, the United States Small Business Administration named him Michigan’s Small Business Advocate of the Year.
He served two terms as mayor of the City of Sturgis. Prior to leaving office in 2007, Sisson had turned the city into a national model for conservation practices.
Rob is a 1982 graduate of Albion College with a degree in Economics and Management. He has published two books, Financing the Small Business and The Legend of Chief White Pigeon and The Old Sauk Trail. He is married to Theresa, a pharmaceutical research professional.
Denise Thal oversees business operations at Planned Parenthood of Michigan. Prior to that she served as vice-president and CFO at The Henry Ford. Many years before that she worked on the Bubble Project, an early cap and trade effort at the federal EPA. She has also served on the boards of the Ecology Center and the Leslie Science and Nature Center.
Elizabeth is an attorney with Welch Law and works exclusively in the area of labor and employment law. Her work includes assisting management with issues related to hiring and firing, wage and hour compliance, as well as all aspects of labor and employment law with various government agencies on the local, state and federal levels.She has extensive experience practicing in front of the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, and the state/federal Departments of Labor. Elizabeth is also a trained mediator.
In 1995, Elizabeth received her law degree from Ohio State University, where she served as a top editor for the Law Journal. She graduated from Penn State University with a history/business degree with honors and magna cum laude in 1992.
Elizabeth is very involved in Grand Rapids’ vibrant non-profit community. She is a graduate of the Leadership Grand Rapids program and serves as a Trustee for both the Steelcase Foundation and the East Grand Rapids Public Schools. She is a past board member of Home Repair Services, the Home & Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids, Camp Henry, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the Hugh Michael Beahan Foundation (which served St. Andrew’s school students). She also works with parents on grassroots issues related to public education through Michigan Parents for Schools.