Home  /   Events  /   Speaker Bio’s

May 17th, John Hofmeister, “Why We Hate the Oil Companies”

John Hofmeister, author "Why We Hate the Oil Companies"

Former President Shell Oil Company

Houston, Texas

Founder and Chief Executive Citizens for Affordable Energy

Washington, D.C.

Author “Why We Hate the Oil Companies”

Straight Talk from an Energy Insider

Read an excerpt of his book on Amazon

John Hofmeister was named President of Houston-based Shell Oil Company in March 2005, heading the U.S. Country Leadership Team, which included the leaders of all Shell businesses operating in the United States. He became President after serving as Group Human Resource Director of the Shell Group, based in The Hague, The Netherlands.

As Shell President, Mr. Hofmeister launched an extensive outreach program, unprecedented in the energy industry, to discuss critical global energy challenges. The program included an 18 month, 50-city tour across the country during which Hofmeister led 250 other Shell leaders to meet with more than 15,000 business, community and civic leaders, policymakers, and academics to discuss what must be done to ensure affordable, available energy for the future.

A business leader who has participated in the inner workings of multiple industries for over 35 years, Hofmeister also has held key leadership positions in General Electric, Nortel and AlliedSignal (now Honeywell International).

Upon retirement from Shell Oil Company in July, 2008, Mr. Hofmeister founded and now heads the not-for-profit Citizens for Affordable Energy. This Washington, D.C.-registered, public policy education firm exists to promote sound U.S. energy security solutions for the nation, including a range of affordable energy supplies, efficiency improvements, essential infrastructure, sustainable environmental policies and public education on energy issues.

Hofmeister serves as the Chairman of the National Urban League and is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee, and the Sodexo Business Advisory Board. He also serves on the boards of the Foreign Policy Association, Strategic Partners, LLC, the Gas Technology Institute and the Center for Houston’s Future. Hofmeister is a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources. He also is a past Chairman and serves as a Director of the Greater Houston Partnership.

Hofmeister earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Political Science from Kansas State University.

Register for the May 17th, 2013 TC Economic Club luncheon now.

April 26th Event, Speaker Governor Rick Snyder

April 26th the Traverse City Economic Club welcomes Governor Rick Snyder.

Governor Snyder earned his bachelor’s degree, MBA and law degree from the University of Michigan- all by the age of 23. He chose to start his career in Michigan as a tax accountant with the Detroit office of Coopers & Lybrand and, within six years, he made partner. He then joined the fledgling computer company Gateway and helped it grow from a little over 700 employees to a Fortune 500 company with more than 10,000 employees before leaving to form his own successful venture capital firm.

Three years ago, businessman Rick Snyder was a virtual unknown in the political world and won a gubernatorial victory after running as “One Tough Nerd” ready to make tough decisions. Governor Snyder was inaugurated as the 48th Governor of the State of Michigan on January 1, 2011 at the Capitol in Lansing. Snyder is the first Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to be elected governor of Michigan and is the only CPA in the country serving as a governor.

Governor Snyder resides in Ann Arbor with his wife Sue and their three children.

Traverse City Economic Club Members can register for this event here.

April 19th, Melanie Bergeron, “New Ideas Born Out of Necessity”

Melanie Bergeron CEO, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK

Melanie Bergeron officially joined the family business in 1989 when she was awarded the first TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise in Atlanta, GA.

Bergeron also maintained a career in pharmaceutical sales while operating the franchise because all profits from the franchise were being reinvested into the family business.

Eventually she left her pharmaceutical sales career to focus on her franchise full-time.

At the request of her mother, Founder Mary Ellen Sheets, Bergeron came to work at the home office in Lansing, Michigan in the 1990s. In 1994, Bergeron was named president of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. In 2002, she became chief operating officer and in January 2007, she took over as CEO. She became chair of the board in 2009.

Bergeron makes sure the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® team focuses on key factors she believes will help the company grow and be successful.

  • Build a strong training program for all staff.
  • Develop strategic plans for all areas of the system.
  • Maintain a high level of integrity.
  • Give back to the community.

Register for the April 19th event here.

February 15th Ray Minervini “When Vision Becomes Reality”

Ray Minervini, President Minervini Group

Ray Minervini is a visionary, strategist, mentor, and respected leader in property development. Ray spearheaded the campaign to save, preserve and re-use the 64-acre complex of historic buildings that once comprised the former Traverse City State Hospital campus. The main hospital facility and ancillary buildings, built in 1886 and abandoned in 1989, represent approximately one-million square feet of redevelopment capacity. Ray Minervini’s personal and tireless commitment to preserve this majestic architectural legacy is indicative of his integrity and hands-on approach to complex redevelopment strategies.

Register for event here

January 18th Trevor Tkach “The New Face of the National Cherry Festival”

Trevor Tkach, Executive Director of the National Cherry Festival

Trevor Tkach, a native of Traverse City, is the Executive Director of the National Cherry Festival. After attaining an associate’s degree from NMC and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University, Trevor started a career in sports marketing. This career path eventually led him to the West Michigan Whitecaps Baseball team as an account executive and later a senior account executive. When Trevor and his wife Trisha, also a native of Traverse City, were ready to start a family, they chose to move back to their hometown. After the move, Trevor was soon employed by the National Cherry Festival as the Business Development Manager. In this new role he was responsible for developing new profit centers and maturing existing revenue sources for the Festival. While working for the Cherry Festival, Trevor went back to school and attained his MBA from the University of Michigan – Flint. Trevor was named interim executive director of the Cherry Festival in October of 2011 and permanently appointed to the position in June of 2012.

Trevor currently sits on the NMC BBQ board, The Michigan Festivals and Events Association board, and the Central Michigan University Recreation, Parks and Leisure advisory board. He has been named to the Traverse City Business News 40 most influential business people under the age of 40 five years in a row. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City and enjoys spend time with his three children: Lauren (6), Camden (4), and Carson (1).

Register to attend the January 18th event.

October 19th – Jed Smith “The Future of Real Estate”

Message About the Topic | Speaker Bio | Register

Message About the Topic

Dear Economic Club Members,

Jed Smith, Managing Director of Quantitative Research at the National Association of Realtors

Just when we thought the one investment – real estate – was the one investment we could all count on, the housing market crashed and crashed big. Today as I travel the side streets of Traverse City, I still see homes sitting empty with semi-rusted For Sale signs on the front lawn. From all indications, our area was not hit as hard as many areas in the country, but that still does not make the owner of an unsold home feel any better.

Several questions still remain. Will the rest estate market ever return to a sense of normalcy? Will it ever be the “safe investment” we always thought it was? Will there ever be a return on investment that in the past we thought we could rely on?

Jed Smith has been analyzing the real estate market for over 20 years and he will be the one to shed some light on the current real estate market and share with us his thoughts about the future of real estate.

I would also like to thank Kim Pontius, Economic Club member and Executive Vice President of the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, for making Jed’s visit possible.

See you October 19.

Susan Cogswell, Program Chair

Economic Club of Traverse City

Speaker Bio


Jed Smith is Managing Director of Quantitative Research at the National Association of Realtors® located in Washington, DC.

Jed has approximately 20 years of experience in analyzing commercial and residential housing markets, gained during his work as a manager with General Electric’s Power Business, and as Director of Market Planning and Analysis for Washington Gas. He has focused on both understanding the markets and on implementing the use of the information for business planning and development purposes.

His economics degrees are a Ph.D. from Purdue University, and an A.B. from Hamilton College. Prior to joining the NAR he worked as an econometrician for the Postal Regulatory Commission, analyzing and developing commercial and residential models, examining marketing and planning issues, and examining demand and cost analyses.

September 21st – John Augustine

Message About the Topic | Speaker Bio | Register

“Challenges and Opportunities for the Business & Financial Markets”

Message About the Topic

Dear Economic Club Members,

We have all read stories about people hiding their money under the mattress – believing that is the safest place for their life savings. We all have to admit, that investing today – as an individual or as a business – is at times like wading through snake-infested waters. We want safety in our investments, we want a return on those investments, and we also want a future with our investments.

John Augustine

John Augustine, Chief Investment Strategist at Fifth Third Private Bank

Our featured guest speaker this month, Fifth Third Chief Investment Strategist John Augustine, will be covering the following during his presentation:

• Where investors should be focused

• Where businesses should be focused

I would like to thank Becky Osborne, long-standing Economic Club member and Fifth Third Vice President, for her help in securing this nationally respected Investment Strategist. Word already has it our membership is looking forward to John’s visit and program.

See you September 21st.

Susan Cogswell, Program Chair

Economic Club of Traverse City


Speaker Bio


John Augustine is the Chief Investment Strategist for Fifth Third Private Bank,

which has over $25 billion in assets under management. Based in Cincinnati,

he is also the portfolio manager of the International ADR Stock Portfolio and

Core 40 Domestic Stock Portfolio. He has been practicing portfolio

management for over 18 years and is a member of the Investment Policy

Committee, Investment Strategy Team, and Investment Selection Team.

John holds the professional designation of Chartered Financial Analyst;

holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University; and is a graduate of

the Midwest Bankers Association Trust School. He makes regular

appearances from Michigan to Florida and has also appeared frequently

in the media – including CNBC and Bloomberg.

Prior to joining Fifth Third in 1998, John was a Portfolio Manager with

financial institutions in Colorado and Ohio. He is a former president and

Board member for the Dayton Society of Financial Analysts; is on the

University of Dayton – Flyer Investment Advisory Board; and, is a part-time

business professor in the graduate school at the University of Dayton.

August 24th – Alexandra Rheinheimer

Message About the Topic | Speaker Bio

Message About the Topic

Dear Economic Club Members,

Last year when I heard Alex give her presentation, I could not get up and out of my seat fast enough in order to book her for our 2012 guest speaker line-up.

We are all familiar with the area’s top two festivals – The National Cherry Festival and The Traverse City Film Festival – but Traverse City’s “Best-kept Secret” Festival is the Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival. This Equestrian Festival was founded in 2004 by our guest speaker, Alexandra Rheinheimer, and during its first year, the Festival had 250 horses participating. It now attracts over 1,500 horses competing for more than $550,000 in prize money. Yes. Let me repeat – $550,000 in prize money.

2012 Horse Shows by the Bay ~ Signature "Mighty Mac" Jump ~

For only being eight years old, the Horse Shows by the Bay has not only grown in size of participants, but it has made its mark in the National Horse Show Rankings as well. In 2011 Horse Shows by the Bay received a ranking in the Top 25 Horse Shows in North America – standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the oldest and most exclusive Horse Shows offered in North America (Spruce Meadows, Canada; Palm Beach, Florida; and the Hampton Classic, New York; just to name a few).

The Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival brings some of the top horses and riders in the United States to Traverse City to compete in several disciplines and includes: breed shows, musical freestyle competition, and qualifying events for regional and national championships.

What is even more impressive is the amount of money Horse Shows by the Bay brings each year to our economy. Along with the 1,500 horses and the 75 private jets flying into the Cherry Capital Airport, this Horse Show Festival adds $15 MILLION DOLLARS EACH YEAR to our regional economy. According to my reliable source at the Traverse City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, that $15 million dollar amount is believed to be more than the Cherry Festival and the Film Festival COMBINED! Now that’s impressive.

Personally, I consider Alexandra a very special and very successful entrepreneur indeed, but with all this “horsing around” you might find one more fact very interesting about Alex – she doesn’t even own a horse.

I look forward to seeing you August 24th.

Susan Cogswell, Program Chair

Economic Club of Traverse City

Speaker Bio

Alexandra Rheinheimer

I am the founder/owner/operator of the Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival, which is a multi-week summer equestrian festival that takes place annually at Flintfields Horse Park in Williamsburg, Michigan. I’ve been involved with horses since the age of 6 – turning what was once a hobby into a full-time career, which now encompasses owning, managing, judging & producing Horse Shows across the country.

In the winter season I spend my time in Wellington, Florida where I work as a Show Jump Judge at the prestigious Winter Equestrian Festival, but for the rest of the year I call Traverse City my home where I am either in the planning, producing, or tear down stages of Horse Shows by the Bay.

On a few personal notes:

• I am 39 years old

• Serve on 2 committees that are associated with our national governing equestrian body

• Awarded 3 times “The Top 40 under 40 Award”

by the Traverse City Business News and

• In 2010 I was also awarded the distinct honor of being named one of Traverse City’s most powerful women.

I look forward to meeting all of you, the members and guests of the Economic Club of Traverse City, and being your guest speaker on August 24th!

June 15th – Tina Lam

I was watching one of those news variety programs and one particular segment featured people in their leisure boats on the Mississippi literally being bombarded by “flying fish”. At the time it was characterized as a funny video. Since then, the “flying fish” – now known as the Asian Carp – is no longer considered a laughing matter.

Speaker Bio

Tina Lam has been a reporter at the Detroit Free Press since 1992 and has covered major issues such as casinos, pension funds, new stadiums in Detroit and corruption in contracting at Detroit Metro airport.

She has been the Free Press’ environment writer since 2006, covering industrial cleanups, the state’s most toxic zip codes, oil pipeline spills, nuclear plants, groundwater contamination and invasive species from sea lamprey to Asian carp.

Page 6 of 6<<<...23456