Distinguished Guest Speakers

The School of Business and Economics features a diverse group of Distinguished Guest Speakers each year. Speakers connect with students, faculty, and staff by sharing knowledge and real-world business experiences. Explore some of the School’s past guest speakers below.

Distinguished Guest Speakers

Guest Speakers 2014-2015

Karen Blunden - CEO of IFM Americas at Infomedia Ltd.

Ms. Karen Blunden joined Infomedia in 2010 as the CEO of IFM Americas Inc.

With over thirty years of executive leadership experience in the IT and Automotive industries, Karen has been involved in business turn-around and growth across many verticals. 

Karen has held executive positions in engineering, marketing, automotive retail and aftersales.  Prior to joining Infomedia, Karen was the Chief Operations Officer for a medical diagnostic product manufacturer and also consulted with Automotive Suppliers in the area of M&A transactions. 

Karen spent much of her career at EDS, a global Information Technology Services company. While at EDS, Karen was the Division President of the Automotive Retail Group supplying Dealer Management Solutions (DMS) solutions to dealerships.  During her tenure at ARG, the exclusive Saturn DMS agreement was secured.  Her career with EDS also involved divisional leadership for the Onstar, Service Technology Engineering and Cadillac Engineering units.

Karen holds degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science along with being certified in Quality Management. She and her husband Don live in Michigan and have four children.

Maggie Chen - Assistant Portfolio

Maggie Chen is currently an Assistant Portfolio Manager with SAFE Investment Company in Hong Kong focusing on investing U.S. equities.  Previously, she worked at China Everbright Capital Management investing in Chinese equities.

In addition, Maggie has experience with Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and AIG in New York and China Investment Corporation in Beijing.

Maggie received a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude in Business Administration from Michigan Technological University and an MBA from Yale University. 

Danielle (Lorenzetti) Cyrus -  Director of Material Management, Portage Health LLC

Danielle oversees all the purchasing for the clinics and the hospital.  She serves as a member of the Portage Health's Executive Team.  Cyrus plays a major role in working with the UP wide Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) that works collaboratively with all the healthcare organizations in upper Michigan to ensure cost effective group buying to minimize costs.  Cyrus is involved with any aspect of procurement or material management, both products and services, needed to support the successful operations of the health care organization.  Cyrus is a 1993 graduate of the School of Business and Economics with a B.S. in Business Administration.

David Kneisler - VP of Global Quality, Dana Corporation

David is a 1983 graduate of the School of Business and Economics. He received his Masters from the University of Michigan – Flint.  He began his career with General Motors, Central Foundry Division, in IT and then transferred to Saginaw Steering. While there he moved into Finance.  He left General Motors and went to TRW Vehicle Safety Systems for 8 year and then moved to Dana Corporation where he has been for the past twenty years. In 2006 he became the VP of Global Quality and has since taken on the responsibilities of Safety and Reliability.  Kneisler is also Chairman of the Board of the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), discussed automotive industry trends, his role in leading AIAG, and what Dana Corporation seeks in hiring graduates.   Dana offers high-quality automotive product solutions in three core areas of the vehicle – drivetrain, sealing, and thermal-management systems. This lineup of technologies from one source is designed to offer flexibility to vehicle manufacturers around the world.  He oversees the technical aspects of quality engineering for design and manufacturing. In 1982 AIAG was founded by visionaries from the three largest North American automotive manufacturers – Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Membership has grown to include Japanese companies such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan, and many of their part suppliers and services providers. It is one of the largest non-governmental agencies establishing industry standards. 


James Leckinger - Senior Vice President

Jim is a Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of Northern Trust’s Foundation and Institutional Advisors national investment team. Jim is responsible for guiding overall investment strategy and providing leadership for the design and implementation of a working investment process for the Foundation and Institutional Advisors practice. Jim serves on Northern Trust’s Investment Policy Committee (IPC) and Investment Guidance Committee (IGC) two firm wide investment committees responsible for overall investment policy and strategy at Northern Trust Company. He also serves as portfolio manager for a select group of relationships. Jim has over 20 years of experience in various investment roles both with Northern Trust and other financial organizations. 

James Lenz - Director at John Deere

Lenz opened and was the first Director of the John Deere's Technology Innovation Center located on the campus of the University of Illinois. He later started a similar research center for Deere located in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Through Lenz's career he has worked for Boeing, Honeywell, and the University of Minnesota, and has been involved with more than 100 new product developments, working with hundreds of innovators and engineers. In the past he has served as a member of Michigan Tech's School of Business and Economics National Advisory board and the Dean's Advisory Council.

Tyler Pullano - Site Buyer/Coordinator, CertainTeed Ceilings

Tyler purchases all the maintenance items as well as raw materials (assorted minerals, chemicals, and paper product). Pullano works with the corporate team to develop cost savings/avoidance strategies. Pullano also coordinate logistics for the raw materials ensuring they arrive according to the production schedule, sourcing and qualifying suppliers for any capital expenditure project. He is also responsible for all inventory management throughout the facility (ensuring accurate inventory, adjusting inventory stocking levels, ensuring cycle counts done regularly). 

Guest Speakers 2013-2014

Joseph R. Dancy - President of LSGI Advisors, Inc.

Upon completion of his BS in Metallurgical & Material Engineering from Michigan Tech, Joseph Dancy completed his MBA from the University of Michigan in 1978, and his Juris Doctorate from the School of Law at Oklahoma City University in 1983. Since 1993 Dancy has been an adjunct professor teaching Oil & Gas Environmental Law at the SMU School of Law and more recently at the SMU Cox School of Business. He has published two textbooks and numerous research articles.  In addition to his academic commitments he also manages the LSGI Venture Fund, a private investment partnership that invests in small publicly traded companies. Dancy and the LSGI Advisors Inc. have been long-time supporters of Michigan Tech’s Applied Portfolio Management Program, with his serving on the Program’s Advisory Board since 2000. Dancy has been appointed by the Governor as a Texas delegate to the Interstate Oil & Gas Commission, and also serves on the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors of Arts Way Manufacturing, a public agricultural sector manufacturing firm out of Iowa.

Grant Fenner 

Dr. Grant Fenner taught Organizational Behavior and Business Strategy to undergraduate students as well as Organizational Behavior and Business Ethics at the MBA level at Arkansas State University before retiring in May of 2013.  Prior to earning his Ph.D., in Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and a minor in Business Strategy from the University of Memphis, he spent 23 years in the environmental business.  He organized and led an entrepreneurial start-up in Greenville, MS that was sold 6 years later to a global waste services company.  He served the remaining 7 years of his business career as general manager and president of Marathon Equipment Co., a subsidiary of Dover Corporation - the world’s leading manufacturer of on-site waste processing and recycling equipment headquartered in Vernon, Al.

Narayana Kocherlakota - President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Narayana Kocherlakota is an American economist and is the 12th and current president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He oversees the operations of the bank including  payment services and member bank assistance.  Additionally, he serves on the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee directing Monetary Policy for the United States.

Mitzi Montoya - Professor of Management

Dr. Montoya is a Professor in the Management Department of the W.P. Carey School of Business and serves on the board of the Center for Entrepreneurship. Dr. Montoya received her Ph.D. in Marketing and Statistics and a B.S. in Applied Engineering Science, both from Michigan State University.

Jeff Petchey - Professor of Economics

Jeff teaches microeconomics, public finance and game theory. He is also Director of the Fiscal Federalism Research Unit and has published issues in fiscal federalism and public economics, both in Australia and internationally. Recent publications include papers in prestigious international journals including the Journal of Development Studies, Regional Studies, and Regional Science and Urban Economics.

Guest Speakers 2012-2013

Marie Cleveland—Corporate Account Executive

Marie Cleveland a worldwide corporate account manager for Federal Express, she handles six major accounts and is responsible for bringing in $50 million in sales each year.  FedEx has recognized her contributions with numerous accolades over the years, including Rookie of the Year, Senior Account Representative of the Year, Corporate Account Executive of the Year, Ambassador’s Club Award, and the Largest Corporate Account Close Award. In 2010, she received the highest honor at FedEx, the President’s Club Award.

Elizabeth Hoffman—Professor of Economics

Elizabeth (Betsy) Hoffman is currently Professor of Economics at Iowa State, where she was Executive Vice President and Provost from 2007 to 2012.  Previously, she was President of the University of Colorado System.  She is a 1968 graduate of Smith College, hold doctoral degrees in econcomics and history, and has been an accomplished university administrator, faculty member, and researcher over a career spanning 40 years.

Alice Stuhlmacher—Professor of Psychology

Alice F. Stuhlmacher is a Professor of Psychology at DePaul University in Chicago.  Her research interests include negotiation and conflict in organizations, particularly relating to gender,  labor mediators, and virtual communication. 

Guest Speakers 2011-2012

Jim Beran—Account Executive for Barrington Broadcasting

Jim Beran is currently an Account Executive for Barrington Broadcasting’s Marquette affiliates, WLUC TV6, FoxUP and UpperMichigansSource.com . Mr. Beran has over 30 years of business management experience in a variety of industries, including banking, telecommunications and computer software. He uses his broad business experience to help small businesses effectively navigate the complex world of advertising. A loyal Iowa Hawkeye (computer science major, physics and pinball minor!), Jim resides near Marquette and works with clients throughout the UP and northern Wisconsin . He is an active member of the Hancock Business Professionals Association, is currently the Men’s Ministry Leader at Lake Superior Christian Church and is the father of 3 college-age daughters.

Jim Bogan—Marketing in Healthcare

The fall 2011 principles of marketing class welcomed Jim Bogan, President and CEO of Portage Health, based in Hancock, Michigan.  

Charmaine David - Ad Agency & Creative Strategy

Charmaine David, who most recently led the development and implementation of the biggest federal account in the United States -- the 2010 U.S. Census, will be a guest speaker for the Integrated Marketing Communications class. 

As a Client Service Director for IW Group, Inc., she has been in the advertising agency industry for close to fifteen years, and is a seasoned brand strategist and integrated marketing communications specialist with valuable experience in direct, database and e-commerce marketing. Prior to joining IW Group, Charmaine worked at McCann-Erickson Philippines where she managed multiple clients such as Coca-Cola, Gillette, Braun and Citibank. 

Pallas Huang—Director of Insights and Strategy in McDonald's China

Huang presented on Building a Brand to students in the Integrated Marketing Communications course.

She is responsible for business analysis, identifying future business growth drivers, pricing, and to assist the Chinese leadership team with the development of strategy.

John McCadden—Personal Marketing as a Finance Professional

With over 30 years of experience, John McCadden spoke to the Principles of Marketing class about his career path and future goals.

McCadden is an accomplished consultant, practitioner and financial specialist. He prides himself on the high net worth clientele that he has cultiatved through the years. He is a member agent at The Nautilus Group.

Dot Proux—Maximize your Personal Brand and Secure Career Opportunities

Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics hosted alumnus Dorthoy (Dot) Proux ’86  as part of the Scott Pattullo Visiting Executive Speaker Series. The series is designed to give students access to influential alumni in business and engineering fields.

Dot is a partner in Ernst & Young’s National Tax practice, and is based in Chicago. She is currently the Americas Director for EYU Tax and Resource Management, overseeing the learning, development, and deployment of tax professionals in North America, South America, and Israel. In this role, she is also involved in the development of Ernst & Young’s tax campus recruiting strategy and the successful integration of new staff into the firm. In the past, she led Ernst & Young’s Midwest State and Local Tax practice, and continues to serve Fortune 500 companies related to their state and local tax service needs.

John Rockwell—Venture Capital Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Rockwell, the inaugural speaker in Michigan Tech’s Scott Pattullo Visiting Executive Series, visited campus to address business and engineering students and meet with faculty. 

Rockwell is now founder and managing director of Element Partners, a venture capital and private equity firm that specializes in green technologies. During the last 20 years, he has invested his time and money in numerous green-tech companies, from Luxar, a manufacturer of carbon dioxide lasers, to EdeniQ, a biofuels company now deriving sugars from cellulose.

James Studinger of JPStudinger Group out of Bloomington Hills, MI

James presented to Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP) students about wealth management.

Studinger is the owner of the wealth-management company JPStudinger Group out of Bloomington Hills, Michigan. He has also authored the book "Wealth is a Choice". To learn more, visit www.jpstudinger.com.

Guest Speakers 2010-2011

David Chaudier—Project Management in Healthcare

David Chaudier will be speaking to the Project Management course and discussing how project management is undertaken in his firm.  He will also be holding a Q and A session with the MBA Association.

David M. Chaudier (93) graduated with a degree in business administration from Michigan Tech. He is the VP of Operations at Aurora St. Luke's Health Medical Center in Milwaukee and lives in Belgium, Wisc.

Bill DeGenaro—Business Intelligence

Bill DeGenaro previously taught Business Intelligence fundamentals to graduate students in the School of Business & Economics and has been a featured guest speaker on the topic in a number of class sessions and workshops.  He will be speaking with the Systems Analysis & Design undergraduate class and, separately, with the Strategic IS Management MBA class. 

Bill is the President of DeGenaro & Associates, providing consulting services on a variety of business intelligence needs, including: Intelligence collection, analytical assessment, personality profiling, warning processes, counterintelligence, and business intelligence system design.

Paul Dejarnatt—Strategic Planning for Digital Marketing

Paul will be speaking to students taking the Digital Marketing course.

Paul Dejarnatt is the director in charge of the Blackberry account from Starcom Worldwide Media Group. He oversees a team of media buyers and planners in the interactive space and is responsible for driving strategies regarding client advertising, coordinating cross-platform initiatives, and managing an online media team to provide efficient and effective media plans.

Anne Herron—Business Intelligence in Information Technology

Anne Herron will be speaking to the campus community as part of the ongoing “Women in IT” series.  She will hold and informal a question and answer session with students following the prepared presentation. Anne will also interact with undergraduate students in Accounting Systems in the afternoon.

As Business Intelligence Director, Anne Herron’s responsibilities include new business development, current client/project development and managing a team of information researchers and analysts. Over the past decade, she has assisted in the development of educational/training sessions in the field of business intelligence – including information collection & analysis and information systems. Speaking and training engagements include Fortune 500 companies, professional associations, Business Management Graduate School Programs and the Harvard Business Club.  Prior to her thirteen years at AIM, she was an Analytical Chemist in Polymer Sciences for The Dow Chemical Company.

Laura Konkel—Practical Advice for Creating and Protecting Trademarks

Speaking to students taking the Intellectual Property Law, Technology, Society and Innovation course.

Laura Konkel is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group in the Milwaukee office of Michael Best & Fredrich LLP. Her practice focuses on all aspects of trademark law including managing domestic and foreign trademark portfolios, prosecuting U.S. trademark applications, assisting in opposition and cancellation matters and infringement litigation proceedings.

Jim Lenz—Technology and Innovation Management

Jim will be speaking to undergraduate and MBA students.

Jim is currently the Director of the John Deere Technology Innovation Center located on the campus of the University of Illinois. Over the past two years he started and created this new innovation center and a new way of doing innovation for Deere and Co. He is now also starting a similar research center for Deere which will be located in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Jim Northey—Financial Institutions

Jim Northey is speaking about the use of technology in financial institutes and the changing structure of global FX markets in Banking and Financial Institutions and the Global Finance course.

Jim Northey serves as a partner at LaSalle Technology Group in Hancock, MI. His main business focus is in providing consulting services and products for messaging and transaction processing to improve the quality of financial services in terms of efficiency, reliability, and performance. A commitment to open international standards, such as FIX and ISO 20022, is a key part of this focus.

Dave Olsson—Strategic Marketing in Healthcare

Dave is speaking with students in the Principles of Marketing course about strategic marketing measures in health care systems.

Dave is the Director of Strategic Marketing and Growth at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

John Soyring—International Organizational Behavior

John Soyring will be addressing students in Organizational Behavior and Managing Change about organizational behavior practices in IBM. Specifically, he will address how they view and convert the challenges that arise out of operating in 174 countries with diverse cultures as IBM's strategic strength. Soyring will be speaking on Sept 30th at 10:45 am in Academic Office Building (101) within the School of Business and Economics.

After graduating from Michigan Tech with a BSEE in 1976, John joined IBM. During his career with IBM, John has held a variety of technical, professional, managerial and executive positions within the company. He is currently an IBM corporate vice president and the senior global executive for the IBM Software Services & Support business unit. John currently lives in Texas, but his second home and his heart are on the shores of Lake Superior near the mouth of the Huron River.

Dr. Sheneeta White—Operations and Supply Chain Management

Dr. Sheneeta White presented to students, faculty, and staff on “A model for efficiency-based resource integration in services.” During her time on campus, Dr. White also took part in a student networking event with undergraduate and graduate students. 

Sheneeta W. White is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Operations and Supply Chain Management at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She received a doctorate in Management Science from Virginia Tech, an MBA from North Carolina State University, and a bachelor’s of science degree from Xavier University of Louisiana.