BRIAN BEAULIEU - CEO, ITR Economics
Brian Beaulieu has been an economist with ITR Economics since 1982 and its CEO since 1987. He is also Chief Economist for Vistage International and TEC, global organizations comprised of over 13,000 CEO’s. At ITR, Brian has been engaged in applied research regarding business cycle trend analysis and the utilization of that research at a practical business level. For the past 25 years, he has been giving workshops and seminars across the US and Canada to thousands of business owners and executives. Prior to joining the ITR Economics, Brian was an economist for the US Department of Labor where he worked on the health care component of the Consumer Price Index. Brian is co-author of the book, Make Your Move.
REV. ROBERT SIRICO - President, Acton Institute
Rev. Robert A. Sirico received his Master of Divinity degree from the Catholic University of America, following undergraduate study at the University of Southern California and the University of London. During his studies and early ministry, he experienced a growing concern over the lack of training religious studies students receive in fundamental economic principles, leaving them poorly equipped to understand and address today's social problems. As a result of these concerns, Fr. Sirico co-founded the Acton Institute with Kris Alan Mauren in 1990.
As president of the Acton Institute, Fr. Sirico lectures at colleges, universities, and business organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad. His writings on religious, political, economic, and social matters are published in a variety of journals, including: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the London Financial Times, the Washington Times, the Detroit News, and National Review. Fr. Sirico is often called upon by members of the broadcast media for statements regarding economics, civil rights, and issues of religious concern, and has provided commentary for CNN, ABC, the BBC, NPR, and CBS' 60 Minutes, among others.
In April of 1999, Fr. Sirico was awarded an honorary doctorate in Christian Ethics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and in May of 2001, Universidad Francisco Marroquin awarded him an honorary doctorate in Social Sciences. He is a member of the prestigious Mont Pèlerin Society, the American Academy of Religion, and the Philadelphia Society, and is on the Board of Advisors of the Civic Institute in Prague. Father Sirico also served on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission from 1994 to 1998. His pastoral ministry has included a chaplaincy to AIDS patients at the National Institutes of Health. He is the Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
RICHARD SHERIDAN - CEO, Menlo Innovations
Joy, Inc. author Richard Sheridan is the CEO, Chief Storyteller and co-founder of Menlo Innovations. In 1973 when Rich was 14 years old, he landed his first job as a programmer, creating the first email system at the Macomb Intermediate School District, a decade before the term email would even be close to a household word. He couldn’t believe people would pay him to do something he just loved to do as a hobby.
He went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Michigan and then followed that by earning his Master’s degree in computer engineering. After graduating, he worked his way through a number of Ann Arbor technology companies, ending up at Interface Systems. At the midpoint of his career rise, he wanted out. He no longer experienced the joy that had first drawn him to programming as a kid. His work life was filled with weekends away from family, disappointed colleagues and projects that were always in trouble.
After being promoted to VP of Software Development, Rich was inspired to pursue a lasting change in the organization and restore the joy he initially found in his job and industry. His investigation led him to different books, videos, and methodologies that opened his eyes to a new approach for running his team. He was delighted to see lasting change within his team. By early 2001, however, the Internet bubble burst and Interface System’s new Silicon Valley parent company shuttered every remote office it had. The beautiful, high-flying experiment that Rich and his team had run was over. For the first time in a thirty-year technical career, Rich was without a job.
Rich knew that he had been on to something at Interface Systems. He had learned how to build a great team with a joyful culture. So he decided to do it again by starting his own company with three partners. On June 12, 2001 Menlo Innovations LLC was born. He and his partners decided that the company’s purpose would be to bring joy to the world through software, and to teach this method to others.
Rich was featured on the cover of Forbes magazine in 2003, sharing his “hire yourself” story with the world. Menlo has gone on to win the Alfred P. Sloan award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility for eight straight years and has earned five revenue awards from Inc. magazine. Rich spends the majority of his time sharing the Menlo Way through teaching classes, leading tours, speaking at conferences and mentoring entrepreneurs in the community and sharing joy!
MELANIE STOVER - Director of Strategic Initiatives, NIMS
Melanie Stover serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, managing innovative projects to strategically address the skills gap challenges facing the manufacturing workforce. Prior to joining NIMS, Melanie worked for The Manufacturing Institute as a Program Manager. In that role, she led the STEP Ahead initiative to examine and promote the role of women in manufacturing and the M-List, a national initiative to recognize outstanding manufacturing certification programs. She has also served as the Partnerships Coordinator in the Workforce Development Division of ACT, supporting initiatives to transition military veterans into the manufacturing careers and skills certification programs. Melanie is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
LARAMIE SANDQUIST - Risk Manager, Federated Insurance
Laramie Sandquist is an Owatonna, Minnesota, native. He graduated from Minnesota State University – Mankato with an undergraduate degree in business administration, and furthered his education by obtaining his MBA in finance and risk management from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He started his career with Federated Insurance as a risk consultant in the Field Services Department. Subsequent career changes included field production underwriter, risk management trainer, and training manager in Federated’s Learning Center.
Laramie holds several industry designations including CPCU, ARM, ERM, APA, and CIPA. His experience as a speaker and his knowledge of risk management issues has given him numerous opportunities to share his expertise with associations, clients, and outside groups. In his current position of risk manager – national accounts, Laramie’s main responsibilities include facilitating Federated’s one- and 2½-day Risk Manager Seminars, presenting at national association conventions, and supporting the members of Federated’s national affinity partners with risk management tools and strategies.
RICK MURRAY - Consultant
Rick Murray is a dynamic, forward-thinking leader whose passion, creativity, adaptability and empowering approach have consistently inspired those around him to raise their game. Widely respected as an industry pioneer and thought leader, he has deep expertise in brand development, integrated marketing communications, public relations, digital strategy, social business, online advocacy and word of mouth marketing.
Previously, Rick spent thirteen years with Edelman, now the world’s largest public relations agency, where he played a key role in the firm’s +400% growth since 2001. Most recently, he served as president of Edelman’s hometown office in Chicago, a position held since Q2 2010. Under his stewardship, the region-leading business grew 40%; saw NPS rise from 34 to 71; and was twice named a “Best Place to Work” in the Midwest. He also served on Edelman’s Global Strategy Committee, and recently created a weeklong curriculum entitled “Storytelling in a Digital Age,” currently being rolled out to Edelman’s 5000+ global staff.
Long an early adopter of emerging technologies, Rick saw the power and potential of social media and word-of-mouth marketing in 2004. Working directly with Edelman’s CEO, he started me2revolution – a pioneering social media lab devoted to helping clients and staff alike adapt to and navigate the vast changes in the media and communications landscape. He then formed Edelman Digital in 2008 to accelerate the monetization of this effort around the world. Today, Edelman Digital represents 22% of Edelman’s global fees, having driven more than 40% of the firm’s growth since its inception.
Prior to joining Edelman as head of its Diversified Services business in 2001, Rick started and led an integrated marketing business for another leading PR firm; executed a turnaround in a privately-held meeting and media production company; created a kiosk-based database marketing application for a global CPG marketer; and helped double fees at a leading sales promotion agency. His early career was spent in a series of increasingly responsible sales and marketing roles at Ocean Spray Cranberries and Pepsi-Cola International, where as vice president of marketing in Canada, he led the business to market leadership in 1989.
Rick is a frequent speaker and often cited in the media on the topics of social media, word-of-mouth marketing, and trends to watch in marketing and communications. He sits on the boards of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the Chicago Architecture Foundation. He’s also an advisor to Chicago Ideas Week, the School of PR & Journalism at Auburn University and several technology and purpose-driven start-ups.
Rick earned his B.A. in economics from the University of Vermont in 1980, and lives in Northfield, Illinois with his wife of 32 years, Lea.
David Marquet is an optimist who believes that we all have an inner superhero capable of acts of greatness. He is the author of the award-winning book Turn the Ship Around! In 2012 Fortune Magazine called it the "best how-to manual anywhere for managers on delegating, training, and driving flawless execution."
A 1981 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, David Marquet served in the U.S. submarine force for 28 years. He commanded the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe. Captain Marquet completely turned around Santa Fe, where the crew went from being "worst to first." Santa Fe continued to win awards after his departure and promoted a disproportionate number of officers and enlisted men to positions of increased responsibility, including 10 subsequent submarine captains. After riding USS Santa Fe, Stephen R. Covey said it was the most empowering organization he'd ever seen and wrote about Captain Marquet's leadership practices in his book, The 8th Habit.
Captain Marquet retired from the Navy in 2009, and speaks to businesses and groups who want to create empowering work environments that release the passion, initiative, and intellect of each person. This bold and highly effective leadership approach can be summarized as "give control, create leaders." Doing so creates environments where we coax our inner superhero to action.
He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and lives in Manhattan with his wife, Jane.
MIKE MICHALOWICZ - CEO, Provendus Group
Mike Michalowicz (mi-KAL-o-witz) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement complex. With no experience, no contacts and no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. His experience building three multi-million dollar companies fostered a philosophy rarely taught to entrepreneurs: the lack of money, experience and resources is, in fact, your greatest asset. Because, all these “limitations” bring about the key ingredient to entrepreneurial success: innovation.
Mike is the CEO of a business growth consulting firm, Provendus Group; is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is the “business makeover” specialist on MSNBNC; and is the author of both The Pumpkin Plan and the entrepreneur’s cult classic book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.
JEFF LEMMERMANN - CFO/CIO, Precision Plus, Inc.
Jeff has more than 23 years of business experience, and is currently the CFO and CIO for Precision Plus, a manufacturer of precision turned components in Elkhorn, WI. Prior to joining Precision Plus, he was the Wisconsin Practice Manager for Risk Services at Clifton LarsonAllen, where he worked for over 21 years. His specialties include assisting businesses with assessing and auditing information systems, the performance of SSAE 16 /SAS70 audits, PCI compliance consulting, and general information system security.
Jeff is a speaker on information security and career related topics, including the keynote address for the 2013 New CPA Welcome Dinner in Milwaukee, WI. He is engaged annually to give presentations for the UW-Green Bay Outreach Program and UW-Whitewater’s Business Program; and has spoken for many other organizations and national conferences which include: Infosec World, The IT Audit Management Summit, The Associated General Contractors of America, California Credit Union Organization League, International Institute of Municipal Clerks, and Wisconsin Government Finance Officers Association. Jeff is a member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association – Kettle Moraine Chapter, American Institute of CPAs, and the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Jeff has written and contributed to a number of articles involving Information Security for publications that include the Wisconsin Institute of CPA's "On Balance" magazine, Construction Executive, and The Contractor's Business Management Report.
DAVID FORCE - Principal, Constructive Behavioral Consulting
One of the nation’s innovative behaviorists and producers, for 34 years Dave developed standardized training techniques for behavior at SeaWorld that led to hundreds of thousands of entertainment performances, animal/guest interactions and scientific discoveries. Beyond that his ground breaking educational and camp programs have launched the careers of thousands of young people in marine science, environmental studies, entertainment and education. As important as his knowledge is his ability to deliver it in an unforgettable way.
A consummate showman Dave delivers his message with passion, humor and common sense. If a speaker can change an audience forever, it’s Dave Force. An advocate for the simple idea that building positive relationships is the foundation of success in school, business and families Dave has delivered his message to 10’s of 1,000’s of people in talks around the nation.
Dave served as the executive director for San Antonio Youth Literacy. A non-profit organization focused on improving the literacy skills of the at-risk youth of San Antonio via a volunteer reading tutor program structured for 2nd grade students.
He was a founding member of the Board of Directors for the PreK4SA education initiative which has become the template for similar programs nationwide. A city sponsored, voter approved program whose aims are to improve the educational trajectory of 22,400 four-year-old children over eight years while benefiting thousands more by training area school teachers, teacher’s aides, community Pre-K providers and education leaders.
In 2014 HUD Secretary Julian Castro (then Mayor of San Antonio) honored Dave for his service to the community as a leader in Education.
Dave business knowledge and creativity was capitalized upon as he brought to life the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park Morgan’s Wonderland , an inclusive theme park which enables those with and without disabilities to play together.