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League Bios

Dan Gilmartin
Dan Gilmartin

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Dan Gilmartin
Executive Director & CEO

Dan Gilmartin is the executive director and chief executive officer of the Michigan Municipal League. Through his work with communities, Dan is recognized as a national leader in the fields of urban revitalization, placemaking, local government reform, and transportation policy.

Under his leadership, the League was recognized by Crain's Detroit Business as a "Cool Place to Work" in 2011. Read more.

Model D Media recently referred to him as “an urban thinker with an eye for the small, oft-unnoticed changes that can make ‘places’ out of streets and buildings.”

Dan serves as a member of the Michigan Future, Inc. Leadership Council. He also served for four years as the lead advocate for Michigan’s communities in Lansing and in Washington, where he concentrated on a number of key issues including transportation, land use, and urban redevelopment.

In 2010, Dan added radio talk show host to his resume as host of The Prosperity Agenda on News/Talk 760 WJR, which is Michigan’s highest-rated talk station and can be heard throughout the Midwest and Canada. He is a frequent blogger and a contributing author to the book The Economics of Place, and a frequent speaker on matters pertaining to “place.” In 2012, Dan was selected as the Strategic Association Leader of the Year by the Michigan Society of Association Executives.

Dan is a Michigan kid, a Detroit native (and booster) and currently resides in the historic downtown of Northville, Michigan with his wife Lori and two young sons.

Dan's blog: Economics of Place

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Tony Minghine

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Anthony J. Minghine
Associate Executive Director & COO

Tony Minghine is the associate executive director and chief operating officer of the Michigan Municipal League, and has devoted his career to the service of local government. He joined the League in 2006 to have an opportunity to focus on the broader policy issues surrounding local government. His tenure with the League began as the chief financial officer, and he assumed his current post in July of 2007. Tony is a regular speaker on a variety of topics effecting local government, and plays a key role in training local officials. He is a tireless advocate for local government, and frequently testifies to the state legislature on matters relating to local government finance.

With over 25 years of combined experience, Tony is an expert in operational and finance issues relating to municipalities and non-profits. He is a member of the Michigan Society of Association Executives, the Governmental Finance Officers Association, and Michigan Governmental Finance Officers Association. He is a former member of the MGFOA Board of Directors and has received awards from the GFOA for excellence in financial reporting and popular financial reporting. Tony has served on the MGFOA's legislative committee since 1998, and is a 1985 graduate of Wayne State University.

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Matt Bach

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Matt Bach
Director, Media Relations

Matt Bach is the director of media relations for the League. Previously, he was a newspaper reporter for 18 years at multiple newspapers, including the Flint Journal, the Livingston County Press and the Daily News in Greenville.

The Grand Blanc resident also was public relations manager for the Flint Area Convention & Visitors Bureau before joining the League in November of 2009.

As media relations director for the League, he helps spread information and positive news about the League and Michigan's cities, villages and urban townships. He is a 1991 graduate of Central Michigan University and is married with two children.

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Michael Forster

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Michael Forster
Director, Risk Management Services

Michael Forster is the director of risk management services for the Michigan Municipal League. He is responsible for the overall success of the League’s casualty and workers’ compensation insurance programs, which are among the largest and most respected municipal group self insurance pools in the U.S.  

Mike oversees all administrative, financial, membership and regulatory aspects of programs, and is responsible for reporting to, and implementing the policies of the two governing boards, as well as numerous reinsurance partners, auditors and regulators.

He is a 1981 graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and began his career with the League in 1990 after eight years with a national insurance carrier as a multi-line claim supervisor. Previous to his appointment as director in 2004, Mike held the positions of claim manager and assistant director of risk management.  

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Colleen Layton

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Colleen Layton
Director, Policy Development

Colleen Layton has had the privilege of working at the League since 1991, previously serving primarily as the manager/director of the information and policy research department.  Over the years she has also worked closely with the Elected Officials Academy board.  Since 2005, she has served as the secretary/treasurer of the Michigan Local Government Management Association.

Since January 2010, in the newly created position of director of policy development, Colleen has had the opportunity to focus time and effort on leveraging the League’s policy goals not only to our members, but to other organizations and groups around the state.

Current and future projects center on the eight assets of the Center for 21st Century Communities that can demonstrate measurable economic growth and output. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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Summer Minnick

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Summer Minnick,
Director, Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs

Summer Hallwood Minnick joined the Michigan Municipal League in the fall of 2002. As the director of policy initiatives and federal affairs, she leads the League’s policy strategies around the concept of placemaking. She also serves as the League’s federal liaison in Washington D.C. Summer  was previously the League’s director of state affairs coordinating the organization’s lobbying activities at the state level. Under her leadership, the League’s Lansing team was recognized in the spring of 2011 as one of the top lobbying organizations in Michigan.

Prior to joining the League, Summer was the executive director of government relations at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. She was also previously employed by the Office of Governor John Engler and the City of East Lansing.

Summer earned a Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University and a Masters in Public Administration from Michigan State University

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Heather Van Poucker

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Heather Van Poucker
Director, Information & Policy Research

Heather is the director of information and policy research at the Michigan Municipal League, which encompasses a range of membership services such as consulting and executive search, the annual pay and benefits survey, charter database, sample ordinances, resolutions and policies and various advisories and publications. 

She joined the League in 1997 as a municipal consultant, specializing in human resources systems and left briefly to work for the city of Dearborn as human resources administrator.  There she had the opportunity to learn first-hand the challenges and opportunities of public sector human resources administration.  After two years with Dearborn, Heather returned to the League to lead the consulting services division and has since been appointed department director. 

She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the James Madison College at Michigan State University, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Wayne State University and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certificate, the highest designation provided by the National Society for Human Resources Management.

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Kelly Warren

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Kelly Warren
Director, Events

Kelly is the director of events and has been with the League since 1997. In her role she oversees League programming and events including the Annual Convention, Capital Conference, regional meetings, training programs, the Business Alliance Program and some affiliate organization events.  She works closely with the Elected Officials Academy board and has served as the staff liaison for the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials since its inception in 2004.   

Kelly received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Eastern Michigan University. She is a board member of the International Special Events Society (ISES) Detroit Chapter. Outside of her role with the League, Kelly is the Leader of the Detroit Chapter of The Compassionate Friends.

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Rob Ferrari
Director, Communication Strategies & Design

Rob Ferrari is the director of digital strategy at the Michigan Municipal League. With over 20 years of experience in networking and internet technologies, Rob focuses on assisting the League’s staff and members in using technology to amplify the importance of placemaking in Michigan via the League’s social footprint.

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Deborah Walton-Medley

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Deborah Walton-Medley
Director, Financial Operations

Deborah has over 20 years of financial management experience with a focus on non-profit and insurance accounting. She has worked for the League since 1990.  She is responsible for the League's financial operations including the accounting of various affiliate League entities: MML Foundation, Liability & Property Pool, Workers’ Compensation Fund, Legal Defense Fund, Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, PROTEC, and the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. 

She started with the League as the insurance accounting manager, responsible for transitioning and managing the insurance accounting functions of the MML Workers' Compensation Fund and the Liability and Property Pool from a third party administer.

Prior to joining the League in 1990, she worked as an auditor/regulator for the Michigan Insurance Bureau, where she conducted financial and compliance audits of US and Canadian life, health, property and casualty insurance companies; health maintenance organizations; and third party administrators.

Deborah earned a BA in Accounting from Michigan State University and a MBA from the University of Phoenix.  She lives in the city of Southfield and is highly involved within her community. 

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William Mathewson

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William C. Mathewson
General Counsel

William C. Mathewson is the League's general counsel. He is responsible for corporate legal matters within the organization and represents the League in legal matters and policy issues relevant to municipalities throughout Michigan.

Bill serves as secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. He is the fund administrator of the MML Legal Defense Fund, which provides appellate level amicus assistance to municipalities involved in litigation of statewide importance. He also is a member of the National League of Cities' Legal Advisory Committee and was a 2002 recipient of the National League of Cities' John G. Stutz Service Award.

Prior to being named general counsel in 1997, Bill held several distinctly different positions with the Municipal League in its Ann Arbor and Lansing offices, including work on legislative advocacy in Lansing. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts with a major in economics. He has a master's degree in urban planning from University of Michigan's College of Architecture and Urban Planning and earned his juris doctorate at the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in Lansing while working for the Municipal League.

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Luke Forrest

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Luke Forrest
Program Manager

Luke Forrest is a Program Manager for the Michigan Municipal League, focusing on issues related to walkability, public transportation and environmental sustainability. Luke also studies ways government can better utilize data to make policy and investment decisions.

He represents the League on a number of committees and boards, including MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities Advisory Council, the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office Board of Directors, the Michigan Association of Planning’s Government Relations Committee and the Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan Community Policy Action Team. He joined the League in 2010.

Luke serves his city, Ferndale, in a volunteer capacity on the Planning Commission and a number of other committees. Before joining the League, he worked for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

Lansing Office

Summer Minnick
Director, Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs

See above


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Samantha Harkins

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Samantha Harkins
Director, State Affairs

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. She is responsible for directing the League's lobbying team in Lansing as well as specifically handling municipal finance and labor issues. She joined the League in February of 2008 as a Legislative Associate.  In 2011, she was honored in the Inside Michigan Politics Lobbyist Survey by being ranked in the top 20 for Individual Lobbyist as well as ranked number 2 in the Individual Single Interest Lobbyist category. In late 2013, she was on Crain’s Detroit Business List of People in Politics to Watch in 2014.

Prior to the League, Samantha was director of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, and served as a member of the House Republican Policy Staff.  She also worked as the executive assistant to the Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia before moving to Michigan.  She has a B.A. and law degree from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. 

 

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Nikki Brown
Legislative Associate, State Affairs

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the Michigan Municipal League.  She handles economic development, land use, housing, liquor licenses and other related issues for the League. Nikki joined the League in 2006 working in the Lansing office as the office coordinator and over the course of time worked to expand her role to advocate for communities at the state level.

Nikki is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. She currently serves as vice-chair of the St. Patrick Catholic School Board in Portland where she resides with her husband and two children.

 

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John LaMacchia
Legislative Associate, State Affairs

John LaMacchia is a legislative associate for the Michigan Municipal League. He handles transportation and infrastructure issues. John joined the League in January of 2013 and has nearly a decade of experience in Lansing serving with former Sen. John Gleason for six years as chief of staff and previously working in the office of former Senate Minority Leader Bob Emerson. In those roles he developed, negotiated and secured passage of multiple public acts. John has a strong background in the areas of transportation, agriculture, and health policy.

LaMacchia has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Michigan State University and is active in the Lansing community serving as a junior varsity basketball coach at Lansing Catholic High School for the last 10 years. He lives in Delta Township with his wife and daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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