2017 Entrepreneurial Awards Judges

Michael Debri

Lansing community president and core business banking team lead for Huntington National Bank in Jackson and Lansing

Michael J. Debri is the Lansing community president and core business banking team lead for Huntington National Bank in Jackson and Lansing. Debri has served as the Lansing community president since November 2009 and has led the core business banking team since Feb. 2014.

Debri began his banking career in 1997 as a credit analyst, after graduating from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance. In 1999, he transitioned into a commercial relationship officer. He has spent his entire career serving existing and developing new commercial banking clients. In 2003, Debri served as the commercial relationship manager in Jackson along with his Lansing duties, after Fifth Third Bank entered the market. In 2005, Debri became team lead of Investment Commercial Real Estate in the Jackson and Lansing markets at Fifth Third Bank. He joined Citizens Bank in 2007 as the senior commercial relationship officer, in Lansing. 

Some of Debri’s current and past board positions have been held with Downtown Lansing YMCA, Great Lakes Capital Fund Art of Leadership, Junior Achievement, Mid-Michigan Entrepreneur Institute and the Mid-Michigan Alumni Association.

Debri has been married to his wife Erin, since 2001 and has two sons, Andrew and Bryce.

Bruce J. Dunn

Director, Principal, Audit, Maner Costerisan

Bruce Dunn joined Maner Costerisan in 1979 and serves on its board of directors. He specializes in the areas of consulting and auditing and is well known for his services to closely-held businesses.

Having served as the president at Maner Costerisan for nearly eight years, Dunn is also a Charter Global Management Accountant (CGMA). His experience in running a CPA firm with currently more than 100 employees allows him to analyze issues from an owner’s perspective. This assists him in consulting with business owners of all sizes. His experiences have allowed him to assist clients with software conversions, redesigning payroll and bonus systems, assisting with transitions in ownership of family owned businesses, renegotiating lines of credit with banks and a host of other areas. His statewide reputation has CPAs from across the state calling him for assistance on a variety of issues on a regular basis.

Dunn is particularly proud of the long lasting relationships he has built with the clients he serves. Dunn is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) and Grand Ledge Rotary Club (president in 2001/2002). Additionally, he is a past board member of the Lansing Jaycees, past president of Highfields Board of Directors, an organization serving disadvantaged youth, and immediate past president of Maner Costerisan, serving in that position from 2004 to 2011. He has also served on the Greater Lansing Business Monthly Entrepreneurial Awards judging panel for more than a decade, and is excited to be a judge again this year.

Jeff Jackson

chief lending officer, MSU Federal Credit Union

Jeff Jackson is the chief lending officer for MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU). Based in East Lansing, MSUFCU is the world’s largest university based credit union and offers a full range of personal and business-related financial services to Michigan State University and Oakland University faculty, staff, students, alumni association members and their families. They also offers services to a variety of select employee groups such as State of Michigan employees.

Jackson’s primary role is to provide financial solutions for business members in order to meet their lending and cash management needs. Lending services include financing for commercial real estate and the medical profession. He is also responsible for home mortgage lending to help all members conveniently finance their dream of home ownership.

Jackson loves the greater Lansing region and has spent most of his life here. He attended East Lansing Public Schools, as do his two youngest children, Josh, 18, and Logan, 16. Justin, 19, is a freshman at Michigan State University. Jackson met his wife, Lori, at Ernst and Young in public accounting, and she has taught accounting and auditing at Michigan State University for the last 17 years. Jackson has been with MSUFCU for 19 years and loves that he has been able to serve the community for that entire time. Jackson is excited to be a part of MSUFCU and the greater Lansing region.

MSUFCU has a core mission of supporting their members and communities. Supporting entrepreneurship is a simple extension of that core mission. MSUFCU has participated on the Entrepreneurial Awards judges panel for many years. This is Jackson’s second year on the panel.

“We love working with people who are passionate and helping them attain their dreams,” said Jackson. “The Entrepreneurial Awards judges panel is a great opportunity to support the community and to potentially help entrepreneurs realize their dreams.”

Kevin Kaplan

Vice President of Sales & Account Management,  Physician’s Health Plan

Kevin Kaplan joined Physicians Health Plan in 2013 as vice president of sales and account management. He has worked in many different positions and specialties within the industry and brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to the clients he serves. Kaplan is a health care professional with over 15 years of broad-based health care plan knowledge and expertise. He has developed the technical, analytical and relationship building skills needed to produce trusting and long-lasting partnerships with clients. Kaplan and his wife Debra have a daughter Ginna and son Noah. He enjoys being the coach for his children in their various sports.

Debbie Petersmark

General Sales Manager, WILX Media

Debbie Petersmark grew up in a family business, Holden-Reid Clothiers. Entrepreneurship is second nature to her — a businesswoman in her own right as the General Sales Manager at
WILX Media.

At WILX, she leads the sales team, closely working with local companies, helping them grow their businesses through advertising.

“I also love the creative part of advertising … brainstorming a great idea and pulling it off from start to finish,” she said. “But the best day is when the campaign works. The success stories – those are the reasons I’m here.”

An East Lansing native, Petersmark attended Indiana University and majored in English. Following graduation, she was hired as a part-time event planner at Sparrow Hospital, in partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network. She spent 10 years at the Sparrow Foundation, organizing events that were rewarding for both the patients and for Petersmark.

Familiar with the family business model at a young age, successful entrepreneurship is a topic Petersmark keeps near and dear. “Entrepreneurship to me is easy,” she said. “It’s my grandfather, my dad, my uncle, my best friend, my neighbor. I grew up and continue to live in a world surrounded by entrepreneurs,” said Petersmark. “So I understand the risk, investment, heartache and joy that entrepreneurs experience every day.”

She’s happy to be a member of the greater Lansing business community, and is glad to accept more business partners and advertising clients to the area.

“I’m proud of the development we’re seeing in the Lansing area, and the welcoming culture that’s attracting new businesses and new talent,” she said. “My grandfather wouldn’t recognize downtown Lansing as compared to the downtown when he opened his first store on Washington Square in 1968, although it was pretty great then, too.”

Petersmark is pleased to be able to help honor the risk-takers and dreamers alike as a member of the Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards judges’ panel.

Don McNabb

CEO, principal scientist and co-founder of Triterra

Don McNabb is the chief executive officer (CEO), principal scientist and co-founder of Triterra, a Lansing-based consulting firm that specializes in brownfield development, environmental consulting and natural resources management services. McNabb brings over 18 years of experience in the industry and is responsible for overseeing implementation of the company’s strategic direction, while continually promoting the firm’s core focus and values. He routinely assists clients with implementation of environmental due diligence or contaminant management strategies while keeping their best interests in mind. McNabb has provided numerous creative, effective and economical solutions for real estate acquisition, contaminant investigation/remediation, new development and brownfield redevelopment projects throughout Michigan and the Midwestern U.S.

McNabb has a great appreciation for the capital region and routinely devotes time and resources to help make communities better, from serving on the Old Town Commercial Association Board of Directors to assisting the Eaton Rapids Marketing Alliance with a strategy to revitalize the downtown. As part of the Eaton Rapids revitalization efforts, McNabb stepped in and became a founder/owner of the Eaton Rapids Craft Co., a new restaurant/pub that brings a unique dining experience through quality food, craft beer/spirits and Michigan wine nestled along the Grand River.

McNabb is a resident of Eaton Rapids, where he resides with his wife, Erica and their two children, Torin, 5, and Marissa, 3.

STACIE NEWMANN

Public Relations and Marketing Director, Superior Asphalt, INC.

Stacie Newmann is an exceptionally driven professional. She received her degree from Ohio State University in fine arts and gallery management and began her professional career at the Columbus Museum of Art’s Collectors Gallery. She has since managed successful galleries in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Newmann transitioned from the art world into the asphalt business in 2013. Jeff Kresnik, CEO of Superior Asphalt, Inc. had been a patron of a gallery she managed. Kresnik was struck by her exceptional skills and customer focus and invited her to join his team. Newmann accepted the opportunity, embraced the challenge and the chance to grow professionally.

Newmann has been with Superior Asphalt, Inc. for almost four years. She successfully helped launch the Lansing Asphalt Division into the greater Lansing market and has achieved public recognition for the Grand Rapids Division’s 34-year tradition of excellence. In 2015, she initiated the campaign that helped Superior Asphalt, Inc. win Greater Lansing Business Monthly’s “Business of the Year Award.” She works diligently every day to represent the Superior brand by maintaining cooperative relationships with representatives from communities, consumer, employee and public interests.

When Newmann thinks about what it takes to be an Entrepreneur she thinks of a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” She believes that entrepreneurs are “trailblazers” who create vitality in our communities.

Ian Richardson

Founder and CEO of Doberman Technologies

Ian Richardson, BBA, is the founder and chief executive officer of Doberman Technologies LCC, an independent IT consultant firm specializing in the cost-effective outsourcing of small businesses’ IT departments. In his role, Richardson serves as a dedicated and customer-centric IT engineer and brings more than 12 years of industry experience to Doberman Technologies. His goal is to build meaningful relationships with clients and ensure Doberman Technologies is doing whatever it takes to help its customers.

Doberman’s success has earned both regional and international recognition. MSPmentor, a leading global destination for managed care providers, named Doberman Technologies among MSPmentor’s top 100 Small Business Managed Service Providers in 2015. Richardson has also earned an Entrepreneurial Award of his own, receiving the Emerging Entrepreneur Award from Greater Lansing Business Monthly in 2015.

He received a bachelor of business administration from Northwood University.

CHRIS G. THELEN

public affairs area manager, Consumers Energy

Chris G. Thelen is the public affairs area manager at Consumers Energy. He manages community relations for Consumers Energy in three counties in the Lansing area (Eaton, Ingham and Ionia). Consumers Energy is one of the nation’s largest combination utilities, providing electric and natural gas service to nearly 6.6 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents, in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.



Thelen joined Consumers Energy 24 years ago as a writer in Corporate Communications, supporting their marketing and employee communications. Prior to joining the company, Thelen worked as a copywriter for advertising agencies in Midland, Detroit and Cleveland. He graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in journalism and started his career writing advertisements for John Deere in Moline, Ill.



Consumers Energy has been a long-time supporter of economic development and is the reason why Thelen actively participates in economic development in the Lansing area.



“The Lansing area is fortunate to have such a strong support network that can help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to reality,” said Thelen. “With tens of thousands of college students coming into the Lansing region each year, I hope this network can encourage students interested in starting their own business to locate here.”



This is Thelen’s third year on the Entrepreneurial Awards judges panel. He knows how important it is to recognize the people who have the courage to start a business and grow it from the ground up.



“I am always inspired by the stories behind the award recipients and what it took for them to get their business started,” said Thelen. “Hopefully these stories will encourage others to consider starting their own business.”

Melody Warzecha

Vice President of Commercial Banking, Union Bank

Melody Warzecha is the vice president of commercial banking at Union Bank, a Michigan-based community bank that provides financial services to individuals, businesses and farms. As the vice president of commercial banking, she works to create solutions and build relationships with her clients.

Warzecha received her bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Central Michigan University. Before coming to work at Union Bank, she worked in commercial banking at another financial institution for 15 years. Prior to that, she worked as a controller and accounting consultant for 10 years.

“The thing I like about Union Bank is that supporting the community and being involved is really important to us,” said Warzecha. “We really want people to succeed.”

Warzecha is also involved in the Lansing community as a member of the Lansing Rotary Club, and is proud to serve as a judge for Greater Lansing Business Monthly Entrepreneurial Awards this year. She is excited for the opportunity to support Lansing area entrepreneurs.

“One thing that has become very evident to me is that Lansing appreciates entrepreneurs,” she said. “I’m proud to be able to represent Union Bank as a judge and support business people in the Lansing area.”

If she could give any advice to entrepreneurs in the area, it would be to have a dream and a vision, stick to it, and remember that there are members of the Lansing community who want to support entrepreneurs.

“There are always people in the community who are willing to support you,” said Warzecha. “Whether it’s friends, family or your trusted advisors, there are always people willing to help.”

Warzecha lives in St. Johns with her husband, Richard and son Samuel.

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