2019 Entrepreneurial Awards Judges
The Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Award judges are a key component in making each year’s event a successful one. The panel of judges spends countless hours reviewing nominee submissions and discussing how local entrepreneurs are positively impacting Lansing. The esteemed panel of judges is committed to finding those who help grow the community. Join us again this year on March 7 to find out who our entrepreneur award winners are. Visit glbmawards.com to learn more
Kathryn Burkholder is a community affairs manager for Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider. She proudly serves Shiawassee, Clinton and Livingston counties, ensuring her friends and neighbors receive the hometown service Consumers Energy aims to provide.
Prior to her work in community affairs, Burkholder was on the media relations team, serving as the smart energy outreach coordinator for East Michigan. In that role, she was responsible for educating legislators, local officials and community members about smart meter technology. Before joining Consumers Energy, she was an educator at Pinckney Community High School.
Burkholder is an active board member of the Livingston Habitat for Humanity, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership and Economic Development Council of Livingston County, and currently serves as chairwoman of the Clinton County Economic Alliance, secretary of Mt. Brighton Adaptive Sports and co-chair of the Howell Grassroots Safety Team.
She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, communications and drama, and a Master of Arts degree in interdisciplinary technology, journalism and communication from Eastern Michigan University. Burkholder resides in Ann Arbor and is beyond proud of her two children and four grandchildren.
Tom Hamp is a Business Transformation and Leadership coach with 30 years of experience with companies such as IBM, Kodak and Kyocera. According to his clients, Hamp consistently holds them accountable, pushes them to set specific, measurable goals, returns their focus to plans that are in place and uncovers the true value drivers of their business. In addition, Hamp also coaches teams and helps them to understand the fundamentals of working together, and how important their culture is.
His expertise and success in a wide range of areas include sales and marketing, pricing, product management, strategic planning, business development, leadership development, human resource management, public speaking and facilitation. Hamp is a Certified Value Builder Advisor as well as a C-IQ Enhanced Skills coach.
He has dedicated himself to creating a powerful transformational journey for himself and his clients. Hamp’s particular passion is the unique aspects of a family business, and he has guided many family businesses through difficult decisions and dynamics specific to family members operating a business.
He is married to Julie, his lovely wife of 20 years and has partnered with her in raising their four children: Kelsey, Nate, Evan and Derek. Together, Tom and Julie teach high school students on Sunday mornings at their church where they have been in leadership for over 19 years. When Hamp finds himself with spare time, he enjoys playing basketball and softball, and you can often find him playing with and watching his children in their activities.
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. She joined Union Bank in 2015 and has been in the banking industry since 2000. Prior to joining Union Bank, Warzecha worked as a controller and accounting consultant for 10 years.
“Supporting the community and being involved is really important to Union Bank,” said Warzecha. “We really want people to succeed.”
Warzecha is also involved in the community as treasurer of the Lansing Rotary Club and the Lansing Rotary Club Foundation as well as being the treasurer of the St. Gerard School PTO. She is proud to be serving as a judge for the Greater Lansing Business Monthly Entrepreneurial Awards for her third year and is excited for the opportunity to support Lansing-area entrepreneurs.
“I am glad to be part of a community that appreciates entrepreneurs,” Warzecha said. “I’m proud to represent Union Bank as a judge and support business people in the Lansing area.”
Scott Norman is the vice president of business development for Physicians Health Plan (PHP). PHP is a division of Sparrow Health System, is an award-winning health plan that provides insurance for hundreds of employers across Mid-Michigan. In this role, Norman is responsible for strategic planning, sales, marketing and product and market development for PHP. He will also oversee expanding collaborative relationships across Michigan as the health plan potentially expands into new markets.
Norman has nearly 20 years of experience in health care insurance, and his most recent experience was at Priority Health, where he obtained the title of vice president of senior markets. In that role he was responsible for overseeing the 4.5-star Medicare Advantage plan that had $1.2-billion in annual revenue and covered over 140,000 members across Michigan. He previously served as Priority’s vice president of sales and client services, responsible for commercial sales and customer retention for over 7,000 employer clients and 400,000 enrolled members.
Prior to joining Priority Health, Norman was the senior director of insurance services for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. In that role he was responsible for leading the employee benefits insurance division of the chamber that provided coverage for hundreds of employers across Michigan. In addition, he developed a number of proprietary insurance products and strategic solutions to help employers reduce their employee benefit costs.Norman is a Michigan State University graduate and has been a resident of East Lansing since 1997.
Jessica Starks is the president of Transworld Business Advisors of Lansing, the world leader in the confidential marketing and sales of businesses and franchises. Before starting her own business, Starks gained experience at a public accounting firm, sales with a payroll company, followed by 10 years in business banking.
Toward the end of her banking career, Starks was financing buyers acquiring businesses. Starks realized there was a need in the market and wanted to help business owners exit their business. Starks found that baby boomers did not know where to turn when wanting to retire. Although she thought of mostly baby boomers, she realized that other business owners wanted to exit their business as well. They had built something great, reinvested a lot of their money back into the business and care about their customers and employees. Starks wanted to give them an outlet to sell what they have worked so hard to create while leaving a legacy and taking care of those who helped get them to where they are today.
Starks received her bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting and finance. She is married to Brad and has two sons, Carter, 12 and Grant, 9. You are likely to find them at a football field, basketball court or baseball field.
Entrepreneur, investor and business coach, Reuben Levinsohn has a passion for developing leaders who want to disrupt the status quo and create meaningful change. Levinsohn has an innate ability in discovering the game changers and is experienced in developing them into the successful leaders of tomorrow. Assisting with financial and strategic consulting, Levinsohn serves as a financial advisor and mentor to several startup founders, business owners, and executive teams.
Learning and drawing from his own experiences, Levinsohn developed a series of educational, financial workshops that are designed to help young professionals make smart financial choices. He and his business partners at Washington Avenue Advisors have developed the Life and Wealth Roadmap program, which they regularly use to guide entrepreneurs through the development and implementation of their customized financial plans.
Levinsohn regularly spends time as a coach, mentor, and judge at local incubators and pitch events. When he’s not working as a financial advisor or advising entrepreneurs, he is enjoying time with his family, flying his plane, backpacking or on a river somewhere with his fly rod. Levinsohn resides in East Lansing with his wife, Rachel, and three children, Victoria, David and Joseph.
Michael J. Debri is the Lansing community president and Mid-Michigan business banking market manager at Huntington National Bank. Debri has served as the Lansing community president since November 2009 and has held the position of business banking market manager since February 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 2005, Debri became team lead of Investment Commercial Real Estate in the Jackson and Lansing markets at Fifth Third Bank. He joined Huntington Bank, formerly Citizens Bank, in 2007 as the senior commercial relationship officer in Lansing.
Some of Debri’s current and past board positions include Lansing Downtown 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 teenage sons, Andrew and Bryce.
Jennifer Marsh is a key player on the business banking team. Her extensive banking and financial experience enables her to provide exceptional knowledge to help plan and expand any business with customized financing solutions. She has experience including commercial development, company acquisitions and health care financing. Her clientele includes small businesses, independently owned multi-million-dollar companies and commercial real estate investors.
She obtained a bachelor’s degree in finance from Michigan State University and a certification as an accredited wealth management advisor through the College for Financial Planning. Marsh has over 26 years’ banking experience and has served as president of the East Lansing Rotary and as a member of the Lansing Chamber Economic Club. She is an active member in the Lansing Rotary, currently volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and is on the board of directors for the Capital Area Humane Society.
Jeff Jackson currently serves as the chief lending officer of Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU). He joined the Credit Union in 1997 and has experience leading the business and consumer lending teams, as well as a background in managing payment systems, support services, member services and adjustment processes.
As chief lending officer, Jackson guides the lending divisions of the credit union, including mortgage lending, direct lending, and all forms of business and consumer lending. He works closely with his team to provide financial solutions for members to meet their lending and cash management needs.
During his more than 20 years at MSUFCU, Jackson has built a reputation for strengthening and overseeing the advances for housing and community economic development through credit union products and services. This commitment has resulted in increased access to grants for qualified members and improved services for local economic development.
Beyond his leadership at MSUFCU, Jackson is actively involved in the community. He was recently named to the board of directors for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, an independent regional cooperative bank. Jackson also serves as a board member for the Michigan Credit Union Foundation, Child and Family Charities and Sparrow Foundation, and is a member of the Credit Union National Association Lending Council and East Lansing Rotary Club.
He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Accounting from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration from Michigan State University.
Debbie Petersmark serves as vice president and general manager of WILX Media, a Gray Television station which operates WILX-TV 10 (NBC), WILX.com, WILX Digital, cable channels Antenna TV and Heroes & Icons, as well as producing the newscasts for Fox 47 News. Debbie joined the station in 2000 as an account executive and served as general sales manager since 2014. Prior to joining WILX, she spent 10 years at the Sparrow Foundation as the manager of the Children’s Miracle Network, where she led the fundraising efforts for the Regional Children’s Center and produced an annual telethon. She serves as a board member for the American Red Cross, mid-Michigan chapter and on the Sparrow Foundation board of directors.
Petersmark grew up in an entrepreneurial family, working alongside her grandfather, uncle and father at Holden Reid Clothiers from a young age. She has the opportunity to work with local business owners every day as her teams help them grow their business through advertising and cover their stories on News 10. She appreciates and understands the hard work, sacrifice and joy that comes with being an entrepreneur and feels privileged to be part of the Entrepreneurial Awards judging panel. A lifelong resident of East Lansing, Petersmark holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University. She and her husband, Mike live in East Lansing with their three children, Andy, Megan and Owen.
Bo Garcia is dean of the Community Education and Workforce Development Division at Lansing Community College (LCC). He manages corporate training, small business development, community education, continuing education and extension centers.
Formerly, Garcia was executive director of the Business & Community Institute at LCC, which was charged with creating business and workforce development initiatives between LCC and regional employers. In his previous position as regional director of the Small Business Development Center, Garcia counseled over 2,000 business clients on areas ranging from startup to expansion and crisis management.
Garcia also authored “Business Matters,” a weekly business column in the Lansing State Journal for over five years. He has been published in Entrepreneur Magazine and numerous other business publications and presents regionally on various business issues.
He has been adjunct faculty at Davenport University, College of Business Administration. Garcia holds a Master of Business Administration from Northwood University, a Master of Public Administration from Western Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University.
Don McNabb is the chief executive officer, 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 20 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 the implementation of environmental due diligence and contaminant management strategies while keeping their best interests in mind. He 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 Great Lakes Region
McNabb has a great appreciation for Michigan’s Capital Region and routinely devotes time and resources to help make our communities better. He currently serves on the Lansing Economic Area Partnership’s Executive Committee and the city of Eaton Rapids Downtown Development Authority. As part of revitalization efforts in Eaton Rapids, McNabb became a partner/co-founder of the Eaton Rapids Craft Co., a new restaurant/pub nestled along the Grand River that brings a unique dining experience through quality food, craft beer/spirits and Michigan wine.
McNabb is a resident of Eaton Rapids, where he resides with his wife, Erica, and their two children, Torin and Marissa.
Steve Piesko joined Maner Costerisan in 1999 and currently serves as the treasurer of the board of directors and chair of the education services niche. Piesko specializes in consulting and strategic business advisory services, as well as auditing of closely held businesses, nonprofits and school districts.
Being part of the team running a firm of approximately 140 employees gives Piesko the ability to assist small businesses and analyze issues from an owner’s perspective. He works closely with them on strategy, succession planning, leadership, software conversions, bonus systems, stock transactions, and a variety of other issues, ensuring the best outcome and success of our clients.
Piesko graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s and a master’s in accounting and finance. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and is the past treasurer of The First Tee of Mid-Michigan. He currently lives in DeWitt with his wife, Missy, daughter Cate and puppy Murphy.
Jason Brunette is the director of project management for Martin Property Development. He has been with the company since 2015 and is highly regarded in the field of project management. Brunette has extensive experience in project management, construction management, and move management for both owners and occupiers of commercial real estate.
Prior to his affiliation with Martin Property Development, Brunette was a project manager with CBRE, Inc. out of Atlanta, Georgia. He was responsible for managing construction projects on behalf of clients across the southeast and southwest such as Ernst & Young, McKesson and Shaw Industries Group, Inc. He has managed over 30 projects across 16 states totaling approximately 700,000 square feet of tenant buildouts for Ernst & Young in their central, southeast, and southwest regions. Brunette’s experience has created a strong foundation for budgeting, scheduling and overall project management of commercial construction and development projects.