President/CEO of Whittaker Associates Inc.
Dean F. Whittaker is President/CEO of Whittaker Associates Inc., a data analytics company providing target marketing research and trend analysis to economic development, real estate, and corporate clients. They specialize in identifying business opportunities by predicting corporate behavior through the use of their propriety predictive analytic algorithm.
With 30 years of experience in economic development at the city, county, and state levels, Mr. Whittaker brings insight and perspective to regional economic development issues. He also provides an understanding of the trends impacting our possible, probable, and preferred futures.
Director of the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library
Dirk Hughes is an educator, writer, abstract artist, and avid proponent of living an engaged and fulfilling life. A life-long resident of Michigan, he was raised to appreciate the changing seasons of the world around him, both literally and figuratively, and has devoted his attention ever since to exploring that world and understanding our place within it. With degrees in English and Law, he approaches this exploration passionately and logically, perpetually guided by the motto “be interested in everything”.
Five years ago, he took the first awkward steps on the journey of beekeeping, a subject he had been interested in for years. Originally drawn to it by the prospect of providing his family with a self-sustaining, natural sweetener, he soon found that small-scale, household beekeeping held benefits far beyond the jars of honey he hoped to harvest.
Co-founder and Director of Operations and new Business Development at Volta Power Systems
Jack Johnson is a seasoned expert of the Li ion battery industry, and a champion of Li ion technology education within the industry and the community. Johnson spent 16 years working on advanced materials and energy storage technology with Johnson Controls. In 2009, he was asked to lead development of the world’s first large-format, high-volume Li ion production facility in Holland, MI. In 2014, he left Johnson Controls to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors to solve some of the industry’s most pressing challenges. Johnson holds two bachelors in mechanical engineering and science & technology.
Partner at Chameleon Collective and formerly CEO/Founder of IMRSV (acquired)
Sosa is a Partner at Chameleon Collective and formerly CEO/Founder of IMRSV (acquired), a computer vision and artificial intelligence company and was named one of “10 Startups to Watch in NYC” by Time Inc., and one of “25 Hot and New Startups to Watch in NYC” by Business Insider. He has been featured by Forbes, CNN, New York Times, Fast Company, Bloomberg and Business Insider, among others.
Founder and CEO of the Wisdom Link
Jon is a growth strategist, industry speaker, and president of two complementary companies: The Wisdom Link, an intellectual capital development firm and PlaybookBuilder, a knowledge management software and services company. Both serve as lab and testing grounds for observations and insights about the growth mindsets, behaviors and wisdom of his clients – who happen to be some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the US, UK and CANADA.
With over 18,000 hours of interviews with 400 of the top 1% income-earning entrepreneurs in the most competitive industries, Jon has discovered striking consistencies in the pathways of thinking, operating behaviors, and business growth strategies of this distinct and successful group of business leaders.
Founding Board Chairperson at Pedal Holland, blogging at Traversing Tulip Lane
Meika Weiss is an advocate for livable communities currently serving as the Founding Board Chairperson of Pedal Holland. Pedal Holland is a non-profit advocacy group committed to making bicycling an easy choice for transportation and recreation in the greater Holland area. In that capacity, she has led a group of committed individuals through the exciting and challenging process of launching a new non-profit. She is a full-contact parent with ample experience in navigating the school car line, sidewalks, and bike lanes of this fair city. These experiences coupled with those as a student in Egypt and an expatriate in Japan have inspired her vision of a community that organizes itself to allow every member to grow, thrive, and contribute. Meika received her B.A. in political science from Calvin College in 1999 and her M.T.S. from Calvin Theological Seminary in 2003.
Owner of Worksighted
Mike is an entrepreneur with a passion for growth oriented companies and innovative corporate cultures. He is the cofounder of Holland, MI based Worksighted and a graduate from Hope College with a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science. Worksighted was built on a culture of fulfillment. A culture that emphasizes each person’s unique abilities and aligns those talents to the vision of the customer and the passion of the organization. The NET result? Incredible employee retention, a dramatic expansion of customer base and an explosive growth in corporate revenues.
At 38, Mike has been named the Holland Small Business Person of the Year as well as a Grand Rapids Business Journal Forty under 40. Worksighted has been recognized five consecutive times as one of the fastest growing private companies in America by Inc. Magazine, a Michigan 50 Companies to Watch, a five-time West Michigan 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.
Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Herrick District Library
For the past 15 years Sara DeVries has been connecting people and ideas through her work in the Holland area. As Herrick District Library’s Community Relations Manager Sara oversees marketing, media relations, and graphic design, and engages the library with the surrounding community. She is a regular presenter at the national Library Marketing Communication Conference and has provided webinars for the global library cooperative OCLC. Her work on the Geek the Library (“I geek ______”) campaign has been featured nationally by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She holds a master’s degree in Leadership Studies from the University of St. Thomas and has taught leadership courses at three separate colleges and universities. Sara adores her neighborhood in the city of Holland, is married to a pastor, and loves the daily privilege of parenting of two children. On any given free day she can be found growing organic produce, enjoying ethnic foods, or reading at her neighborhood coffee shop.
Magician at Ambassador Productions
Steve Marshall has been a professional magician traveling the world astonishing, and entertaining, people of all ages for over 30 years. He has made his home in Japan for almost 20 years.
Being the writer, producer, director, and star of his shows forces Steve to be creative on a daily basis. While the audience is watching Steve he is also watching the audience and learning from their reactions. Over the years Steve has become interested in why people react the way they do to certain things and how the feeling of astonishment plays an important role in all of our lives.
Being able to find surprise, astonishment, and beauty, all around him, even in the most mundane things, has become a passion of Steve’s as he travels the world.