Breakout Session PowerPoints – available for download on this page (see sessions below)

General Session PowerPoints – available for download on the Agenda page


During the convention you will have the opportunity to choose from the list of topics shown below. Each session is designed to enhance your knowledge and provide you with ideas that you can take home and apply in your own community.



The Power of Parks, Heritage and Outdoor Assets

Sponsored by Rowe Professional Services Company

The session will provide a blueprint for re-thinking and re-envisioning the role that parks and outdoor recreation assets play in community economic development. Panelists will provide context, data, and local examples of communities using their natural assets to rebrand themselves and attract and retain creative professional and talent-based businesses.


Jack Wheatley, P.E. Rowe Professional Services Compamy


Brad Garmon, Director of Conservation and Emerging Issues Michigan Environmental Council Download presentation

Jeff Gray, Superintendent Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Download presentation

Al Hansen, Director, Parks and Recreation City of Petoskey Download presentation

Amy Mangus, Manager, Plan Implementation Group Southeast Michigan Council of Governments Download presentation

Scott See, Executive Director Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission Download presentation

Your Charter: Refreshed

Does your charter contain illegal or outdated provisions? Sometimes changes are needed to correct misleading, unreliable or unresponsive charters. Hear from members of the Marquette Charter Commission on how they successfully made changes to their charter. They had a goal of making revisions over the course of several years and ended up completing all of their changes in a year! The group held hearings, involved citizens and civic groups, and had assistance from the local newspaper. Hear what worked for them and how you can use their model to make successful revisions to your charter.


Download PowerPoint presentation

Download written presentation

Thomas Baldini, Vice Chair
Charter Commission, Marquette

David Bleau, City Clerk

Sara Cambensy, Commissioner

J. Michael Coyne, Commissioner

Robert Kulisheck, Chair
Charter Commission, Marquette

Placemaking Execution – Think/Act Like a Developer

Demographics are changing, markets are changing, and communities are changing. This is especially true for “place-based” development. So…should the planning-zoning system change as well? Research and practice show that market-analyzed, stakeholder-engaged, charrette-facilitated, development-oriented processes produce better projects, but can they also produce better master plans and codes? And if so, shouldn’t this be a standardized approach to Michigan communities? This provocative session will present a forum to discuss whether adapting a “developer”-focused approach is the future Michigan planning/regulatory model.


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James Tischler, AICP, PCP, Director
MSHDA’s Community Development Division
Mark Wyckoff, Professor and Sr. Associate Director
Land Policy Institute, Michigan State University

Farmers Markets: Grow Your Community with Local Food

Sponsored by MSU – Citizen Planner

Since 2001, the number of Farmers Markets sprouting up in cities and towns all over Michigan has skyrocketed. They provide a link between people and the food grown in nearby farms, often serving as a centerpiece of community vitality. And equally important, these markets tend to boost foot traffic and economic activity in surrounding businesses. Join this session and learn how to make a farmers market a valuable addition to your community.


Bradley Neuman, AICP Citizen Planner


Kathryn Lynch Underwood, City Planner
City of Detroit City Planning Commission Download presentation

Michelle Walk, Educator
Michigan State University Extension Download presentation

Vendor Session: Effective, Low-Cost Solution for Clean Air, Water and More

Presented by Michigan Renewable Carbon

Activated carbon has a variety of uses in municipal settings, such as water purification, air filtration, odor control, mercury control, soil remediation and agriculture. Not only is it effective for all these purposes,but it comes at a lower cost than comparable technologies. Come learn how activated carbon can be beneficial to your community.


Rico Biasetti, President Biogenic Reagents


I Am Rural – Hear Me Roar

Oftentimes, smaller communities struggle to be heard in policy conversations and legislative decisions. Hear how a private-public economic development agency in the U.P. leverages the power of the broader region to be heard.


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Amy Clickner, CEO
Lake Superior Community Partnership

Kent Wood, Director of Government Relations
Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance

Under the Weather: Economic Impacts of Unexpected Climate Changes

Have abnormal weather patterns got you down? The Marquette County Climate Adaptation Task Force is a group of elected officials, community stewards, leaders of the Superior Watershed Partnership, as well as municipal, township and county employees formed last year to discuss climate adaptation and the way recent weather patterns are impacting local units of government through unexpected costs, emergencies, and economic impacts to the region. Hear from members of the task force on how they work together regionally with all local units of government to stay proactive, collaborate, share resources, and jointly apply for grant funding.


Richard Anderson,President, Integral Assets and
Board President, Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust

Scott Erbisch, County Administrator
Marquette County

Robert Kulisheck, Chair Charter Commission,

Carl Lindquist, Executive Director
Superior Watershed Partnership & Land Trust Download presentation

Teresa Schwalbach, PEM, Emergency Management Coordinator
Marquette County Download presentation

Greg Seppanen, Commissioner
Marquette County

Crowdfunding: Tapping into Local Investment Power

Investment crowdfunding is the newest economic development tool that can be used to transform local communities. Come learn about this exciting new opportunity, how your community can make the most of this mechanism, and what’s already been happening in Michigan! In addition, come learn about the MEDC’s new program to promote public spaces and community places through a reward crowdfunding platform. This latest matching grant program is the first of its kind, and local communities can use it to help launch projects to further their placemaking initiatives.


Katharine Czarnecki, Director of Community Development
Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Nheena Weyer Ittner, Director
The Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum

Summer Minnick, Director, Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs
Michigan Municipal League

Ebrahim Varachia, Co-Founder & Director of Operations

Vendor Session: Tackling Utility Rates the Right Way – City of Manistee Leading the Way

Presented by Burton & Associates

The City of Manistee provides water and sewer services to its residents as well as to customers in two neighboring townships and a large commercial customer. Over the years, the City had established a common rate structure for its residents, and a number of different rate structures for service to individual customers within the township. In response to stakeholder concerns, the City committed to an independent evaluation of its rates by a professional firm, based upon accepted industry practices. The goal of the study was to establish a fair and equitable rate structure and level of rates for its various types of customers. The end result was the adoption of a fair and equitable rate structure for all of the City’s users that provides for the sustainability of its utility system and meets the City’s fiscal stability and affordability objectives.


Download presentation

Edward Bradford, Chief Financial Officer
City of Manistee

Andrew Burnham, Senior Vice President
Burton & Associates

Vendor Session: Current Grants & Loans and Paying for Road and Utility Projects

Presented by Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering

This presentation will focus on the availability of grants and low interest loans in Michigan. Discussion will revolve around the major grants, keys to their award ability and examples of successful projects completed under these funding options. Case studies on projects that utilized multiple grant programs to accomplish projects – including public / private funding.


Paul Galdes, PE
Fleis & VendenBrink Engineering

Valarie Handy, Community & Economic Development Coordinator
USDA, Rural Development

David G. Johnson, CHMM, CP
Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering


The League wants you to see all the amazing things happening in Marquette. So this year, included with the cost of your registration, we are offering a number of mobile workshops.

Marquette’s Waterfront Transformation

Learn how the city of Marquette dramatically transformed their waterfront from an industrial harbor to a tourist destination built on the region’s rich cultural history and abundant natural beauty and recreational resources. Hear from Fred Stonehouse, Marquette’s mayor pro tem, maritime historian, and author, and Karl Zueger, community services director, on the importance of Lake Superior in relation to U.P. tourism, the tools used to make the transformation a reality, and the methods used to ensure that the waterfront will always be public property. In addition to breathtaking views along the waterfront, the tour will include a presentation on Michigan’s Blue Economy. Lunch will take place at Aubree’s Pizzeria & Grill, a Michigan-based company that prides itself on giving back to the communities in which they have locations.

Tour Guides

Glenn Oliver, Founder
H2bid Download presentation

Fred Stonehouse, Mayor Pro Tem
City of Marquette

William Vajda, City Manager
City of Marquette

Trail Towns as Recreation Destinations

Did you know that Governor Snyder recently dedicated $13 million to develop and maintain trails across the state? The Belle Isle to Wisconsin Showcase Trail would connect 924 miles of trail from Detroit to Ironwood, giving us the opportunity to be the number one trail state in the country. The Noquemanon Trails Network (NTN) has a mission of developing and maintaining an interconnected, year-round, non-motorized land and water trail network in the Central Upper Peninsula. Attendees will walk part of the NTN trails, learn about their partnership with the city, see the trail switchbacks, and hear about the impressive economic results that have come about for the private sector.

Tour Guides

Harry Burkholder, Program Coordinator, Community Planner
Land Information Access Association

Nicole Dewald
Noquemanon Trail Network

Bike the Downtown Iron Ore Heritage Trail

Bike the city connections to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, a 48-mile, multi-use, year-round trail connecting communities and people to the region’s historic sites and human stories relating to the iron ore industry. The trail was designed for walkers, bikers, runners, inline skaters, nature enthusiasts, equestrians, x-country skiers, snowmobilers, history buffs, and ATVers. The trails’ executive director will present information on how and why they formed the state’s largest recreational authority, passed millages in multiple jurisdictions, and managed the development of the nearly 50-mile bike trail through Marquette County. Lunch will be at hometown fan-favorite Donckers, a nostalgic and wildly successful downtown diner/ice cream/candy store.

Tour Guides

Carol Fulsher, Administrator
Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Area

Crowdfunding & Microbreweries

Michigan’s craft beer industry continues to experience rapid growth. Did you know that Michigan ranks #5 in the nation in overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs? Did you know that the first Michigan company to launch a crowdfunding campaign under the new state law was a brewery? That’s right, Tecumseh Brewing Co. Join us on this mobile workshop where we will visit three microbreweries, each with their own unique economic development story. The tour will include stops at the location of our host city reception, Ore Dock Brewing Company – located in a remodeled, century-old, converted auto garage – Black Rocks Brewery and the Marquette Harbor Brewery at Vierling Restaurant.

Please wear comfortable shoes, as some walking will take place through the brewery. Floors can be wet, so please consider slip-resistant shoes.

Tour Guides

Representatives from each of the breweries


Chris Miller, DDA & Economic Development Director
City of Adrian

Reimagining Marquette’s Historic Main Street

Sponsored by Michigan State Housing Development Authority

Marquette’s Baraga Avenue was once the main street of this former industrial city. It is now the gateway to the city’s government sector and peppered with a mix of traditional uses and specialty shops. A mere stone’s throw from a busy farmer’s market, downtown events and scenic waterfront, historic Baraga Avenue should be thriving–but it’s not. Sound familiar? We’ll stop at the Marquette Commons building for a review of the exciting PlacePlans project currently underway, followed by an informational walking tour where you’ll learn firsthand what’s hindering success and how the PlacePlans design proposes to catalyze economic development. There will be a brief opportunity to patronize local shops that offer specialty coffee, wine, baked goods, flowers and gifts. Lunch will take place at The Commons.

Tour Guides

Download presentation

Luke Forrest, Program Manager
Michigan Municipal League

Mona Lang, Executive Director
Marquette Downtown Development Authority

Mining History in the U.P.

This workshop will begin at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum, which overlooks the Carp River and the site of the first iron forge in the Lake Superior region. After lunch and a tour at the museum, the group will travel to Cliff’s Natural Resources. Here, participants will discover a mix of both the history and current mining operations and the impact this industry has had on the U.P. community.

This workshop requires approximately one mile of walking and is not handicapped- accessible. All visitors to the mine must wear closed-toed shoes, long pants, and will be required to sign a release form before touring. Safety protection gear (hard hats, glasses, ear protection, etc.) will be distributed to participants at the mine.

Tour Guides

Troy Henderson, Ph.D., Historian
Michigan Historical Center

Jennifer L. Huetter, District Manager, Public Affairs
Cliffs Natural Resources

Presque Isle Walking Tour

Presque Isle Park is considered the city of Marquette’s recreational crown jewel, featured in periodicals such as the Smithsonian magazine. The park supports over 100 species of native plants and diverse landscapes, including pebble beaches, rocky cliffs, bogs, and northern boreal forest. This walking tour will take the group to many of the iconic lookouts that will allow everyone to enjoy dazzling views while breathing in pure Lake Superior air. Add in the color of an autumn day, and the members of the group are ensured a world-class experience.

Tour Guides

Karl Zueger, Community Services Director
City of Marquette


Civic Engagement as a Placemaking Strategy

Sponsored by MERS of Michigan

Civic engagement is the best way to plan and implement placemaking and planning projects, but certainly not the easiest! Hear about effective engagement strategies from HUD Sustainable Communities projects, civic engagement best practices, and tools to help simplify the process.


Terra Langham, Regional Manager MERS of Michigan


Download presentation

Sarah Craft, Program Coordinator, Information & Policy Research
Michigan Municipal League

Suzanne Schulz, Director of Design, Development and Community Engagement
City of Grand Rapids

Council/Manager Relationships

Sponsored by Kitch Law

In the council/manager form of government, good working relationships are imperative. Roles and responsibilities of each position will be defined, and tips given on ways to develop positive relationships and dealing with differing personalities. In addition, hear from a former city manager and current/former councilmembers on how they made their relationships work.


Michael Watza, Attorney Kitch Law


Download presentation

Kathie Grinzinger, Executive Search Program Manager
Michigan Municipal League

William Mathewson, General Counsel
Michigan Municipal League

State & Federal Affairs Update

The League’s State and Federal Affairs team will discuss current issues and what’s on the horizon for the Legislature’s fall agenda including hot topics like EVIP, transportation, and federal issues.


Download presentation

Samantha Harkins, Director, State Affairs Michigan
Municipal League

John LaMacchia II, Legislative Associate, State Affairs
Michigan Municipal League

Summer Minnick, Director, Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs
Michigan Municipal League

Tapping into Student Power for Civic Projects

“Learning by doing” is the course model for students in Northern Michigan University’s Master of Public Administration Program. Hear about a class project where NMU partnered with the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Local Government Management Association to create a public personnel manual for municipalities with 5,000 residents or less. Draft copies of the manual, and a link to the finished version, will be provided.


Jennifer James-Mesloh, Assistant Professor
Northern Michigan University

Vendor Session: The Storm of Reform

Presented by Michigan Planners

The long range forecast has been for widely scattered employer struggles with Health Care Reform compliance and its’ related costs. Back by popular demand, Mike DiLorenzo of Michigan Planners will provide you with the latest updated changes in ACA rules and how best to maintain compliance for both small and large employers. In addition, you will get an introduction to the heavily anticipated Private Exchange Programs that are just now hitting the market from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, for both large and small employers. Once you have attended this session, the future forecast will be much brighter for your ACA Compliance and Cost Management Strategies.


Download presentation

Michael DiLorenzo, Vice President
Michigan Planners