Michigan governor makes appointments to Port Authority Advisory Committee

Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan has established a Port Authority Advisory Committee and appointed Paul LaMarre of Newport; Kyle Burleson of Grosse Pointe Woods; Erin Kuhn of Norton Shores; Paul Rogers of Alpena; Gabriel (Gabe) Schneider of Traverse City; Charles Squires of Sebewaing; Rodney Stokes of Holt; Paul Strpko of Big Rapids; and William (Bill) Vajda of Marquette to the committee.

Housed within the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the nine-member board was established to make recommendations to the Michigan Strategic Fund Board of Directors regarding projects related to port facilities.

“I am confident that this group of individuals will recommend projects that will positively affect Michigan’s ports, and I thank them for their willingness to serve,” Snyder said.

LaMarre is the Port Director of the Port of Monroe. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marine transportation from The California Maritime Academy. He will represent the southeast area of the state and will serve as Chair.

Burleson is the Deputy Director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. He will serve as the nominee of the Senate Majority Leader.

Kuhn is the Executive Director of West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, where she acts as the liaison between local government and the private sector, striving for shipping opportunities for the Port of Muskegon. She holds an associate’s degree from Muskegon Community College and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Grand Valley State University. She will represent the southwest area of the state.

Rogers is Plant Manager for LafargeHolcim, where he manages the Portland cement factory and implementation and optimization of environmental projects. Rogers holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson University in New York. He will serve as the nominee of the Speaker of the House.

Schneider is Principal and Founder of Northern Strategies 360, a government affairs consulting firm. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and environmental economics from Michigan State University. He will represent the Northern Lower Peninsula of the state.

Squires is the Risk and Government Relations Manager of Cooperative Elevator Company, an agricultural cooperative, where he is involved in the marketing of products both domestically and internationally, utilizing all modes of transportation and resources available, including ports. Squires holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural finance, marketing and economics from Michigan State University. He will represent the interests of the agricultural business supply and handling industry.

Stokes retired from his position as Special Advisor on City Placemaking for Governor Snyder in 2014. He is former Director of the Department of Natural Resources and has over 30 years of experience in natural resource management, including over five years directing the State of Michigan Boating and Harbor of Refuge program. Stokes holds an associate degree in physical education from Dalton State College in Georgia, a bachelor’s degree in recreation administration from Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in parks and recreation resources from Michigan State University. He will represent the Thumb Region of the state.

Strpko is a Sales Manager for Fisher Companies and has over 20 years of experience in the aggregate and construction industry. He has been involved in the Great Lakes port operations for the past 15 years and been involved with the development and marketing of several facilities on the Great Lakes. He will represent the interests of the aggregate supply community.

Vajda is President and Owner of Balizarde LLC, a company that offers information aggregation and reporting, economic development services and research, policy development and cyber security consulting and support. Vajda holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan. He will represent the Upper Peninsula of the state.

Members serve terms expiring at the pleasure of the governor.

Maritime Editorial