Executive Director & CEO
Dan Gilmartin is the executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. Through his work with communities, Dan is recognized as a national leader in the fields of urban revitalization, placemaking, local government reform, transportation policy, and community wealth building. Under Dan’s leadership, the League has steadily grown to wield increasing influence on matters of civic engagement and equity-based strategies to improve the quality of life for residents in communities large and small. He is actively engaged in the National League of Cities, serves on the NLC’s board of directors, and is frequently quoted in state and national publications on community-related topics.
Dan is a lifelong Michigander, a Detroit native (and booster), and currently resides in the historic downtown of Northville, Michigan with his wife, Lori, and two sons.
Anthony J. Minghine
Deputy Executive Director, External Strategies
Tony Minghine is the deputy executive director and chief operating officer of the Michigan Municipal League, and has devoted his career to the service of local government. He joined the League in 2006 to have an opportunity to focus on the broader policy issues surrounding local government. His tenure with the League began as the chief financial officer, and he assumed his current post in July of 2007. Tony is a regular speaker on a variety of topics effecting local government, and plays a key role in training local officials. He is a tireless advocate for local government, and frequently testifies to the state legislature on matters relating to local government finance.
With over 25 years of combined experience, Tony is an expert in operational and finance issues relating to municipalities and non-profits. He is a member of the Michigan Society of Association Executives, the Governmental Finance Officers Association, and Michigan Governmental Finance Officers Association. He is a former member of the MGFOA Board of Directors and has received awards from the GFOA for excellence in financial reporting and popular financial reporting. Tony has served on the MGFOA’s legislative committee since 1998, and is a 1985 graduate of Wayne State University.
Deputy Executive Director, Chief of Staff
Summer Hallwood Minnick joined the Michigan Municipal League in the fall of 2002. As deputy executive & CMO, she oversees the strategic direction and implementation of the League’s external programming including State and Federal Affairs, Public Policy Development, Membership Engagement and Civic Innovation. Summer has held numerous leadership positions within the League, most of which was as the League’s director of state affairs coordinating the organization’s lobbying activities at the state level. Under her leadership, the League’s Lansing team was recognized in the spring of 2011 as one of the top lobbying organizations in Michigan.
Prior to joining the League, Summer was the executive director of government relations at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. She was also previously employed by the Office of Governor John Engler and the City of East Lansing.
Summer earned a Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University and a Masters in Public Administration from Michigan State University.
Sharon S. Milliken
Shari Milliken has over 15 years of financial management experience with a focus on not-for-profit finance and accounting. Her responsibilities include the financial management of the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Municipal League Foundation, including grant management. She oversees financial activities for League affiliated entities, oversees the management of multiple budgets, audits, banking, and investments, and is the finance system administrator for the accounting and association management systems.
Overall, Shari facilitates change by translating ideas into desired organizational results. Shari ensures that the work needed to deliver the vision is properly managed and responds decisively and consistently to a variety of business decisions and negotiations.
Katie Farver is the Accounting Manager for the Michigan Municipal League. In close coordination with the department director, Katie manages the day-to-day accounting, financial, and budget operations. She assists in the ongoing development, implementation, and oversight of internal controls, and assists in coordinating staff and resources to advance the League’s goals and achieve departmental objections.
Prior to joining the League in 2018, Katie worked as an auditor for Plante Moran, where she conducted financial audits of municipal governments and most recently she was the chief accountant at Redford Township. Katie is a graduate of Central Michigan University and is a registered CPA.
Director, Equity & Member Engagement
Kelly is the director of membership & affiliate engagement and has been with the League since 1997. As director of membership & affiliate engagement, she dedicates a significant portion of her time to strategically engaging members, and connecting members to the League’s innovative programs and services. In her role, she oversees the ongoing operations, programs and services for the League’s affiliate organizations, including planning and developing of new programs and services, communications, and outreach strategies. These affiliate organizations include the Michigan Association of Mayors and the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. She also works closely with the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, and she is the administrator of the Elected Officials Academy.
Kelly has over 20 years of experience planning events, managing projects, problem-solving, and building relationships with members. She served as the events director from 2008-2016. In 2016, she became the director of affiliate engagement. Prior to joining the League, Kelly worked at Eastern Michigan University.
Kelly received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Eastern Michigan University. She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives. Outside of her role with the League, Kelly is the Leader of the Detroit Chapter of The Compassionate Friends.
Assistant Director, Communications and Media
Matt Bach is the assistant director of communications and media for the League. Previously, he was a newspaper reporter for 18 years at multiple newspapers, including the Flint Journal, the Livingston County Press, and the Daily News in Greenville.
He is a proud resident of the City of Flint who also previously served as public relations manager for the Flint Area Convention & Visitors Bureau before joining the League in November of 2009.
In his decade-plus with the League, Matt has helped lead the organization in various communications roles. He is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. He is a 1991 Central Michigan University graduate and is married with two children and two grandchildren.
Matt and his wife Katie’s decision to move to the City of Flint was featured in a June, 2020 episode of HGTV’s House Hunters titled “Investing in Flint.”
Dene E. Westbrook
Dene Westbrook serves as director of IT/Operations for the League. Since joining the League in 1999, she has held a variety of positions, including IT manager, systems architect, and graphic/web designer. Through all those roles, Dene has gained a deep knowledge of League operations from a variety of perspectives.
She has over 15 years’ experience in the fields of technology, graphic design, and branding, and in her organization-wide experience, she has discovered a passion for using technology to innovate for greater efficiencies which serves her well in this position. In her role at the League, she oversees many aspects of the League’s internal staff operations, serving as a point of contact, so projects and tasks under her purview are managed, resourced and completed with the greatest efficiency under a single umbrella.
Her operational duties include overseeing the organization’s technology roadmap and current infrastructure which consists of the wide area network, software applications, websites, peripherals and mobile devices. She also manages and helps plan all League and affiliate (Michigan Association of Mayors, Michigan Municipal Executives, Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys) events and logistics, such as the League’s annual Convention and Capital Conference, trainings, workshops and webinars. In addition, she comes from a graphics background, so she is uniquely able to direct the League’s team of designers to apply branding in all aspects of operations, whether for an event, website, flyer, report, or even artwork for the office. Lastly, she works with the facilities manager to ensure proper operation of all aspects of the League’s Ann Arbor office, including large construction projects and simple day-to-day functions.
Human Resources Manager
Mandy Reed serves as the League’s Human Resources Manager. In this role, Mandy oversees all internal HR functions including compensation, benefits, employee relations, recruitment, and organizational development. She also works closely with League membership managing and leading the League’s executive search and HR consulting services. In this capacity, Mandy assists communities in their search for their top administrators, develops classification and compensation systems, creates job descriptions, develops personnel manuals, and completes other related projects.
Mandy joined the League in 2006, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and is a certified professional in Human Resources.
Christopher J. Johnson serves as the League’s General Counsel. He came to the League from the law firm of Johnson, Rosati, Schultz & Joppich, P.C., where he was a founding partner. For over 30 years, Chris has been active in the defense of municipalities in civil litigation throughout the state of Michigan. He maintains specialties in the fields of municipal law, school law, legislation, liability and insurance defense. He is admitted to all state and federal courts in the state of Michigan as well as the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and has served as a member of the State of Michigan’s Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Commission from 2001-2007. He has been an active member of several League legislative committees for years. In addition, he has served as general counsel in a number of non-profit capacities in Michigan.
Chris is a seasoned presenter and a graduate of Michigan State University, College of Law (formerly Detroit College of Law) and the University of Michigan.
Chris also served as the mayor of Northville from 1987 to 2015 and was awarded the Citizen of the Year by Northville Chamber of Commerce (2015). He served on the Northville Board of Education from 1976 to 1987. In 2010, he was named Top Lawyer by Hour Magazine and DBusiness, Southeast Michigan’s Journal for Business.
Policy Research Labs
Director, Policy Research Labs
Shanna Draheim joined the Michigan Municipal League in August, 2016 as the Director of Policy Development. In her role, she oversees special research initiatives and projects related to the strategic goals of the League, and collaborates with members and other stakeholders to identify research needs and policy recommendations. Draheim brings significant expertise in community development, urban policy, sustainability and environmental protection, economic development, and clean energy policies.
Prior to joining the League, Draheim was a Senior Consultant with Public Sector Consultants, where she conducted research and managed projects for the firm and its clients on a wide range of public policy subjects. She also served as the head of Shepherd Advisors’ Community Sustainability practice area for several years, and spent over a decade in federal and state posts. With the State of Michigan’s Great Lakes programs, she led efforts to develop and implement management plans and restoration criteria for historically contaminated waterways. At the federal level, she worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation managing environmental grant programs, developing watershed and wetland protection programs, and reviewing federal energy projects for compliance with environmental regulations.
Draheim has also served as an elected member of the East Lansing City Council since 2015. She holds a BA from James Madison College at Michigan State University, and an MA in Environmental Planning from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She lives in East Lansing with her husband and three children.
Richard Murphy is a Policy Research Labs program manager. He assists communities with transportation and land use planning, placemaking, economic development, and technology issues. Murph joined the League in 2014. Previously, he served as city planner in Ypsilanti, programs director for Michigan Suburbs Alliance, and on the board of directors of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. He holds degrees in computer engineering and urban planning from the University of Michigan.
Melissa Milton-Pung is a Policy Research Labs program manager at the Michigan Municipal League. As a Federally-qualified architectural historian, her expertise is in place-based economic development initiatives, historic rehabilitation, and heritage tourism. She holds a BA in Public History from Western Michigan University and a Master of Historic Preservation from the University of Kentucky College of Architecture, where her research created the Commonwealth’s first historic property tax credit. Melissa is also adjunct faculty in Historic Preservation at Eastern Michigan University and a past president of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN).
Prior to joining the League in 2017, Melissa spent more than a decade as economic development & historic preservation project manager for Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor), and worked in cultural resource consulting.
Special Projects Coordinator
Danielle Beard is the Policy Research Labs special projects coordinator for the League. Prior to joining the MML, she spent the previous four years working for the City of Albion, Michigan in various roles. The most recent of which was as a project manager for the Albion Economic Development Corporation. Her experience is in community planning, economic development, grant writing, and project management.
Beard earned a bachelor’s degree from Albion College in 2017 with a dual major in public policy, and economics and management. Originally from southeast Michigan, loves where she lives on Lansing’s Eastside.
Risk Management Services
Director, Risk Management Services
Michael Forster is the director of risk management services for the Michigan Municipal League. He is responsible for the overall success of the League’s casualty and workers’ compensation insurance programs, which are among the largest and most respected municipal group self insurance pools in the U.S.
Mike oversees all administrative, financial, membership and regulatory aspects of programs, and is responsible for reporting to, and implementing the policies of the two governing boards, as well as numerous reinsurance partners, auditors and regulators.
He is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and began his career with the League after working for a national insurance carrier as a multi-line claim supervisor. Previous to his appointment as director, Mike held the positions of claim manager and assistant director of risk management.
Director, Financial Operations
Deborah has over 25 years of financial management experience with a focus on insurance and non-profit accounting. Currently, she is responsible for the insurance accounting functions of the Michigan Municipal League Liability & Property Pool, and the Michigan Municipal League Workers’ Compensation Fund. She is also Treasurer of the League affiliate, Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. Since joining the League in 1990, she has managed the accounting of other League affiliates including the MML Foundation, Legal Defense Fund, Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, and PROTEC, the Michigan telecommunications coalition.
Prior to joining the League in 1990, she worked as an auditor/regulator for the Michigan Insurance Bureau, where she conducted financial and compliance audits of US and Canadian life, health, property and casualty insurance companies; health maintenance organizations; and third party administrators.
Deborah is a member of the Michigan Association of CPAs, Insurance Accounting & Systems Association, and the National League of Cities Risk Consortium. She was recently awarded the John G. Stultz award for completing 25 years of service. Deborah earned a BA in Accounting from Michigan State University and a MBA from the University of Phoenix. She lives in the city of Southfield and is highly involved within her community, currently serving as Commissioner of the Southfield Total Living Commission.
State & Federal Affairs
Director, State & Federal Affairs
John LaMacchia is the director of State & Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League where he coordinates the organization’s lobbying activities at the state and federal level. John was extremely engaged in efforts to secure passage of the American Rescue plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and his advocacy work for League members is focused on the areas of transportation, infrastructure, energy, and technology issues.
John oversees special initiatives and projects related to the Urban Core Mayors, City Business Collaborative, and the Coalition for a strong and Prosperous Michigan. John joined the League in January of 2013 as a Legislative Associate. In 2015, he was honored by the Michigan Society of Association Executives as one of 15 in ’15 Rising Leaders.
Prior to joining the League, John served as Chief of Staff for former Sen. John Gleason for six years and previously working in the office of former Senate Minority Leader Bob Emerson. John has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Michigan State University and lives in DeWitt with his wife Dana and three children.
Jennifer Rigterink is the assistant director of State & Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League where she advocates on behalf of communities with a concentration on municipal services, economic development and land use issues. Jennifer joined the League in April 2016.
Prior to joining the League, Jennifer directed technical assistance for Community Development at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), including the Redevelopment Ready Communities® and Michigan Main Street programs. She also managed the Genesee Institute, now the Center for Community Progress, where she focused on building awareness of Michigan’s land bank authority model and vacant property initiatives. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from Michigan State University.
In addition, Jennifer represents the League on MEDC’s Technical Assistance Advisory Council and sits on the executive committee of the Housing Michigan Coalition. She lives in DeWitt with her husband Chris and two children. She and Chris own a small business called The Mattress Source in East Lansing and Lansing, Michigan.
Herasanna Richards is a legislative associate for the Michigan Municipal League, where she advocates on behalf of Michigan communities in the areas of energy, environment, public safety, and elections. Herasanna joined the League in April of 2019.
Herasanna previously served as the founding Executive Director of the Detroit Restaurant & Lodging Association, a regional chapter of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Throughout her career, she developed robust coalitions among small business owners, crime survivors, returning citizens, local governments, and more. In addition, Herasanna has coordinated strategy for various issue advocacy campaigns and served in key leadership roles on candidate campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels.
Herasanna earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communication from Michigan State University. She is also a 2017 Michigan Political Leadership Program graduate. Outside of the League, Herasanna serves with various community organizations throughout the Metro Detroit region. Originally from Nashville, TN, she lives with her husband and pup in Detroit.
Dave Hodgkins is a legislative associate for the Michigan Municipal League where he advocates on behalf of communities in the areas of municipal services, elections, labor, and parks and recreation.
Before joining the League, he worked for the government relations firm Midwest Strategy Group. He worked closely with several municipalities on their specific needs and local government groups, including the League, on the broader impact state government has on Michigan’s communities.
Throughout his career in government relations, Dave has led advocacy operations on an extensive portfolio of policy issues ranging from food access to economic development opportunities—elevating communities by expanding access to resources. He also has extensive experience in issue-campaign oversight and coalition building. Dave began his career serving in the Michigan House of Representatives having worked for two state representatives including former Speaker Pro Tem. John Walsh.
He earned a B.S. in English from Central Michigan University and has been awarded Outstanding Performance in team building and persuasive communication from the Dale Carnegie Immersion Seminar.
Capital Office Coordinator
Betsy DeRose is the capital office coordinator for the Michigan Municipal League, where she is responsible for assisting in the day-to-day operation of the Lansing office. Working closely with the State and Federal Affairs team, she provides administrative and customer service support to multiple department leaders and visitors to the Lansing office. She joined the League in 2018 after working as an office manager for a busy real estate office.
Helen D. Johnson
President, MML Foundation
Helen Johnson is president of the Michigan Municipal League Foundation. Prior to coming to the League, she founded CityLove Collaborative to combine her passion for cities, creativity, and collaboration with a persistent desire to help others achieve their goals. For 20+ years, including as the VP at the Quicken Loans Community Fund, as a Program Officer for the Kresge Foundation, and Co-Founder of CreateHere, Helen built and implemented bold, entrepreneurial and innovative nonprofit and philanthropic work that improves the quality of life for culturally and economically diverse community residents, nurtures place-based opportunity, and drives equitable impact. Solutions-oriented and entrepreneurial, Helen’s experience also includes the successful development of organizational strategy, marketing and communications, cross-sector initiatives and public/private partnerships. Her work has been featured in FastCompany, ModelD, Media, Garden and Gun, to name a few.
Helen lives in Oakland County, MI. She is the proud mom of Emma and William, is married to an amazing guy named Bill, and loves making sourdough bread and painting in her free time.