The mission of the Great Lakes Encounter Symposium is to bring together leaders and experts who will offer innovative solutions to the most compelling challenges, present opportunities and otherwise enhance and protect our life in the best place in the world — the Great Lakes.

Proceeds of ticket sales cover costs of conference.

Early Bird Registration (for Non-Students) will end on 03/31/2022
Exhibitors are Welcome!

Invitee List

The Honorable Tom Barrett – Mayor, City of Milwaukee

The Honorable Lori Lightfoot – Mayor, City of Chicago

The Honorable Mike Duggan – Mayor, City of Detroit

The Honorable Frank G. Jackson – Mayor, City of Cleveland

The Honorable John Tory – Mayor, City of Toronto

The Honorable Gretchen Whitmer – Governor of Michigan

The Honorable Tim Walz – Governor of Minnesota

The Honorable Tony Evers – Governor of Wisconsin

The Honorable J.B. Pritzker – Governor of Illinois

The Honorable Eric Holcomb – Governor of Indiana

The Honorable Mike DeWine – Governor of Ohio

The Honorable Tom Wolf – Governor of Pennsylvania

The Honorable Andrew Cuomo – Governor of New York

The Honorable Doug Ford – Premier of Ontario

The Honorable François Legault – Premier of Quebec

The Honorable Chris Swartz – President, KBIC

The Honorable Gary Peters – U.S. Senate – Michigan

The Honorable Debbie Stabenow – U.S. Senate – Michigan

The Honorable Fred Upton – U.S. Congress – MI 6th District

The Honorable Amy Klobuchar – U.S. Senate – Minnesota

The Honorable Tina Smith – U.S. Senate – Minnesota

The Honorable Tammy Baldwin – U.S. Senate – Wisconsin

The Honorable Ron Johnson – U.S. Senate – Wisconsin

The Honorable Tammy Duckworth – U.S. Senate – Illinois

The Honorable Dick Durbin – U.S. Senate – Illinois

The Honorable Mike Braun – U.S. Senate – Indiana

The Honorable Todd Young – U.S. Senate – Indiana

The Honorable Sherrod Brown – U.S.Senate – Ohio

The Honorable Rob Portman – U.S. Senate – Ohio

The Honorable Bob Casey Jr. –  U.S. Senate – Pennsylvania

The Honorable Pat Toomey – U.S. Senate – Pennsylvania

The Honorable Kristen Gillibrand – U.S. Senate – New York

The Honorable Chuck Schumer – U.S. Senate – New York

All Members – Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus

All Members – House Great Lakes Task Force

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Author of “What the Eyes Don’t See” CLICK TO BUY HER BOOK

Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP is the founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an innovative and model public health program in Flint, Michigan. She is founding donor of the Flint Child Health and Development Fund.

Marc Edwards

Civil/Environmental Engineer, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech & Flint Water Crisis Expert

Marc Edwards will be joining Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha as they present. More info to come. 

Jamie Racklyeft

Communication Strategist & Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium Founder

Jamie was lucky to be saved from drowning in a Great Lakes rip current and now leads a growing nonprofit water safety community that helps people safely enjoy the Great Lakes. With a background in communication and education, his mission is to ensure that everyone knows what the many water safety experts and drowning prevention advocates in the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium know, so that what almost happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else. 

James W. Hourdequin

Presentation will be on the importance of timber management to the Great Lakes economy. In late 2019, Lyme Timber Company acquired 677,000 acres of land in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northeast Wisconsin, including 550,000 acre – all of Weyerhaeuser’s Michigan holdings making Lyme Timber Company the largest private landowner in Michigan.

Alan Lerchbacker

President & CEO of Naval Coating


ALAN formed the team of General Dynamics, Boeing and Austal USA winning a $38B contract to build the Littoral Combat Ships for the Navy. In 2004, he moved to Hawaii as the Director of Construction for Navatek, for the Office of Naval Research, ONR. Alan joined The Miller Group in 2011 as their Managing Director, Western Region. He is currently President and CEO for Naval Coatings Inc., the leader in blasting and painting of Navy Ships.

Philomena Kebec

Policy Analyst and Attorney with the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

PANELIST: Protecting the Great Lakes “Legislation Embracing Aboriginal Values

Philomena Kebec is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa who is a policy analyst and attorney with the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission in Odanah, Wisconsin. In that capacity she advises the intertribal natural resource agency made up of 11 Ojibwe tribes that assists its member tribes in matters involving their off-reservation treaty rights. Kebec also assists the Bad River Tribe in carrying out a harm reduction/syringe services program to support HIV and overdose prevention. Previously, she worked as an attorney for the Bad River Band and the Indian Law Resource Center on environmental justice and human rights matters. Her award winning pro-bono legal work and other volunteer efforts continue to make a positive difference in peoples lives.

Richard DUBEY

CHAIR Of the Tribe Government Practice Group at law FIRM OF Ogden, Murphy & Wallace

PANELIST: Protecting the Great Lakes “Legislation Embracing Aboriginal Values

His practice focuses on environmental and natural resources law and tribal government matters, with an emphasis environmental regulation and litigation, water and natural resources law, Native American law, administrative law and intergovernmental negotiations. Richard’s contribution to our Nation includes his service as an officer in the United States Army with the 82nd Airborne Division in the United States and the 25th Infantry Division in the Republic of Vietnam (1968-1971).

Winona LaDuke

& Political

PANELIST: Protecting the Great Lakes “Legislation Embracing Aboriginal Values

Winona LaDuke is an internationally renowned activist working on issues of sustainable development renewable energy and food systems. She lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, and is a two time vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader for the Green Party. As Program Director of the Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on the issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice with Indigenous communities. And in her own community, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation based non profit organizations in the country, and a leader in the issues of culturally based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy and food systems. In this work, she also continues national and international work to protect Indigenous plants and heritage foods from patenting and genetic engineering. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, she has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues. She is a former board member of Greenpeace USA and is presently an advisory board member for the Trust for Public Lands Native Lands Program as well as a board member of the Christensen Fund. The Author of five books, including Recovering the Sacred, All our elations and a novel- Last Standing Woman, she is widely recognized for her work on environmental and human rights issues.


Early Registration / Meet & Great
6pm – 8pm

Great Lakes Research Center
100 Phoenix Drive, Houghton, MI

Early Registration, tour the Great Lakes Research Center and enjoy hors d’oeuvres with a beautiful view of the Keweenaw Waterway. This stretch of water has recently been designated a Marine Autonomy Research Site (MARS). Don’t be surprised if you leave this event knowing that you’re attending an important symposium in a place where amazing things are in store for our Great Lakes.

Memorial Union Building
1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI


Welcome & Opening Remarks

Memorial Union Building
1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI

The Great Lakes Encounter Symposium
Day One – The Challenges

Memorial Union Building
1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI

Flint – Never Again!
Suggested Reading

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of the book “What the Eyes Don’t See” will talk about how citizens of Flint, Michigan, a city surrounded by the world’s largest fresh water body, were poisoned. Dr. Mona and Virginia Tech professor Mark Edwards along with a handful of volunteer students rescued Flint by bringing evidence of the city’s contaminated drinking water to the forefront and forcing government regulators to act.

Doctors of the Great Lakes Panel

Six world renowned Great Lakes experts assume the role of “doctor”  and  convey a comprehensive diagnosis of the health of each of our Great Lakes – setting the stage for those who will take the stage and provide solutions to water quality, other environmental challenges, and propose climate change adaptations necessary for survival. 

Nancy Langston: Nancy Langston is a Distinguished Professor of Environmental History at Michigan Technological University. In 2021, she was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society for Environmental History. She is the author of five books on climate history, Great Lakes history, forest and wetland history, and toxics history.

State of Great Lakes Economy Panel

Leading economists describe our nation’s economic growth engine and leave no stone unturned identifying impediments to our economy. What happens when freighters are stuck in the ice on Lake Superior? How many jobs and how much money is lost? And much more!

Tribal Leaders Panel

Great Lakes tribal leaders provide the indigenous people’s perspective on the state of the Great Lakes and the importance of restoring water quality and the natural resources that appertain to tribes via treaties with the United States.

Break-Out Sessions: MTU, GLWSC, Tribal Treaty Rights

Memorial Union Building
1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI


Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30am – 9:00am

Memorial Union Building
1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI

The Great Lakes Encounter Symposium
Day Two – Solutions

Memorial Union Building
1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI


Various TBA

Representatives from major U.S. engineering firms (TBD) propose  climate change adaptation, solutions to algae blooms, invasive species, water pollution, high water levels, and more.


State of the Great Lakes Energy Panel

In what may be the most contentious and controversial issue within the region – an eclectic group of individuals discuss current and future Great Lakes energy needs, policies and practices. We will demand “just the facts” but it’s still going to be contentious!

Great Lakes Forest Lands – A New Paradigm

Jim Hourdequin, CEO & Managing Director of Lyme Timber, Michigan’s largest private landowner. Formed in 1976, The Lyme Timber Company invests in and manages timberland and rural real estate where disciplined valuation, conservation sales, and operational restructuring are the key drivers of investment return. Will structuring conservation transactions with conservation partners and in accessing attractive long-term financing such as the New Markets Tax Credit program help restore forest lands in the  Great Lakes?


Making the Great Lakes the Birthplace of Unmanned Shipping

Alan Lerchbacker, Naval Academy graduate, former U.S. Navy Aquanaut and highly successful entrepreneur, makes the case for making the Great Lakes the birthplace of unmanned shipping – starting with a real icebreaker!


Great Lakes Bill of Rights – Adopting Aboriginal Values in Modern Law

With decades of experience in environmental and Indian law Richard Dubey takes the stage to propose a Great Lakes Bill of Rights that embraces the values of the aboriginal people of the Great Lakes Region. This novel – thought provoking talk might make you hungry for fish!

Award Winners – Valdas Adamkus Student Contest (Dinner Presentation)

Memorial Union Building
1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI

The winner of the Great Lakes Encounter Symposium’s “Take the Challenge – Provide the Solution” contest presentation.

Break – Out Sessions: MTU, GLWSC, Tribal Treaty Rights


The Great Lakes Encounter Symposium
Day Three – Saving Lives

Jamie Racklyeft and the team from the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium describe the current state of the Great Lakes water safety and the community of individuals devoted to eliminating drowning within the Great Lakes. Other topics include translating wave conditions and current science into reducing risk, injury prevention research, the importance of municipal lifeguard programs and starting local water safety groups.

Unmanned Systems Use In Water Rescue

Program uUnderdevelopment…

Where to Stay & EAT While You’re Here

Please email our coordinator to ask about available dorm rooms at Michigan Tech University

Jeffery Loman

VP Business Development of KBIC

After his combined 35 years of government service as a U.S. Navy Aquanaut and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Diver, Chief Natural Resources for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Deputy Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management – Alaska; Jeffery returned to the L’Anse Indian Reservation where he was born. 



Wayne is an internationally-recognized as a spokesperson for program management using Earned Value Management (EVM). With over 30 years’ experience in program analysis and a worldwide reputation as a leader in acquisition improvement.

Board Members


Director of

Tim Havens is the Director of Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center. Tim received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Missouri. Prior to joining Michigan Tech, he was an NSF/CRA Computing Innovation Postdoctoral Fellow at Michigan State University. 

Elizabeth Hoy

Director, Business & Program Development, MTU GLRC

Elizabeth Hoy facilitates partnerships that support and institutes growth throughout the Great Lakes Research Center. She directs the development and distribution of outreach material to external partners and oversees operations.

Roman Sidortsov

Assistant Professor, Energy Policy at MTU

Roman Sidortsov has a diverse international background as an educator, researcher, consultant, and practicing attorney. He has developed and taught law and policy courses.