BOARD OF DIRECTORS
David Gard, President
Senior Consultant, 5 Lakes Energy, LLC
David Gard works as a senior consultant for 5 Lakes Energy, LLC. Previously he directed the Oberlin Project in Northeast Ohio and served as energy program director for the Michigan Environmental Council. David holds degrees in business, natural resource policy and engineering.
Matt Gougeon, Vice President
General Manager of the Marquette Food Co-op
Matt Gougeon is the general manager of the Marquette Food Co-op (MFC), a vibrant 3,600-member consumer cooperative located in Marquette, Michigan where MEO has our Upper Peninsula Office. The MFC specializes in sourcing local, organic, fair trade, and wholesome food and goods for its members and other customers. In addition to operating as a community-owned retail grocery store the MFC provides significant outreach services and programs for its members and the community at large. Matt believes that building resilient local and regional food systems, increasing the capacity of small sustainable farms, and promoting healthy eating to individuals are keys to reducing negative environmental impact and increasing energy efficiency. Matt also serves as the fiduciary representative from the MFC to the U.P. Food Exchange, a regional food hub in the Upper Peninsula.
Susan Walker, Secretary
Energy Project Manager, General Motors
Susan has served as a MEO board member since April 2006. She is a 31-year employee at General Motors where her responsibilities have included electrician, skilled trades supervisor, tool design, power distribution engineer and utilities manager. For the last six years she has served as manager and engineer for GM’s corporate Energy Savings Project Implementation program. She is a Michigan State University alumna, licensed electrician and Certified Energy Manager. She is also a lifelong resident of Michigan with a strong passion for the Upper Peninsula. Her other community activities include volunteering at the Grace Center of Hope in Pontiac, and doing home builds for Habitat for Humanity.
Jeffrey Kusler, Treasurer
Vice President of Operations, CASE Credit Union
With over a decade of experience in the nonprofit financial services sector, Jeffrey now serves as both the Chief Lending Officer & Chief Experience Officer at Journey Federal Credit Union in St. Johns, MI, where the challenge of enhancing processes thrills him. Whether strategizing how to improve the efficacy of his teams or identifying members’ needs to enhance their experiences, Jeffrey adeptly extracts and synthesizes the necessary information to achieve more while using less. Prior to taking this position, Jeffrey worked for both CASE Credit Union, serving as the Vice President of Operations, and Michigan State University Federal Credit Union as the Director of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, serving as the company’s principal compliance researcher and political advocacy specialist. Dedicated to his local and regional community, Jeffrey serves on several state and local boards and commissions, including the Michigan Association of United Ways, Michigan 2-1-1 Finance Committee, City of East Lansing’s Downtown Management Board, City of East Lansing’s Downtown Development Authority, and City of East Lansing’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. In 2018, the city of East Lansing honored his impact and awarded him with the Crystal Award, an award aimed at recognizing those that have made an outstanding contribution to community life in East Lansing. A graduate of Michigan State University, Kusler holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Integrated Management. He also earned bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Philosophy from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is a Certified Compliance Officer (NCCO) through the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) and a Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE) from the American Society for Quality (ASQ).
Fred Jacobs, Board Member
Associate Professor, Department of Accounting and Information Systems, Michigan State University
Fred Jacobs has lived in East Lansing for 35 years and has served on the Board for the past six. Because of his background and expertise, Fred focuses on MEO’s financial issues, but he has been committed to the environmental movement his entire adult life, or at least since he helped his wife, Kathy, build a solar oven for one of the first Earth Day celebrations, in 1973.
Daniel Kraft, Board Member
Principal, The Kraft Law Firm PLLC
Daniel Kraft is a Lansing attorney with over 26 years of valuable experience in real estate transactions and land use, farm credit, farm reorganizations and other related issues. Kraft has served as general counsel and a board member of The Michigan Farmers Union Foundation. He was also general counsel for The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association. As a volunteer, Dan has been serving for many years on the Williamston Township Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. He also worked as the bookkeeper for MEO’s predecessor, Urban Options, in the early 1980s. Dan believes energy efficiency is the economic tool that can save the planet and improve our lives.
Tim Schmitt, Board Member
Community Development Director, City of Howell
Tim Schmitt initially joined the Board in 2013, as a representative of the City of East Lansing. The City and MEO (previously Urban Options) have had a long partnership, which includes the City’s ownership of the Energy Demonstration Center where MEO is located. Tim is now Director of Community Development for the City of Howell, focused on downtown preservation and corridor planning, bringing elements of the Regional Energy Study further afield from, its initial boundaries. He’s a proud Ohio University alum, with an undergraduate degree in Geography. Tim also serves on the board of the East Lansing Art Festival and the Capital Collective (a local placemaking nonprofit in the Lansing region). He is known to volunteer at many events around the City, supporting community building efforts in any way possible.
Todd Parker, Board Member
Customer Service Manager, Michigan Saves
Todd Parker is the customer service manager for Michigan Saves, a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization managed by Public Sector Consultants whose mission is to stimulate and support investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems in homes, businesses, and public buildings. He assists homeowners and business owners, oversees a network of authorized contractors, supports new program development and operational management, evaluates and improves quality assurance efforts, and analyzes data on loan trends. Todd wants people to spend as little money as possible on energy, so that they can spend money on the things that truly matter – family, experiences, personal well-being. Todd is a proud alumnus of Michigan State University and the Vermont Law School.
Dr. Jessica Thompson
Associate Professor, Communication and Performance Studies, Northern Michigan University
Jes Thompson teaches courses in environmental communication and public relations. She is a trained facilitator and earned a graduate certificate in Adaptive Management of Environmental Systems at the University of Utah, where she earned an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in environmental communication. Her research is focused on communication about complex ecological issues, including climate change (check out her TEDx talk). Recent research projects include working with interdisciplinary teams studying climate resilience in Mongolia, ecosystem services in the Gulf of Mexico, and building communication capacity for climate change engagement at National Parks and USFWS Wildlife Refuges across the US.