Dr. David Shambaugh

Professor and Director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution

David Shambaugh is an internationally recognized authority and author on contemporary China and the international relations of Asia. He is presently Professor of Political Science & International Affairs and the founding Director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

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He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program and Center for East Asian Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution. He was previously Reader in Chinese Politics in the University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), where he also served as Editor of The China Quarterly.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. Asia-Pacific Council, and other public policy and scholarly organizations. He has been selected as a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Senior Scholar by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and a Distinguished Research Professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. He has received research grants from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, German Marshall Fund, British Academy, International Research Exchange Board (IREX), U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and has been a visiting scholar or professor at institutions in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and Russia.

Professor Shambaugh is also a frequent commentator in the international media, serves on a number of editorial boards, and has been a consultant to various governments, research institutions, foundations, and private corporations.  As an author, he has written or edited thirty books, including China Goes Global: The Partial Power (2013 and selected by The Economist, Foreign Affairs, and Bloomberg News as one of the “Best Books of the Year”); Tangled Titans: The United States and China (2012); Charting China’s Future: Domestic & International Challenges (2011); China’s Communist Party: Atrophy & Adaptation (2008); and International Relations of Asia (2008); Power Shift: China & Asia’s New Dynamics (2005). He received his B.A. in East Asian Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, M.A. in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.

China Goes Global

The Partial Power

Dr. David Shambaugh’s riveting book on China in the world today will be available for purchase at the China Conference!

Ted Plafker

Beijing Correspondent, The Economist (UK)

Author of Doing Business in China: How to Profit in the World’s Fastest Growing Market

(Warner Business Books, 2007)

Ted Plafker has lived and worked full time in Beijing as a foreign correspondent since 1989, covering all aspects of the China story for numerous publications, including the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Science Magazine, The San Francisco Examiner, The International Herald Tribune, and others.

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He has been writing for The Economist (UK) since 1994 and is currently one of the magazine’s two accredited China correspondents. In 2013, Mr. Plafker was appointed editor of Analects, The Economist’s China blog. Fluent in Mandarin, Mr. Plafker covers China’s business, trade and economic affairs; internal politics; security and international relations; and the shifting social and cultural landscape within China.

His acclaimed first book, Doing Business in China: How to Profit in the World’s Fastest Growing Market, draws on the author’s many years of living in and writing about China. It offers concise and practical guidance to China’s unique business environment, covering China’s complex legal and economic landscape, business ethics, business culture, consumer culture, information environment, expatriate life in China, and more. Its simple aim is to help readers understand what is going on in China today, and how they and their firms can operate there effectively.

Mr. Plafker is in frequent demand as a speaker before conferences, business groups, university audiences and others. He is also a frequent on-air media guest with CBS, BBC, Australian ABC, CNBC, US Public Radio and others.

Mr. Plafker was born and raised in New Jersey and graduated with a degree in Russian studies from Wesleyan University, Connecticut.

Dr. Mustafa Mohatarem

Chief Economist, General Motors

Dr. G. Mustafa Mohatarem has been General Motors’ Chief Economist since 1995, leading an economics team responsible for assessing the impact of worldwide economic developments on the world’s second largest automaker and providing advice to the company on various competitive and economic policy issues.

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An expert on trade policy, Dr. Mohatarem led the GM Team responsible for advocating China’s accession to the World Trade Organization.  He was also the lead executive from GM interacting with U.S. trade negotiators during the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement negotiations.  Currently, his team is advising General Motors on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and other regional and international trade agreements.

Dr. Mohatarem holds an MBA and a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and has previously served as visiting assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame and as adjunct assistant professor at the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit.

Mary E. Gallagher (Ph.D.)

Director, Center for Chinese Studies, U-M

She is an associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan where she is also the director of the Center for Chinese Studies.  She is also a faculty associate at the Center for Comparative Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research.  From 2012-2013, she was a visiting scholar at the Koguan Law School at Shanghai Jiaotong University.

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Professor Gallagher received her Ph.D in politics in 2001 from Princeton University and her B.A. from Smith College in 1991.  She was a foreign student in China in 1989 at Nanjing University.  She also taught at the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing from 1996-1997.  She was a Fulbright Research Scholar from 2003 to 2004 at East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai, China.

Her book Contagious Capitalism:  Globalization and the Politics of Labor in China was published by Princeton University Press in 2005.  She has published articles in World Politics, Law and Society Review, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Asian Survey.  She is the co-editor of several new volumes on Chinese law and politics, including Chinese Justice: Civil Dispute Resolution in Contemporary China (Cambridge 2011), From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization:  Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China (Cornell 2011), and Contemporary Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies (Cambridge 2010).

Keith Schneider

Senior Editor, Circle of Blue

Keith manages multimedia story development, reporting, editing, and production for Circle of Blue. He is a nationally known journalist, online communications specialist, and environmental policy expert. For more than a decade, Keith was a national correspondent for The New York Times, where he continues to report as a special writer on energy, real estate, business, and technology.

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Before joining Circle of Blue, Keith was media and communications director at the US Climate Action Network and communications director at the Apollo Alliance. Keith developed one of the first independent online news desks as the founder and executive director of the Michigan Land Use Institute.

A sought-after public speaker on the role of original reporting and online communications in the public interest, Keith is a regular contributor to the Times, Yale Environment 360, Grist Magazine, and other prominent news organizations. You can read his personal site atModeshift.org.

Tze-lan Deborah Sang Ph.D.

Professor of Chinese Literature and Cultural Studies, MSU

Tze-lan Sang’s teaching and research focus on modern Chinese literature and culture.  Her first book, The Emerging Lesbian: Female Same-Sex Desire in Modern China (University of Chicago Press, 2003), sheds light on China’s formative bourgeoisie’s pursuit of modernity and cosmopolitanism since the early twentieth century by tracing the rise of a system of sexuality revolving around the heterosexual/homosexual binary, of which the woman-preferring woman is a crucial, contested link.

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By closely examining fiction, the mass media, popular medical discourse, and recent feminist and queer identity movements, she details the localization, in the Chinese-speaking world, of global regimes of sexual knowledge and disciplines of the self. Her current research focuses on two areas: 1) the thematic, formal and affective innovations of Chinese commercial fiction in a larger web of urban entertainment culture in the first half of the twentieth century, and 2) Chinese documentary films—especially independent productions—from the PRC and Taiwan.  She has co-edited Documenting Taiwan on Film: Issues and Methods in New Documentaries (Routledge, 2012).

Her research articles have appeared in journals and edited volumes such as asGLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies; Shijie 視界 (Horizons); Gender in Motion: Divisions of Labor and Cultural Change in Late Imperial and Modern China; Modernity Incarnate: Refiguring Chinese Body Politics; 北京:都市想像與文化記憶 (Beijing: Urban Imagination and Cultural Memory); Performing “Nation”: Gender Politics in Literature, Theater and the Visual Arts of China and Japan, 1880-1940; Eileen Chang: Romancing Languages, Cultures, Genres (2012); Documenting Taiwan; 鏡中紅顏 :華語電影的性別體認 (Woman in the Lens: Gender in Chinese Cinema); and Queer Sinophone Cultures.

Sang’s research has received support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation. She taught at Stanford University and the University of Oregon prior to joining MSU.

Brian Connors

China Business Development Manager, MEDC

Brian Connors manages the Chinese business attraction portfolio for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Brian provides Chinese companies seeking success in Michigan with information on markets, assistance with site selection, introductions to local networks, and access to all incentive programs and services offered by the State, local governments, and utilities. Brian organizes activities in Greater China to promote Michigan’s excellent investment opportunities and was an organizer and participant in Governor Snyder’s 2012 and 2013 China Trade & Investment Missions.


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A Great Lakes State native, Brian studied Chinese at Williams College and did post-graduate work at Nanjing University before earning a master’s in public policy (MPP) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Brian worked in the private sector for seven years before joining the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Steve Harris

Founder and  Director, M97 Gallery in Shanghai

Steven Harris has been a resident of China since the 1990s, first living in Beijing and later moving to Shanghai in 2003. Steven studied photography and journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and did his minor studies in Chinese as well as being an exchange student at Beijing Normal University and Qinghua University in the 1990s.

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Having worked in various sectors of the photography industry over the past 15 years, Steven decided early on that a photograph was best experienced in person, on paper. In this age of ubiquitous images and the hyper commercialization of photography itself, it was the distillation process of experiencing photography in person, as an art form, that motivated him to open M97, one of China’s first and largest dedicated platforms for art photography. Steven is often invited to participate in conferences and festivals as an expert in Chinese contemporary photography and regularly speaks on Chinese photography as well as participating in portfolio reviews. Motivated by his commitment to the longevity of photographic works of art, Steven has also brought to Shanghai international standards for the presentation and preservation of photographs.

M97 Gallery has received several awards such as “Best Photo Gallery in China” and Steven has been voted “Best Photography Gallerist” by Chinese media (2011).

M97 Gallery is an independent photographic art gallery on Moganshan Road in central Shanghai. Established in 2006, M97 is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation for the art of photography in China. M97 represents a range of important Chinese and international emerging and established artists that incorporate some form of photographic work in their practice. With a highly diverse program from over 30 different Chinese and international artists, M97 is one of Shanghai and China’s largest single sources for photography.

Mu Qian

Performing Arts Curator and Writer, China

Mu Qian is a performing arts curator, ethnomusicologist, and writer. He received his M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the China Conservatory in 2005, and B.A. in English Language and Literature from Nanjing University in 1997.

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Mu is currently Music Director of World Music Shanghai and MOMA Post Mountain Music-Art Festival in Beijing, two festivals dedicated to introducing music from around the world to the Chinese audience as well as presenting Chinese music with a global perspective.

As a curator and producer, Mu’s works include “The Disappearing Shaman”, an inter-disciplinary project about the Shamanistic tradition in China’s Muslim Xinjiang region; “Songs from the Grassland” (Hong Kong Arts Festival), a concert dedicated to contemporary music of China’s ethnic minorities, and “Beijing

Folk Rock” (Hong Kong Arts Festival and Singapore Arts Festival), featuring the Wild Children band and street musician Yang Yi. He also organized Chinese Kazakh musician Mamer’s tours in the UK, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

As an independent scholar, he has presented papers at such occasions as the 42nd World Conference of International Council for Traditional Music, the “Islamic Soundscapes of China” Conference hosted by School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the “Traditional Music in the Contemporary Society” International Symposium hosted by Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

As a writer, Mu has written over 1,000 articles on culture and art for various publications, especially China Daily and the Chinese website of Financial Times. He is also the Chinese translator of Alan P. Merriam’s book Anthropology of Music (People’s Music Press, 2010).

Mu has recently received a fellowship of the Asian Cultural Council to do research on world music and observe arts administration practices in New York and Washington D.C., from March to October, 2014.

Kunal Sinha

Chief Knowledge Officer / Regional Cultural Insights Director, Ogilvy & Mather, Shanghai City, China

Education:  Indian Institute of Mass Communication

My work encompasses trend spotting, cultural analysis and forecasting. In the early part of my career, I focused on developing communications strategies with low income communities in South Asia; my current area of expertise lies in the area of how cultures shape consumer demand, desire and branding

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I was listed in the millennium edition of the Who’s Who in the World, have spoken at leading universities including Harvard, Kellogg, Cambridge University, Syracuse University, Peking University, University of New South Wales and Australian National University. I am a prolific writer with an output that ranges from academic papers, blogs, columns in business and trade media, to four books – An Ordinary Traveler, A Banarasi on Varanasi, the award-winning ‘China’s Creative Imperative’ and ‘Raw – Pervasive Creativity in Asia’.

Specialties: Consumer insight, China business, ethnography, market research, knowledge management, sustainability.






Wei Cao – Beijing

Wei Cao graduated from Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) with an AAS in Business Administration. One of her greatest traits is her communication skill and she has been actively trying to connect Traverse City with one of the fastest growing Country China, specifically with Beijing. 

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Coming from a Chinese background adjusting to the US lifestyle was one of the hardest challenges she has ever faced, but here, too, her communication skill was at its best.  She quickly made many friends of which a few she continued doing business with after graduation.

Upon graduation Wei decided to go back to China without pursuing her Bachelor’s degree and though many may say not the best choice, Wei quickly found herself in a position in China as an Operations Manager for Bespoke, a small tourist company. It was then she realized her joy in business and her interest in the tourism/hospitality business. She learned many aspects of business from project management, marketing, HR, accounting, etc. but one of her favorite and also her strongest part of the business operation was client servicing. She always knew what the client/vendor needed and met their goals and budget no matter how hard the requirement may be.

After a few years later in the tourist industry, she decided to have a change of scenery and moved to Beijing Channel Consulting Ltd. a company dealing with education sending Chinese students overseas, mainly to the US. This is when she reconnected with TC and starting working with her contacts back from NMC which she kept in good contact with. Using her experience with her previous job, she quickly became a main player as the Director of International Relations and as a project manager. She created, managed, oversaw, and budgeted a whole project, connecting the company with NMC to start a flow of interest for both parties including TCAPS, which during her high schools year attended.

She has moved now as an employee and currently trying out a new dream, to own her own business. While freelancing here in China using her interpersonal skills, she dreams and started her own path as a consulting business mainly in the travel segment but if the need is there can expand to many other aspects of business to connect the United States and China.

Young Zhao - Photo

Zhao Yang

CEO & Co-Founder of Beijing Yuren Raineco Technology CO., LTD.

Zhao Yang is CEO & Co-founder of Beijing Yuren Raineco Technology CO., LTD.

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He is a 2012 graduate of USSWE – BUCEA (Key Laboratory of Urban Storm water System and Water Environment – Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture) where he did his Master’s Degree work conducting research on the practice of urban storm water management in China.

During his graduate study he was engaged in a number of real world projects in Sichuan, Beijing, Hangzhou, and Wuhan focused on storm water management in concentrated urban environments.

After graduating from BUCEA, Zhao Yang started Yuren Raineco Technology, a company which plans and designs green buildings and municipal drainage system retrofits to create eco-city environments. To date Yuren Technology has planned and designed more than 15 important water related projects in China.

Timothy J. Nelson

President, Northwestern Michigan College

Timothy J. Nelson has served as President of Northwestern Michigan College since February 2001.  He has guided NMC through the implementation of a strategic plan consisting of five key strategic directions, including the establishment of national and international competencies and leadership in select educational areas connected to the regional economy.

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The college community has embraced a culture of continuous improvement and collaborative relationships.  During his presidency, NMC has continued to grow and evolve.  Enrollment has increased by more than 30 percent and the college has created global partnerships with institutions in China, Great Britain, India, Netherlands, Russia and others.  Nelson believes that every student needs to have international experiences, and he has helped to establish a Global Opportunities Fund to increase those opportunities for NMC students.

During his tenure, the college has completed more than $80 million in construction and renovation projects on all four NMC campuses – the Front Street Campus, the Great Lakes Campus located on Grand Traverse Bay, the Aero Park Campus adjacent to Cherry Capital Airport, and the Boardman Lake Campus.  President Nelson has overseen the creation of the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, the Health Education Institute (in collaboration with Munson Healthcare), a Michigan Energy Demonstration Center and a curriculum in entrepreneurship.  The NMC Foundation is nationally recognized and has increased its endowment from $11 million to over $27 million in the past decade.

President Nelson is recognized as a visionary leader at the national, state and local levels being invited to present on topics from economic development to the new economy to international higher education, and to contribute in areas of policy and governance relating to higher education and economic development.  He has more than 30 years experience in higher education, and has founded three businesses.

President Nelson earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Grand Valley State University, a Master of Science in Business Administration from Michigan Technological University and completed studies at the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.  He is married to Nancy Johnson who serves as one of Northwestern Michigan College’s strongest and most effective advocates.

Steve Cousins

Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools

Stephen Cousins joined Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) as Superintendent in the summer of 2010.  He came to TCAPS from Reeths-Puffer Schools in Muskegon, MI, where for the previous 16 years he served in many leadership positions including High School Assistant Principal, Middle School Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Staff Development and most recently Superintendent.

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Prior to Reeths-Puffer, Mr. Cousins spent seven years in Zeeland Public Schools as a social worker and teacher.

Mr. Cousins holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Masters of Social Work from Michigan State University as well as an additional Masters in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University.

Mr. Cousins has worked as a consultant for districts throughout the nation.  He has presented at numerous national and regional conferences on building organizational leadership and strategic planning.  He has been president of the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA), Region 3.  He has also served in various other leadership positions within MASA and the Michigan Association of School Social Workers.

Mr. Cousins resides in Traverse City, Michigan with his wife, Terry.  He is an avid runner, mountain biker and cross country skier.

Gene Jenneman

Executive Director, Dennos Museum Center

Eugene (Gene) A. Jenneman is the Executive Director of the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Michigan. In 1988 he was hired by Northwestern Michigan College to supervise the planning, construction and direction of the Dennos that opened in July 1991.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in the Physical Sciences (1971).  He served as Executive Director of the Erie Museum Authority in Erie, PA, from 1984 – 1988 and as Assistant Director and Planetarium Coordinator of the Jesse Besser Museum in Alpena from 1971-1984.

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He is a member of the American Association of Museums, the Michigan Museum’s Association (past board member) and the Michigan Non-Profit Presenters Network (Vice-President), and ArtServe Michigan (past board member).  He is a past member and President of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association. In 1997 he was appointed by the Governor to the Board of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, serving two three-year terms.

He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, China, and S. Korea as well as Japan and Peru. He has been invited to speak on museum development and operation in S. Korea at the Yeongwol International Museum’s Forum in May 2011 and October 2013 and to Private Museum Directors in Guangzhou, China in December 2011.

In recent years he has organized several exhibitions for the Dennos with artists from Japan, China and S. Korea including an artist in residence program for NMC with the artist Wan Liya from Qingdao, China, as well as producing concert performances with groups from Tuva, Mongolia, Beijing and Shanghai.

Skilling's Picture 2014

Bill Skilling

Superintendent, Oxford Schools

Dr. William Skilling, Superintendent of Oxford Community Schools, has been a school administrator for 23 years and a classroom teacher for 11 years. Skilling earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, master’s degree from Western Michigan University, Ed.S. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University.  He has been an Adjunct Professor and lecturer of Educational Leadership for over 20 years. Under his leadership, Oxford Community Schools have implemented an eleven year required Fifth Core™ world language program in which over 2,400 students are learning Mandarin Chinese and another 2,000 plus students are learning Spanish.

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He has established 20 sister schools in China and co-founded an International High School in Shenyang, China in 2011. In 2011, he also established the first international residential academy for Chinese students in Michigan. Last December, 2013, Oxford Community Schools received from Hanban the Confucius Classroom of the Year from the Vice Premier of China, Madam Yandong Liu. His commitment to global education has led to Oxford Community Schools becoming the only pre-k through 12th grade school district in Michigan authorized as an International Baccalaureate World School. In his tenure at Oxford Community Schools he oversaw the implementation of a preK-12 orchestra program, a required three-year middle school pre-engineering program, a four-year engineering and bio-medical program, and a Fine Arts Conservatory at Oxford High School. In 2012, Dr. Skilling was recognized as the Tech Savvy Superintendent of the Year from the American Association of School Administrators. Dr. Skilling has given over 200 presentations statewide, nationally and internationally on matters of educational change, global education, and edupreneurship.


Katie Bonne

Director, International School at Bertha Vos

Katherine Bonne is currently the Director of the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) International School at Bertha Vos, a candidate International Baccalaureate Programme.

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Katherine has been with TCAPS for four and a half years, first starting at Westwoods Elementary School. Before moving to Northern Michigan and becoming part of TCAPS, Katherine worked with Yew Chung Foundation and the Confucius Institute in Beijing and Qingdao, China for four years. While there, she helped to open two international schools, as well as receive her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development from Michigan State University. She also attended MSU for her Undergraduate Degree in Elementary Education.

Ping Liang Portrait 032011

Ping Liang

Ms. Liang has spent more than 30 years in American banking, consulting, investments and trade, including 20 years international business experience in Asia, Europe and North America.

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She has worked for more than 10 years in the Greater China area. Ms. Liang was a bank executive with Bank of Boston, Old Kent Financial Corporation and Fifth Third Bank in Boston, London, various Asian locations, and Michigan. She was also Director of Financial Services at Burson Marsteller in the Greater China market, helping Chinese state owned enterprises successfully launch IPOs and international private placements. In addition, She was an investment professional with Reams Asset Management Company in the US, with responsibility for investing American pension funds in international equities and fixed income securities. In 1991 she was appointed by Massachusetts Governor William Weld as the Representative of Massport and Massachusetts to promote two-way trade and investments between New England and Asia.

Ms. Liang is the founder and Managing Director of AlphaMax Advisors LLC. AlphaMax is a consultancy providing deep-dive forensic commercial due diligence, strategy and venture development advice to owners and senior executives of U.S. companies planning to do business in China and to Chinese companies interested in investing in the U.S. AlphaMax has presence in Beijing and Shanghai through its 50/50 joint venture with JPIStrategies, a member of the JPI Group in China. AlphaMax has also helped regional economic development agencies in West Michigan publish Chinese newsletters to promote West Michigan, and to identify, attract and recruit Chinese investment to the West Michigan area. Ms. Liang was recognized as one of the “Top Women-Owned Businesses in Western Michigan” in 2007 and 2011.

Ms. Liang is an experienced trainer. She has trained heads of Chinese state- owned enterprises about capital markets and modern financial management to prepare for their IPO and International Private Placements. Ms. Ping Liang was a trainer with Fitch Training, focusing on corporate credit and finance training for banks and other financial institutions in China. She has also conducted train-the- trainer courses for senior executives of Asian and foreign multinationals in the Greater China Region and senior American corporate executives in the areas of Perception Management, Media, Crisis Management, and Doing Business in China.

Ms. Liang has been a frequent speaker in Michigan on China’s Economic Development and Doing Business in China at various business forums. In June 2005, she was a featured speaker at the Jiangsu Enterprise Investment & Financing Abroad Forum in Nanjing, China. In October 2006, she was the


Master of Ceremonies for the Michigan Global Partnership Mission to Nanjing and Shanghai, China. In October 2008, Ms. Liang was invited by China’s Council for International Investment Promotion to give a presentation at the 5th International Investment Promotion Forum in Shanghai. In June 2009, she was invited by the Development Research Center of the State Council and the People’s Government of Zhejiang Province to be a speaker at the 2nd China Opening-Up Forum in Ningbo, China.

Ms. Liang holds a Master’s degree in Public and Private Management from the School of Management of Yale University. She is a member of the CFA Institute, the Association for Corporate Growth of Western Michigan and the Rotary Club of Grand Rapids.

Ms. Liang serves on a number of nonprofit boards. She is presently a director of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and Experience Grand Rapids. She has served as a member of Huntington Bank Women Advisory Board, a director of the Economic Club of Grand Rapids and board presidents of St. Cecilia Music Center and the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan. Ms. Liang is also a trustee of the Yale-China Association and an At-Large Delegate to the Association of Yale Alumni.

Ping and her husband Tim reside in Ada, Michigan and Beijing, China.

Tim Liang

Tim Liang

Tim is a managing director of AlphaMax Advisors LLC. AlphaMax Advisors helps American and European companies to enter and operate successfully in China. Tim works with client executive teams to develop and execute China entry strategies. He also provides hands-on assistance to foreign invested companies to turn around their business operations in China.

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Tim joined AlphaMax Advisors in 2009. Before joining the firm, Tim was senior vice president at JSJ Corporation, a privately held corporation of diversified manufacturing companies with global operations based in Grand Haven, Michigan (www.jsjcorp.com).

During his twelve years at JSJ Corporation, Tim led strategic planning, corporate development, four JSJ companies, and the expansion of JSJ’s business and investments in China. He took early retirement from the company in order to focus exclusively on China consulting and investments.

Tim has spent thirty years in China business, including eight years living and working in the greater China area as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company and Arthur D. Little, assisting many American and European multinationals to enter and expand businesses in China and Taiwan. He also helped large Chinese state-owned corporations to become more competitive and to prepare for privatization.

Previously, Tim worked at Cummins Corporation for eight years in management positions, including strategic planning, defense products sales, international distributor management, and China business development. At Cummins, Tim was a member of the team that negotiated and executed the first licensing agreement in China’s automotive sector.

Tim earned his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in Ohio and three graduate degrees from Yale University (East Asian Studies, Chinese Archeology, and Management). He speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently.

Tim is an advisor to and director of several American manufacturing companies active in China. He is a trustee of the Oberlin Shansi Association and past trustee of the Yale- China Association, two of America’s oldest educational organizations dedicated to promoting cultural and educational understanding between the U.S., China and Asia. Tim also serves on the board of directors of the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Symphony and the World Affairs Council of West Michigan. He is an At- Large Delegate to the Yale Alumni General Assembly.

Tim and his wife Ping reside in Ada, Michigan and Beijing, China.

Luciani 4-16-13

Douglas R. Luciani

President & CEO Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce

Doug Luciani has been President & CEO of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce since January 2003.  As CEO, Doug is responsible for the Chamber and its two subsidiaries, the Traverse City Area Chamber Foundation, and the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation.  The Chamber serves a Northwest Michigan region with a total population of approximately 190,000 people in 5 counties and is the third largest chamber of commerce in Michigan, with more than 2000 member companies.

Marsha Smith photo

Marsha Smith

Executive Director, Rotary Charities of Traverse City

Marsha Smith has spent her entire career in the nonprofit sector in the Grand Traverse Region. She has been the Executive Director of Rotary Charities of Traverse City since 1997. She has served as a Development Officer for: the Women’s Resource Center; Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital; Traverse City Osteopathic Hospital; and Interlochen Center for the Arts.

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She has a wide range of community interests and has held a variety of leadership roles in regional environmental, growth management, cultural, educational, and health organizations. She was the 1998 Athena Award recipient.  She has played a major leadership role in the Grand Vision. In 2009, Ms. Smith received the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute’s Land Use Leadership Award in recognition for her key role in the Grand Vision. She currently serves in state-wide leadership roles on the Michigan Community Service Commission and the Council of Michigan Foundations.

Tracy J. Biegler

Tracy J. Biegler

CEO and President, Enstrom Helicopter Corporation

Tracy J. Biegler became president and CEO of Enstrom Helicopter Corporation in February, 2014.  Prior to that, Biegler was vice president, responsible for planning, organizing, and management across the company.  Biegler joined the Enstrom team in 2003, and as Director of Sales & Marketing, managed the growth of sales by over 300% during a three year period.  During this time, Enstrom was named Michigan exporter of the year in 2004.

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Prior to joining Enstrom, Biegler had 14 years of experience at Boeing Commercial and Military Airplanes in Seattle.  Biegler started his career as a stress engineer on the B2 program, and completed his career with Boeing as a manager of several engineering groups that supported commercial flight test programs involving all models of Boeing commercial aircraft. Biegler earned his B.S. and Master’s degree in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Al DeVore

CEO, Graceland Fruit

As Chief Executive Officer, Al DeVore brings a wealth of capabilities and functional experience in sales, marketing, operations, lean manufacturing, accounting and finance to Graceland.

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He began working in a consulting role with the company in 2010 as a key member of the restructuring team, providing technical manufacturing expertise and assisting in the company’s turnaround efforts. Prior to entering the consulting profession, Al held senior roles in several manufacturing companies, including tenures as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

Roch Lambert

Group President, Rec Boat Holdings, LLC

Roch Lambert is the Group President for Rec Boat Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Platinum Equity Affiliates’ PBH Marine Group, LLC.  He was appointed in May, 2010 and is in charge of the Four Winns, Glastron, Scarab and Wellcraft boat brands.  Platinum Equity acquired the boat brands out of bankruptcy in 2009, along with the fishing boat brands, Ranger, Stratos, and Triton.  Prior to his current position, Lambert was with Quebec-based BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products) holding numerous management positions from 1994 – 2009.  His most recent position being vice president and general manager of the Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo and Evinrude division of BRP US, Inc. (formerly Bombardier Inc.).  He also had served as vice president and general manager of BRP’s Evinrude and Johnson outboard engines division rebuilding the brands from the OMC bankruptcy of 2000.  In both capacities, Mr. Lambert demonstrated an ability to build and grow strong businesses, successful restructuring initiatives and operational turnarounds.

Lambert graduated from Polytechnic School of Montreal with a Mechanical Engineering degree in 1986. He also has a graduate business degree from Laval University in Quebec.

Mark Newham

Director of China Development Co Limited (CDC)  
Mark Newham is an adventurous entrepreneur
from Australia.  He has traveled the world extensively,
investigating cultures, people, and ways that
countries implement business practices.
Mark has lived in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, multiple countries throughout Europe,
Australia, and the United States.  He is a strategist at heart, insightful and
humorous.  His passion is strategic mapping of entrepreneurial opportunities.
He loves a good yarn and will challenge your thinking and question your assumptions.
He has retired in the Traverse City area with his wife, Cynthia.
His daughter, Jess, travels the world pursuing her own entrepreneurial opportunities.