Northwood University to Host Tax Symposium November 1

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The symposium will be held from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. in Griswold Lecture Hall.

MIDLAND, MI – Northwood University will host a tax symposium addressing the topic “A Need for U.S. Tax Reform to Enhance Economic Growth and American Competitiveness.” The symposium will be held on Thursday, November 1, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. in Griswold Lecture Hall on Northwood’s Midland campus located at 4000 Whiting Drive. A panel moderated by Dr. Keith A. Pretty, Northwood University president and CEO, will begin with a general overview of the current state of the U.S. tax policy relative to the rest of the world by Dr. Timothy G. Nash, David E. Fry endowed professor in free market economics at Northwood University. The panel will consist of: 

  • David M. Olander, majority chief tax council, U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means
  • The Honorable Maurice P. McTigue, former cabinet minister of the New Zealand Parliament and vice president, the Mercatus Center, George Mason University
  • Jonathan Williams, director, Tax and Fiscal Policy, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
  • Leo E. Linbeck, Jr., co-founder and chairman, Americans for Fair Taxation

Olander will begin the panel with an overview on the need for bi-partisan tax reform in the United States. McTigue will follow by providing examples of political and tax reform that led to strong economic growth and impressive fiscal reforms in New Zealand over the last 20 years. Williams will then address the audience on the potential of a “flat tax.” In conclusion, Linbeck will make the case for the consideration of a national sales tax or what is being labeled the “fair tax.”

Upon completion of the presentations, the panelists will hold a question and answer session with the audience. “We are pleased and honored to be hosting such an important symposium regarding potential ways to reform the U.S. tax system. The symposium is open to the public and promises to be a thoughtful and informative event,” states Pretty.

Those interested in attending the free symposium should send a request for seating to

Bios of panelists are listed below.

David M. Olander serves as majority chief tax counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee under Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). In this role, he advises the chairman and other Republican members of the panel on all federal tax issues.

Prior to joining the Ways and Means Committee staff in 2008 as tax counsel under then-ranking member Jim McCreary (R-LA), Olander served for more than three years as Tax & Policy counsel to Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-NY). He worked extensively on a broad range of tax, international trade and entitlement policy matters within the committee’s jurisdiction.

From 2002 to 2005, Olander practiced law in the Washington, DC, office of Baker Hostetler LLP. As a member of the firm’s Government Policy Practice Group, he focused his practice on legislative affairs—principally in the areas of tax policy and financial services—representing a variety of businesses, trade associations, non-profits and government entities.

From 1996 to 1999, Olander served as legislative assistant to Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA).

Olander, a member of the District of Columbia Bar, earned his J.D. in 2002 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served on the managing board of the Virginia Tax Review, taught legal research and writing to first-year students and chaired the Law and Graduate Republicans. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Brown University in 1996.

Originally from Long Island, NY, Olander is married to the former Elizabeth Hammond.

Leo E. Linbeck, Jr. received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1956 and is currently senior chairman of Aquinas Corporation, a holding company for Linbeck Group, Theater Square, ZH Performance Products, LLC and Alpha Dev, LLC. Linbeck Construction Corporation was founded in 1938 by his father, Leo E. Linbeck, Sr. It is a privately held company with headquarters in Houston, Texas, with offices in Fort Worth and San Antonio.

Linbeck is a life director of the Associated General Contractors of America. Linbeck is also currently serving as senior chairman of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a volunteer organization dedicated to reforming the civil justice system in the state of Texas. In addition, he is chairman of Americans for Fair Taxation, a national organization advocating the abolishment of the entire federal income tax system and replacement with the fair tax. He is also a trustee of the MD Anderson Foundation.

Linbeck is past chairman and director of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-Houston Branch. He is a former director of Duke Energy Corporation, The Bionomics Institute, Daniel Industries, Inc., GeoQuest International Holdings, Inc., International Systems & Controls, John Hancock Advisers, Inc., MorningStar Foods Inc. and The Southland Corporation. He has served as chairman and member of the Advisory Council for the College of Engineering, University of Notre Dame, and is a former member of the Institutional Initiatives Committee of the University of Texas─MD Anderson Cancer Center. Linbeck also served as chairman for the special commission on the 1999 Bonfire at Texas A & M University.

Linbeck is a resident of Houston, Texas. His wife, Constance Baird Linbeck, a graduate of St. Mary’s, passed away in January 2001. Linbeck is now married to Bette Craddock Linbeck. He is the father of six children and has 18 grandchildren. Linbeck’s personal interests and hobbies include reading, golf and bird shooting.

The Honorable Maurice P. McTigue, QSO, is vice president at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He is director of the Mercatus Center's Government Accountability Project and a member of its Spending and Budget Initiative and State and Local Policy Project.

McTigue joined the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in 1997 where he has advised the Office of Management and Budget and most federal agencies in the Clinton and Bush administrations. He has consulted with legislators and governors in over 20 states. In 2003, McTigue was appointed to the Office of Personnel Management Senior Review Committee, formed to make recommendations for new human resources systems at the then newly created Department of Homeland Security. McTigue and the Mercatus Center served as special advisors to Louisiana's Commission on Streamlining Government. In 2010, McTigue was named to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring.

A seasoned expert on government reform, McTigue brings practical experience and scholarly research to the table from his distinguished career as a former cabinet minister and member of Parliament in his native New Zealand. Holding seven different ministerial portfolios during his nine years in the New Zealand parliament, he was one of the architects of the “New Zealand miracle,” which dramatically reformed the country’s government and economy by implementing market-driven, pro-growth policies. A farmer by trade, McTigue served in New Zealand’s parliament from 1985 to 1993 before becoming his country's ambassador to Canada.

In a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 1999, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed upon McTigue the prestigious Queen’s Service Order in recognition of his public service, one of the highest honors attainable for civil service in New Zealand.

Jonathan Williams is the director of the Center for State Fiscal Reform and the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where he works with state policymakers, congressional leaders and members of the private sector to develop fiscal policy solutions for the states. Prior to joining ALEC, Williams served as staff economist at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, authoring numerous tax policy studies. His work has appeared in many publications including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Investor’s Business Daily. With Dr. Arthur Laffer and Steve Moore, Williams co-authored Rich States, “Poor States: ALEC-Laffer Economic Competitiveness Index.” He has been a contributing author to the Reason Foundation’s Annual Privatization Report and has written for the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition, Williams was a contributing author of “In Defense of Capitalism” (Northwood University Press, 2010). He has testified before numerous legislative bodies and spoken to audiences across America. Williams is a frequent guest on talk radio shows and has appeared on numerous television outlets, including the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Fox Business News. A Northwood University graduate, Williams was the recipient of the school’s prestigious Ludwig von Mises Award in Economics.


Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at three full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida, mid-Michigan and northern Texas. Adult Degree Programs are available in eight states with many course delivery options including an online option. The DeVos Graduate School offers day, evening and weekend programming in Michigan, Texas, Florida and Switzerland. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise in Midland, Michigan, specializes in creative thinking and innovation development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in Switzerland, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.