Board of Trustees

The members of the Board of Trustees have many roles supporting the University.

Their roles include:

  • Directing the president who, in turn, manages the University
  • Providing vital policy leadership and oversight in critical areas
  • Evaluating the extent to which the Central Administration effectively supports the faculty and students in their pursuits
  • Overseeing the University’s financial performance
  • Actively participating in academic planning
  • Donating to and oversight of the advancement function, which seeks funds to support the University.
  • Long-range planning
  • Helping to define the philosophy of the University

Dr. Albert F. Zehnder Head ShotAlbert F. Zehnder

Chairman and CEO
Zehnder's of Frankenmuth
Frankenmuth, MI


As Chairman and C.E.O., Albert F. Zehnder directs all strategic planning of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth; the Fortress, Zehnder’s 18-hole golf course and Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark.  He joined the company in 1976 and now serves as CEO of the company and Chairman of the company’s board of directors.

 A graduate of Valparaiso University (IN), Zehnder earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1976. 

He served as a delegate to the 1987-88 Michigan Governor’s Conference on Small Business, a former board member of the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce serving as its president, 1986-87.  Zehnder was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Frankenmuth Chapter of Rotary International.  He is the past president of the Frankenmuth Historical Association Board of Trustees.  He is past president of the Library of Michigan Foundation, a past board member of the Frankenmuth Convention & Visitors Bureau, a former trustee of the Frankenmuth School District and current board member of Huntington Bank-Saginaw.  Zehnder also serves as Vice President of the Frankenmuth Downtown Development Authority, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Northwood University where he was recognized nationally as one of Northwood University’s Outstanding Business Leaders for 2004.  In 2007 Northwood University recognized him with an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree.

Zehnder, his wife Karen and their four children are residents of Frankenmuth.

Chairman of the Northwood University Board of Trustees

Jennifer T. Panning Head ShotJennifer M. Panning

President, Artisan Tile Inc.
Brighton, MI  

Class of 1992



Vice Chair of the Northwood University Board of Trustees

Dr. Phillip D. Brady Head ShotPhillip D. Brady

Retired Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
Phillips 66
Alexandria, VA  


Phillip Brady is senior vice president, Government Affairs for Phillips 66. Located in Washington, D.C., he is responsible for the company's federal, state and international policy and governmental affairs efforts. He has over 30 years of experience serving in government and related positions in Washington, D.C.

Before joining Phillips 66 in August 2012, Brady had served as president of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) since June 2001). In this position, he directed a staff that carried out the activities of the association in government and industry relations, education and dealership operations, and public affairs. Prior to joining NADA, Brady served five years as the vice president and general counsel for the American Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Earlier in his career, Brady served two presidents in senior White House positions. He also worked at the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Congress.

Brady graduated with honors from both the University of Notre Dame and Loyola University School of Law. He was also awarded an honorary doctor of laws from Northwood University and has served on the Board of Trustees since 2006.

Vice Chair of Advancement


Dan DeVos HeadshotDaniel G. DeVos

Chairman, President & CEO, DP Fox Ventures, LLC
Grand Rapids, MI  

Class of 1980


Daniel (Dan) G. DeVos is Chairman and CEO of DP Fox Ventures LLC.  DP Fox, established in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1993, is a diversified management company with interests in transportation, real estate and sports and entertainment; currently employing over 1,200 people in Michigan, Chicago, and New York.  

DP Fox owns and operates Fox Motors, Fox Harley-Davidson, and Fox Powersports. Established in January 2000 with the company’s first dealership acquisition in Grand Rapids, Dan and his team reinvented the automotive experience by placing the customers first.  The Fox companies collectively represent 41 brands at 28 locations in Michigan and the Chicago area.

In real estate, DP Fox owns and oversees various projects in Michigan and The Bahamas.  Along with DP Fox, Dan is a partner in CWD Real Estate Investment LLC.  CWD projects include commercial ventures that have provided growth and revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids and outlying areas.  In the Bahamas, DP Fox manages the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina.

DeVos is the Majority Owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL.  The Griffins, primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, debuted in West Michigan in 1996, winning the Calder Cup trophy in 2013.  DeVos owns DP Fox Sports & Entertainment, LLC, a sports management company that oversees venues such as Griff’s Ice House and Griff’s Ice House West.  He is also the co-founder of the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation.

DeVos splits his time between DP Fox and numerous other family owned businesses.  In 2011 he was appointed the chairman of the Orlando Magic of the NBA, as well as heads the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.  DeVos currently serves on Amway’s Board of Directors and is a member of their Audit Committee. He also holds the title of Vice-Chairman at RDV Corporation.  Additionally, Dan is a partner with Georgian Automotive Group, LTD. and is a limited partner of the Chicago Cubs.

Dan, along with his wife, Pamella, has worked hard to give back to the communities they call home.  This work has included; Grand Rapids Symphony (Past Chair), Grand Rapids Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art National Committee (Past), DeVos Children’s Hospital, Children’s Miracle Network (Past Co-Chair), Frederick Meijer Gardens, and Northern Michigan University (Past Chairman).  Dan currently sits on the boards for Hope Network, Grand Valley University Foundation (Vice Chair), West Michigan Sports Commission and the Family Outreach Center.  

Dan is a graduate of Northwood University, currently, sits as a member (Past Chair) of the Board of Trustees, and was bestowed a Honorary Doctorate degree by the University in 1999.

Dan and Pamella live in Grand Rapids and have two daughters, Cassandra (Heath) Thorndill, Sydney DeVos, and one son, Cole DeVos.  

Chair of Executive; Member of Advancement, Compensation, and Nominating


James C. Fabiano II Head ShotJames C. Fabiano II

Fabiano Brothers, Inc.
Bay City, MI  


James Fabiano, II is the president of Fabiano Brothers, Inc., a wine and beer distribution company headquartered in Freeland, Michigan. Fabiano Brothers serve 17 counties in Central, Eastern, and Northern Michigan.

Fabiano is a native of Mount Pleasant, Michigan and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Central Michigan University.

His involvement in the community includes memberships on the boards of Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan, Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, Saginaw Community Foundation, Junior Achievement of Central Michigan, and Bay Future.

Fabiano has served as a trustee for Northwood University since 2007.

Vice Chair of Nominating; Member of Communications and Recruitment


Richard Garber Head ShotRichard J. Garber

President, Garber Management Group
Saginaw, MI  


Dick Garber is President of Garber Management Group, Inc. the umbrella organization for fourteen automobile dealerships representing fourteen franchises in Michigan, Illinois, Florida and New York. The organization also includes its own financial company Gateway Financial Solutions, and RightWay Automotive, an independent used vehicle chain which operates in over 25 sales locations in Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. Garber Management Group is ranked the 13th largest privately held Michigan company outside of Detroit.

In the community, Dick has been active on numerous boards for non-profit organizations and foundations. Currently, he is the Chair of the Temple Theatre Foundation, President of the Saginaw Society of Crippled Children, Past Chair and Board member of Saginaw Future, Inc, and Chair of the Capital Campaign for the Child Abuse and Neglect Council.

In 2002, Dick became the owner and governor of an Ontario Hockey League Franchise, now the Saginaw Spirit, which is in its 13th season at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw.

Dick is a 1978 graduate of Northwood University and has been honored as one of Northwood University’s Outstanding Business Leaders and received the Outstanding Alumni award. He joined the Northwood University Board of Trustees in 2014.

Member of Advancement, Communications, and Recruitment, and Investment


Robert Grubb Head ShotRobert J. Grubb

Co-founder and CEO
Alliant National Title Insurance Company, Inc.
Longmont, CO 

Class of 1980


Robert Grubb serves on the Northwood University Board of Trustees. Grubb also served as national co-chair of Northwood’s most recent capital campaign along with his wife, Julie, and is a member of Northwood’s Board of Governors.

Grubb earned an associate’s degree in banking and finance, an associate’s degree in automotive marketing and a bachelor’s degree in management from Northwood University in 1980. He studied for his M.B.A degree at Babson College in Wellesley, MA.

Northwood University honored Grubb with its Outstanding Alumni Award in 1993 and an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2008. In 1999 Dr. Grubb and Mrs. Grubb established the Samuel R. Marotta Faculty Ethics Award in partnership with the late Dr. Dale Haywood. The award is bestowed by each graduating class to the professor who most inspired students to think beyond themselves about the impact of their actions on others.

Grubb is a co-founder and chief executive officer of Alliant National Title Insurance Company, Inc., headquartered in Longmont, CO. Alliant National is a growing title insurance underwriter currently operating in 17 states. The company is unique in how it serves independent title agents helping them to expand their businesses, reduce their costs and risks, in a non-competitive partnership. Grubb is a seasoned executive who has started and grown companies operating internationally and domestically. He has founded, built and operated a number of other companies over the past 25 years and served as a director oror advisor to a number of companies. Grubb has served in a variety of leadership positions in the Young Presidents Organization and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Underwriter Section of the American Land Title Association. He has provided his time and energy to help a range of nonprofit organizations.

Grubb and his wife reside near Longmont, Colorado.

Chair of Advancement; Member of Executive


Rick Guirlinger Head ShotRick Guirlinger

Bourke Services, LLC
Raleigh, NC

    Rick Guirlinger, president of Bourke Services, LLC, is the retired Vice President of Strategic Planning & Analysis for General Parts International, Inc., d/b/a/ CARQUEST Auto Parts, WORLDPAC, Inc., and other subsidiaries. He is a member of the Michigan Association of CPAs and received his CPA Certificate of Examination in 1977. Guirlinger lends his expertise to various community boards and committees, some of which include the Triangle Community Foundation, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Wake County Schools and St. Michael's Episcopal Church. He is married to Annette and has two grown sons. Rick has a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University and is an MBA graduate of the DeVos Graduate School of Management.

Steve Madincea Head ShotSteve Madincea

Managing Partner, Fantastec Sports Technology Ltd.
London, England


Steve Madincea is a proud Northwood University graduate. An international business entrepreneur Madincea and his diverse teams have been recognized for their industry leading work on behalf of clients as varied as Ford, Rolex, Red Bull, Shell, Aston Martin and Samsung to name a few. Madincea has made a positive impact on the global sports marketing and PR industry. Welcomed in board rooms throughout the world based upon his reputation for delivering clear advice and desired results, he is a serial business builder. Steve has built teams and companies in China, Thailand, Australia, India, UAE, Eastern Europe, Germany, the USA and the United Kingdom leading these entities from start-up to mature enterprises before selling them off to allow Madincea to focus on his next venture. In 2015 Northwood honored Steve Madincea as an Outstanding Business Leader. A keen believer in giving back Madincea serves on the board of the Vasculitis Foundation, serves as Chairman of the European Sponsorship Association’s Best of Europe Awards and is an active member of the Northwood University Board of Trustees. Madincea resides in in Surrey, England with his wife, Jackie.


James Massie Head ShotJames Massie

President, Chief Executive Officer at Georgian International Limited
Barrie, Ontario Canada

Class of 1980


Mr. Massie is the President, Co-founder and Co-owner of Georgian International, where Mr. Massie provides leadership and vision to the company's automotive, aircraft and real estate businesses. A true entrepreneur and business visionary, Mr. Massie’s combined business contributions have resulted in the creation of over 750 jobs in the Barrie area.

Believing in the importance of community and philanthropy, Mr. Massie has actively been involved in fundraising for numerous charities including the Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie Public Library, McLaren Art Centre, the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation, the Barrie Molson Centre and numerous youth sports programs. His impressive list of awards and acknowledgments include Barrie Businessman of the Year, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 as awarded by Canadian Business Magazine, the Ontario Provincial Police Citation Award, Queen’s Golden Jubilee award for citizenship, and his induction into the Barrie Sports Hall of Fame.  Mr. Massie received a Honourary Degree and a prestigious Fellowship from Georgian College and was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Canadian Automotive Institute at Georgian College, which he has generously supported for over 25 years. In 2006, he also helped establish the J.C. Massie Automotive Bursary in memory of his late father.

Mr. Massie is a graduate of Michigan’s Northwood University and recipient of its Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award.


Edward J. McBrien Head ShotEdward J. McBrien

Chief Operating Officer, Manhattan Beer Distributors
Bronx, NY  

Class of 1981


Ed is Chief Operating Officer for Manhattan Beer Distributors, the largest single-market beer distributor in the United States. Manhattan Beer generates annual revenue of more than $1.1B, sells to over 25,000 retail customers, employs 1,850 people and represents more than 350 different brands. In his role as COO, Ed is responsible for all aspects of the business. Manhattan Beer was named Wholesaler of the Year by Beverage Industry magazine in 2016.

Ed joined Manhattan Beer in 2015 after a long and successful career on the brewery side of the beer business. Before joining Manhattan Beer, Ed was President, Sales and Distributor Operations for MillerCoors. In that role Ed was chiefly responsible for revenue, profit contribution, share growth and network strategy. At the time, MillerCoors was the second largest brewer in the U.S., with annual sales of $7.5 billion, more than 30 brand families, and 9,000 employees.

Ed joined Coors Brewing Company in October 1994 as Retail Account Director responsible for chain customers in the Midwest. He was promoted to Midwest Area Vice President in 1995, East Region Vice President in 1999, Vice President, Key Accounts in 2003, and Chief Revenue Officer in 2005. In 2008 Coors Brewing Company and Miller Brewing Company merged and Ed was appointed President of the Western Division for MillerCoors. He was then promoted to President, Sales and Distributor Operations in 2010. Ed’s extensive background also includes a number of sales positions at Procter & Gamble for 13 years prior to joining Coors.

Ed sits on the Board of Trustees for Northwood University, Midland, Michigan. He also served on the Chicago Advisory Board for Project C.U.R.E. (the leading volunteer distributor of medical supplies across the world) and the Chicago United CEO Council (promoting multiracial leadership development). Ed earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northwood University and was the Senior Class Valedictorian as well as the Academic Athlete of the Year. He is married and has two children.

Vice Chair of Investment; Member of Academic


James T. Mestdagh Head Shot

James T. Mestdagh

President and Owner,
 Landquest Properties, Inc.
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI

Class of 1987


James T. Mestdagh is the President and Owner of Landquest Properties, Inc., a Michigan based Real Estate Development Company formed in 1993 which owns and operates multi-family apartments and manufactured housing communities in Michigan and Ohio. Jim is also Co-Owner of Riverview Health which specializes in Continued Care Retirement Communities for Senior Living in Southeast Michigan, currently employing over 700 people in Michigan and Ohio. 

Mr. Mestdagh is currently a Trustee at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and a member of their Investment Committee. Jim also is the President of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club Foundation, a 501 C3 Foundation for the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. 

Mr. Mestdagh was appointed to the Board of Chateau Communities, a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) listed on the New York Stock Exchange for 10 years before the Company was sold back into the private sector, and still serves on the committee of the private company. 

Jim sits on the board of the John A. and Marlene L. Boll Foundation, a private family Foundation which gives back to the communities they call home. Three areas of concentration to provide the maximum effectiveness of resources are Christ-Centered organizations, Educational Values, and Community Enrichment. 

Mr. Mestdagh is a past member of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Southeast Michigan, the City of Grosse Pointe Farms Foundation, and Community Central Bank. He has also served as a Trustee of Knox Presbyterian Church in Harrison Township, Michigan. 
Mr. Mestdagh received his Bachelor's Degree in Business, Marketing and Management in 1987, as well as an Associate Degree in Automotive Management in 1985, from Northwood University. 

He and his wife, Kristine, have one grown son, J.T., and reside in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. 

Dr. Maureen L. Smith Head ShotMaureen L. Smith

Ft. Lauderdale, FL 


Born and educated in New York, Maureen Smith attended St. John’s University Law School and then joined her family’s business. Moving to Florida in the early 1950’s, she and her father established the first beeper system in Miami. Later she bought and operated Airbeep, Inc. in Wisconsin and her father’s Cleveland Telephone Answering Service. In 1982, they partnered with The Washington Post to found Cellular One.

An active volunteer leader, she has been a major force in the development of Northwood University’s Florida campus, serving on its Board of Governors and as a long-time chair of the Ft. Lauderdale chapter of Northwood National Women’s Board & Friends. In 1991, Smith received an honorary doctorate degree from Northwood and the Distinguished Women’s award in 1996.

She is a member of St. Anthony’s Foundation, the Federated Women’s Club, Coral Ridge Women’s Club, a Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and an honorary alumnus of Pinecrest School, Ft. Lauderdale, which cited her for significant leadership in the development of their educational programs.

Smith has served as a Northwood trustee since 1991.

Member of Advancement


Noelle M. Walsh Head ShotNoelle M. Walsh

Corporate Vice President Supply Chain, The Dow Chemical Company
Midland, MI


Noelle Walsh is the Corporate Vice President of Supply Chain for The Dow Chemical Company, focusing on driving an integrated, low cost to serve and reliable organization committed to our customers.

She started her career in the Design Engineering office of Brown & Root (UK), in London from 1985 to 1987, during which time she was seconded to BP (Scotland) for six months and also worked offshore.

Walsh joined The Dow Chemical Company in Terneuzen, The Netherlands, in 1987. She has held a variety of manufacturing and engineering leadership positions as well as business leadership positions across Dow businesses globally. Through Dow, she has also lived in Stade, Germany; Freeport, Texas; and Midland, Michigan.

Noelle is an active leader in Dow’s Women’s Innovation Network.

She joined Northwood’s Board of Trustees in May 2014.

Walsh holds a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in chemical engineering from the University College of Dublin, Ireland. She is presently located in Midland, Michigan, with her family.

Member of Academic and Advancement


Williams Head ShotGraham Williams

President & CEO, Power Process Piping, Inc.
Plymouth, MI 

    Mr. Williams has a life-long involvement and commitment to Power Process Piping and our customers. In 1984 he became a full-time employee. His first full-time responsibility was as the field material buyer for the PPP/Rouge Steel Continuous Caster Project. Upon successful completion of this assignment, Mr. Williams joined the home office staff as material and equipment buyer. He has been an active participant in the steady PPP corporate growth. Staff positions held by Mr. Williams include Buyer, Purchasing Agent, Vice President and Executive Vice President. He is currently President and CEO. He is a member of the Mechanical Contractors Association and has also served as a trustee of the Pipe Fitter Insurance Fund. Mr. Williams attended Oakland Community College and Northwood Institute.


Robert W. Wilson

Vice President, Mid Michigan Materials
Jeddo, MI



As Vice President of Mid Michigan Materials, Rob is responsible for operations, quality control, financial affairs, and is involved with all strategic planning  and oversight for the business. The company was started by Wilson's great-grandfather, uncle, and grandfather in 1962 and has been run by a member of the family ever since. Rob has worked in various different capacities at Mid Michigan Materials before assuming his current role as Vice President in 2009. The family sold Mid Michigan Materials in late 2016, but Rob remained on in his current capacity as Vice President.

Rob graduated in 2005 from Northwood University with a BBA in Automotive Marketing/Management.  In 2006, he completed his MBA from Northwood’s DeVos Graduate School. 

Rob currently serves as Immediate Past Chairman of the Board for the Michigan Aggregates Association and is the chair of the Board Development Committee and a member of the Specifications Committee for the Association. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Blue Water YMCA, where he is the Vice Chairman of the YMCA Foundation. He most recently served as the Chair of the President’s Advisory Council (previously Board of Governors) for Northwood University.  He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus in Yale, MI, Blue Water Young Professionals in Port Huron, MI and the Community Capital Club of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.  Previously, Rob served as the District Chiar for the Blue Water District of the Boy Scouts of America.

Rob and his wife Megan live in Fort Gratiot, Michigan. Together they chaired the Northwood University Auto Show Gala for two years in 2013 and 2014, helping to raise scholarship funds for Northwood students. Rob was also the Chairman of the 41st Annual Northwood University International Auto Show (NUIAS) during his time at Northwood. They have two sons, Levi and Noah and are advocates for autism and apraxia awareness.


Additional Board Members:

Jason Bricki - Chairman & CEO, Ballweg Automtoive Companies, Middleton, WI
Mary Ellen George-Hess – Head of North America, Tramada Systems (USA), Inc., Frisco, TX
Mauro Gregorio – CEO, Dow Corning, Midland, MI
Ken Lingenfelter – Owner, Lingenfelter Motor Sports, Brighton, MI

William A. Parlberg - President and Chief Operating Officer of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, Frankenmuth, MI
Gary Short - Vice President, Go-To Transport, Inc.

Trustees Emeriti

Dr. Robert M. Fairchild, President, Fairchild Management Company
Dr. John J. Ferron
Lynn Ferron
Dr. Jerome M. (Jerry) Fullinwider, Vice Chairman, Hillwood International Energy
Dr. Louis J. Furlo, Sr., Chairman of the Board, Morley Companies, Inc.
Dr. Christi Harris, President and CEO, The Christi Harris Companies, Inc.
Lyttleton T. Harris IV
Dr. Marjorie McIntyre Hohman
Dr. Leo C. Jerome, President, Story Automotive Group
Dr. Cleve L. Killingsworth, Jr.
Dr. Macauley Whiting, Jr.