Past Speakers

As Your Wealth Lecture Series speakers present, their profile information and the video links to their lecture will be posted here.

2013-14 Speakers                                


Rich Tegge

Rich is the President and Founder of Wealth Strategy Group.  His passion is in helping others to understand the strategies and tools needed to assist them in reaching their financial goals.  His more than 15 years’ experience guiding clients through the most turbulent markets seen in generations gives him the perspective to help others succeed.  He has attained recognition as an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®.  He served as a Second Vice President while supervising the Marquette branch of a large Wall Street investment. Rich’s prior successes include cofounding a computer integration firm which was later sold to a publicly traded Canadian company and was a three year letter winner with the NMU Football team.



tawny.jpgDr. Tawni Ferrarini
Tawni is the Director of the Center for Economic Education and Enterpreneurship, the Sam M. Cohodas Professor of Economics at Northern Michigan University and also serves as Chief Economic Contributor for WSG.  Regionally she is recognized for her work on the economy of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Nationally and internationally,, and workshops she works diligently to bring the importance and value of economics to a broad cross section of individuals and institutions. She is a regular reviewer for and is widely published in both education and economic journals; she regularly presents at professional conferences and leads various workshops on economics to organizations across the U.S.  Her books include co-authoring Common Sense Economics:What Everyone Should Know about Wealth and Prosperity” and “Focus: Understanding Economics in U.S. History”.


i-4pHpG7W-M_1.jpgName: Jason Schneider (SONI)

Home: Marquette, Michigan

Politics: Fiercely Independent

Interests: Rock Climbing, Surfing, Culture, Local Politics, Economic Development, Cooperatives.SONI comes from Saesoni. It was my name while living in Tonga for the two years of volunteering with the Peace Corps. Tongans could not pronounce my name so it was the closest they could get.

Photography has been a part of my life for 20 years. I came into it as a student at NMU and focused on it both academically and professionally. For a number of years afterwards it took a back seat to other interests but my time in Tonga brought it back as a centerpiece of my life. I’m thankful to be able to capture intimate moments of people’s lives that tell a story and pull the viewer into the image. In thanks to my friends and life in Tonga, I’m proud to offer SONI Photography to my community at home.

Jason Schneider Presentation

John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil and author of "Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider," is a leader with a unique perspective on not only the oil industry, but on the nation's energy situation as a whole. Hofmeister was known for being a straight shooter, willing to challenge his peers throughout the industry. Now, he's a man on a mission as the founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, a non-profit association, crisscrossing the country in a grassroots campaign to change the way we look at energy in this country. His purpose is "To educate citizens and government officials about pragmatic, non-partisan affordable energy solutions, environmental protection, energy alternatives, efficiency, infrastructure, public policy, competitiveness, social cohesion, and quality of life." Hofmeister serves as the chair of the National Urban League and is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee. He is senior advisor to two energy start-ups: Liberty Power of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and NewEarth Technologies of Seattle, Wash. Hofmeister also serves on the boards of the Foreign Policy Association, Strategic Partners, LLC, the Gas Technology Institute and the Center for Houston's Future. While pundits proffer false new promises of green energy independence, or flatly deny the existence of a problem, Hofmeister offers an insider's view of what's behind the energy companies' posturing, and how.

John Hofmeister Presentation

Your Wealth

In 2002 James P. Studinger opened his own company, JPStudinger Group, a firm that specializes in financial education and meeting clients’ needs rather than the sales side of the business. In 2009 he became the Vice Chair for the Michigan JumpStart Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to raising the financial literacy bar for kids. Studinger’s passion for making smart financial decisions helped him createWealth Is a Choice so that others would embrace, not fear financial decisions. Studinger’s message is engaging, enlightening, and he’s ready to share it with those who wish to become financially stable. He has the firm belief that through sound financial education everyone can once more enjoy sound financial times. 

James P. Studinger Presentation

2012-13 Speakers


​Suzanna de Baca is vice president of client acquisition, retirement and wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial, Inc.  She has 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. In her 6 p.m. Thursday, March 21 presentation in Mead Auditorium, she will be discussing how women can take control of their finances, as well as giving advice on how to make informed financial decisions.  Other topics she will be speaking about are how to gain control over your financial situation and protecting the people and things you love.

Prior to joining Ameriprise, de Baca served as an advisor to high net worth individuals and families and held senior-level positions in sales management and business development at several asset management firms, including Bank of America’s Private Bank  and Morgan Stanley’s Private Wealth Group.

De Baca appears frequently on national television and radio, providing commentary on retirement, financial management and consumer finance. She is regularly quoted in national news and consumer publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. In addition, she is a regular contributor to industry and consumer business publications, including a weekly family finance column for  She is also a business book reviewer for Publishers Weekly.

De Baca earned a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s from Iowa State University.

Suzanna de Baca Presentation


Niels Veldhuis is the president of the Fraser Institute and co-author of the best-selling and award-winning book The Canadian Century. In his Nov. 12 presentation, he spoke about the lessons the United States can learn from its northern neighbor and what Washington would look like on a Canadian diet.

American's view Canadians as friendly, hockey-loving people, but usually don't look to them for leadership on public policy issues. True that liberals laud Canada's socialized health care system, but conservatives see it as emblematic of an uncompetitive welfare state. However, it is time for an image makeover. While U.S. politicians expanded government, Canadians cut government spending, reduced tax rates, and balanced budgets. Now Canada is among the top five most economically free countries in the world, well ahead of the United States, which has fallen to 18th overall, according to the Fraser Institute's annual Economic Freedom of the World report.