The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization founded by conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a genuine “All of the Above” approach to energy policy that includes increasing our commitment to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Moving Michigan towards an “All of the Above” energy policy will create jobs, expand our economy, increase national security and grid security, improve public health, and leave behind a powerful legacy for future generations. We encourage you to stay involved through our website, by checking out our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Channels and Newsletter for regular news & event updates.
Statement of Principles
Download the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Statement of Principles.
Larry Ward is the Executive Director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF). He founded the non-profit organization in 2013 to provide a voice for conservatives in the energy policy debate, with a focus on advancing clean, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. Since its launch, MCEF has become a trusted clean energy advocate, working to depoliticize energy policy in Michigan and across the nation.
Larry's conservative political perspective is a driving force behind his pursuit of an energy future that emphasizes a clean energy economy, energy security, and conservation of our natural resources; he believes Michigan can achieve homegrown, sustainable, and affordable energy that lessens our dependence on foreign oil and creates good-paying local jobs.
Larry and his team are proud to play a role in promoting Michigan's ongoing clean energy and energy efficiency successes. Most recently, Larry was chosen to participate in Michigan Senator Nofs' energy work group, where he met with various stakeholders over the course of two years to propose comprehensive solutions for the state's energy landscape. In addition to these stakeholder meetings, Larry also seeks to educate policymakers and the public everyday on the vast economic, security, and conservation benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency, as well as the state's renewable portfolio standard which was recently increased with bi-partisan support in the Michigan Legislature and signed into law by Governor Snyder in December 2016.
Larry's dedication and commitment to conservative policies and solutions is evident throughout his political career. His consulting firm, Republican Advisory Services LLC, successfully ran the campaign for current Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Larry served two terms as the Political Director of the Michigan Republican Party. He has a long history of grassroots GOP activism, first as a candidate for State Representative, followed by his role as the Ingham County Republican Party Chairman. Larry also served as a Deputy Coalitions Director for the DeVos for Governor Campaign, and served as the 8th District Chairman for the U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers. In 2012, Governor Rick Snyder appointed Larry to serve on the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System Board (MPSERS).
Larry was raised in Plymouth, Michigan and is a graduate of Western Michigan University. He currently lives in Williamston, Michigan, with his wife, Karen, and their three sons – all of which are “MSU Spartans”; Jacob, Aaron, and Joshua.
Michigan Republican State Committee
A retired United States Air Force/Air National Guard Lieutenant Colonel, Hank exemplifies what it means to serve.
Hank served his country for more than 31 years in the US Armed Forces and he continues to make a difference today in numerous capacities. Hank is a member of the Kent County Republican Party, the Third District Republican Committee, and is a local leader on conservative issues. Today however, Hank is best known as the Secretary of the Michigan Republican State Committee – a volunteer position to which he has been elected since 1982.
Hank is also a small business owner, serving as the President of Fuhs Brothers, specializing in pharmaceutical, specialty medical services, and retail sales.
Hank is a founding member of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council.
Traverse Bay Area Republican Women's Club
A resident of Grand Traverse County since 2000, Anna is a lifelong Republican and became very active in Republican politics in 2004. She has been a member of the Grand Traverse County Republican Party Executive Committee for several years and was elected Vice Chair in 2010. She was elected to the Chairman’s position in 2011 and won re-election to that position in 2012. Anna also serves as Co-Chair of the Michigan Republican Party’s County Chair Advisory Committee.
Anna has worked for several years in customer service and has experience in both retail and banking. Currently, she works for an agency that focuses on workforce development. She has a degree from Northwestern Michigan College in Business Administration.
Anna is a founding member of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council.
Conservative Political Activist
Ed has served as a political activist in Lansing since 1988. He has more than 30 years of experience in government affairs and holds a Master’s Degree in Policy Analysis and Evaluation from Michigan State University.
Ed is passionate about his belief that conservatives need to lead the energy policy discussion.
Ed joined the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council in February 2014.
Young Professionals Outreach Coordinator
Michigan Conservative Energy Forum
Christopher is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University (MSU) and is due to graduate in May 2017. A lifelong Republican, Christopher has been active in the MSU College Republicans and has participated in several political campaigns, including his own campaign for Ingham County Commissioner in 2016 and the grassroots campaign “Spartans for Snyder”, which helped Governor Snyder get reelected in 2014. He is also the former President and Chair of MSU’s chapter of Turning Point USA and a voting member of the Ingham County GOP executive committee.
Christopher currently works at Jackson National Life and has been a member of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council since December 2016.
Jim MacInnes P.E.
Chairman and CEO
Crystal Mountain Resort
Jim is a long time advocate of strengthening US energy security through the deployment of renewable energy, transportation electrification, and by reducing energy waste. He served in the US Navy Pacific Fleet during the Vietnam era and later graduated from the University of California, Irvine earning a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and an MBA with a major in finance. He became a licensed professional engineer in 1980.
Jim worked as a power engineer for Ebasco Services, Inc., the company that designed Michigan’s Ludington Pumped Storage facility and later went on to develop renewable power plants in California. He moved to Michigan in 1985 and became chairman and CEO of Crystal Mountain Resort in 1987. Crystal Mountain is an energy intensive business that employs up to 650 people, has developed $80 million in resort projects and has received numerous awards for its work on energy conservation, including Governor Snyder's "Energy Innovator of the Year" award in 2015. Jim, and his wife Chris, earned the US Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Success award for the state of Michigan. Jim serves on the board of directors of Fifth Third Bank, west Michigan.
In 2011 Governor Snyder appointed Jim as chair of the Michigan Utility Consumer Participation Board, which represents the interests of residential ratepayers in electric and gas utility rate cases. He has served on the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Council and has testified on energy issues before the Michigan Senate and House energy policy committees. Jim also served as vice-chair of the Electrical Engineers' professional association, the IEEE, Energy Policy Committee and is a member of the IEEE Power and Energy society. The IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
Jim joined the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council in April 2015.
Michigan Federation of
Charlie grew up in Holland, Michigan and is currently a senior at Michigan State University (MSU) studying Economics.
Charlie is the Chairman of the Federation of College Republicans and has been an active member of the MSU College Republicans. He has also been involved in several Republican campaigns including being a Field Representative for Terri Lynn Land's campaign for senate.
Charlie joined the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council in May 2016.
Keith den Hollander
Christian Coalition of Michigan
Over the years, Keith has held many roles in Republican politics. He has served on the Kent & Calhoun County Republican Executive Committees, the Second & Third Congressional District Republican Committees, and he is a former member of the Michigan Republican Party State Committee. He was the Kent County Bush-Cheney ’04 Chair and has served on other Presidential Campaign Steering Committees. He has also served as an Ambassador for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.
Keith and his wife Rebecca live in Marshall with their three sons and daughter. Keith is a founding member of the of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council.
State Committee Member
Michigan Republican State Committee
Kelly Mitchell is a former Vice Chair of the Michigan Republican Party. She has lived in Michigan her entire life, growing up in rural Thetford Township. Her activism in Republican advocacy began as a Young Republican. Having been a resident in Genesee and Kent Counties at different stages, she has served in multiple county, district and state level positions. In 2016, Kelly was elected as one of 16 members of Michigan's Electoral College and was also appointed to the U.S. Department of Energy.
In addition to serving on the Michigan Republican State Committee, she is the Secretary for the Kent County GOP and a member of the Executive Committee. She's currently serving appointments on the Kent County Board of Commission Solid Waste Management and the State Board of Barber Examiners.
Kelly earned an Associate's Degree in Applied Science and a Bachelor's Degree in Business. She is a graduate of the Michigan Excellence in Public Service Series and was awarded the Michigan Republican Party Grassroots Leadership Award in 2015.
Kelly is married with one adult daughter and resides in Grand Rapids where she is a Certified Tourism Ambassador. She is employed as a Sales Executive for a Blueprint Precision Tooling Company in Walker, MI. Kelly is a founding member of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council.
Mark E. Huizenga
Mayor, City of Walker
Partner, Key Green Solutions
Mark is a highly-motivated, results-driven professional with over 15 years of proven management consulting expertise. Mark has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Calvin College and a Master’s Degree in Management from Aquinas College. Mark is a Board Certified Medical Practice Executive with the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE). His consulting firm, Mark Huizenga Systems Consulting, LLC, provides consulting services across the United States. He has consistently been a high performer: holding senior management roles with Spectrum Health, Health Development International, ProCare Systems as well as other health care organizations.
Mark is an adjunct instructor at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids Michigan. Mark is also the managing partner for Key Green Solutions, LLC, a sustainability management software company based in Grand Rapids. Key Green Solutions provides a comprehensive energy, waste, water, food and carbon footprint calculator. Key Green software is being used by hospitals in 22 states, one province and covers 110 million sq ft. Key Green is rapidly being recognized as the premier sustainability management software suite for hospital systems across the United States.
Mark has developed deep industry experience in several categories including:
- Strategic Planning
- Profitability, Operational & Efficiency Analysis
- Development of Ambulatory Infusion Centers
- Pharmaceutical advisement for new biologic drugs and their delivery cycle
Mark provides operational and efficiency work to medical practices, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Mark serves on various boards including Health Development International and is an advisor to several medical practice boards. Mark has been a guest lecturer in Central America, Eastern Europe, South East Asia and the United States.
Mark was elected the Mayor of the City of Walker in November 2013. Previously Mark was elected as a commissioner for the City of Walker, and served as a Planning Commissioner for 8 years.
Mark is a founding member of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council.
Former Vice Chair
Born and raised in Hastings, MI, Reka has a history of Conservative community and political involvement including serving as an Evangelical Field Director for the Republican National Committee (2004), Vice Chair of the Barry County Republican Party (2005 – 2006), Legislative Assistant for State Representative Bill Caul (R- Mt. Pleasant), Regional Coalitions Director on the DeVos for Governor Campaign (2005-2006), and Michigan Operations Manager on Romney for President (2007). Reka also worked as a Summer Associate at the American Center for Law and Justice in Virginia Beach, VA (2008) and is currently serving as a Member of the School Board at Barry County Christian School in Hastings, MI – a position she was honored to assume 13 years after graduating from BCCS. She has also been privileged to volunteer with the Student Statesmanship Institute during their summer programs serving both as a lobbyist for the mock-legislature and as a coach for the Mock Trial and Moot Court tracks.
Reka holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Political Science from Cornerstone University (2007), a Master of Arts in Government from the Robertson School of Government at Regent University (2012), and a Juris Doctor from Regent Law School, Regent University (2010). She is a licensed attorney and is a member of the Michigan Bar Association.
Reka enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid ballroom dancer. Reka joined the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council in February 2014.
Sanilac County GOP
Organic Farmers of MI
10th District Republican State Committee Member
Dean is a former teacher and taught Industrial Education for 26 years. The last few years of his teaching career the class worked on a solar electric car, leading Dean to build his house that is run solely on solar power. Dean also runs a fully self-sustaining organic farm that has 850 acres. His success with solar for the past 14 years led to Dean helping others with their solar installations with his business DB Solar LLC.
Dean is the Secretary, and one of two founding board members, of Organic Farmers of MI, a grower owned company that markets more then 10,000 acres of land. Organic Farmers of Michigan’s mission is to ”increase the viability of farming for all generations and to provide the local community, as well as abroad, with healthy and nutritional foods.” Organic Farmers of MI has more than 50 members and over $40 million in sales each year.
Currently Dean serves on the Health Board and Department of Human Services (DHS) Board for Sanilac County and is Chairman of the Brownfield Redevelopment Board. He is also an active member of the Sanilac County GOP where he serves as Vice Chair. Dean has been married for 43 years to his wife Kathy Berden and they have 4 children and 10 grandchildren.
Dean joined the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council in April 2015.
Vytau K. Virskus ME, JD
Millenium Energy Company
Vytau K. Virskus was born in a displaced persons camp in southern Germany shortly after World War II. His parents where refugees from the Russian occupation of Lithuania, and immigrated to the United States on a liberty ship. He grew up in Flint Michigan, and attended Michigan State University, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering. Following graduation he worked at MSU as an operations and energy manager until he left that position to pursue a degree in law at Thomas M. Cooley Law school where earned a Juris Doctor.
Mr. Virskus is the Principal of Millenium Energy Company and has over 35 years of power generation, energy management, and building automation experience. He has provided analytical, consulting, project management, and commissioning services for numerous commercial, institutional, educational, and industrial clients. Mr. Virskus has completed numerous successful energy efficiency and utility cost reduction projects for school districts, hospitals and universities, generating cost savings of up to $1M in annual savings. Collectively, the total savings is estimated to be over $30M over the last 15 years alone.
Mr. Virskus has a diverse energy background, also having been involved in developing a number of electric generation projects, and has negotiated electric purchase power agreements with public utilities.
More recently he has developed a process for conversion of large-scale industrial, institutional, and commercial chilled and hot water systems to variable volume flow for which he has received a US patent. The mathematical algorithm makes it possible to convert large hydronic systems to variable flow, a major improvement in energy efficiency, which is otherwise very difficult without significant and costly physical piping modifications.
His focus is on energy analysis and solution development for implementation of energy retrofit projects, the design of enterprise-wide building automation and control, and energy commissioning to optimize energy savings. Mr. Virskus has assisted companies in comparative analyses of energy use for national and global industrial operations to identify and prioritize energy system improvements based on energy intensity. He has provided consultation on enterprise energy utilization plans for multiple industrial facilities using up to $20M per facility, and has assisted in the development of loss reduction and system efficiency optimization strategies employing both current and emerging technologies.
Mr. Virskus is also an affiliate of the consulting group providing consultations on energy and building automation to national and international clients. He has also been a guest lecturer at the Michigan State University College of Engineering.
Vytau joined the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council in March 2017.