At Trine University, we take great pride in providing focused and formative learning
opportunities for our students.
The Distinguished Speaker Series provides significant educational enrichment that
complements other learning experiences on campus. Guest speakers include government
officials, business experts, award-winning athletes and coaches, accomplished alumni,
writers and various others. All programs are free and open to the public and are held
in the T. Furth Center for Performing Arts.
For more information, please contact Gretchen M. Miller at email@example.com or 260.665.4312.
2017-2018 Distinguished Speaker Series
Michael S. Repass Major General (Retired, U.S. Army) CEO, Able Global Solutions LLC
Monday, September 11, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. - T. Furth Center for Performing Arts
*The event will include a remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Major General Michael Repass is the Chief Executive Officer for Able Global Solutions
LLC which he founded in 2013 after retiring from the Army. AGS focuses on international
business development to match emerging technology and proven products with potential
clients. AGS also examines trends and environments for strategic perspectives.
Major General Repass' military career began in 1980 upon graduation from the United
States Military Academy at West Point in West Point, New York. He served as an infantry
officer in multiple junior officer assignments including company commander. He subsequently
spent over 30 years as a Special Forces officer. He commanded at every level in Special
Forces from captain to major general. His tactical commands included assignments in
the 5th Special Forces Group; Battalion Commander in 1st Special Forces Group in Japan,
and Commander of the 10th Special Forces Group. He served as the Commanding General,
U.S. Army Special Forces Command and then U.S. Special Operations Command, Europe
in successive tours.
Overseas assignments included Grenada and Egypt; tours with the NATO headquarters
and the U.S. Army Europe/7th Army, both in Heidelberg, Germany. He commanded the 1st
Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, in Okinawa, Japan. He commanded the Combined
Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM for
two combat tours. He twice served in Special Operations Command Europe in Stuttgart,
Germany first as the Deputy Commander then as the Commanding General.
Major General Repass received a bachelor's degree in science from the USMA in 1980
and a master's degree in strategic studies in 2003 from the U.S. Army War College.
His awards include: two Army Distinguished Service Medals, Defense Superior Service
Medal, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, two Joint Meritorious Service Medals,
four Meritorious Service Medals, five Army Commendation Medals, one Joint Service
Achievement Medal, and two Army Assault badges, and Ranger and Special Forces tabs.
He has multiple foreign decorations, accomplishment badges, and honorary awards from
the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland,
Romania, and Slovakia.
A native of West Virginia, Major General Repass is married to the former Linda L Rainey
from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. They reside in Orlando, Florida.
Past Distinguished Speakers
Our recent speakers' expertise, knowledge and experience was wide-ranging and offered
valued learning opportunities for those that attended their presentations.
Jack Shaw Former President/CEO of Hughes (DIRECTV, Hughes Network Systems, PanAmSat, DIRECTV Latin America)
On April 19, 2017, the former president and chief executive officer of Hughes Electronics
Corporation, Jack Shaw, encouraged Trine University students and those in attendance
at the university’s final Distinguished Speaker Series of the school year to get to
Self-deprecatingly introducing himself as “a small-town guy with bad grades,” the
Auburn, Indiana native noted there is nothing in his career he wanted to do that he
hasn’t done, from managing small companies to leading one of the highest-valued technology companies
on Wall Street, and participating in six startup companies either as an investor or
“Do not shy away from anything that you want to do,” he told the audience. “Try everything.
Use your talents to address challenges and opportunities, but don’t minimize your scope
of view to just things that are comfortable. I was not very comfortable riding a Harley-Davidson
to start with, and it took me a little while, but then it was cool."
John Gregg Democratic Party Candidate for Governor, Indiana
John Gregg, former Speaker of the House, and Democratic candidate for governor of
the state of Indiana, spoke at Trine University's Distinguished Speaker Series on
Oct. 27, 2016.
A lifelong resident of Sandborn, Indiana, in rural Knox County, Gregg has spent more than
30 years in private business and public life. After working for two Fortune 500 companies
in the energy field, Gregg was elected in 1986 to represent southwest Indiana in the
Statehouse. He served in the Indiana House of Representatives for 10 years before
being elected Speaker of the House in 1996.
Eric Holcomb, Lt. Governor Lt. Governor, State of Indiana Republican Candidate for Governor, Indiana
Eric Holcomb, lieutenant governor and Republican candidate for governor of the state of
Indiana, spoke at Trine University's Distinguished Speaker Series on Sept. 13, 2016.
A life-long Hoosier, Holcomb is a veteran of the United States Navy, was a trusted advisor
to both Governor Mitch Daniels and Senator Dan Coats, and a former state chairman
of the Indiana Republican Party and, as such, a member of the Republican National
Raymond H. "Ray" LaHood American Politician Former United States Sect. of Transportation
With a 36-year career in public service, Secretary LaHood has extensive experience
on major national policy issues, among them transportation and infrastructure. He
served as the 16th Department of Transportation Secretary from 2009 to 2013 and quickly
became known as a bipartisan leader and skilled conciliator in a highly partisan environment.
On April 18, 2016, Secretary LaHood presented on Seeking Bipartisanship and the current state of politics. He indicated that if America is going to move
forward, elected officials are going to have to work together to get things done.
For more information or to purchase Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics by Ray LaHood with Frank H. Mackaman please access this link.
Richard Wilhelm Cyber and National Security Expert
National security expert Richard J. Wilhelm, senior executive advisor for Booz Allen
Hamilton, fielded questions ranging from national security to Edward Snowden to leadership
during Trine University's Distinguished Speaker Series on Sept. 11, 2015.
Wilhelm previously led business activities supporting U.S. intelligence agencies as an
executive vice president at Booz Allen. Prior to joining Booz Allen, Wilhelm spent 29
years with the federal government as a military intelligence officer and civilian appointee.
His government career includes a position as executive director for intelligence community
affairs during the Clinton administration and service on vice president Al Gore’s
national security staff. Full recap.
Tino Martinez Former Major League Baseball All-Star
Most everyone who is successful has overcome a struggle and they kept going to reach
their goals, Tino Martinez told the nearly 700 who attended Trine's Distinguished
Speaker Series on Sept. 2, 2015. Martinez played with the New York Yankees when the
team won four World Series championships.
He also stressed the value of an education. "With an education from here, you have
the opportunity to do big things in your life," he said. This is an "amazing campus...
you all should be very proud of that." Full recap.
Lou Holtz Hall of Fame Collegiate Football Coach and former ESPN Analyst
Legendary football coach, Lou Holtz shared his three rules for success: 1.) Do the
right thing, 2.) Do everything to the best of your ability with the time allotted,
and 3.) show people you care. I've never needed a fourth rule," Holtz said. "Whether
leading a football team or your own life -- they've never let me down."
Rick L. James Metal Technologies, Chairman/CEO
Rick James learned all aspects of foundry operation and in 1989 he and a partner founded
Metal Technologies, Inc., that today has sales in excess of $500 million and more
than 1,100 employees.
"I couldn't have had any of that without having the knowledge I gained at the foundry.
I couldn't have done any of that without the education I received at Tri-State, now
Trine University. Those are invaluable and it gave me the ability to understand the
business, understand customers, competition, suppliers, employees; all of the things
you need to be successful. And, gave me credibility, because if you want to go out
and start a business, you better have some credibility. You better have people who
want to invest in you; believe you know what you are doing. That experience gave me
that and without that experience there's no way MTI could have got started. So I view
that as a key to success."
Keith E. Busse Steel Dynamics, Inc., Co-founder, (ret.) President and CEO
The co-founder of Steel Dynamics presented his speech "Entrepreneurs Success vs. Failures"
to share the story of the company's founding in 1993 and how he built it into one
of the largest steel producers and metal recyclers in the United States. Steel Dynamics,
headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind., had net sales of $8 billion in 2011.
Ken Peterman ITT Defense's Communication Systems Division, President
Ken Peterman presented "The Importance of Communications (on the battlefield and in
one′s career). In 2007, he joined ITT Defense as president of the $800 million Communication
Systems Division in Fort Wayne, Ind. Since that time, he revitalized the product portfolio
and expanded the division′s business focus, winning over 19 contracts worth over $270
million in Iraq alone, and the business area′s new product sales have grown to over
50 percent total sales revenue. "It′s important for people like myself, who have experienced
a portion of the career journey, to talk to young people so they can have a context
for starting their own paths and making informed decisions," Peterman said.
Quinn Buckner Indiana University basketball legend and sports analyst
Quinn Buckner is one of only three people in the history of basketball to win a championship
at every level – high school, college, professional and Olympics. He is in his 16th
season as an analyst for the Pacers’ television games. In July 2004, Buckner was named
Vice President of Communications for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. Buckner also leads
the Pacers Youth Basketball program, a PS&E initiative to support youth basketball
Michael Cremo, Ph.D. International authority on human antiquity and best-selling author of “Forbidden Archaeology”
For more than 27 years, Cremo has been “digging up” documented, credible findings
that tell a completely different story from Darwinian evolution. For the past decade,
Cremo has been lecturing extensively on “Forbidden Archaeology,” which has been translated
into 26 languages, and its sequel, “Human Devolution,” at academic institutions around
the globe. He said his critique of human evolution has generated considerable controversy.
Cremo is a member of the World Archeological Congress and the European Association
of Archeologists. He also is a research associate of the Bhaktivedanta Institute,
specializing in the history and philosophy of science.
Kent Benson Indiana University basketball and NBA star
Kent Benson discussed the “ABCs of Success and Excellence” while on campus. Benson
was part of the Hoosier’s last undefeated team in 1976, when IU captured the NCAA
champion title. He was named the NCAA Most Outstanding Player and to the U.S. Olympic
team in 1976. He was the No. 1 draft pick for the 1977 NCAA draft. He went on to play
11 years with the NBA in Milwaukee, Detroit, Utah and Cleveland.
After a stellar basketball career, Benson now works as a consultant and has become
involved with numerous Christian, charitable and civic organizations and is an avid
hunter and fisherman.
Lesley Cochran-Timm U.S. Secret Service Agent
Lesley Cochran-Timm discussed her role in guarding U.S. President Barack Obama and
other heads of state during her presentation, “Worthy of Trust and Confidence,” which
took its title from the U.S. Secret Service motto.
Cochran-Timm earned a degree in criminal justice at Tri-State University, now Trine
University, in 1995, and has served with the U.S. Secret Service for over 18 years.
Assigned to the Presidential Protective Division in 2003, she has protected U.S. President
Barack Obama, former presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr. and Jimmy Carter, Vice
President Al Gore, former Vice President Dick Cheney and heads of state from Israel,
Iran, Jordan, Poland, Russia, Great Britain, Fiji, Haiti, Barbados, Cameroon, Korea
and other countries.
From a helper in his grandma′s diner to managing some of the biggest restaurant companies
in the business, food entrepreneur Mitch Rhoads knows his way around the kitchen.
"My grandmother's commitment to excellence stands out to me the most," Rhoads said.
"If you don’t have high standards for customer service, then you don′t have much.
"After graduating from Tri-State, now Trine University, in 1966, Rhoads took a job
with Kaiser Steel and Gulf Oil Co. and served three years in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam.
When he got out, he went back to work in the restaurant industry, first with Collins
Foods International Franchise of Kentucky Fried Chicken in southern California.
Rhoads stayed with Collins Foods KFC and Sizzler Family Steakhouses, working as a
foreign supervisor in Australia. Then, he caught the eye of executives at A&W Root
Beer. At just 29 years old, the company – then the largest franchise in the world
– hired Rhoads to serve as vice president of operations. He then went on to work for
International House of Pancakes and Burger King. He opened some of the first fast
food restaurants in Japan and Singapore. At Burger King, he started out as regional
vice president and then became the executive vice president of worldwide operations.
In 1992, Rhoads purchased LePeep, a once–struggling breakfast–brunch–lunch restaurant
in Denver, Colo. Today, LePeep restaurants are in 12 states and thriving.
Ralph Ketner Food Lion, Co-Founder - 1,300–store chain in the mid–Atlantic and southeast United
Ketner founded Food Town, later to become Food Lion, in Salisbury, N.C. in 1957. He
came to Trine, then Tri–State College and later Tri–State University, to attend school
in 1937 at age 17. Orphaned by his parents′ deaths during the Great Depression, he
nonetheless possessed what he describes in his book, "Five Fast Pennies," as a different
attitude and point of view. "I saw problems as opportunities in disguise. I saw a
lemon and made lemonade. I started thinking before starting to work. I never had ambitious
goals for myself, but have always done my very best on every job," he writes.
He shared his remarkable ability to make mental mathematical calculations, which he
used to cut costs in the grocery business and vault Food Lion to the top. He interspersed
the demonstration of mathematics skills with vignettes from his life with one goal
in mind, as he states in the book: "To encourage our young people to dream and dream