OUR TEAM

KDA has the best and brightest in every field.

This strong team is the backbone of everything we do.

Derek Dalling

President and CEO

On any given day: Derek oversees the firm and its personnel.  He serves as Executive Director of several statewide associations and a national association.  His duties include lobbying where he specializes on energy, transportation, insurance, regulatory affairs and healthcare related topics.

Derek began his career in 1995 and served as a legislative assistant in the Michigan House of Representatives.  He joined the firm in 1998 shortly after helping elect the first Speaker of the House under term limits.  During his time with the firm, he has been recognized by several clients with lay awards for his efforts to successfully promote their priorities.  Derek and his wife, Erin, a former legislative assistant in the Michigan State Senate, reside in Grand Ledge with their daughter, Ashleigh and son, Jonathan. He earned his B.A. from the University of Michigan and remains an avid Wolverine fan and alumnus.

Matthew Solak

Vice President

On any given day: Matt serves in the Executive Director capacity for five state associations while managing KDA staff to ensure the clients’ goals are met. Additionally, you can find Matt “working the tiles” at the Capitol on behalf of his lobby clients.

Matt’s career includes extensive experience in the legislative and association arena in both Lansing and Washington, DC. Matt has been working in politics ever since he delivered his first yard sign in 2004 as a senior in high school. From there he did internships in college for former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh and former Governor Jennifer Granholm. Matt finally began getting paid for his work after graduating college where he first worked on Mark Schauer’s successful 2008 Congressional Campaign. He then worked as Legislative Director for, then, State Representative Barb Byrum before taking a job on the government relations team of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors in Washington, D.C. Matt was happy to return to home to KDA where he has been able to join his love of public policy and his home state of Michigan.

Jason Wadaga

Vice President of Governmental Relations

On any given day: Jason serves as KDA’s lead lobbyist. He can typically be found in legislative meetings, committee hearings and at legislative session representing KDA’s lobby clients. He also serves as the Executive Director for three of KDA’s association management clients.

His career includes extensive experience in politics and the legislature.  He started his political career as a Sophomore at Northern Michigan University working on a variety of campaigns which brought him to Lansing.  He spent nine years in the Michigan Legislature working in a variety of roles including serving as the Chief-of-Staff to State Senator Rick Jones before joining KDA. Born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Jason lives in East Lansing with his wife Kimberly and sons Nolan and Reid.

Geri Root

Director of Events

On any given day: Geri is planning and coordinating meetings, conferences and events for five KDA clients.

Geri has more than 25 years of experience working with non-profit associations in various management capacities, as well as planning meetings and events. She has worked in every facet of meeting planning including hotels and tourism. Geri has a long history with KDA having worked here for nine years previously and returning in 2014. She has achieved the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation and the Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) designation. She was name Meeting Planner of the Year by the Meeting Professionals International Michigan Chapter and the Meeting Partner of the Year by the National Speakers Association Michigan Chapter. Geri and her husband, Eric, enjoy relaxing at their cottage in northern Michigan with their family.

Lauren Concannon

Event and Education Manager

On any given day: Lauren is planning events and conferences for seven KDA clients.

Lauren is a graduate of The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. She has spent her career in the hospitality industry working in convention services for resort properties and event planning for Michigan nonprofit associations. Lauren has achieved the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends at her home in East Lansing.

Melissa Travis

Creative & Communications Director

On any given day: Melissa is designing a conference brochure, creating an e-newsletter, or managing our client communications.

Melissa has nearly 20 years of experience working with associations and has been designing for over 25 years. Prior to joining KDA, Melissa was self-employed as a freelance graphic designer for 9 years working primarily with associations, including KDA for 3 years. She previously served as the Creative & Communications Director for the Michigan Society of Association Executives for 10 years. She is a graduate of Lansing Community College with a degree in Applied Arts. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys relaxing by the pool with her husband and 2 children.

Denise Stone

Financial Director

On any given day: Denise performs bookkeeping functions for KDA and for a portion of the firm’s Non-Profit clients. 

Prior to her 20 year employment with KDA, she came from a 12 year background in retailing where she performed inventory management for a major national retailer and as the supervisor of a store department.Her duties include accounts receivable and payable, financial reporting, and managing Federal and State filings.  Denise has an Associate’s Degree in Office Administration from Baker College. She resides in and commutes from Owosso where she has lived all her life.

Quintanilla
Dowdell

Membership Coordinator

On any given day: Quintanilla manages the membership and event registration for seven of KDA’s association management clients, primarily focused on podiatry. 

Quintanilla graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2020, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Public and Nonprofit Administration with an emphasis in Personnel Management. In addition to being an Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society member, she severed in leadership positions for Phi Mu Fraternity and Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. She worked countless hours in the nonprofit sector serving as a volunteer coordinator and in the government sector serving as the student assistant to the Chief Administrator of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – HR Department. 

Trina Miller

Executive Assistant

On any given day: Trina is ensuring the smooth day-to-day operations of KDA, performing a variety of administrative duties such as reception and administrative support services. 

Trina graduated from Northwood University in 2008 with her bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. While attending Northwood University Trina made the Dean’s list four semesters. Trina lives in Lansing with her children Mackenzie and Clayton. She enjoys watching her children in their chosen hobbies.

Christian Kindsvatter

Founder/Of Counsel

On any given day: Chris provides tremendous historical guidance to KDA staff on how to successfully manage and operate state associations.

Chris has had a distinguished career in association management/lobbying beginning in 1968, representing such organizations as the Ohio manufacturer Association, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Wholesale Beer Association of Ohio, Ohio Osteopathic Association, and the Ohio Home Builders Association.  In 1980, Chris became President and CEO of the Michigan Merchants Council & Associates, representing the nation’s leading retailer corporations and related association groups.  In 1994, Chris purchased the organization and created the first version of what is now KDA. He attended Valley Forge Military Academy, is a graduate of Akron University with a B.A. in finance, and holds a Masters of Science in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. He has three children: Kelly, Karee and Kaleb.

Erin Dalling

Financial Administrator

On any given day: Erin provides dues processing, invoicing, bookkeeping, and financial oversight for KDA’s association clients. Additionally, Erin manages PAC oversight and filings for all KDA clients.

Like many at the firm, Erin began her career in Michigan politics.  She started her political activity in high school when she worked on a successful campaign for a state representative.  She worked for the Speaker of the House while attending college.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Michigan State University, she continued her career as a Legislative Aide for State Senator Jason Allen and also served as a Committee Clerk in the State Senate.  When she is not working at KDA, Erin enjoys spending time with Derek and their two children, Ashleigh and Jonathan, at their home on her family’s dairy farm in Sparta, Michigan.