President and CEO
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.
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.
Vice President of Governmental Relations
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.
Director of Events
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.
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.
Michelle has been a member of the KDA team since 2004 and has served many roles within the company including administrative assistant, event planning and financial administration. Michelle is a 2004 graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Art Degree in Criminal Justice. She holds a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and enjoys spending time with her husband Brian and daughters Emily and Gillian in Northern Michigan.
Michelle D. Dishaw
Membership Services Director
Prior to his position with KDA, Mr. Lantzy spent over two and a half years with the Michigan Legislature as Research Assistant/Research Director for the Michigan House Democratic Caucus. Additionally, he served on staff of a United States Senator, primarily working on constituent services and outreach in the state. A 2009 graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in public policy; he is pursuing a master’s degree through American Military University.
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.
Financial and PAC Administrator
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.
Melissa has worked with associations for 18 years and has been designing for nearly 25 years. She served as the Communications & Creative Director for a state-wide association for 10 years. Melissa launched her freelance career in the early 2000s and has been working with KDA for 2 years. She is a graduate of Lansing Community College with a degree in Applied Arts.
Events and Continuing Education Manager
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.
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.