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10 within 10

Young alumni are putting their stamp on the world in diverse and significant ways

Contact: Heather Smith


​​By Terri Finch Hamilton,​ '83

This story is reprinted from the ​summer 2015 issue of Centralight magazine​.​

Now in its second year, the 10 Within 10 program recognizes young alumni who bring honor to Central Michigan University through their work in their career or community.

This year's slate of Chippewas is making a difference in business, science, the arts, journalism, education, health and community development.

And they carry their Central pride wherever they go.


Lorron joined his family business, James Group International, in 2007, shifting into a business development role and reaching customers outside of the automotive industry. The business grew from $23 million to $110 million. Today, Lorron is vice president of business affairs. He also has served as president of the Intermediate Council at the Detroit Athletic Club and is on the Michigan High School/College Athlete of the Year Selection Committee. Lorron is a part of Riviere XXVIII, an extension of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, and also serves on the DMC Children’s Hospital Leaders for Kids board.

What is the best resource young people have to contribute to the world?

“Their youth! It’s up to young people to refine the rules as the world changes.”

What motivates you?

“I consider myself a spiritual person, so pleasing God is probably the No. 1 thing. My mother motivates me to go above and beyond to keep our family together. My father motivates me to carry on his professional legacy of over 44 years.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“When Detroit emerged from bankruptcy and control returned back to the mayor and city council, Gov. Snyder appointed three people to serve on a financial review commission to approve all city contracts over $750K and to oversee how Detroit spends its money for the next several years. I was honored when I got the call to serve on that board.”

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“‘Overprepare, then go with the flow.’”

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CMU?

“Because CMU has made great efforts to stay connected with me. That’s a quality of a good friend!”


Mike is completing his Ph.D. in higher education at Michigan State University while maintaining his position as MSU’s planning coordinator. Mike is the author of four publications and has received numerous awards in the past five years. Additionally, he continues to give the gift of his time to his alma mater and his fraternity through various boards and roles.

What is the best resource young people can contribute to the world?

“We’re not always as bound by the past and are not afraid to consider alternative ways of approaching problems.”

What motivates you?

“I went into education because I believe in its transformational power. I’m motivated to help make a difference for students.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“I’m particularly proud of the work I was able to complete in my roles at MSU and Virginia Commonwealth University while completing my Ph.D. It was interesting to see policies and issues I worked on ultimately receive approval from the board of trustees.”

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“If you only do everything in your job description, you’ll be doing that same job for a long time.”

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CMU?

“Some of my most fulfilling experiences have been through my work with the CMU Young Alumni Board, Honors Program Alumni Board and alumni activities with my fraternity. I benefited greatly from alumni mentors as a student, so it’s always been important for me to give back to those organizations that have done so much for me.”


Katie is cast as Christine Daaé in the national production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” which is touring now. She is also a recent winner of the Lys Symonette award for her performance at the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition. Katie has spent time teaching music in Ghana at the Beacon House School, an orphanage for children in Accra.

What is the best resource young people can contribute to the world?

“Optimism. Hope that things can change or somehow be improved by what they have to offer to their field.”

What motivates you?

“My colleagues, my teachers, my family, the way the light shines through trees, Dunkin’ Donuts, sunflowers, memorizing people’s hands, noticing silly quirks about people, the possibility of love, the possibility of anything really.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“Playing Christine Daaé every day, sometimes twice a day. One hundred fifty shows in and still learning.”

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“One of my directors says something along the lines of: ‘I let go of the past, I forgive myself, and I recognize that not all things hold the same weight.’”

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CMU?

“In my field of work it’s especially important because this is a field that requires you to take some major risks and move to whatever theater scene you hope to be a part of. It’s important to stay connected to help each other find voice, acting, dance teachers, to help each other find temp jobs, to have friends to wait at auditions with at 5 a.m.”


Kasee is a leader in CHARGE Syndrome research and advocacy. Much of her work focuses on identifying pain in children who are unable to communicate. She has been published four times since 2010 and continues to present at both national and international conferences.

What is the best resource young people have to contribute to the world?

“Young people bring drive, excitement and open minds to everything they do. I believe these characteristics are producing a generation of millennials who know what they want, who are willing to work hard, and who are challenging dated and controversial topics to contribute to a more welcoming world for everyone.”

What motivates you?

“Children with CHARGE and their families truly motivate every part of my work. CHARGE is the leading cause of congenital deaf-blindness and presents with multiple anomalies and medical complexities.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“The day I passed the most grueling test of my life to become a licensed psychologist is still my proudest moment.”

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“The best piece of advice I have received, as an adult, would be to travel. Travel enriches you as a person and resonates into your work, family and values.”

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CMU?

“CMU became my home for nearly 10 years and molded me into the person I am today. This is why staying connected to CMU is important – it’s a home base.”


Mike has been recognized by JPMorgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon as a Presidents Club Recipient (Top 25 bankers out of 23,000+) four times. In addition to sitting on the board of Central States SER, a workforce development and education organization, he also started his own nonprofit called Three Gentlemen which aims to inspire Chicago men to live a life full of passion, character, integrity, chivalry and philanthropy. And he helped launch the Schuette Family Scholarship at CMU.

What is the best resource young people can contribute to the world?

“The best resource our younger generation has is a different perspective than the generation prior.”

What motivates you?

“I am motivated by success. Success to me is challenging myself to be an expert at my role within the firm. It’s determining what I need to do to reach the goals I have set for myself and work as hard as I need to until they are completed and accomplished.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“My proudest achievement so far professionally is being a four-time Presidents Club Private Banker with JPMorgan Chase.”

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“The ability to build solid relationships and doing the right thing for my clients are the most important aspects of being successful in business.”

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CMU?

“Our support not only helps students financially, but also gives them the ability to network themselves to an internship, a client or, better yet, a full-time job that they may never have known about.”


Michael opened his own Allstate Insurance Agency in Mount Pleasant four years after graduating and has since grown his company into the largest Allstate agency north of the Lansing/Flint area. Michael was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court as a member of the Michigan Foster Care Review Board, and he is also involved with other nonprofit organizations.

What is the best resource young people have to contribute to the world?

“Ambition and perseverance – this is why we are able to overcome obstacles and make meaningful contributions to society.”

What motivates you?

“Competition and a strive to succeed in life.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“My success in business and the beautiful family I have been blessed with – I have been married to my wife, Megan, for eight years, and we have a beautiful 4-year-old daughter, Lila.”

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“The best advice I received in college was to cherish every moment during your tenure at CMU. You will get out of your schooling as much as you contribute.”

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CMU?

“Staying connected and providing support to CMU is essential to ensure that future generations of students will be able to enjoy the same opportunities that you have been offered.”


Megan is a weather forecaster for the National Weather Service. She has been influential in the development of the Great Lakes Current Incident Database, which helps the public and emergency responders become aware of the most dangerous times and places to be in the water. In recognition of her exemplary partnership efforts, the Michigan Sea Grant awarded Megan the 2014 Van Snider Award.

What is the best resource young people have to contribute to the world?

“Coming out of college and applying all they have learned, combined with the energy and focus that comes with starting a career, can be a great resource.”

What motivates you?

“Nothing makes me work harder than knowing someone will be positively impacted by my work.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“Working to develop the Great Lakes Current Incident Database. In recent years, the data has been used to place rescue equipment on beaches across the Great Lakes, develop messaging to reach high-risk groups and improve forecast methods at the National Weather Service. It’s been really rewarding to see something I worked so hard on be used to do things that will end up saving lives.”

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“My mom always said to us, ‘You can be anything you want to be – don’t let anyone stop you.”

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CMU?

“I want to be an encouragement to students at CMU. Students in the classes ahead of me were always a great inspiration, a great source of encouragement and motivation for me.”


Kevin was promoted to the Midwest area director of Integrity Rehab Group/Southwest Michigan Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in 2011. His clinic received the IRG Clinical Excellence Award in 2011 and 2013 and the IRG Outcomes Utilization Award in 2011.

What is the best resource young people have to contribute to the world?

“We are full of untapped potential, and our drive to be successful in the world is the biggest way we can contribute in the work force.”

What motivates you?

“Many of my patients have a difficult road ahead, from a rotator cuff repair to a total knee replacement, but to see their attitude and desire to improve motivates me to come to work driven for success and to improve my skills.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“My daughter, Kya (5), and son, Kane (3), easily make me more proud than anything else. They inspire me each day and simply leave me awestruck.”

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“The best piece of advice I have received came from a book my father gave me, “I Am Third,” by Gale Sayers and Al Silverman: “The Lord is first, my family is second, and I am third.” These are principles I try to follow.”

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CMU?

“I created many bonds with my brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha, and CMU is a perfect connecting point through events like homecoming.”


Lester has been active in promoting cultural and diversity programs for both CMU and the state of Michigan. He’s an accomplished professional sports and philanthropic administrator with experience in community development, public relations, event planning and cultural programming. Lester has accomplished much in his work with CMU, the Pistons and, most recently, with PCGCampbell Marketing and Communications.

What is the best resource young people have to contribute to the world?

“Young people have the opportunity to create social change through technology – social media, blogging and other forms of digital communications.”

What motivates you?

“I lean on this quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“Among others, directing the basketball court renovation grand opening ceremony at Highland Park High School, while working with the Detroit Pistons.”

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“The advice I treasure most comes from something I observed and didn’t require words. I patterned my work ethic after my father, who taught me the value of hard work, consistency, sacrifice and persistence.”

Why is it important for you to stay connected to CMU?

“As a proud alumnus, I make it my duty to return to Mount Pleasant at least twice per year –homecoming and Martin Luther King Jr. Day –allowing me the opportunity to interact with students who are carrying on the legacy of these signature CMU events.”

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