Board Members

Kevin Manninen

A native of the Copper Country and the grandson of Finnish immigrant copper miners, Kevin is currently the Dean of the International School of Business at Finlandia University. In addition, he also lectures in global entrepreneurship, business strategy and project management for the University. Previous to this, he lived and worked for 15 years in Finland. The majority of this time he lectured in international business and marketing for the International Business Program at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä. While at JAMK, he trained, coached and advised numerous Finnish and Russian start-ups and established companies and organizations. His last two years in Finland were as the Manager of Business Development at Jyväskylä Innovation, Oy where he marketed the Jyväskylä region to foreign investors and assisted in developing its high tech business sectors. Upon returning to the USA in 2010, he worked for one year as an Economic Coordinator for Western U.P. Planning and Development Region. He was a FinnFest USA 2013 board member and chaired the Business and Technology Forum and Marketing committees. A graduate of Michigan Technological University and Eastern Michigan University, Kevin and his wife Liisa live in Atlantic Mine, Michigan.

Mark Massicotte

Mark Massicotte has over 35 years of success in various manufacturing, engineering, quality, and management roles. He has lead teams to develop & optimize processes in traditional high-volume applications (automotive) as well as low-volume prototype operations. Through his innovation and entrepreneurial efforts, Mark is personally responsible for millions of dollars in process improvements. He has had the opportunity to mentor and guide colleagues, business enterprises, and students in the United States and abroad. Mark has been president of the Baraga Chamber of Commerce since 2008 and is currently board chair of the Workforce Development Board representing the six county Western UP area. He also serves as an active member of the Baraga County Economic Development Corporation, Financial Secretary for the Knights of Columbus, and volunteers his time to many community events. In 2006, Mr. Massicotte became president of L’Anse Manufacturing, Inc where he immediately took their machining expertise to the next level through quality improvements, expansion into new markets, and investing in new equipment.

Melissa Davis

Melissa Davis has been working to promote renewable and energy-efficient technologies in the Copper Country since 2005, when she founded the non-profit New Power Tour, Inc. Since then, the area has had no shortage of opportunities to educate residents about woody biomass, or Bioenergy, as the Finnish term it. She was on the planning committee for the FinnFest 2013 Business and Technology Forum, and hosted a Bioenergy afternoon track.  This is all part of an effort to bring Finnish expertise to the attention of Upper Peninsula businesses and municipalities in those areas of business related to the sustainable harvesting of woody biomass: gasification equipment, farmer/forester cooperatives, heat entrepreneurships and best practices in forest management and harvesting.

Jim Kurtti
Honorary Consul of Finland for Upper Michigan
Jim Kurtti was born and raised in the heartland of Finnish America, in the village of Bruce Crossing, Michigan, the grandson of Finnish immigrants. He attended Suomi College (now Finlandia University) in Hancock, Michigan. In 1977 he received a Ministry of Education scholarship to study at Helsinki University. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in Finnish studies and social work. Jim has served as honorary consul of Finland for Upper Michigan since 2008. In 2000 he was appointed Director of the Finnish American Heritage Center and Historical Archive, and the editor in chief of “The Finnish American Reporter.” He is the chairman of the FinnFest USA 2013 board of trustees. Jim has also taught Finnish at Hancock High School and is the chairman of the Finnish Theme Committee of Hancock – Finlandia Foundation Copper Country Chapter and creator of the “Heikinpäivä” mid-winter celebration. He also serves on the board of the Salolampi Foundation (Finnish Language Village – Bemidji, Minnesota), is a charter member of the Upper Peninsula Ethnic Music Alliance, a member of St. Michael the Archangel Council Knights of Columbus, St. Anne’s Conference of St. Vincent de Paul Society, and is active in numerous other civic, school and church activities. In 1999 Jim received the Suomi Seura Hopea Ansiomerkki for his contributions to promoting Finnish culture and language. He resides in Painesdale, Michigan with his wife Debora, and has two adult sons, Christian and Anders.
Jonathan Leinonen

As program director for the MTEC SmartZone, Jonathan provides commercialization assistance to start-up companies including student and faculty businesses based on technologies from Michigan Technological University as well as private Upper Peninsula firms. Among his business advisory services, Jonathan helps companies to secure funding from sources including the Michigan Pre Seed Capital Fund, Business Acceleration Fund, loan programs and private investors. He is certified in business incubator management, economic development finance, capital markets, global business development and various business startup and company growth programs. He has led seminars on topics including pricing, budeting and forecasting, intellectual property, leadership and mergers and acquistions. Jonathan also teaches entrepreneurship, business development capstone series and information systems courses at Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Michigan Tech and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He is an active board member of various business and community-based organizations including the Houghton County Planning Commission, the Michigan State University Regional Economic Innovation Consultative Panel and a local church. Jonathan is a third-generation Finnish-American, having ancestors imigrating to the United States through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s.

David Maki
A descendant of Finnish immigrants on both sides of his family, David Maki is a native of Mass City, Michigan and a graduate of Northern Michigan University with a degree in broadcasting/journalism. David worked for one year as a reporter for The Daily Mining Gazette of Houghton before taking the position as assistant editor of the monthly journal “The Finnish American Reporter” at Finlandia University. Since that time, his role has evolved to include leadership duties with the university’s Finnish American Heritage Center and its many activities, including the planning and execution of the annual Finnish Folk Music Camp and Finnish Independence Day celebration. David’s Finnish involvement goes beyond his “day job.” He’s the current vice chairman of the City of Hancock’s Finnish Theme Committee (Finlandia Foundation Copper Country Chapter) and a member of the FinnFest USA 2013 board of directors. He is also the designated assistant to the Honorary Consul of Finland for the U.P. Outside of “Finnishness,” David is a youth baseball coach who enjoys all sports and outdoor activities. Since 2000, he and his wife Amy have lived in Dollar Bay, where they’re raising two young daughters.
Kevin Mackey
Legal Counsel
Kevin Mackey specializes in municipal and business law. Retiring from the City of Flint, Michigan with 22 years of service, he returned to his education and earned degrees from Michigan Technological University and Michigan State University College of Law. After working in for a Houghton Michigan Law firm, he served as a city manager and community development director for two downstate Michigan communities. In 2011 Kevin and his family moved back to the Copper Country where he entered private practice. He currently represents several municipal entities, and has helped start up more than 50 new businesses and non-profits. Kevin has previously owned two businesses himself- a high-performance automotive engine and chassis shop and a home inspection company.
Jeff Ratcliffe

Jeff Ratcliffe is the Executive Director of the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance, a private-public economic development partnership located in Houghton and serving Baraga, Houghton, and Keweenaw Counties.  Jeff has worked in economic development since 1993 serving as the Ingham County EDC staff liaison to several out-county development authorities, as the Executive Director of the Luce County EDC from 1995 to 2001, and as the Executive Director of the Otsego County Economic Alliance from 2001-2014.  He currently serves on the Western UP Workforce Development Board, Western UP Planning and Development Region board (ex-officio), and the Upper Peninsula Economic Development Alliance. Jeff was the recipient of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation 2010 Local Partner award and is a past member of the Michigan Economic Developers Association Board of Directors serving as its President in 2004.  Jeff is certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council, is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute, holds Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in International Affairs and Political Science respectively and is a Returned Peace Corp Volunteer.

Karin Van Dyke

Karin Van Dyke, Vice President for External Relations and Advancement has been at Finlandia University for the past five years. She is the Director of the Finlandia University Jutila Center, a small business incubator located in the University’s re-purposed hospital building; as well as oversight for the Finnish American Heritage Center. With over thirty years of management experience in a variety of settings, Van Dyke’s leadership experience includes higher education, forest products industry and healthcare, ranging from a small private corporation to a Fortune 500 company; and working for a for-profit corporation, to a large complex, non-profit organization.

Karin has been a resident of the Copper Country for the past fifteen years, and has BS Degree in Forestry/Forest Management from Michigan Technological University, where she is active on several Boards. She has been active in several community organizations including the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, Copper Country United Way, UP Sustainable Forest and Wildlife Foundation, Dial Help, Inc., Hancock Rotary Club, UPKIDS and Keweenaw Community Foundation. Karin has two adult children who are third generation Michigan Tech alumni, following in their Finnish American grandfather’s footsteps.

Patrick Visser

Patrick Visser is a business innovation executive, mentor and successful entrepreneur. His expertise areas are strategy, ideation and innovation, commercialization, product/business development and capitalization advising. He serves as Chief Commercial Officer for a Michigan-based high-tech accelerator and incubator. He is also Founder & Co-Director of FinnZone, a commercial launch pad assisting Finnish SME’s entering the North American market. Past assignments include: Independent Consultant at Visser LLC; Chief Commercial Officer (interim) of a VC funded UK clinical decision support software company; Founder and SVP Business Development of a life sciences B2B SaaS (acquired); Senior Consultant in both the financial services and strategy advisory groups of an international consulting company (PWC) involved in tax/accounting, M&A and strategy, and; Pharmaceutical Rep and Hospital Sales Manager for Solvay Pharma (Solvay S.A., Brussels, Belgium) acquired by Abbott Labs. Patrick serves on the boards of several SME’s and a non-profit, has conducted business in Belgium, U.S., UK, Italy and Finland, and earned a MBA in marketing and supply chain management from the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University. Patrick’s maternal ancestors (Laulumaa and Erkkilä) immigrated to the U.P. from Oulu and Kannus areas of Finland.

Natalia Borgen

A native of Helsinki, Finland, Natalia moved to the US in February of 2019. She currently works at Finlandia University as the administrative assistant for the International School of Business and Suomi College of Arts and Sciences (SCAS).  Borgen first came to Finlandia as an exchange student in 2013. She has a BBA From Haaga-Helia university of Applied Sciences (Helsinki) from the Degree programme for Multilingual Management Assistants and Marketing and Organizational Communication.  She lives with her husband Chad in L'Anse, Michigan.