Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host its 7th Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Breakfast on Friday, April 21 from 7:30 am – 9 am at Lake Michigan College.  The meeting will include breakfast, networking, and a panel discussion among local elected officials and experts on policy issues impacting sustainable business and sustainability in Michigan’s Great Southwest.Fred_Upton_official_portrait_111th_Congress

Registration is now closed

Panelists will discuss their current legislative interests and the state of sustainability policy in the Great Lakes, Michigan and the United States.

Panelists include:

  • Fred Upton, U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District
  • Kim LaSata, Representative for Michigan’s 79th House District
  • Liesl Clark, President, Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council
  • Patty Birkholz, West Michigan Director, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and Member, Great Lakes Advisory Board

This meeting is presented by Whirlpool.

Registration is now closed

HS_LaSata_0117_DSC06147th Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Breakfast
Friday, April 21
7:30 am – 9 am
Lake Michigan College, Hanson Technology Center
2755 E Napier Ave
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
$15 online / $20 at event Members
$20 online / $25 at event Non-members

7:00 am Doors open
7:30 am  Networking and Breakfast
7:45 am  Welcome and Sponsor Remarks
7:55 am  Program
9:00 am Adjourn

PDF flier available for download here.


Congressman Fred Upton is proud to represent the common-sense values of Southwest Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District. A diverse section of the state that stretches from the shores of Lake Michigan, the Sixth District is home to key industries that range from agriculture to auto parts manufacturing to high-tech biomedical innovation centers. It includes all of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties, and most of Allegan County.

Prior to his election to Congress, Fred worked for President Ronald Reagan in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While at OMB, he learned from President Reagan’s example that it does not matter who gets the credit, as long as the job gets done. That has been Fred’s approach since he was first elected to Congress in 1986 and continues today.

From 2010 to 2016, Fred was selected by his House colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. This pivotal committee has jurisdiction over matters concerning energy, healthcare, the environment, telecommunications, commerce, manufacturing, and trade, as well as oversight and investigations. Hard work and bipartisan success was a staple during Fred’s tenure as chairman of the committee. In fact, under Fred’s leadership, the Committee passed 354 legislative measures through the House of Representatives and saw 202 of those measures signed into law by the president. Fred currently serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy. This pivotal panel has jurisdiction over national energy policy.

Fred’s top priorities remain job creation, economic growth, and working to help all residents of Southwest Michigan live longer, better lives.

Fred’s leadership on Great Lakes issues has earned him a local and national reputation. As an active member of the Great Lakes caucus, Fred has an extensive record working to protect the Great Lakes watershed and preserving the beauty and health of our lakes for generations to come. A leader on keeping BP from dumping pollutants into Lake Michigan, Fred has also been a bipartisan leader in preventing Asian Carp and other invasive species from entering our waterways, and working on bipartisan legislation to keep harmful pollutants like synthetic plastic microbeads from getting into Lake Michigan. Fred will continue to protect our treasured Great Lakes so that generations to come can enjoy their beauty.

Fred has worked tirelessly to ensure Southwest Michigan remains a hub of commerce and innovation. From the Harbor Shores project in St. Joseph/Benton Harbor and working to ensure the St. Joseph Harbor remains dredged and operational, to the widening of I-94 and working with local leaders on the Kalamazoo River Superfund cleanup, Fred understands that when Southwest Michigan is connected and its residents empowered, it thrives.

Fred strongly supports an “all of the above” energy strategy that says yes to energy and focuses on emerging clean energy technologies as well as traditional energy solutions that lower costs for families and businesses and helps America become free from reliance on foreign oil. Fred is also fighting to bring a halt to costly federal rules and regulations that needlessly slow private-sector growth. Fred believes in ensuring that the federal government remains limited, transparent, and accountable to Southwest Michiganders.

Kim LaSata was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2016. She represents the 79th District, which includes part of Berrien County including the cities of Coloma, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Bridgman and Watervliet as well as the townships of Bainbridge, Benton, Coloma, Hagar, Lake Charter, Lincoln, Royalton, St. Joseph and Watervliet.

Rep. LaSata has taught fifth grade at Lake Michigan Catholic Schools since 2006 and was Teacher of the Year in 2015.  Rep. LaSata has been active in many community organizations, serving as past president of Berrien County Guardianship Services Inc., Women’s’ Service League, Capstone Center and vice-chair of Child and Family Services.

Rep. LaSata graduated from Lake Michigan Catholic High School in St. Joseph. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education and Master’s degree in Literacy Studies from Western Michigan University.


Liesl Eichler Clark is a co-founder and partner of 5 Lakes Energy, a nationally recognized policy consulting firm offering services to the public and private sectors in clean energy policy development, research and analysis, and sustainability practices.  She is also president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council – a business trade association established to foster a business-friendly setting for the clean energy industry – and under her leadership Michigan EIBC has become the premier organization dedicated to advanced energy business interests in Michigan.

Prior to launching 5 Lakes Energy in 2010, Liesl was Deputy Director for energy programs at the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth (DELEG). Liesl held a series of roles involving natural resources, environmental and agriculture policy in state government from policy advisor in Governor Jennifer Granholm’s office to legislative liaison for the Michigan Department of Agriculture. She worked as a consultant for Accenture before joining the public sector.

Liesl completed a Masters degree in Public Administration from Michigan State University while working full-time, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy from MSU’s James Madison College. She has also completed the Great Lakes Leadership Academy, serves on the board of Advancing Women in Energy.

Patty Birkholz is West Michigan Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV). She is a champion of the Great Lakes, and sits on the Great Lakes Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Agency, on the Board of Directors of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.birkholz-bio-picturejpg-119129ea0fe932b4

Prior to this work, Birkholz served five terms in the Michigan Legislature, with two terms in the Senate and three in the House. During her time as a legislator, Birkholz authored Michigan’s water withdrawal laws, as well as language that was used in Michigan’s Renewable Energy Standard. Before coming on board as West Michigan LCV director in 2013, Birkholz served as director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes.