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New Council executive team elected for 2019-20

At its 2019 Annual Public Meeting, the board of directors of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan (WACWM) elected four members to its executive team for 2019-20.

Elected president was Dick Gauthier, vice president of international business development at Universal Forest Products. He had been serving as vice president of the board last year.

Named vice president was Jennifer Tyler, director of operations at Steelcase.

Remaining treasurer is Guk Low, chief financial officer at Byrne Electrical Specialists.

The 2019-20 secretary of the board will be Ping Liang, managing director at AlphaMax Advisors LLC.

“I am grateful that these talented professionals are not only willing to serve on the World Affairs Council board, but are also willing to help lead and direct the organization toward our goal of empowering the people of West Michigan to engage thoughtfully with the world,” said WACWM executive director Michael Van Denend.

At the same meeting, the board expressed thankfulness for the work of retiring board president Craig Meurlin, a Warner Norcross and Judd attorney, for significant time and effort updating WACWM’s constitution, bylaws and processes. He will remain on the board for another year in the role of past president.

“Craig has given an amazing amount of his time and expertise to the board over the last two years,” noted Van Denend. “His work and leadership will benefit the council for many years to come.”

WACWM was founded in 1949 and is one of 90 World Affairs Councils across the United States, all part of a national organization in Washington, D.C. All councils seek to bring global information and understanding to the people, businesses, universities and organizations of their geographical regions.

WACWM sponsors over 40 programs a year and in the 2018-19 season brought seven ambassadors to West Michigan, which included a dynamic conversation between the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai and the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns.

Information about the council’s programs can be found at

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The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan empowers the people and organizations of West Michigan to engage thoughtfully with the world.

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Grand Rapids, MI 49506

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