2017 Leadership Summit speakers

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Nick Arkle, CEO of Gorman Brothers

Nick Arkle has recently become Co-CEO, with Doug Tracey, for Gorman Bros. Lumber based in West Kelowna, BC. Prior to this position, he had been the Chief Forester of the company since 1991. He has been connected with the company since 1975 after arriving from the UK as an 18-year-old seeking out a future in Canada. Graduating from the BC Institute of Technology in the Forestry Technician program in 1980 he continued his education graduating from the University of BC in 1984 in the ‘Bachelor of Science in Forestry’ program. He obtained his Registered Professional Forester status in 1987.

He has represented the forest industry, and its interests, on many regional and provincial initiatives and was the chair of the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) between 2011-2014.

Nick has been involved over the years as a council member of the Association of BC Forest Professionals, the regulatory body overseeing all professional foresters in British Columbia, and served as President for 1999-2000. He was an appointee director of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, for over 10 years, representing the Forest Industry as well as a Co-Chair of the Okanagan Partnership (a broad industry led organization that worked for the common goals of promoting sustainable growth and strengthening regional competitiveness throughout the Okanagan).

Nick is a director of a Kelowna based non-profit organization ‘Hope for the Nations’ through which he has overseen the operations of children homes in the Himalaya since 1990. He and his wife have recently started a new project in the Solu Khumbu (Everest region of Nepal) working alongside Nepali (Sherpa) nationals to promote education and learning amongst the women in the area.

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Steve Bobb, Chief Marketing Officer of BNSF Railway

Steve Bobb was appointed executive vice president and chief marketing officer for BNSF Railway in January 2013. In this capacity, he is responsible for the company’s sales and marketing activities, customer service, economic development, equipment management and intermodal facilities. Previously, he was group vice president, Coal Business Group, leading BNSF’s coal sales and marketing team.

Prior to his position in the Coal Business Group, Bobb served as general manager of BNSF’s Texas Division and vice president, Business Unit Operations and Support. Before that, he was group vice president, Agricultural Products.

Bobb began his career in the railroad industry in 1987 with Burlington Northern in information systems. From 1988 to 1992, Bobb held several business analysis, planning and yield management positions. In 1992, Bobb moved from director, Yield Management, to director, Marketing, Minerals business unit. Bobb was responsible for the Chicago field marketing group until 1995 when he was promoted to general director, Chemicals business unit. He was appointed vice president, Minerals business unit, in June 1996 and vice president, Chemicals business unit, in October 1996. He was named group vice president, Agricultural Products, in June 1999. He was appointed vice president, Business Unit Operations and Support in March 2004. Bobb then joined the operating department as a general manager in June 2005.

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Jim Cline, President and CEO of Trex Company

Jim Cline has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Trex Company and has served on the Board since August 17, 2015. He previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer between August 2013 and August 2015, and as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer between March 2008 and July 2013.

Mr. Cline served from July 2005 through December 2007 as the President of Harsco GasServ, a subsidiary of Harsco Corporation and a manufacturer of containment and control equipment for the global gas industry. From January 2008 through February 2008, in connection with the purchase of Harsco GasServ by Taylor-Wharton International LLC, Mr. Cline served as a consultant to the buyers. From April 1994 through June 2005, Mr. Cline served as Vice President and Controller of Harsco GasServ.

Mr. Cline served in various capacities with Huffy Corporation from June 1976 to February 1994, including as the Director of Finance of its True Temper Hardware subsidiary, a manufacturer of lawn care and construction products with nine manufacturing locations in the United States, Canada and Ireland. Mr. Cline received a B.S.B.A. degree in accounting from Bowling Green State University.


Matthew Missad, CEO of Universal Forest Products

Matthew Missad is CEO of Universal Forest Products, Inc., a $3+ billion diversified wood and building products manufacturer and distributor. He began his career at UFP cutting the grass and cleaning the toilets at the Company’s office. He joined Universal full time in 1985 as manager of legal compliance and held a number of successive positions, including his promotion in 1996 to executive vice president, general counsel and secretary. He worked in those capacities, overseeing acquisitions, real estate, human resources, legal and environmental compliance, insurance and aviation, until July 2011, when he became the fifth CEO in Universal’s 61-year history.

He is a graduate of Hope College and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and member of the State Bar of Michigan, a Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Michigan, and has the Certified Public Accountant Certificate of Examination.Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, and he is focused on projects and organizations which promote free enterprise, self-reliance and education.

Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, and he is focused on projects and organizations which promote free enterprise, self-reliance and education.

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Dick Molpus, Founder and President of Molpus Woodlands Group

Dick Molpus is President of Molpus Woodlands Group, a timberland investment management organization headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi. Mr. Molpus has had a long career in government service.

He began in 1980 as Mississippi Governor William Winter's first appointee serving as Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Federal‐State Programs. For his success in bringing managerial efficiency to the agency, Molpus was selected in 1983 as Mississippi's Public Administrator of the Year by the American Society of Public Administrators. Molpus also worked with Governor Winter in enabling the passage of the historic Mississippi Education Reform Act of 1982. In 1983, Mr. Molpus was elected Secretary of State of Mississippi and also served ex officio as Lands & Securities Commissioner of Mississippi. He successfully led efforts in the Mississippi legislature for reforming the public disclosure laws to require lobbyists to report all money spent on public officials and to improve Mississippi’s election laws. In 1993, Molpus was elected president of the National Association of Secretaries of State where he founded Project Democracy, an effort chaired by former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter to increase voter participation in the United States. In 1995 Mr. Molpus ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee for governor of Mississippi.

After completing his third term as Secretary of State, Molpus began Molpus Woodlands Group, which manages approximately two million acres of timberland valued at over $2 billion. Dick Molpus and his wife, Sally, were founders of Parents for Public Schools, which now has seventeen chapters in twelve states across the country in order to support local public schools and work with parents to ensure high educational standards. Mr. Molpus has received the H. Council Trenholm Memorial Award from the National Education Association and he was inducted into the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2008 he was honored as a Champion of Justice by the Mississippi Center of Justice.

In 2007, he organized and founded the United States Endowment for Forestry and Communities, a $200 million endowment funded by the U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement. The endowment is focused on improving forest health and assisting timber-reliant communities in the U.S.  Molpus is a founding board member of the National Alliance of Forest Landowners (NAFO), which is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic and environmental values of privately owned forests through policy advocacy at the national level. He also is a member of the board of directors of MDC, which helps organizations and communities close the gaps that separate people from economic opportunity.  

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Claudia St. John, President of Affinity HR Group, LLC 

Claudia St. John is president of Affinity HR Group, LLC, an HR and management consulting firm that partners with more than ten national trade associations and serves more than 50,000 small to mid-sized companies nationwide.  She is the author of the new book, Transforming Teams – Tips for Improving Collaboration and Building Trust, a “#1 Hot New Release” on Amazon.com. Claudia is a frequent public speaker, is quoted often in national and industry press, and is a regular contributor to numerous print and electronic publications on the topic of human resources. Her professional passion is in teaching teams about behavioral styles, conflict resolution, and collaboration. Claudia holds an undergraduate degree in employee benefits and labor relations from The American University and a master’s degree in business and public administration from The George Washington University, and numerous HR and management certifications.