Tag Archives: Foundation Board

Michael O’Connor named to Metropolitan State Foundation Board

Metropolitan State University welcomes Michael O’Connor to the Metropolitan State Foundation Board of Trustees.

O’Connor is director, strategy and project management/chief of staff with Medtronic, Plc. He has over 27 years of professional experience in the medical device industry in greater Minnesota and in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. He brings to the Foundation Board an ability to make corporate connections and to advocate on behalf of Metropolitan State as an alumnus of the institution. In addition to Medtronic, his corporate experience includes 3M and Pfizer.

Michael O’Connor
Michael O’Connor

“I am honored to be a part of the Metropolitan State Foundation Board. I very much looking forward to working with the board and making contributions by utilizing my talents, background and networks,” O’Connor says. A native Minnesotan, O’Connor was born in Saint Paul, grew up in Maplewood, and has lived all of his life in Minnesota and the Twin Cities. He now lives in Lino Lakes with his wife and son.

O’Connor received his BA from Metropolitan State in 1992 and a minor in project management in 2004. He also holds graduate degrees in project management, technology management and business administration. O’Connor earned his PhD in civil engineering, majoring in project management, from the University of Maryland, College Park, A. James Clark School of Engineering. In 2012, he was selected as a Quality Fellow for the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and in 2014 selected as a Medtronic Technical Fellow.

In 2017, O’Connor was awarded the prestigious Harold Kerzner Award for Excellence in Project Management. He has also been recognized by the Minnesota Federation of Engineering, Science, and Technology Societies (MFESTS) Distinguished Science and Technology Professional Award in 2018. He is a former director at-large for the Product Development and Management Association, currently the co-chair for community outreach with the Minnesota Project Management Institute (PMI) and has volunteered with many groups, professional societies, universities and colleges over the past 40 years.

O’Connor has been recognized by universities and colleges for his community and educational work. He is an adjunct faculty member at Metropolitan State, The University of Wisconsin, Platteville and The College of St. Scholastica and teaches graduate-level project management, project capstone and culture and organizational courses. In his leisure, he enjoys being outdoors and is active in playing soccer, biking, running and tennis.

In addition, O’Connor recently became a regular contributor to PMWorld 360 Magazine, a digital project management publication that launched in March 2018, and will share his expertise with readers worldwide in the areas of leadership and quality.

“It is a distinct pleasure to welcome Michael to the board. He has already shown an extraordinary commitment to the mission, cause and purpose of the university,” says Rita Dibble, vice president of University Advancement. “He has been most versatile in applying his talents to diverse projects on the Alumni and Foundation boards from hosting an alumni gathering in Las Vegas to serving to review and revise the board’s bylaws. He embodies a Metropolitan State graduate and we look forward to much success together.”

Metropolitan State, a member of Minnesota State, is the Twin Cities public, urban, comprehensive state university providing lifelong learning, and competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels.

The mission of the Metropolitan State Foundation is to generate maximum public awareness, as well as governmental and private support, for Metropolitan State, and to assist the university in its development as a comprehensive, urban university in the Twin Cities metropolitan area for changing and diverse student needs.

Zeeshan Baig named as new trustee to Metropolitan State Foundation Board

Metropolitan State University has named a new member to the Metropolitan State Foundation Board of Trustees. Zeeshan Baig, CPA, CGMA, MBA, Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis at G&K Services, will serve a three-year appointment with an option to renew.

Baig has more than 13 years of experience in the finance and accounting field, holding positions at several organizations including Uponor North America and Andersen Corporation before joining G & K Services in 2014. He has also taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in finance, accounting, operations and business law at Metropolitan State University and Cardinal Stritch University.

Baig earned a master of business administration from Metropolitan State University and a bachelor of science in accounting from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

“Metropolitan State has been a major part of my professional and personal life,” Baig says. “I made many connections while I was going to Metro State for my MBA. The university was great and the support I received was one of the reasons I was able to complete a graduate degree while working full time and having our first child. So, this is one way to give back to the university and community.”

Baig also relates to Metropolitan State’s focus on serving many nontraditional and first-generation students. “I am also the first in our family (and extended family) to have had this opportunity to complete a graduate degree, and I would love to help students achieve a goal, a degree,” he shares. “I am hoping to add value to the board and to contribute in such a way that it makes a difference.”

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Wilderness Inquiry’s Greg Lais named as new trustee to Metropolitan State Foundation Board

Metropolitan State University has named a new member to the Metropolitan State Foundation Board of Trustees.

Greg Lais, founder and executive director of Wilderness Inquiry, will serve a three-year appointment.

Greg Lais is the founder and executive director of Wilderness Inquiry, Inc.
Greg Lais is the founder and executive director of Wilderness Inquiry, Inc.

Lais founded Wilderness Inquiry in 1978. Wilderness Inquiry is a non-profit outdoor recreation and education organization that annually serves more than 25,000 people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Prior to founding Wilderness Inquiry, Lais served as administrator at Camp New Hope for Developmentally Disabled Citizens. Since 1993, he has also served as an adjunct faculty in the Recreation, Park and Leisure Studies program, School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota.

Lais holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. where he graduated cum laude, and an MBA from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.

“I’ve always been interested in education, especially helping non-traditional learners get in to and graduate from college,” Lais says. “I’ve always considered Metropolitan State University to be a leader in this regard, and I hope to help build it so more people can get access to quality education.”

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