• 2017 CED Speakers and Panelists

    Presenter, speaker, and moderator biographies for the 2017 CED Symposium will be posted here as they are announced.

    Neel Kashkari, president, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

    Neel KashkariNeel Kashkari took office as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on January 1, 2016. In this role, he serves on the Federal Open Market Committee, bringing the Fed’s Ninth District’s perspective to monetary policy discussions in Washington. In addition to his responsibilities as a monetary policymaker, Kashkari oversees all operations of the bank, including supervision and regulation and payments services.

    Kashkari began his career as an aerospace engineer at TRW in Redondo Beach, California, where he developed technology for NASA space science missions. Following graduate school, he joined Goldman Sachs in San Francisco, where he helped technology companies raise capital and pursue strategic transactions.

    From 2006 to 2009, Kashkari served in several senior positions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In 2008, he was confirmed as assistant secretary of the Treasury. In this role, he oversaw the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) during the financial crisis. Kashkari received the Alexander Hamilton Award, the Treasury Department’s highest honor for distinguished service.

    Following his tenure in Washington, Kashkari returned to California in 2009 and joined PIMCO as managing director and member of the executive office. He left the firm in 2013 to explore returning to public service. In January 2014, Kashkari was a gubernatorial candidate in the state of California, running on a platform focused on economic opportunity.

    Kashkari earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Lorna Bourg, president and CEO, Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc.

    Bourg is a cofounder of Southern Mutual Help Association (SMHA) with more than 40 years of experience organizing in Louisiana’s rural communities. She currently serves as the organization’s president and CEO. She is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Louisiana Advisory Committee and was named as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow as well as a Fannie Mae Foundation James A. Johnson Fellow. She is a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. Bourg also cofounded the Sustained Excellence Alliance Corporation Inc.; created and operated SMHA’s loan-origination program; and has extensive professional experience with investments, fund development and management, budgeting, and rural community development program design and implementation. She holds a master’s degree in psychology.


    John Vaughn, executive director, East Side Neighborhood Development Company

    John VaughnJohn has twelve years of experience leading two neighborhood-based, nonprofit community development corporations (CDCs) in East Saint Paul and Northeast Minneapolis. This is supported by ten years as a community organizer in Butte, Montana; Saint Paul; and Duluth.


    Michael C. Van Milligen, city manger, city of Dubuque

    Michael Van MilligenMike has served as city manager for the city of Dubuque since January 1993. He served previously as the assistant village manager for the village of Skokie, Illinois.

    Mike holds degrees in law enforcement, fire science management, and administration of justice from Southern Illinois University, where he also earned a master’s degree in public affairs. He completed Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government and the Kellogg Management Institute at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

    In 2003, Mike was named Outstanding Manager of the Year by the International City/County Management Association. In 2004, he was featured as part of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government “Innovators in Public Service” Series. He was named Manager of the Year in 2007 by the Iowa City/County Management Association. In November 2010, he was named a National Academy of Public Administration Fellow by the Academy’s board of directors. The city of Dubuque was named an All-America City by the National Civic League in 2007, 2012, and 2013.


    Abdirahman I. Kahin, owner and CEO, Afro Deli & Catering

    Abdirahman KahinKahin is an African Somali who immigrated to Minneapolis in 1998 and started Afro Deli in 2010. He has a degree in media production and visual arts, studied business management, and has three certifications from the mini-MBA program at the University of St. Thomas. He is the proud winner of the 2015 Economic Gardening Scholarship. Last January, Senator Al Franken invited Kahin to participate at the State of the Union and said, “As a small business owner and leader in our community, Abdirahman Kahin is an excellent example of how integral people of diverse faiths and backgrounds are to the prosperity of our state.”

    Under Kahin’s management, Afro Deli & Grill has opened a second location in Saint Paul. Afro Deli partnered with Hudson group, which operates in 70 airports worldwide as a grab-and-go vendor, and is bidding to open a restaurant at the airport in 2018 and was also selected to be one of the restaurants to serve Super Bowl LII. Afro Deli’s success has been featured in the StarTribune, Wall Street Journal, Minnesota Business Magazine, and City Pages and on CNN, KSTP, and WCCO.


    Tim Penny, president and CEO, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation

    Tim PennyTim Penny was named Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) president/CEO April 2007. His extensive background complements SMIF’s key interests, which include early childhood and economic development.

    Penny represented Minnesota’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982 to 1994, and he was a member of the Minnesota State Senate from 1976 to 1982. Most recently, Penny was a senior counselor at Himle Horner, a Twin Cities–based public affairs firm, and a senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute. He co-chairs the Economics Club of Minnesota and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and serves on the Board of Parent Aware for School Readiness.

    Tim has co-authored three books: Common Cents, The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics, and Payment Due. Born and raised on a family farm in southeastern Minnesota, Penny received his B.A. in political science from Winona State University and was lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve.


    Paul Hugunin, Marketing Section supervisor, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

    Paul HuguninPaul has 25 years of experience marketing local foods and plants and currently supervises the Marketing Section at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). This includes the Minnesota Grown Program, Organic and Diversification Program, Domestic and International Marketing, Commodity Council Oversight, and Farmers Market Development. Paul started his career at MDA working on the Minnesota Grown Program, which has expanded to include more than 1,300 producers licensed to use the Minnesota Grown logo. Members include farmers’ markets, orchards, wineries, berry farms, garden centers, and more.

    Paul is a charter member of Minnesota’s Farm to School Leadership Team, leads the newly formed Good Food Access Program Advisory Committee, and has been active with the Minnesota Food Charter Network.