February 25-28

Seminar Stage Headliners

Gina Ferwerda, Nom News

Gina Ferwerda, Nom News

In Meals from the Mitten: Celebrating the Seasons in Michigan, popular TV personality, travel/food blogger and business entrepreneur Gina Ferwerda shares her love of cooking, photography and adventurous lake life along the shores of Lake Michigan. From a summer charcuterie picnic with fresh vegetables overlooking Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes to Muffler Meatballs cooked on a snowmobile in a winter wonderland, Ferwerda inspires readers to get out of the kitchen and embrace the freshness of each season—which is exactly what Michigan food is all about. Ferwerda, a TODAY show food contributor who has also been featured by Good Morning America and ABC’s The Chew, showcases her passion for the Mitten state in every delicious bite of the 80-plus dishes featured in her debut cookbook, all perfectly designed for the home cook.
About the Author
Gina Ferwerda is a recipe developer, food blogger, resort business owner, and photographer. Her food blog, Nom News, has been featured by The Chew, The Rachel Ray Show, and The Today Show Food Club, and she has appeared on Good Morning America. She lives in Silver Lake, Michigan.

Cara Middleton, Freshwater Vacation Rentals

Cara Middleton, Freshwater Vacation Rentals

Cara Middleton, owner of Freshwater Vacation Rentals, will speak to both guests and owners about the ever-changing vacation rental industry. For owners, Cara will reveal how to maximize your second home investment. She will explain how to do it yourself, when to ask for help, strategies and common pitfalls of the industry. With fourteen years of experience, you will gain knowledge of the legality surrounding vacation rentals, how to ease anxious neighbors, and how to jump over Michigan tax hurdles. In addition, Cara will give renters suggestions on how to pick the perfect vacation rental, what to look for, and how to avoid extra fees. With tips from her own personal practices, realistic examples, and the occasional funny story, you will be sure to enjoy exploring the vacation rental industry.

Don McDonell, Scofield Real Estate

Don McDonell, Scofield Real Estate

Scofield Real Estate was established in 1945 and 75 years later continues to be a leader in the northeast Michigan real estate market. We are located in an area called “Sixty Lakes, and for a good reason! No matter what kind of recreational or retirement opportunities you are looking for, you’ll find in here! The Huron National Forest comprises much of vacant land in this area and the local inland lakes and AuSable River offer a wide range of recreational opportunities! Join Don McDonell at the seminar session “IN SEARCH OF MY PERFECT GET-AWAY” to begin your search navigating the nuances of purchasing a secondary or recreation property. Don will discuss how to start your search, how to find the best location for your needs, as well as what to look for and research once you find your perfect up north cabin.

John Kacic, Wooden Dream Homes

John Kacic, Wooden Dream Homes

John Kacic is the Co-Owner of Wooden Dream Homes, LLC, a custom designing and manufacturing company that specializes in timber frames and log homes. John’s been in the industry since 1994. He currently lives in a log home located in Saline, MI and has experience in Sales, Advertising, Log & Timber Frame Erection, and has hands-on knowledge of Project Managing these types of specialty homes.

Before getting into the industry of timber frame and log homes, John grew up in Northeast Ohio in small town called North Ridgeville. After high school John pursued his passion for architecture and mechanical design by attending his local community college. From here John gained experience in CAD design from the City of Cleveland Mapping department, to highway and bridge design, to Marathon Oil Company in their mapping and Gas Station design, to finally heading to Michigan in 1993 to work at Ford Motor Company as a Facility Design Engineer at the Livonia Transmission Plant.

John and his wife Stacey were married in 1995 and built their 1st log home in 1996 in Saline, MI. In 2002, John & Stacey built their 2nd log home also in Saline were they live today with two great kids, Jacob and Zackary.

John’s pure enjoyment comes from assisting others in making their Wooden Dream Homes come true!

Victor A. Veprauskas IV, Esq., Axis Estate Planning

Victor A. Veprauskas IV, Esq., Axis Estate Planning

A shareholder in the law firm of Axis Estate Planning, Victor A. Veprauskas IV, offers his clients highly skilled legal representation throughout the state of Michigan, with offices in Troy and Bay City, Michigan. Mr. Veprauskas’ practice focuses on estate planning, business succession and the administration of trusts and estates. After years as a litigation attorney, he learned the art of listening and asking the hard questions of clients to meet their specific needs and goals. Each client is special and has unique circumstances. Mr. Veprauskas regularly presents on the topics of estate planning, probate and taxes.

He actively participates in several professional and legal organizations. His memberships include the State Bar of Michigan and the Oakland County Bar Association, including the Probate & Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Mr. Veprauskas is a member of the prestigious American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, and received (holds) a certificate in the area of Probate & Estate Planning issued by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education. He was selected for inclusion into Michigan Super Lawyers from 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Mr. Veprauskas graduated magna cum laude with his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political and Economical Philosophy from Wheeling Jesuit University in 1998. He then went on to attend the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2001 with his Juris Doctor.