Speakers

Thurman Thomas
NFL Hall of Famer

Thurman Lee Thomas grew up playing football on the Missouri City Junior High School and Willowridge High School teams before attending college at Oklahoma State University and playing most of his NFL career for the Buffalo Bills. Thurman is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Buffalo Bills selected Thurman Thomas with their first pick in the 1988 NFL Draft. Thomas is well known as part of the offense that included Jim Kelly and Andrew Reed which led the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances.

Thomas was the AFC rushing leader in 1990, 1991, and 1993. In the first three seasons of this career, Thomas had a total of 12 games with at least 100 yards rushing. The Bills won every one of those games. In 1989 and 1990, his combined total yards from scrimmage was 3,742. This was more than 200 yards better than any other player in the NFL. He was voted to the All-Pro team in 1990 and 1991, was selected to 5 straight Pro Bowls from 1989–1993, and was named the NFL MVP in 1991, after becoming the 11th player in NFL history to finish a season with over 2,000 all-purpose yards. 

Thomas currently holds the all-time Buffalo Bills rushing record with 11,938 yards and the team record for yards from scrimmage with 16,279 over 12 years. He is also 4th overall in team scoring. He is one of six players (Jim Brown, Lenny Moore, Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk, and Herschel Walker) to exceed 60 TDs rushing and 20 TDs receiving.

Thomas is the only player in NFL history to lead the league in total yards from scrimmage for four consecutive seasons. He is one of only six running backs to have over 400 receptions and 10,000 yards rushing. Thomas is also one of five running backs to have rushed for over 1,000 yards in 8 consecutive seasons. Thomas also set NFL playoff records with the most career points (126), touchdowns (21), and consecutive playoff games with a touchdown (9). Overall, he rushed for 1,442 yards and caught 76 passes for 672 yards in his 21 postseason games. He is also the first player ever to score a touchdown in 4 consecutive Super Bowls. Thurman Thomas was selected on February 3, 2007, to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Carolyn Rivera
Survivor Contestant

Carolyn Rivera is a motivational speaker, author, leadership trainer, and reality television star. Carolyn’s professional career is rooted in the corporate world where she has worked for Fortune 50 companies for over 25 years. Her personal areas of expertise include leadership development, change management, talent management, performance management, operations, and linking performance to business results. Leadership is a passion for Carolyn and she has used her talent to help organizations achieve results far beyond their initial expectations. Her personal success is attributed to focusing on personal development first. 

Carolyn auditioned for Survivor for four years before she was selected as a candidate. She was tireless in her ambition and motivation, which was ultimately recognized when she finished as runner up. Carolyn thrived as a contestant on Survivor. Carolyn’s background in leadership aided her in her success, as she was accustomed to pushing beyond her personal limits and igniting her will to win.
 

James Heyman
University of St. Thomas

James Heyman joined the Opus College of Business faculty at the University of St. Thomas in 2005. He teaches in both the undergraduate and M.B.A. programs. Heyman's general research analyzes how individuals make judgments when they only have a small amount of information. His current focus is on combining algorithmic complexity and information theory to develop a cost/benefit measure for different forms of survey methods. 

He has published articles in Psychological Science, Journal of Interactive Marketing, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Marketing Communications, Motivation and Emotion, and Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. He papers have also been published in the Handbook of Consumer Psychology and Recent Developments in Behavioral Economics. 

Heyman has been an ad hoc reviewer for Association for Consumer Research, British Journal of Social Psychology, Econometrica, International Economic Review, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Interactive Marketing, Marketing Science, and Managerial and Decision Economics. 


Michael Porter
University of St. Thomas

Porter is presently the Director of both the Master of Business Communication program and the Master of Science in Health Care Communication in the Opus college of Business at the University of St. Thomas.
  
Academic engagement has included a published article in the Journal of Private Equity and presentation of papers at: 2012 Midwest Sociological Society Conference – Minneapolis; 2012 Association of Business Communication Southwest regional conference - New Orleans; 77th Annual Association of Business Communication Annual Conference (2012) – Honolulu; and the 2010 Academy of Management annual meeting - Montreal.  Porter serves on the AACSB and MBA committees of the Association of Business Communication, and also served as coordinator and committee member on the Midwest Qualitative Research Conference from 2005-2007.
 
Porter’s service has also been applied: as a partner in Qwik-keyz; as a partner in DOM Technologies; as co-founder, VP Marketing and Board Secretary for Adesso Technologies; on the advisory boards of Internet Exposure (an Internet development firm), and Quirk’s Publishing (a family owned marketing research focused media organization).


Russ Hollrah
Legislative Advisor

Russ Hollrah is an attorney with a national practice dedicated to employee-benefits, employment taxes and the application of those laws to independent professionals and contract workers. His clients include both the companies for which independent professionals work, as well as the companies that engage and refer or assign them to other companies. 

His practice, Hollrah Leyden LLC, has been MSPA Americas's legal and legislative counsel, focusing on issues relating to independent contractors, private investigator issues, and other industry-specific concerns, since 2005.
 

Mike Mershimer
HS Brands International

Over the past 25 years, Mike Mershimer, the founding principal of The Mershimer Group, and President & COO of HS Brands International has designed, managed, and consulted on loss prevention programs for worldwide food service, franchise and retail brands including Bob’s Stores, Baskin-Robbins, Arby’s, GNC, Dunkin’ Donuts, American Greetings, Friendly’s Ice Cream, Bath and Body Works, Mrs. Fields Famous Brands, and many others. Mershimer’s proactive programs are meant to promote Brand Integrity, and reduce inventory shrinkage and other losses suffered by retailers and restaurant chains. Further, the company provides retail security guidance and solutions to franchise and independently owned retail and restaurant owners in an effort to promote business owner wealth through improvement of store level profitability. 

Mike is a Massachusetts licensed Private Investigator, and holds a degree in Criminal Justice. He is currently on the MSPA North America Board of Directors, where he is the President, and has been a member of the National Restaurant Association’s Audit and Loss Prevention Executive Study Groups, where he served as past chairman of both groups, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the National Food Service Security Council, where Mike is a past Board Member. 
 

Rich Bradley
ath Power

Rich Bradley has over a 25 year history as a senior corporate executive leading new launches, turn-arounds and other business opportunities to optimal success in various industries, particularly in Sports, Entertainment and Customer Experience. He has held executive positions with 5 television networks, 4 professional sports teams and several other businesses while working directly at times with American billionaires H. Wayne Huizenga, Charles Dolan, John Henry, Bud Paxson and John Rigas.

Rich first learned of mystery shopping while reading an article in Smart Money in 1996 while traveling on business as SVP/GM of FOX Sports Florida. After completing and submitting his first shop (on time!), he had no idea that nearly 15 years later he would enter the customer experience industry full-time and serve on the MSPA Americas Board of Directors, currently as immediate Past President. Rich holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio-TV-Film and a Juris Doctor, both from Temple University and serves on several non-profit boards in the Orlando area, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Florida.
 

Angela Megasko
Market Viewpoint

Angela is a marketing professional with over 30 years of experience in the marketing industry. She formed the company, Market Viewpoint, LLC, to provide consulting services to organizations that were interested in realizing higher rates of profitability through customer retention. The primary focus of this consulting company, started in 1996, is a professional mystery shopping service that performs service evaluations for a wide variety of organizations, internationally. Other services offered by her firm include training, auditing, surveys (customer and employee), competitive positioning studies, and coaching for mid to senior level leadership. 

Prior to the formation of Market Viewpoint, Angela held various marketing and customer service positions In a variety of industries including healthcare, retail, real estate, assisted living, and technology. She has consulted on customer service, marketing, sales, personnel training, communications, and organizational development issues. She is involved with several professional business associations based both locally and nationally. She graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Management degree and later went on to receive a Master of Management degree from Pennsylvania State University.
 

Charles Stiles
Business Evaluation Services

Charles Stiles owned, managed, and grew numerous retail gourmet food and gift shops with world-class customer service. In 1996, his success led to the creation of one of the most respected and comprehensive mystery shopping and business evaluation companies in North America. In 2014, BES acquired two of the most notable brands in the industry (Customer 1st and BMA). They service a growing cadre of national and international clients, such as Disney, Microsoft, YMCA, and many more. Charles has been an active member of MSPA Americas and over the years he’s served on many committees, including Chair of Public Relations.

As the host of Food Network’s Mystery Diners, he continues to elevate the customer service evaluation industry by bringing awareness to the importance of customer service to business success. Charles speaks nationally on customer service and culture building topics to leaders and the media.

 

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