Board of Commissioners

Governance

Semone James
Chair, First Ward

Semone M. James (First Ward) is the Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners and the Chairperson of the Executive Committee for the Lansing Board of Water & Light.

Commissioner James previously served on the Lansing Board of Water & Light from 2006 to 2009, and served as the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Board. During this previous appointment, she also served on the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Nominating Committee and Committee on Rules of Administrative Procedures.

Commissioner James holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Eastern Michigan University with dual majors in Finance and Real Estate. She is a State of Michigan licensed Real Estate Broker and Certified General Appraiser. For over 25 years, Commissioner James has been a dedicated public servant, working for the State of Michigan. The majority of her career has been with the Department of Treasury, Bureau of Investments, as a Senior Portfolio Manager, Investment Specialist, and Senior Executive Assistant Deputy Director. Commissioner James also previously served as the Executive Director of the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority and as a Senior Property Analyst and Staff Appraiser with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Commissioner James has served on several other professional boards and enjoys volunteering her real estate expertise with several community, non-profit and faith-based organizations.

Commissioner James and her husband are life-long residents of the State of Michigan. She has enjoyed living in Lansing for over 25 years and has raised two children, whom have both graduated from Lansing Eastern High School.  

Commissioner James was appointed to the Board of Commissioners on July 26, 2021 and her term expires on June 30, 2025.

 

Sandra Zerkle
Vice Chair, Fourth Ward

Sandra Zerkle is the Fourth Ward Representative for the Lansing Board of Water and Light Commission. She has served as the Vice Chairperson and Chairperson of the Board and has served on the Executive Committee and the Finance Committee. Commissioner Zerkle has been a lifelong resident of Lansing.  She graduated from Lansing Eastern High School and attended Lansing Community College. Commissioner Zerkle was employed for 17 years at the AFL-CIO and worked in a federally funded displaced workers program with Michigan Human Resources Development, Inc. She also worked at Job Corps for 4 years. Job Corps is a youth education and training program for low-income individuals. Commissioner Zerkle also worked for Michigan Bell Telephone Co. for 16 years and then transferred to AT&T, where she worked three years. Commissioner Zerkle worked on Proposal C (insurance proposal), a successful statewide ballot proposal petition drive.  Commissioner Zerkle was appointed to the Board of Commissioners on December 4, 2006 and her term expires on June 30, 2024.

David J. Price
At-Large

David Price is an At-Large Commissioner and on the Finance Committee for the Lansing Board of Water & Light. 

A 32-year resident of Lansing, Commissioner David Price was originally appointed by the Lansing City Council to the Board of Water & Light Board of Commissioners on February 23, 2011.

Commissioner Price holds a Bachelor's Degree from John Carroll University and has completed graduate coursework at Central Michigan University. He recently retired after 21 years as the Executive Director of MARO, a statewide association representing providers of employment and training services for persons with disabilities and other barriers.

Commissioner Price was appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan Community Service Commission from 2012 through 2018. He was a 20-year board member of the Michigan Nonprofit Association where he served as treasurer and president. Recently, he was re-appointed by the Trustees of Central Michigan University to the board of Charyl Stockwell Academy, a charter school where he has served as president for the past 22 years.

He is a board member and Secretary/Treasurer of the Glen Erin Pipe Band and served with his wife as the host family coordinators for the Hosei University-Tokyo/Michigan State University Study Abroad Program from 2007-2013. David J. Price was re-appointed by the Lansing City Council to the Board of Water & Light Board of Commissioners on July 23, 2018 and his term expires on June 30, 2026.

Tracy Thomas
At-Large

Commissioner Thomas is an AT-LARGE, appointed member of the Lansing Board of Water & Light Board of Commissioners and is currently serving in his 4th term which encompasses 14 of 16 years. Mr. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education and a Master’s Degree in K-12 Educational Administration from Michigan State University. He is also a 2019 retiree of Waverly Community Schools where he served as an administrator for more than 32 years.

As a commissioner, he has served as Board Vice-Chairperson, Human Resources Chairperson, Nominating Committee Chairperson and as a member of the Executive Committee. Commissioner Thomas has been involved in numerous leadership positions in the community which includes serving as Chairperson of the Westside YMCA; Chairperson of the Greater Lansing Area Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission; Facilitator of the MSU Emerging Leaders Program; Commissioner of the City of Lansing Department of Traffic and Regulations and a member of the NAACP Executive Committee. 

Mr. Thomas has been the recipient of the Delta-Waverly Rotary Club's Frank Traviglia Red Rose Award, Uplift Our Youth Foundation's Child Advocate Award and the NAACP Community Service Award.

Commissioner Thomas was appointed to the Lansing Board of Water & Light Board of Commissioners on July 12, 2008. His term expires June 30, 2024.

Anthony H. Mullen
At-Large

Tony (Anthony H) Mullen is an At-Large Commissioner for the Lansing Board of Water & Light. Commissioner Mullen has served as Vice Chair of the Board, Chair of the Human Resources Committee and Chair of the Nominating Committee.

Commissioner Mullen is employed at GC Services. He is fluent in Spanish and previously lived in Guatemala as a volunteer for the U.S. Peace Corps. Commissioner Mullen is married with two children, both attending the University of Michigan. Commissioner Mullen was appointed to the Board on November 14, 2012; his term ends on June 30, 2025.

Dusty Horwitt
At-Large

Dusty Horwitt is an At-Large Commissioner for the Lansing Board of Water & Light. Commissioner Horwitt lives in Ward 1 and has worked for more than 15 years for environmental nonprofit organizations where he has focused on protecting people from pollution including greenhouse gas emissions and toxic substances associated with oil and gas drilling. He is a member of the Lansing Environmental Action Team and has testified about environmental issues multiple times before government panels including the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the New York City Council. He has written a chapter about hydraulic fracturing chemical disclosure for a scientific textbook published by Elsevier and has been quoted and cited about environmental issues in multiple news outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Marketplace (NPR). He has experience as an attorney, reporter, and deputy press secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and is a certified Energy Master after completing a course in home energy efficiency. Horwitt has a bachelor’s degree in history from Brown University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He has contributed to City Pulse as a freelance writer and has worked to illuminate the history of school integration in his hometown of Arlington, Virginia.

Commissioner Horwitt was appointed to the Board of Commissioners on October 11, 2021, with a term to expire June 30, 2023. 

Beth Graham
Second Ward

Beth Graham is a Certified Residential Appraiser and owner of her company. Beth has been appraising in the Greater Lansing area for over 30 years and has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Certificate in Real Estate from Ferris State University. She has been the president of the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS, president of the Michigan and Lansing Chapters of the Women’s Council of REALTORS and has chaired several GLAR, WCR, Michigan REALTOR and National Association of REALTOR committees.

Beth was also a Girl Scout leader at North, Gardner and Everett schools and has been involved in Neighborhood Watch.

She is also the Chair of the Human Resources Committee for the BWL board. Commissioner Graham was appointed to the Board on April 12, 2017 and re-appointed on July 23, 2018, her term expires June 30, 2026.

DeShon Leek
Third Ward

DeShon Leek is the Third Ward Commissioner for the Lansing Board of Water & Light. Commissioner Leek was appointed to the Board of Commissioners on November 18, 2019 with a term to expire June 30, 2023.

Commissioner Leek is a lifelong resident of Lansing whose education and training includes, Everett High School, Lansing Community College and a completed Apprenticeship with the UA Local 333 Plumbers and Pipefitters. 

Currently, Commissioner Leek is the Southeast representative of the Michigan Building and Construction Trade Council. He has a 22-year membership with UA Local 333 Plumbers and Pipefitters, and has served as a Union Steward for the past seven years. He also holds a position on the Executive Board with UA Local 333. In 2018 Commissioner Leek was appointed and served on the City of Lansing’s Plumbing Board of Appeals. He also has served on the executive and nominating committees for the BWL Board.

Commissioner Leek has devoted his time to several community and charitable events such as: Sparrow Hospital Children’s Day of Miracles, Park and Recreation Youth Sports, Faith Fellowship Church (Praise in the Park), along with serving the community of Flint, Michigan during the water crisis.

Non-Voting Advisory Committee

Doug Jester Headshot

Douglas Jester
NON-VOTING ADVISORY MEMBER

Douglas Jester is a Non-Voting Advisory Member (Commissioner) of the Board of Commissioners representing utility customers in the City of East Lansing.

Commissioner Jester is a Partner of 5 Lakes Energy, a strategy and policy consulting firm offering services to the public and private sectors respecting clean energy, environment and economic development. Douglas provides policy analysis and advice to clients, testifies as an expert witness before the Michigan Public Service Commission and utility regulatory commissions in other states, and provides research and analysis for various clients. Recent activities have included work on electric utility cost of service studies and rate design, distribution system planning, least-cost compliance with the Clean Power Plan in ten states, incorporation of advanced energy technologies in integrated resource planning, developing a pathway to increased use of cogeneration and generation from renewable resources in Michigan, standby rates for cogeneration and solar generation, PURPA avoided costs for compensation of power supplied to the grid from cogeneration facilities and renewable resources, and utility programs to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Prior to joining 5 Lakes Energy, Douglas served as Senior Energy Policy Advisor to the Director of the State of Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth; consultant to the Chief Technology Officer of Verizon to develop Smart Grid product architecture and market strategy; technology line-of-business executive at MCI; Chief Technology Officer and board member of Automated License Systems; and various roles at the State of Michigan where he  worked in environmental and economic regulation of electric power generation, management of Great Lakes fisheries and water quality, ecosystem simulation modeling, and valuation of environmental damages. He also was co-owner and President of Efficient Printers Inc in Reno, NV. He is currently also the principal investor in an early-stage information technology company and an angel investor in several energy and information technology companies.

Douglas has served the City of East Lansing, Michigan as Mayor and on the City’s Environment Commission, Transportation Commission, Housing Services Corporation, Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Management Board, Local Development Finance Authority, and City Council as well as chairing a number of ad hoc committees.

Douglas was educated at New Mexico State University, Virginia Tech, the University of British Columbia, and Michigan State University with major fields of study including Mathematics and Computer Science, Biology, Fine Arts, Fisheries and Wildlife Management, Statistics and Operations Research, Animal Resource Ecology, and Agricultural and Resource Economics. He has been an adjunct member of the Michigan State University faculty since 1984, and is a member of professional societies in several disciplines.

Douglas is married to Colleen Barry, M.D., and has three children and one grandchild. He has lived in East Lansing since 1986.

Commissioner Jester was appointed to the Board of Commissioners on November 6, 2017, and reappointed June 2019 with a term to expire June 30, 2023.

Committee Assignments include: Non-Voting Member of the Committee of the Whole, Finance and Human Resources Committees.

Larry Merrill
Non-Voting Advisory Member

G. Lawrence (Larry) Merrill is a Non-Voting Advisory Member (Commissioner) of the Board of Commissioners representing utility customers in Delta Township. He is co-director of Public Policy Associates’ Center for Local Solutions, a national research and consulting firm located in Lansing applying public policy analysis and organization development expertise to trade, professional, and philanthropic and public sector organizations. 

Larry served as Executive Director of the Michigan Townships Association for 19 years and the MTA’s Deputy Executive Director for 15 years.  Prior to joining MTA, Larry was a county administrator, emergency medical services director and emergency manager. Commissioner Merrill is a graduate of Lansing Eastern High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University in multi-disciplinary social science focusing on political science and economics and a Master of Public Administration degree also from MSU focusing on public policy analysis and program evaluation. 

He is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and was elected to the Michigan Association Executive Hall of Fame.  He has served the Grand Ledge Public Schools as a two-term school board member, including three years as President.  He also served as the school board’s treasurer and vice president, as well as, on numerous other state and local government policy boards and commissions.

Larry was born and raised in Lansing and has lived in the Charter Township of Delta since 1987. He and his wife Karen have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren.

Commissioner Merrill was appointed to the Board of Commissioners effective July 1, 2019 and his term expires June 30, 2023.

Maggie Sanders
Non-Voting Advisory Member

Maggie Sanders is a Non-Voting Advisory Member (Commissioner) of the Board of Commissioners representing utility customers in Lansing Charter Township.  Sanders is the supervisor of the Charter Township of Lansing. She served as the Lansing Township Clerk for two years and currently serves on the Lansing Township Downtown Development Authority Board, the Lansing Township Economic Development Corporation, and the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA). Maggie completed her undergraduate studies at Lansing Community College, earning an Associates in Political Science, and Bachelors in Administration from Central Michigan University. Maggie is currently working on a Master’s of Science in Administration with a focus in Public Policy. Maggie was born and raised in Lansing Township and resides on the westside now. She is a single mother of two sons, Dominic (12) and Isaac (10) and resides in Lansing Township’s westside.

Commissioner Sanders was appointed to the Board of Commissioners effective July 1, 2022 and her term expires June 30, 2023.