HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 22Issue 35Governor Rick Snyder Appoints Seven Members to Michigan's New Statewide Racing Commission

On November 23, 2016, Governor Rick Snyder appointed seven individuals to the recently formed racing commission, according to the Appointment Press Release. In June of this year, Governor Snyder signed SB 504 which, among other provisions, created the Horse Racing Advisory Commission to govern both Hazel Park Raceway and Northville Downs. Although the  Michigan Gaming Control Board will continue to oversee horse racing in the state the new commission, housed within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, was created to make recommendations to the Legislature to improve the regulatory structure of horse racing with the goal of maintaining its long-term viability.

“I am certain the expertise of these individuals in this field will help benefit horse racing in Michigan,” said Governor Snyder.

Dr. Don Ryker of Ortonville will head the commission as chairman. He is the current owner of the equine veterinary practice Don Ryker DMV. Also, Ryker is an adjunct professor at Michigan State University and an instructor for the veterinary technician program at Wayne State University. His education includes a bachelor’s degree in oceanography from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri.

Other members include:

Thomas Barrett of Novi, vice president and market manager of The State Bank and the current president of the Michigan Harness Horseman’s Association. He has over 30 years experience as a licensed harness horse owner, trainer, driver, and breeder. Barrett holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from John Carroll University. He will represent statewide horse racing associations.

Mike Carlo of Northville is the operations manager for Northville Downs harness horse racing track and previously worked as the marketing manager for Daily Racing Form in New York. Carlo holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati. He will represent owners and operators of horse racetracks in this state.

Nancy Frank of Haslett is the assistant state veterinarian for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. She is an adjunct faculty member for the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Frank holds a master’s of public health from the University of Michigan and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Michigan State University. She will serve as the designee of the Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

George Kutlenios of Holly is the president of Holly Management Inc. – The Holly Hotel, and president of the Michigan Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association. He is a former board member of the Michigan Restaurant Association, the Holly Area Chamber of Commerce, the Holly Economic Development Corporation, and the Northwest Oakland County Headwaters Association. Kutlenios holds a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University. He will represent statewide horse racing associations.

Frank Nickels of Haslett is a veterinarian who specializes in equine health and a professor at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he has worked for nearly 40 years. He has been a member of several veterinary associations including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Nickels holds a master’s degree from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. He will represent veterinarians.

Members will serve four-year terms expiring October 31, 2020. Their appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

 

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