Ceremony Will Dedicate Joseph P. Overton Library

MIDLAND — Twenty executives from research institutes in nine states and five foreign countries will gather this week at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland for intensive training in think tank management, planning, communications and development. The Center’s 13th Leadership Conference begins Thursday night, Oct. 30, and ends Saturday night, Nov. 1.

Since 1998, the Mackinac Center has sponsored training seminars for the management and staff of similar policy institutes around the world. All the groups represented seek to solve problems by relying less on government and more on free enterprise and private institutions.

"Our reputation as one of the largest, most effective, and best managed of the dozens of similar institutes worldwide is the reason this conference attracts a capacity crowd every time we host it," said Mackinac Center President Lawrence W. Reed. The speakers are all Center staff members and their topics range from strategic planning to effective fundraising.

The Center does not charge for the conference. Registrants for this session hail from states as far away as Arizona, Montana and Georgia and from five countries: Mongolia, Slovakia, Ecuador, Austria and Paraguay. Eleven earlier conferences at the Center’s headquarters in Midland have drawn more than 220 attendees and one the Center held in Costa Rica in 1999 attracted more than 60.

This week’s conference includes a Friday ceremony at which the Mackinac Center will dedicate its library in honor of its senior vice president, Joseph P. Overton, who died in a plane crash on June 30. Overton’s widow, Helen, will be present for the unveiling of a portrait of her late husband and a commemorative display.

"Joe’s fervent commitment to education, and his many contributions to the cause of education reform, make our library the perfect place to honor him," said Reed. "Joe was well known for teaching strategic planning at our leadership conferences, so this occasion for dedicating the library is especially fitting," Reed added.

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