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Snyder makes appointments, reappointments to Commission on Services to the Aging

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced appointments and reappointments to the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging.

The 15-member board advises the governor and legislature on the coordination and administration of state programs and changes to federal and state programs related to aging priorities. A majority of the members shall be 60 years of age or older and no more than eight members can be from the same political party.

“This is a talented and highly qualified group of appointees and I am confident they will do good work on this important commission,” Snyder said.


Douglas Chalgian, of East Lansing, is an attorney with Chalgian and Tripp Law Offices PLLC in East Lansing. He specializes in the areas of elder law, estate and trust litigation, and estate planning and probate. He serves as adjunct professor for Cooley Law School where he also is a member of their 60 Plus Elder Law Clinic. Chalgian holds a bachelor’s degree from Knox College in Illinois, a master’s degree in communications from Wayne State University, and a degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He will serve as an Independent and replaces Janice Wilson.

Joan Ilardo, of East Lansing, is assistant professor and director of research training at the Office of Research within the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. She is also associate director for the Geriatric Education Center of Michigan and president of the Michigan Society of Gerontology. Previously, she worked as clinical instructor and student services coordinator for the School of Social Work at MSU, senior consultant for Health Management Associates, Inc., and director for medical records and patient information at Tufts Medical Center. Ilardo is a licensed master’s social worker and holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois, and a master’s of social work and a doctorate in social science, both from Michigan State University. She will serve as a Democrat and replaces James Wright.

Richard Ortega, of Grand Rapids, is retired president and owner of Alternative Mechanical LLC. Ortega has been awarded the most promising business by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 2008 Minority Entrepreneur by the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and the 2008 Top 50 Businesses to Watch in Michigan by the Edward Lowe Foundation. He served on the board of directors for the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities, the City of Grand Rapids Smart Zone Committee and the City of Grand Rapids Economic Club. Ortega will serve as a Democrat and replaces Kathleen Johnston-Calati.


Michael Burri, of Grand Rapids, is the sole proprietor for Michal Burri Builder and participates in building and remodeling of homes for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. He is the commander of the United Veterans Council for Kent County, past commander of Kent County Veterans Honor Guard, a volunteer with the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and received the 2007 American Red Cross Community Hero’s Award. Burri is a licensed builder and attended Grand Rapids Community College. He will continue to serve as a Republican.

Michael Sheehan, of Cedar, is a retired associate professor of English at the City Colleges of Chicago. He has hosted a weekly call-in radio program about the English language since 2000. He is a member of The Society of Midland Authors, the Dictionary Society of North America, The American Dialect Society, and Michigan Writers. Sheehan is also a published author with ten books to his credit. He was named Distinguished Senior of the Year by the 2013 National Cherry Festival. Sheehan holds a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Villanova University and a master’s degree in English from DePaul University in Chicago. He will continue to serve as an Independent.

Members serve three-year terms expiring July 28, 2016, and appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.