MMBA adds two new members to Advocacy Team

The Michigan Mountain Biking Association is pleased to introduce to the state our two new associate directors for Advocacy. Laura Papenhagen and Nicholas Occhipinti will work with MMBA advocacy director Ted Welsh to monitor legislation and be involved in the various advocacy activities necessary to maintain and grow our access around the state. Both come with a wealth experience and enthusiasm. Ted will be meeting with them to divvy up responsibilities and tasks. Please welcome them to the team!

Laura Papenhagen currently serves as Attorney Team Lead for First Recovery Group, a healthcare cost containment company in Detroit, Michigan. Laura manages a team of attorneys that act as a liaison between Medicaid and Medicare and their managed care providers in order to find creative ways to economically maintain this vital piece of healthcare. Laura recently moved back from San Francisco, where she served as the Academic Faculty Manager for Kaplan Test Prep. Her responsibilities included recruiting, hiring and training instructors to teach graduate level test prep courses. Laura graduated with honors from both the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Brooklyn Law School, New York City. She is currently a licensed attorney in the State of Michigan. After work you can find Laura teaching a yoga class or hitting trails at Maybury State Park or Brighton Rec. Throughout the summer, this weekend warrior hightails it up to Marquette and Copper Harbor, for exceptional mountain biking and craft brews.

Nicholas Occhipinti is currently the Policy Director at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council in Grand Rapids, MI. He is trained in economics and public policy, with a strong background in innovative energy thinking and policy. He has worked around the country for energy thought leaders including the Rocky Mountain institute, an energy policy think tank, and the Hawaii State Senate Energy and Environment Committee. In Michigan Nicholas served as a liaison for Governor Granholm to the State Economic Growth and Development through Energy Efficiency Task Force. In his current role as Policy Director for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council Nicholas has engaged community leaders, citizens, and local, state, and federal officials on today‚Äôs key energy policy issues. His policy work since has largely focused environmental policy. Occhipinti holds a Master of Public Policy from The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He is an avid mountainbiker, kiteboarder and outdoor enthusiast regularly shreddin’ Luton Park, Merrel, Yankee Springs, Fort Custer, Robinnette’s, Edward’s Creek and more.

Welcome aboard!