Mini-Conference Speakers

Steve Burkholder - Keynote Speaker
Principle of the A&S Group
Former Mayor of Lakewood, CO

Steve Burkholder is the principal of the A & S Group, a consulting and marketing organization. He is a senior fellow of the Institute on the Common Good at Regis University. He is the former executive director of Colorado’s Future, a private non-profit, non-partisan group organized to “Build a Better Colorado”. He was the mayor of Lakewood, Colorado’s fourth largest city, from 1999 to 2007. During those years, his city experienced sustainable growth of $1.6 billion with another $1.5 billion in process. Burkholder has participated in or facilitated numerous local, national and international workshops on leadership development, economic development, urban design, tax policy, ethics, inclusiveness and community governance. In the business community, he spent over 30 years in the retail and wholesale sectors. He has served on boards of directors for both private and public institutions. He grew up in metro Denver and moved to Lakewood in 1963. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is also a graduate of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Steve and his wife Anne have been married 45 years and have two grown children and three grandchildren.

David Landis
Director of the Urban Development Department
Lincoln, Nebraska

David Landis is the Director of the Urban Development Department for Lincoln, Nebraska, a 28 year veteran of the Nebraska Legislature, an award winning teacher and skilled negotiator in the public arena. Landis left the legislature in 2007 having passed 391 bills, the highest total in Nebraska history. Many were consensus measures forged by negotiation that brought contesting parties to agreement. Senator Landis brokered legislative agreements between labor and management, utilities and ratepayers, big banks and small banks, insurance companies and trial attorneys and other seemingly intractable foes. His legislation included a statewide network of mediation centers, a system for negotiated and administrative rulemaking in state government, extending the use of arbitration to resolve disputes and create the state labor-management collective bargaining system.

His skill has been developed at training seminars at Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Pepperdine and the University of Illinois. Currently he teaches lawyers and graduate public administrators at the University of Nebraska College of Law and the Department of Public Administration. Landis has three times been the Best Teacher award winner at Doane College. Landis spent a year as a professor in the Community and Regional Planning Program at UNL’s College of Architecture and still teaches as an adjunct faculty member.

David is married to Melodee Ann McPherson, has two children, Matthew and Melissa, and enjoys music, theater and doing a radio show on the weekends. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.A. (1970), Juris Doctor (1971), a Masters of Public Administration (1984) and a Masters in Regional and Community Planning (1995).


Steve Greenwood
Director of Community Programs
National Policy Consensus Center Portland State University

Steve Greenwood is the Director of Community Programs for the National Policy Consensus Center in Portland, Oregon. He has an MPA from Harvard University, and has thirty years of experience as a public manager and facilitator in environmental and public policy issues in the Pacific Northwest. Steve was the staff lead for the Lower Columbia Solutions Group. He was the Western Regional Administrator for Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. He is also the former Board President of the Oregon Environmental Council.

Bernie Mayer, PhD.
Resident Professor of Conflict Resolution
Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
Creighton University

Bernie Mayer is an icon in the world of conflict resolution. With over a quarter century of experience in the field, he was a founding partner at CDR Associates, the internationally recognized mediation and conflict resolution organization, and originally trained as a psychotherapist. He has worked across the globe as a mediator, facilitator, teacher, trainer, dispute systems designer, and program administrator. A true scholar as well as leading practitioner in the field, Dr. Mayer is the author of many works including the book Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution, and has taught courses for Harvard, University of Missouri, University of Colorado, Antioch University, the Budapest College of Economics, University of Warsaw, and Colorado State University, among others. He earned his Ph.D. in Social Work with an emphasis on conflict resolution.

Palma Strand
Assistant Professor of Law
Creighton University

Professor Palma Strand has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Strand clerked for Judge J. Skelly Wright on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Byron R. White on the United States Supreme Court. She most recently has been an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and previously was an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland. Professor Strand was a Hewlett Fellow in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Legal Problem-Solving at the Georgetown University Law Center from 2002-2004. She was also the co-founder and principal of the Arlington Forum, a civic organizing initiative based in Arlington, Virginia, that worked with community institutions to broaden and deepen civic engagement in the area of schools, land use, youth, and government processes generally.


Mary Lee Brock
Instructor & Chair of Clinical Programs
Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
Creighton University

Mary Lee Brock, Instructor and Chair of Clinical Programs, holds a BA in Psychology from Creighton University and a M.Ed. in Counseling from South Dakota State University. She is recognized by the Nebraska Supreme Court Office of Dispute Resolution as a Lead Trainer of Mediation and Facilitation Skills Curriculum. Mary Lee is also accomplished as a trainer and practitioner in Family Mediation, Special Education Mediation, Victim Offender Mediation, Family Group Conferencing, Specialized Alternative Dispute Resolution and Restorative Justice.

Mary Lee was the founding Executive Director of the Concord Center, a private non-profit conflict resolution center which offers mediation and facilitation services, as well as conflict management trainings to the Omaha community. In that role, she developed dispute resolution programs based on community needs, best practices and effective use of resources. Mary Lee collaborated with the Nebraska Health and Human Services Department, the judicial system, educational institutions, human services organizations, the Omaha Neighborhood Center, Creighton University’s Legal Clinic, Legal Aid and other community groups and organizations. She has been an advocate for conflict resolution systems in the local and state governments and at public forums. Mary Lee has been engaged in assessment, process design and facilitation of numerous public projects, among them Governor Johann’s Task Force on Child Death, Omaha Public Schools Links to Success and the National Park Service Corp of Discovery.

Mary Lee is a graduate of Leadership Omaha. She serves on the board of directors of the Non-profit Association of the Midlands. She is also a trustee of St. Johns Parish at Creighton University where she co-chaired the recent church renovation project.