Who’s behind it?

iOme Challenge is run by an awesome Board of Directors, Staff and Interns and the final entries are judged by an exceptional, Blue Ribbon Panel.

Meet our Blue Ribbon Panel:

Angela Lyons

Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Economic and Financial Education, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Angela Lyons is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently the Director for the Center for Economic and Financial Education. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on emerging issues related to household economics and finance, with particular emphasis on financial education and evaluation.

In 2008, Lyons was identified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as one of twenty-nine leading financial literacy scholars and assisted in setting a national agenda to improve economic and financial literacy in the U.S. In 2004, she was identified again by the U.S. Government Accountability Office as one of twenty-three national leaders in financial education and was invited to participate in the U.S. Comptroller General’s forum on Improving Financial Literacy: The Role of the Federal Government. In 2003, Lyons presented testimony on the importance of financial literacy for young adults before the Subcommittee on Education and the Workforce for the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2002, she was a delegate to the National Summit on Retirement Savings in Washington, D.C. She has also served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Justice, providing expertise on credit counseling and debtor education for U.S. bankruptcy filers. Most recently, she was appointed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to lead a national evaluation team to develop a set of standardized metrics to measure consumers' financial knowledge and behavior. She is currently working on several international projects related to the measurement of consumers' economic and financial capability.

Dr. Lyons is widely published in leading research journals and has been interviewed by numerous media sources including The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Reports, CNN, CBS MarketWatch, and Money Magazine. She also has been invited to speak on financial education before numerous groups such as the Federal Reserve Board, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U. S. Department of Labor, the U. S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Center on Poverty Law, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). She has served on many advisory boards, including the American Council on Consumer Interests, Money Management International, and MasterCard International.

For more information about Dr. Lyons, visit http://www.cefe.illinois.edu/contact.html.

Michael Price






Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Michael K. Price is the Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He received his B.A. from Bucknell University and his Ph. D. from University of Maryland. Professor Price is especially interested in Experimental Economics, Public Economics, Behavioral Economics, Environmental Economics and Industrial Organization.

His most recent working papers include, "The Effect of Advice on Asset Pricing: Evidence from Lab Experiments," with Jonathan Alevy.and "Using Non-Pecuniary Strategies to Influence Behavior: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment," with Paul J. Ferraro.

Laura Schwartz

Laura Schwartz

Author of "Eat, Drink, and Succeed" and former Special Assistant to the President  and The White House Director of Events, Clinton Administration

Laura Schwartz, a former Special Assistant to the President and The White House Director of Events for the Clinton Administration, created and executed more than 600 White House events including 12 State arrival ceremonies and dinners, America's Millennium Celebration and NATO's 50th Anniversary. While producing the President's events on the world stage, leaving no room for error, Laura demonstrated the Presidency's ability to inspire a nation and the world through powerful events. As an eight-year veteran of the Administration, prior to being named The Director of Events in 1997, Laura served as The White House Director of Television and The Midwest Press Secretary for The President.

Today, Laura shares her unique perspective on politics and leadership and the direct impact on the common citizen by defining the line between "Political Rhetoric and Everyday Reality" through her role as a National Political Commentator appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBS, the PBS acclaimed Lehrer NewsHour, Al Jazeera English and Sirius Satellite Radio. Laura has also been a featured expert in the New York Times and USA Today.

Charles Wise

Charles Wise

Professor and Director of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University

Charles Wise is the Founding Director of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.Previously served as Associate Dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs of Indiana University, and was a full Professor of Public Affairs there.Wise has served as President of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He has also served in the United States Department of Justice first as Special Assistant for Policy Analysis in the Office of Legislative Affairs and then as Director of Intergovernmental Relations for the Department. He is the former Managing Editor of the Public Administration Review.

He has three times been awarded the William and Frederick Mosher Award (for 1985, 1991, and 1992) by the American Society for Public Administration for the best academic article to be published in the Public Administration Review for the year. He is the only recipient of the Award to have received it three times.

Since 1994, Wise has served as the Project Director of the Parliamentary Development Project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development to assist the Parliament of Ukraine in developing as a democratic institution.

Past Members of the Blue Ribbon Panel:

James J. Choi

James J. Choi

Associate Professor of Finance, Yale University

Professor Choi's research focuses on various aspects of household investment behavior and the effect those investments have on security prices. His work has led to changes in 401(k) plan design at many U.S. corporations and has influenced pension legislation both in the U.S. and abroad. His papers have been cited in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, BusinessWeek, Financial Times, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today

Aaron Hall






President, Borrego Solar and #1 on 2008 Inc Magazine's list of 30 under 30 Entrepreneurs

Mr. Aaron Hall currently serves as President and board member of Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. Aaron joined Borrego Solar in 2001 as CEO and has helped develop many of the company’s departments. He serves as the Chairman of the Contracts Committee and directs procurement for Borrego Solar. He is involved in the product and technology approval process and the strategic relationships held with the world’s leading manufacturers of solar modules, inverters, and racking systems. As a member of the executive board he contributes and advises on the direction of the organization. In 2008, Inc. Magazine named Aaron the top of their 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the Nation list and one of four CEOs to watch. In 2009, Aaron was profiled as one of San Diego’s Top Influentials in the construction industry by The Daily Transcript and was featured in Forbes’ Ten Minutes that Mattered. Aaron graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Economics from Northwestern University. As a California Solar Contractor and NABCEP certified solar installer he is dedicated to the field of renewable energy and solar power.

Donald F. Kettl





Dean of the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland and nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Donald F. Kettl is Dean of the School of Public Policy and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Prior to his appointment, he was the Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Political Science.

Professor Kettl is a student of public policy and public management and specializes in the management of public organizations.  He has appeared on national television on shows including Good Morning America, the ABC World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" and "The Situation Room," the Fox News Channel, as well as public television's News Hour and the BBC. He has testified frequently at congressional hearings in Washington and contributed to op-ed pages in major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday, and The Los Angeles Times. Since 1998, he has been writing a regular column for Governing magazine, "Potomac Chronicle," which is read by leading state and local government officials around the country.

Professor Kettl is the author or editor of a dozen books and monographs, including: The Next Government of the United States: Why Our Institutions Fail Us and How to Fix Them; On Risk and Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina; The Global Public Management Revolution; and Leadership at the Fed.

Two of his books have been co-winners of the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration for the best book published in public administration. He is the recipient of the Warner W. Stockberger Achievement Award of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources for outstanding contributions in the field of public sector personnel management (2007); the Donald C. Stone Award of the American Society for Public Administration for significant contributions to the field of intergovernmental management (2005); and the Charles H. Levine Memorial Award of the American Society for Public Administration, in recognition of contributions to research, teaching, and outreach (1998). In 2008, Kettl won the American Political Science's John Gaus Award for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in political science and public administration.

He has consulted for a broad array of public organizations, including the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury; the Forest Service, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Budget, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Commission on the Public Service (Volcker Commission), and the National Commission on the State and Local Public Service (Winter Commission). He has advised the White House during both Republican and Democratic administrations and has worked with the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Professor Kettl has also taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vanderbilt University, the University of Virginia, and Columbia University. He has earned his bachelor's and doctorate degrees from Yale University. He is a fellow of Phi Beta Kappa and the National Academy of Public Administration.  He is also a shareholder in the Green Bay Packers.

John A. List

John A. List

Professor of Economics, University of Chicago

He was previously at AREC and the Department of Economics, University of Maryland. List's published research includes theoretical and empirical inquiries into both positive and normative issues in economics, with a special focus on environmental and resource problems. He has recently conducted several controlled field experimental studies, which have provided insights into the valuation of nonmarket goods and services, public good provisioning, behavioral anomalies, charitable giving, auction theory, and the role of the market in the development of rationality.His research has been cited in The Economist, The Economic Report of the President, Nature, and Business Week.

Martin Merzer

Martin Merzer

President, Martin Merzer Creative Services Inc. and former Senior Writer, The Miami Herald

After six years as a general assignment reporter and business news writer for The Associated Press in Miami and New York, Merzer joined The Miami Herald in 1979 as a business writer. He became The Herald's Jerusalem bureau chief in late 1983, spending more than two years in the Middle East and later served as a national correspondent and as a member of the newspaper's enterprise team. He then became The Herald's senior writer, specializing in deadline news writing and helping the newspaper develop its online style and protocols. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, he moved to Washington for four months and served The Herald and parent company Knight Ridder as the primary anchor of the coverage of 9/11 and war on Afghanistan. He later spent a month in Israel reporting on the wave of suicide bombings and retaliatory actions there.In 2003, he served as Knight Ridder's main anchor for the Iraqi War, again spending four months in the Washington bureau. He twice returned to Washington in 2005 to anchor the company's coverage of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

After retiring from The Miami Herald in May 2008, Merzer started his own firm, Martin Merzer Creative Services Inc. Recent clients include: Knight Foundation, The Children's Trust, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Bendixen & Associates, The Lastinger Center for Learning/University of Florida, CreditCards.com, The Associated Press, The Miami Herald, America's Emergency Network and Ron Sachs Communications.

iOme Board/Staff:

Michael Bina


Managing Director
Intellectual Marketing

Health Insurance used to be a necessary evil; today, it's The Evil Empire! During the evolution from bad-to-worse, Michael Bina helped two, small, struggling insurance companies become the industry's White Knights.  All he did was separate the wheat from the chaff; differentiate The Darth Vaders from his Forrest Gump.  The marketplace made an easy choice: Forbes Magazine called one of his companies, "the fastest growing in the US."

Over the years, Bina has helped other clients differentiate; he's promoted other clients in evil environs.  The iOme Challenge may be his greatest challenge...but he's up for it!  Expect BIG things out of iOme in the near future!

Jayne Black


Saving Smart for 5 Generations

Jayne Black is Mrs. Wisconsin International 2013, Founder of Saving Smart for 5 Generations, Certified Financial Education Teacher and Financial Literacy Ambassador for the National Financial Educators Council, Spokesperson for the $avings Fund, Women's Financial Empowerment Coach, Speaker, International Writer and Professional Blogger.

She is a graduate of the Wisconsin Women's Policy Institute with over 70+ hours of public policy training and is the founding board member of iOme Challenge.

Barb Braun

Barb Braun


Executive Assistant
PAi, Inc.

Barb Braun is executive assistant to Michael Kiley, President, PAi, Inc., which provides business services to the financial services industry with 401(k) administration and payroll solutions tailored for small businesses.

Prior to her current position, she was with Bellin Health for 15 years in various administrative position including executive assistant, foundation director and regional account executive.

Raised in Seymour, Wisconsin, Barb has two daughters and resides in Pulaski WI with her husband. Barb is an active volunteered in the community having served on the Green Bay Service League Board of Directors, Women’s Fund Board of Directors, Greater Green Bay Chapter of IAAP Board of Directors, and Pink 50 Cancer Challenge Committee.

Karol Carls

Karol Carls


Manager of Business & Community Development
Wisconsin Public Service

Carol Karls is a native of Wisconsin and received her Bachelor’s in Urban Planning & Design from UW-Green Bay. She’s worked for over 20 years in economic development in one form or another encompassing government, not-for-profit agencies, and the private sector. She managed over $25 million worth of commercial real estate projects that were either historic renovations or newly constructed urban infill projects. In addition to iOMe, Carol is driving a local effort to open a food cooperative that addresses access to healthy food and supports local producers and growers.

 Carol is employed by Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) as Manager of Business & Community Development. WPS is a regulated gas & electric utility serving 19 counties in Wisconsin with 440,000 customers. She works with state, regional and local leaders and economic development organizations in helping attract new investment and jobs into the communities that WPS serves.

She is married with 3 children and concerned about their future.

Kevin Quinn

Kevin Quinn


Associate Academic Dean and Professor of Economics
St. Norbert College

Kevin G. Quinn, Ph. D. is Professor of Economics and Associate Academic Dean at St. Norbert College. He earned as B.S. in 1983 in Physics and Mathematics from Loyola University in Chicago, and an MBA in Marketing and Economics from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1989. He worked in private industry from 1983 to 1990, in aerospace and medical imaging, before returning to UIC to complete his Ph.D. in Economics. He has taught physics and mathematics at Loyola and economics at UIC and at the University of Tuzla in Bosnia.

Dr. Quinn worked as a consultant for Argonne National Laboratory on energy economics policy issues, and has done a variety of other economic consulting projects on economic impacts, electricity market analyses, and expert economic testimony for litigation.

He was President of the Illinois Economic Association during 2008-09. Dr. Quinn currently hosts “Conversations from St. Norbert College” television program, and does a monthly “Econ 101” call-in program on Ben Merens’ “At Issue” show.

Adi Redzic

Adi Redzic


Executive Director
iOme Inc. 

Adi is passionate about creating constructive change and growing people, organizations, and ideas in ways that allow them to make a meaningful impact. This passion has led him to help establish iOme Challenge where he gets to engage with his fellow Millennials in building their individual (iOme) and their collective financial futures (weOus). In 2013, Adi was asked to join a special Advisory Group, spearheaded by RUSA (Reference and User Services Association)--a division of the American Library Association (ALA), that works on the creation of financial literacy education guidelines, which will be used in all libraries across the country (and abroad). 

Before iOme, Adi co-ran a center for spiritual development where his work contributed to bringing 11 faith traditions under the same roof and engaging thousands of young people in personal exploration, leadership development and in service to others. Prior to this, Adi served in various capacities, from a student leader in a UNICEF sponsored initiative and executive editor of an independent collegiate newspaper to working on a regional branding initiative for Greater Green Bay, Wis. In 2011, Adi was selected as one of the inaugural Future 15 leaders of Northeast Wisconsin. 

Native of Montenegro (former Yugoslavia), Adi’s story is an example of a proverbial “American Dream.” Arriving at Milwaukee in 2004 as an exchange student with a few hundred dollars and a dream, Adi graduated from a American high school and went on to get his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, International Studies and Business from St. Norbert College and a Master's in Political Science degree from Loyola University Chicago. 

David Wegge

David Wegge


Executive Director
Strategic Research Institute

David Wegge, Ph. D. serves as the Chairman of the iOme Challenge Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Strategic Research Institute at St. Norbert College. He has also been a faculty member at St. Norbert College since 1979 teaching courses on research methodology and statistics.

Wegge was the founder of the St. Norbert College Survey Center and served as its director for fifteen years from 1983-1998. In 2009, St. Norbert College outsourced the Survey Center (now Strategic Research Institute) to Wegge Strategic Research.

Wegge's research has been used by The Wall Street Journal, London Financial Times, The Economist, The New York Times, MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour, Newsweek, USA Today, CBS News, ABC News, and CNN.  His recent clients include: Nicolet National Bank, Cellcom, Nsight, ThedaCare and WPS Resources.