WCRC Chief Executive Officer Michael D. Rust, J.D.

Michael D. Rust, J.D. is the Chief Executive Officer of the Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center, Inc.  Mr. Rust has performed more than a thousand mediations, trained hundreds of mediators, and spoken to thousands.

He is also the Past-President of the Association for Conflict Resolution, an international professional organization for people in the conflict resolution field. Mr. Rust is the 2016 President's Award recipient from the Wisconsin Association of Mediators (now known as ACR-Wisconsin) and You Make a Difference Award recipient from the Winnebago Collaborations Workgroup.  He was the first person to serve as the President of the Wisconsin Association of Mediators and the Chair of the Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and he did so at the same time. He has also received recognition by the American Bar Association and the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, France, for his work in mediation.

Mr. Rust graduated from Carthage College with degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology before attending Marquette University Law School. He practiced law for several years before devoting his practice to conflict resolution.  Additionally, he teaches business law, health care law and ethics, conflict management, organizational consulting, and mediation for multiple universities at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

On a personal level, he is the proud father of three children and enjoys being very active in the community. 

Professional Involvement

  • Association for Conflict Resolution, Board (2018-present), President (2019-2020), Advanced Practitioner Status (2019-present)
  • Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System, Roster Mediator (2018-2019 and 2021-present), Mediation Partner (2019-2020)
  • Civil Legal Aid Alliance of Wisconsin, Founding Co-Chair (2021-present)
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court, Office of Lawyer Regulation - Board of Administrative Oversight (2019-present)
  • National Speakers Association, Professional Member (2019-present)
  • State Bar of Wisconsin, Dispute Resolution Section Board (2008-2016), Chair (2014-2016)
  • Wisconsin Association of Mediators, Practitioner Mediator (2010-2019), Board of Directors (2010-2016), President (2014-2015)
  • State of Wisconsin, Joint Legislative Council Study Committee on Access to Civil Legal Services (2016)
  • American Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section, Court Connected ADR Committee (2014-2018)
  • Oshkosh Civility Project, Core Team Member (2018-present)
  • State Bar of Wisconsin, Section Leaders Council, 2014-2016
  • Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network, East Central Region Administrator
  • National Association for Community Mediation
  • Winnebago County Bar Association
  • Outagamie County Bar Association
  • Marquette University Law School Restorative Justice Initiative

Community Involvement

  • TEDxOshkosh, Licensee & Co-Organizer (2016-present)
  • Oshkosh Area United Way, Board of Directors (2015-present), President (2019-2021)
  • Rotary District 6270, Assistant District Governor (2021-present)
  • Oshkosh Downtown Rotary, Board of Directors (2014-2021), Sergeant-at-Arms (2014-2016), President (2019-2020)
  • Faith Child Care, Board of Directors (2013-2019), President (2014-2017)
  • Wisconsin's Best Rib Fest, Planning Committee (2015-2018)
  • Collaborations Workgroup, Planning Committee (2016-2018)
  • Leadership Oshkosh, (2013-2014)
  • Paine Arts Center and Gardens, Adjunct Board Member (2013-2014)
  • Oshkosh Area Community Foundation Housing Workgroup
  • Oshkosh Civility Project, Core Team Member (2018-present)
  • Leadership Green Bay, (2008-2009)

Selected Presentations

  • Three time TEDx speaker at locations around the United States
  • 7 Common Communication Mistakes, Multiple (Wisconsin Society of Human Resource Managers Conference, Wisconsin Community Action Program Association, Poverty Matters Conference, and more)
  • Judging Mediators by Their Cover: What We Call Ourselves and Why it Hurts (Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference, Seattle, WA)
  • The Ethics of Mediation, Multiple (Wisconsin Association of Mediators, State Bar of Wisconsin, and more)
  • Everyday Negotiation Tips, Multiple (TEMPO - Women in Management, Oshkosh Downtown Rotary, and more)
  • Having Fun with Conflict, Multiple (Oshkosh Mid-Morning Kiwanis, Fox Cities Morning Rotary, and more)
  • A Toolbox for Addressing Problem Provider Behavior, Wisconsin Medical Society
  • Mediating with Parties Who Want Their "Day in Court", State Bar of Wisconsin, Litigation, Appellate, & Dispute Resolution Institute
  • Dispute Resolution and Young Lawyers: The New Practice of Law, Multiple (State Bar of Wisconsin, Fox Valley Young Lawyers, Brown County Young Lawyers)
  • Restorative Justice in Maximum Security Prisons (Victim Offender Mediation Association National Conference, Philadelphia, PA)

Selected Trainings

  • Keynote and Plenary speaker, Multiple Membership Organizations, MO, IL, WI, MD, VA, IA
  • Negotiation Skills, Architecture Firm, IL
  • Team Building, University Department, WI
  • Conflict Resolution Skills, Credit Union, WI
  • Difficult Conversations Training, Marketing Firm, WI, Long Term Care Service, WI
  • Communication Skills, Police Department, WI
  • Crisis (Hostage) Negotiation Training, Police Department, WI
  • Mediator Training, Fire Department, WI

Selected Publications

  • Rust, Michael D., Stop Conflict C.O.L.D., 2021 (forthcoming).
  • Rust, Michael D., 7 Common Communication Mistakes, 2022 (forthcoming).
  • Rust, Michael D., Mediation Skills Manual, Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., 2016, 2nd Ed. 2018.
  • Rust, Michael D., Divorce and Family Mediation Manual, Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., 2018. 
  • Multiple articles published in Wisconsin Association of Mediators newsletters, including 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
  • Monaco-Wilcox, Rachel, Judith Levin, and Michael Rust, Advanced Mediation Training: Elder Mediation Training Manual, Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., 2014.
  • “Getting to Mediation: Common Questions Answered.” Young Lawyers Division Newsletter, March 2014.
  • Guest Alumni Blogger, Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog, September 2011.
  • Article excerpts published in INSIGHT ON BUSINESS, including March 2009, June 2009, and September 2009.
  • Rust, Michael D., Businesses Must Follow New ‘Red Flag’ Rules, THE BUSINESS NEWS, March 2, 2009.
  • Rust, Michael D. and Moira J. Kelly, Partnering with Your Client for Better Outcomes in Mediation, State Bar of Wisconsin, 2005.


  • Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, WI
  • Carthage College, Kenosha, WI
    • Neuroscience & Psychology [double major]
    • Biology & Entrepreneurial Studies [double minor]