Aric Nesbitt | Courtesy

Aric Nesbitt ’02 hit the career jackpot, when Gov. Rick Snyder appointed him as the Michigan Lottery Commissioner on Feb. 17.

“I thank Aric for his continued service to the great state of Michigan,” Snyder said in a press release. “He has served many years in public service and I am confident that experience will suit him well in this role.”

Nesbitt’s new post follows three terms of service in Michigan’s House of Representatives, where he served as majority leader for the last two years. As commissioner, he said he will oversee the lottery’s overall functions, develop long-term plans to advance it, and ensure the integrity of the system. Nesbitt said he hopes the lottery will bring in more revenue under his leadership, an increase that would benefit students of Michigan public schools, as all lottery profit goes to the School Aid Fund.

“My main goal is to make sure that the School Aid Fund continues to grow and that Michiganders have a responsible way to game,” Nesbitt said.

Nesbitt said his initial reaction to his appointment was excitement and humility.

“I was excited about the new challenge,” Nesbitt said. “I was humbled by the governor’s confidence in my abilities to run an organization of this size.”

Nesbitt said that the lottery brought more than $800 million of funding to public schools last year, more than $100 million more than its revenue in 2015. Without the Michigan Lottery, he said, the state would source this funding through sales taxes, which would increase from 6 percent to 6.6 percent.

During his time at Hillsdale College, Nesbitt studied economics and politics, and met Professor of Politics Mickey Craig through his classes. Nesbitt said Craig challenged him to consider politics in both philosophical and practical settings.

Craig said Nesbitt was an excellent student at Hillsdale and spoke highly of his work at the state level

“Nesbitt was very valuable as a liaison between the state House and governor’s office,” Craig said in an email. “He worked out many compromises between the conservatives in the state House and the more moderate governor. The governor really appreciated his good counsel and named him to his latest position.”

During his six years in the Michigan legislature, Nesbitt said he helped the state pay down long-term debt, passed balanced budgets early, invested in roads and infrastructures, and increased the state’s savings account.

With a resume like that, Nesbitt said he knows gambling won’t be the key to success for most.

“If you don’t play, you can’t win,” Nesbitt said. “But it’s hard work that gets you ahead.”