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.”