2022 Annual Meeting Speakers
Speakers are listed below as they appear on the agenda.
Maureen Donohue Krauss, President and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Regional Partnership
Maureen Donohue Krauss is President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP), a leading economic development nonprofit serving the 11-county Detroit Region. The organization serves as the single point of contact for business, marketing the region to out-of-state and international companies to attract investments and jobs. Krauss is an accomplished economic development officer with more than 30 years of leadership in economic development, non-profit, and government. She has extensive experience in guiding international companies to successful location decisions and growth in the U.S. and has participated in more than 60 trade missions over the past 18 years. Prior to her role at the DRP, Krauss was elected as the first chief economic development officer at the Indy Chamber where she managed Accelerate Indy, a regional economic development plan for a nine-county region with 2.3 million people. She led programs and initiatives encouraging innovation and accelerating business growth and oversaw Indianapolis’ Amazon HQ2 bid, which was a finalist in the national competition. Previously, Krauss served as vice president of economic development and business attraction at the Detroit Regional Chamber and was responsible for strategy, operations, and projects for its business attraction program. She also worked for the Oakland County Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs, an award-winning county agency where she led a team of over 100 staff, often traveling overseas on business attraction missions.
Kevin Johnson, President and CEO, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Kevin D. Johnson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the city’s leading inclusive economic development driver. He has served as president and CEO since June 2018. Under Johnson’s leadership, the organization focuses on job creation, capital investment, and small business growth for the City of Detroit. Access, inclusion, and financial growth for all Detroiters form the foundation of all DEGC work. As president and CEO, Johnson spearheads DEGC’s economic development initiatives, including business attraction and retention, neighborhood small-business growth, and international investment. In this role, Johnson builds upon 40-plus years of positive impact that the DEGC has had on Detroit. Most recently, Johnson was integral in bringing Fiat Chrysler’s $4.5 billion investment to Detroit, and with it thousands of FCA and supplier jobs. A veteran of the industry, Johnson has served in both public and private economic-development positions throughout the U.S., including roles in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia. In his previous role at Invest Atlanta, Johnson led the economic development program for the city, helping to create jobs and generating billions of dollars in new capital investment. Johnson began his career nearly 30 years ago as the assistant county manager and Director of Economic Development for Casswell County Municipal Government. Learn more about Kevin here.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
Mike Duggan was elected Mayor of the City of Detroit on November 5, 2013, and re-elected to a second term on November 7, 2017. Duggan, born in Detroit, has spent his entire career working in the city to solve some of the most complex issues facing Detroiters, including crime, blight, and access to jobs. In his first term, Mayor Duggan got to work restoring basic city services for all Detroiters. He established the Department of Neighborhoods, placing staff in each of the seven city council districts to help residents address concerns of blight in their community. He also took an active role in projects that installed more than 60,000 new LED street lights to streets, some left in the dark for years, removed nearly 17,000 blighted and abandoned houses, and dramatically improved police and EMS response times, bringing them down to the national average. Learn more about Mayor Duggan here.
Creative Ways to Generate Economic Development Activity in Your Community
David Lorenz, Vice President, Travel Michigan
Dave Lorenz serves as Vice President of Travel Michigan, where he is responsible for leading the state’s tourism branding, advertising, and public relations efforts, overseeing the award-winning Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and coordinating overall statewide tourism initiatives. Mr. Lorenz is Chair of the National Council of State Tourism Directors and serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association. Also, he is on the Board of Directors for Michigan Cares for Tourism, Circle Michigan, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, MotorCities National Heritage Area, West Michigan Tourism Association, Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Grand Rapids Hotel Advisory Board. Prior to Travel Michigan, Mr. Lorenz was the Manager of Partnerships and Promotions, for Meijer, Inc. He also has 14 years of experience in radio broadcasting in roles varying from announcer and news reporter to numerous management positions. Mr. Lorenz attended Western Michigan University. He lives in Norton Shores with his wife, Roberta.
Rod Alberts, Executive Director, Detroit Auto Dealers Association and the North American International Auto Show
Rod Alberts is executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, (DADA) an organization that represents more than 200 domestic and import new car and truck dealers in Southeast Michigan. Alberts is also executive director of the transformed North American International Auto Show (aka Detroit Auto Show), a next-generation auto show this September that will be a showcase of emerging technologies and a celebration of Detroit. Alberts came to the Motor City more than 30 years ago and was soon named to the top position at the DADA and the auto show. As head of the DADA, he is the voice of dealer business interests at the state and federal levels, and he creates and oversees communications, community relations, and educational and charitable activities for the dealer group. Two of the association’s most important charitable initiatives under his leadership are the DADA Charitable Foundation Fund benefitting children and youth in the community and the Courageous Persuaders scholarship program focused on the dangers of underage drinking. Alberts also manages all aspects of the Detroit Auto Show, including the launch of what will be a totally reimagined indoor and outdoor auto show experience this fall. Long respected as one of the most influential automotive events in the world, the new Detroit show will feature brand-defining vehicles, product ride-and-drives, and dynamic experiential activations, in addition to citywide programming and entertainment. The auto show’s Charity Preview gala remains one of the auto industry’s and Detroit’s signature events, raising raised more than $100 million over the past 25 years for southeastern Michigan children’s charities. Learn more about Rod here.
Dan Casey, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County
Dan Casey has served the public sector for 25 years and transitioned to the economic development profession in 1998 with the City of Southfield when he became the community’s business attraction and retention specialist. In 2004, Dan joined the City of Rochester Hills and established its economic development program. During his time in Rochester Hills, he worked collaboratively with Oakland University to establish the Rochester Hills SmartZone™, and OU INCubator. Dan also managed the City’s local development finance authority and economic development corporation. In 2011, Dan joined the Economic Development Alliance (EDA) of St. Clair County as its CEO where he manages a staff of six talented individuals. EDA is a public/private non-profit, membership-based organization that services St. Clair County communities and businesses. Established in 1952, EDA provides numerous services, including business attraction and retention, community development, entrepreneurial programs and facilities, and marketing. Dan Casey serves on numerous boards and committees. Currently, he serves on the Baker College Board of Trustees and the Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works Workforce Development Board of Directors. Dan Casey received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University (1985). He is married and has two grown children, and lives in St. Clair, Michigan.
Mark Hollis, Chief Operating Officer, Rock Ventures LLC
Mark Hollis serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Rock Ventures, tying threads among the 100+ companies in Dan Gilbert’s portfolio and delivering value to those companies located in Detroit, Cleveland, Charlotte, Phoenix, and other Family of Companies communities. Positively impacting Rocket Companies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Shinola, Bedrock, 100Thieves, StockX, Xenith, Dictionary.com and other Family of Companies are among his primary duties. Working with FOC team members, he was involved in launching and coordinating the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit’s annual PGA TOUR event, the Forbes Under 30 Summit, Detroit Grand Prix transformation, and attracting other outreach events. As Chairman of the Detroit Sports Organizing Corporation, Mark is frequently working with Detroit’s professional and amateur sports teams, entertainment entities, and venues. Hollis retired from a 38-year career in intercollegiate athletics after serving 10 years as the athletics director at Michigan State University. During his tenure at MSU, Hollis was known for his innovation in the development of creative events. The Cold War outdoor ice hockey game established world-record attendance for the sport and led to the NHL’s Winter Classic. The world-record attendance setting “The BasketBowl” men’s basketball game played at Ford Field led to today’s NCAA Final Four venue format. The Game of Change commemorated the historic game played at Jenison Fieldhouse and featured Detroit’s history with the Tuskegee Airmen. The Quicken Loans Carrier Classic played on the flight deck of the USN Carl Vinson led to future military appreciation events by college and professional sports. And the PK80, a 16-team men’s basketball event played in two Portland-based venues, delivered a unique appreciation for Phil Knight’s contributions to college sports. Hollis received the 2015 National Football Foundation John Toner Award and the 2012 Athletic Director of the Year by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. He served on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, as chair for the 2016-17 season. Hollis was instrumental in negotiating long-term agreements for Michigan State University with WJR, Nike, and Fox Sports. During his tenure, the Spartans competed in 3 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Fours, 8 bowl games (including the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff), and won 29 Big Ten championships and 1 National championship. MSU athletics facilities saw some of their biggest improvements with renovations and construction projects including Spartan Stadium, Breslin Center, golf facility, football building, baseball stadium, and softball stadium. Prior to returning to Michigan State, Hollis spent two years at the University of Pittsburgh as associate athletic director. Before his stint at Pitt, Hollis worked for the Western Athletic Conference. He joined the WAC as an administrative assistant immediately after college. Two years later, he was appointed assistant commissioner. Hollis earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Michigan State in 1985, where he served as a basketball team manager under Jud Heathcote. In 1992, he earned his MBA in business administration from the University of Colorado.
Kat Paye, Executive Director, National Cherry Festival
Kat Paye was raised in Traverse City and had an active role in the National Cherry Festival since 1990 when she became a Junior Ambassador and assisted the Wheel Chair Mile with Director Jeff Nash. Over the past 30 years, she has served as Junior Ambassador, Intermediate Ambassador, Ambassador, Event Director, and Board Member before becoming the Operations Director in 2012. In 2016 she accepted the position of Executive Director. Prior to her current role, Kat worked at Hagerty Insurance as a licensed agent and claim adjuster, House Manager of the City Opera House and Event Planner with Passageways Travel. Kat holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Davenport University and is a proud member of several organizations including the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Founding Board Member for Impact 100 TC, Michigan Festival and Events Association, and the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA) where she is currently a member of their Foundation Board. Kat received her designation of Certified Festival and Event Executive in 2015 from the IFEA. As the Executive Director, it is her job to lead the daily operations, strategic direction, and financial management of the Foundation and its events which include the National Cherry Festival, CherryT Ball Drop, the Leapin Leprechaun 5K, and most recently the Iceman Cometh Challenge. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering in her local community planning events, serving at Bayview Church in youth ministry, and teaching 3-year-old, Andrew about cherries and the world around him.
TEDTalks: Creative Ways to Generate Economic Development Activity in Your Community
Gwen Auwerda, Executive Director, Tulip Time
Gwen Auwerda assumed responsibility as the Executive Director of Tulip Time in March of 2011. She is responsible for planning and executing this internationally recognized festival celebrating tulips, Dutch Heritage, and community. The festival has been recognized as one of the top 100 events in North America by the American Bus Association for over 30 years & named the Best Flower Festival by USA Today. In 2011 she joined the World Tulip Summit Society and accepted the award as the World Tulip Festival of the year in 2017 and 2019. Over a half-million visitors attend the festival each year which results in an economic impact of $48 million to the West Michigan area. Prior to joining Tulip Time, Gwen graduated from Hope College and enjoyed a long-standing career in Human Resources at Johnson Controls and Prince Corporation. As the Director of Human Resources, Gwen was responsible for employee relations, mergers & acquisitions planning, and leadership development. Auwerda has been actively involved in the Holland community for a number of years. She is currently serving on the Holland Hospital and Holland Visitor’s Bureau board of directors. Gwen supports additional committees, Dutch Heritage Coordinating Council, the Principal Shopping District board, and Holland in Bloom through the City of Holland. She also has served as a member of the Holland Chamber Board of Directors.
Letty Azar, Vice President, Community and Government Affairs, Penske Corporation
Letty Azar joined Penske Corporation in 2021 as Vice President of Community of Government Affairs. In her role, she has helped coordinate the relocation of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear to Downtown Detroit in 2023. Working in collaboration with Detroit residents, businesses, community organizations, and public leaders, Azar has helped bring the Grand Prix back to its original home on the streets of the downtown corridor, incorporating Penske Corporation’s commitment to excellence, innovative thinking, and focus on improving local neighborhoods. Prior to joining Penske Corporation, Azar held various leadership roles in healthcare, focusing on government advocacy, policy, and program development. Most recently, she served as a key member of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s Administration. Through her leadership role with the city, Azar brought city residents together around the design and implementation of innovative approaches to improve quality of life and ultimately build stronger neighborhoods in Detroit.
Karen Delhey, Executive Director, The Guild of Artists and Artisans
The Guild is a non-profit artist membership organization whose mission is to provide marketing opportunities for artists while bringing cultural events to communities. They do this by producing fine art fairs including The Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, the largest of the three partner fairs that comprises the Ann Arbor Art Fair. She has been in this role since February 1, 2016, but has worked for the Guild since 2010 when she was hired as the Senior Director of Marketing and Partnerships. Prior to working for the Guild, Karen was the Marketing and Partnership Director for Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original. In her tenure with The Guild she has been responsible for initiating three new fine art fairs including A2 Artoberfest and two shows inside the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. She also converted space in their downtown Ann Arbor building into gallery space (Gutman Gallery) which has developed partnerships with many of the area businesses and artists. Karen has had the pleasure of serving on the Saline Area Schools Board of Education, The Foundation for Saline Area Schools, The Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Kerrytown District Association Board, SafeHouse Marketing Committee, and SAYB&S. She was also instrumental in the development of the Townie Street Party and served as the Co-Chair of the event in its inaugural year.
Todd Fenton, Deputy City Manager, City of Royal Oak
Todd Fenton joined Royal Oak, Michigan as its first Economic Development Manager in 2014. He oversaw the creation and construction of the $70 million Royal Oak Civic Center project, which brought a new city hall, police station, parking structure, two-acre park, and a 140,000 s.f. Henry Ford outpatient facility to downtown Royal Oak. Fenton previously led Wayne County’s business attraction efforts from 2010 to 2013. He is currently Royal Oak's Deputy City Manager. With fifteen years of economic development experience in both the public and private sectors, Fenton is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP), and a licensed attorney in the State of Michigan. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Fenton currently sits on the Advisory Council for the Michigan Economic Developers Association.
Amber Taylor, Executive Director, Back to the Bricks
Amber says, "I am a single mom that has a passion for sharing in exciting and memorable experiences. If it’s something that will scare you, or give you a thrill, I’ve probably done it, or it’s on my bucket list to do. I play softball, love hunting and fishing, motocross, hiking and camping. I ride a Harley, have a 1981 Ford Truck lifted and love, love, love vehicles and seeing them on display. I guess I’m fitted for the position I’m blessed to have with Back to the Bricks®. My background is in marketing, sales, advertising, retail management, and construction. My favorite experiences which are not only meaningful but helped to propel me to where I am now, is working with non-profit organization events in the Flint area such as Whaley Children’s Center, Hurley Foundation and supporting local charities through events like 5k and 8k runs! I am a Board of Director with the Grand Blanc Chamber and serve as Secretary. I am a proud Certified Tourism Ambassador and facilitator for Genesee County through the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau. I am the Past President of the Flint Women’s Forum and now Communications Chair. I was proud to spearhead the first female statue in the Automobile Heritage Collection, Rosie the Riveter that is proudly on display at Flint Bishop International Airport.”
Tracey Tucker, Economic Enhancement Director, Flint Township
As a life-long resident of the Township, Tracey Tucker and her family have been active in Flint Township for many years. Dedicated to public service, Tracey sought elected office in 2000 and was elected as a Constable, and later a Trustee for Flint Township. Flint Township felt the need to concentrate more on Economic Development as the housing market was starting to fail. With a background in the building industry and trades and extensive knowledge of the area, process, and history of Flint Township, Tracey was a perfect fit. In 2007, Tracey left elected office to become a public servant as the Economic Enhancement Director. With the crash in 2008, the move proved prophetic and benefited the Township. Tracey has served as a point of contact for investors and developers, helping them navigate through the bureaucracy, from finding a site to opening their doors and beyond. Flint Township has created an atmosphere of cooperation with investors and developers, streamlining processes and offering incentives this has allowed the Township to thrive. 2020 saw investments of over $50 million. In the last 5 years, the Flint Township has been creating more ways to work with developers and investors by reengaging the Flint Township Economic Development Corporation Board, creating a Brownfield Authority, the Flint Township Downtown Development Authority, the Bristol Road Corridor Improvement Authority, and the Beecher Road Corridor Improvement Authority. Our Economic Development Authorities have joined together to use one brand "Discover Flint Township". We invite everyone to visit our discoverflinttownship.com website and "Stay safe, Stay Healthy, Shop Local, Buy Local and Discover Flint Township!"
Mari Vaydik, Vice President, Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association
Mari Vaydik has served as vice president of the Marquette-based Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association since 2021. The UPSDA, an almost fully volunteer-led effort, stages three sled dog races annually: the UP200 (220 miles), Midnight Run (82 miles), and the Jack Pine 30. These races are among the Midwest's premier sled dog races and the UP200 is an official Iditarod qualifier. Each winter the UPSDA's races bring thousands of visitors to Marquette and Alger Counties, draw key Michigan legislators to the Upper Peninsula, and generate $2 million in economic activity. The races also provide Northern Michigan University students with leadership volunteer experiences related to their programs of study. Besides being an avid “armchair musher," Mari has worked professionally in fundraising since 2004. She is currently a senior director of philanthropy and alumni relations at Wayne State University. Prior to Wayne State, she worked in fundraising at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Creative Solutions for Economic Development Challenges
Gabe Rodriguez-Garriga, Vice President for Strategy, Business Leaders for Michigan.
Gabe is responsible for reviewing the organization’s work plan and strategic priorities, developing a long-term strategic direction, and the organization’s Economic Development and COVID work. He also conducts research and develops and executes strategies for accomplishing policy objectives for the state’s economic recovery. Previously, Gabe was the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships for the Detroit Regional Partnership where he was responsible for developing the organization’s strategy, regional partnerships, and supporting connections throughout the economy in Southeast Michigan. Gabe was also the Chief Strategist for the MERC, working alongside co-chairs Gerry Anderson and Nancy Schlichting to advise State government on COVID-19 pandemic policies. Prior to his work at DRP, Gabe worked at DTE Energy, supporting several Regional CEO Group initiatives, including the formation of the Detroit Regional Partnership. As a project leader at Boston Consulting Group, he managed multiple strategic projects for Fortune 500 companies, including leading the project management office for the Detroit Region’s bid for Amazon HQ2. Gabe has a Bachelor’s degree in Science, Financial Mathematics and Economics from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jill Ferrari, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Renovare
Jill Ferrari has 27 years of experience in catalyzing urban redevelopment. Her background includes private real estate acquisition and development, legal practice, consulting and community development. As a former affordable housing and community development executive, she secured financing for various projects focused on neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing. As an attorney and private real estate developer, she has managed complex Brownfield Redevelopment projects in multiple states. Jill has been active throughout her entire career in the advancement of women in commercial real estate. With five other women executives, she recently launched the Women’s Sustainable Development Initiative, a nonprofit focused on supporting emerging female developers of color. She is the current Co-Chair of the Urban Land Institute - Michigan District Council, and a member of the Women’s Development Collaborative, a national organization designed to promote women commercial real estate developers. As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Renovare Development, she has successfully built a start-up, majority woman-owned commercial real estate development company focused on transformational mixed-use real estate development projects. She has successfully raised over $700,000 in pre-seed funding for operations and predevelopment. The company’s pipeline of projects totals over $80 Million Dollars with projects slated to close in 2022 and 2023. Learn more about Jill here.
Quentin Messer Jr., CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
As MEDC CEO and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund, Quentin is charged with implementing and executing MEDC’s core mission of business development and attraction, community development, providing access to capital, and enhancing Michigan’s image and brand with a focus on building a strong and equitable economy for all Michiganders. His responsibilities include managing the administration of all programs, funds, personnel, contracts, and other administrative functions of MEDC. Quentin is a member of Governor Gretchen E. Whitmer’s cabinet and serves on the boards of the American Center for Mobility, Michigan Israel Business Accelerator, International Economic Development Council (IEDC), and Oklahoma University’s Economic Development Institute (OU EDI) and is a member of the Michigan Council on Climate Solutions. He was named by Financial Times as a member of the 2021 Agenda Diversity 100, Crain’s Detroit Business, 50 Names to Know in Government (2021), Biz New Orleans CEO of the Year (2020), Biz New Orleans Businessperson of the Year (2019), by Consultants Connect as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers (2020, 2019) and by Ebony Magazine for its Ebony Power 100 as a Power Player (2018). Immediately prior to joining MEDC, Quentin was President & CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance which, under his leadership, became one of fewer than 80 accredited economic development organizations worldwide (AEDO). Quentin also previously served as the Assistant Secretary for Louisiana Economic Development, (LED) Louisiana’s department of economic development. Quentin is an alumnus of the Boston Consulting Group and O’Melveny & Myers LLP and a degree recipient from Princeton and Columbia Universities.
Nicole Sherard-Freeman, Group Executive - Jobs, Economy & Detroit at Work at City of Detroit
Nicole Sherard-Freeman joined the City of Detroit as Executive Director of Workforce Development in August 2019. In October 2020, Mayor Mike Duggan appointed Nicole Group Executive of Jobs, Economy at Detroit At Work; She will assume her new role in January 2021. Sherard-Freeman will play a central role not only in staffing major employers in Detroit but also in attracting them to the city based on the strength of the city's workforce. Unifying the workforce and economic development teams under Nicole will provide major job creators with a seamless process for locating in Detroit and finding qualified residents to build their workforce. Nicole has been responsible for building Detroit At Work, a world-class staffing organization that supplies ready talent to local employers and solves the often complex job and career readiness needs of local residents by leveraging Detroit’s network of service providers. Nicole’s team measures its success by Detroit’s residential employment level, the increase in average wages for Detroit at Work customers, and growth in the number and quality of employers served through the system. Nicole also helps lead the operations for Community Health Corps, a new city initiative led by Deputy Mayor Conrad Mallett, that will provide direct outreach and case management to many of the city's lowest-income residents to help connect them with the services and support they most need to improve their quality of life, health, and economic standing. Learn more about Nicole here.
Tony Tomczak, Vice President, Electric Sales and Marketing, DTE Energy
At DTE, Tomczak is responsible for executing high-level marketing programs and key customer service initiatives for Community Lighting and Joint Use Margin, while reducing MPSC complaints. Tomczak joined DTE Energy in 2006. He most recently served as vice president of Corporate Services and chief procurement officer where he was responsible for strategic management of the company’s procurement, supplier performance management, warehousing, fleet, facilities, and real estate organizations. Prior to that position, served as director of Supply Chain Management where he was responsible for all non-fuel purchases, materials planning, contract development, and performance and warehouse operations for DTE Energy. Prior to joining DTE Energy, Tomczak was vice president of Purchasing for Tower Automotive, responsible for materials and services expenditures. Tomczak earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Operations with distinction from Lawrence Technological University. Tomczak was selected as 2019 Chief Procurement Officer of the Year by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. He also received the 2019 Community Leader Award from Results Mentoring. He is the 2018 chairman of the board of directors of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council and a member of the Utility Purchasing Management Group 2018 Executive Committee. In 2017, he was the chairman of the Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance.
Creative Collaboration With Canada
Kurt M. Brauer, Partner, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP
Skillfully managing a broad, multifaceted practice, Kurt Brauer assists clients with environmental and economic development matters across many industries, including the agribusiness, automotive, manufacturing, resource-use, energy, mining and real estate development sectors. He establishes rapport with his clients early on and forges strong relationships that enhance his ability to represent them as effectively as possible. Kurt serves not only many Michigan- and Great Lakes region-based companies, but organizations across the country and around the world, as well. Clients include municipalities, pharmaceutical manufacturers, developers, nonprofit environmental organizations, alternative energy producers and equipment manufacturers, transportation and logistics companies, retail centers, mining operations and businesses in the food production, high-tech manufacturing and aerospace industries.Kurt’s expertise encompasses all manner of environmental issues, including regulatory compliance, site investigation, cleanup and closure, solid and hazardous waste, due diligence, permitting, wetland and critical habitat protection and mitigation and adaptive reuse. Kurt helps many clients secure brownfield redevelopment and business expansion incentive packages. Particularly adept at devising creative solutions, he is always gratified to resolve both novel and standard environmental issues. Learn more about Kurt here.
Dr. Britany Affolter-Caine, Executive Director, Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC)
Dr. Britany Affolter-Caine is the executive director of Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC), an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. As one of the nation's top university innovation clusters, the URC is a leading engine for innovation in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Prior to the URC, Britany was the talent director for Ann Arbor SPARK, and a senior research associate for the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution on the Great Lakes Economic Initiative. Britany has served as a director on the Michigan Strategic Fund board since 2019. She earned her PhD in higher education policy from the University of Michigan (2008), a M.Ed. in secondary education from Wright State University (1999), and a BA in political science from Wittenberg University (1996).
Paul Krepps, Senior Foreign Direct Investment Consultant – Canada, India & U.S., Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Paul represents the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for business development related primarily to Canada and India. His business attraction efforts have led to significant foreign direct investments into Michigan by companies that include Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Magna, AddEnergie/Flo, Axiom Group, ActuaPlast and many others. Paul spearheaded Michigan's successful effort to attract Arauco’s $450 million particle board manufacturing facility, a transformational project in Grayling for which he was conferred Consumer Energy's Economic Development Champion award. Paul serves on the board of the Canada-U.S. Business Association (CUSBA) and is actively engaged with key Indian business organizations. He is frequently in Canada and India and enjoys helping international company executives understand and benefit from opportunities in Michigan’s outstanding business ecosystem. Paul was the MEDC’s managing director of communications prior to joining the business development team.
Exploring Creative Solutions to Industrial Site Readiness in Michigan
Terri L. Fitzpatrick, Executive Vice President and Chief Real Estate and Global Attraction Officer, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Terri Fitzpatrick joined the MEDC in December 2021 to lead the state’s site readiness and global attraction efforts. As Chief Real Estate and Global Attraction Officer, Terri coordinates site development and infrastructure needs throughout the state to prepare for future business attraction and expansion opportunities. As a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, she will also lead the MEDC’s Office of Tribal Business Development efforts, working with the State of Michigan’s 12 federally recognized Indian tribes in their business diversification endeavors. Terri brings 35 years of corporate, tribal and public sector real estate experience to MEDC, including 10 years as Real Estate Director/VP of Development for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, six years as Real Estate Director for the State of Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget – where she also served as Tribal Liaison – and four years as VP of Tribal Business Development for the MEDC, designing the new program in collaboration with Michigan’s 12 Federally Recognized Indian Tribes. Most recently, Terri comes off eight years specializing in public-private partnerships in the private sector for a boutique real estate development firm. As COO and VP of Development, she led organizational development, marketing, public relations and proposal development, facilities and construction teams and real estate development. Throughout her tenure, she has served as expert witness for the state on real estate transactions and presented before various legislative and governmental bodies. Terri has served on a variety of non-profits, boards and commissions, including as Tribal Housing Commissioner, Tribal Utility Commissioner and City Planning Commissioner.
Justin Robinson, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Detroit Regional Partnership
Robinson leads the business development team, raising awareness of the Detroit Region as an ideal location for corporate investment and helping foreign and domestic firms explore, invest, and create jobs in the community. Robinson previously served as the vice president of business attraction for the Detroit Regional Chamber. Annually, his teams have led more than 30 domestic and international outreach trips, engaged with more than 100 site selectors, and hosted two dozen visiting foreign delegations. These efforts have reached key markets such as Israel, China, Silicon Valley, Italy, Germany, Japan, Austria, France, and the Netherlands. He holds a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from Michigan State University.
Phil Rudolph Jr., Vice President of Business Development, Rudolph Libbe Companies
As VP, New Business Development, Mr. Rudolph’s responsibilities include client relations and satisfaction as well as public relations, governmental affairs, economic development, branding, marketing and sales for The Rudolph Libbe Group. Mr. Rudolph has also served as Project Executive on individual projects. In this role, his responsibilities include overall performance, ensuring that all projects meet or exceed the client’s expectations. Mr. Rudolph has worked in the construction industry since 1977 and currently serves as VP, New Business Development for The Rudolph Libbe Group. In the past, Mr. Rudolph has worked in several facets of construction from Laborer, Carpenter, Foreman, and Superintendent, to Field Operations Manager. Learn more about Phil here.
Creative Ways to Prepare for the Future of Mobility
Glenn Stevens, Director, MICHAUTO, Detroit Regional Chamber
Glenn Stevens is the Executive Director of MICHauto and Vice President of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives at the Detroit Regional Chamber. In his role, Stevens provides strategic direction and leadership to MICHauto in its role as the statewide industry association to promote, grow, and retain Michigan’s automotive and next-generation mobility industries. MICHauto is focused on developing the state’s automotive and mobility industry in the key areas of Talent, Advocacy, Awareness, Start-up Innovation, and NextGen Mobility and the Digital Economy. His responsibilities are also centered on strategic fundraising in conjunction with investor engagement and retention. Stevens has more than 30 years of management, strategy, and operations experience across the automotive, steel, specialty chemicals, and capital equipment industries. For the past 13 years, his career has been focused on serving membership-based organizations and economic development. Learn more about Glenn here.
Komal Doshi, Director of Mobility Programs, Ann Arbor SPARK
Komal Doshi is a mobility expert, urban designer and design thinker. As the Director of Mobility Programs at Ann Arbor SPARK she works with existing and new startups to identify and solve challenges, engage stakeholders, and build new relationships to advance the growth of the mobility industry in the region. In her previous role at SMART (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation) at the University of Michigan she co-developed the Mobi Platform, a global platform for mobility entrepreneurs and industry players. In addition she focused on the trends and opportunities that accelerate New Mobility and M-a-a-S(Mobility as a service) implementation and related industry and economic development around the globe. She has provided research and strategic consulting for organizations which include Ford Motor Company, Alcoa foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Mobile Lives Forum. She has also been a jury member at prestigious international mobility innovation awards and mentored several startups at local and international mobility accelerators. She was also recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of the Notable 26 Women in Technology 2018. She has a Masters in Urban Design from the University of Michigan and Bachelors in Architecture from Sushant School of Art and Architecture in India.
Kristin Dziczek, Policy Advisor for ICE to EV Transition, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Kristin Dziczek is a policy advisor in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s research, policy, and public engagement division. Her research focuses on the economic impacts of the transition to low-carbon and automated transportation. Dziczek served as the senior vice president of research at the non-profit Center for Automotive Research (CAR) from 2005 to 2022. Before that, she was the associate director of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and worked for the U.S. Congress, International Union UAW, and General Motors Corporation. Dziczek received her B.A., M.P.P., and M.S. all from the University of Michigan.
Kevin Mull, Business Development - Mobility Solutions, Robert Bosch LLC
Kevin Mull is Director of Strategy, Planning, and Business Development, Mobility Solutions - Americas at Robert Bosch LLC. In this role, Mull is responsible for regional strategy development and execution, business planning, and business development activities including new account development within the region. His role also includes mobility start-up engagement and partner activities with other business incubation and acceleration entities. In this role, Mull is also a co-founder of the Detroit Smart Parking Lab. Since joining Bosch in 1992, Mull has held numerous leadership positions within the Automotive Aftermarket division. His previous position, beginning in 2013, was the leader of the Connected Cloud Services business portfolio in North America, including sales and marketing, product management, engineering, and operations. Prior to that, he started and led the EV Charging Infrastructure business, and has held various other business development and general management roles in both OEM and independent aftermarket business units that focused on vehicle diagnostic, service, and training products, solutions, and services. Learn more about Kevin here.
Bernard Swiecki, Director, Automotive Communities Partnership, and Director-Research, Center for Automotive Research
Bernard Swiecki serves as Director of Research at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), as well as Director of the Automotive Communities Partnership (ACP). He joined CAR in 1994. Mr. Swiecki manages research projects studying a wide breadth of automotive industry structure and technology topics. He manages CAR’s analysis of vehicle market and production data. He has also led trade missions to China, Italy, India, and Russia. Mr. Swiecki has authored numerous articles for print publications, as well as a monthly column, on the automotive industry. He regularly presents at conferences and industry events around the world, as well as providing interviews to local, national, and global media. Mr. Swiecki is a member of the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA). He has served on the U.S. Department of Commerce Eastern Michigan District Export Council. He received his BA from the University of Michigan in 1998 and his MS from Eastern Michigan University in 2003.
Consultant Panel - Creative Solutions for Building Michigan’s Competitiveness
Susan Proctor, CEcD, Director, Strategic Initiatives, Growth and Development, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
Susan has more than 20 years of experience with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) including key leadership roles in marketing, communications, and international business development. In her current role, Susan leads and executes the outreach efforts to the international site location advisor community. Susan has traveled extensively throughout her career organizing and speaking at conferences across the globe highlighting Michigan as a prime business location for investment and job creation. She studied at the Catholic University in Washington D.C and holds a BA from Michigan State University. Susan is also recognized as a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International
Lindsey Cannon, Director, Quest Site Solutions
Lindsey Cannon is a Director with Quest Site Solutions (Quest) which provides site selection services and economic development consulting to companies and organizations worldwide. Before joining Quest, Lindsey was a Principal with McCallum Sweeney Consulting. With more than 15 years of experience in site selection and economic development, Lindsey assists companies in identifying, evaluating, and selecting the optimal location for their capital investment. She provides specialized skills and services to clients in the areas of detailed location evaluations including properties, infrastructure, transportation, labor and demographics, state and local taxes, and incentives. Lindsey also provides services and programs for states, utilities, communities, and private landowners to increase the attractiveness of their community and/ or property to industrial prospects. These services include site evaluations and certifications, site identification, strategic planning, target industry analysis, and workforce/labor evaluations. Learn more about Lindsey here.
Larry Gigerich, Executive Managing Director, Ginovus
Larry is a nationally recognized economic development leader with more than 30 years of local and state government, not-for-profit, and private sector experience. Throughout his career, Larry has worked on approximately 600 economic development projects resulting in over $12 billion in capital investment, the creation of over 100,000 new jobs, and the retention of over 200,000 existing jobs. Named by Governing Magazine as one of the nation’s best economic development officials, Larry is a board member of The Site Selector’s Guild, an internationally recognized site selection organization, and is a regular speaker and panelist at conferences throughout North America. Prior to founding Ginovus in 2002, Larry worked in a variety of economic development settings, including Deputy Director of Business Development for the Indiana Department of Commerce, Senior Advisor to the Mayor of the City of Indianapolis for Economic and Workforce Development, and President & CEO of the Indianapolis Economic Development Corporation (Develop Indy and Indy Partnership). Additionally, Larry was instrumental in the launch and leadership of the Indianapolis and Central Indiana Technology Partnership (TechPoint), an initiative designed to nurture growing and emerging technology companies throughout Indiana. Learn more about Larry here.
Bradley Migdal, Executive Managing Director, Strategic Consulting and Business Incentives Advisory Practice, Cushman and Wakefield
Brad has over 18 years of experience managing corporate site selection engagements, business incentives projects, and economic development consulting assignments. Brad's expertise is in the areas of domestic site selection and location analysis, economic incentives research and acquisition, and demonstrating the economic and fiscal impacts of a wide variety of projects to both corporations and governments. He specializes in working with state agencies and local municipalities in connection with negotiating incentive packages and developing corporate attraction strategies. Brad has successfully completed projects for Fortune 1000 Companies in the automotive, consumer products, financial services, telecommunications, energy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage production, and packaging industries. Mr. Migdal is a sought-after speaker for economic development events, real estate, and tax conferences. In addition, he has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago, and written articles for economic development and real estate journals. He is a frequent participant in economic development conferences most noted for his expertise in economic development incentives. Brad is on the editorial advisory board for Area Development Magazine, an Advisor for Consultant Connect, and a founding member of the Site Consultant’s Advisory Group. Mr. Migdal was the Executive Managing Director and National Practice Leader for Industrial Site Selection and Business Incentives for Transwestern. Mr. Migdal has also been with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte in their national consulting and incentives practice. Learn more about Bradley here.
Creative Funding Solutions for Your EDO
Clint Nessmith, Chief Executive Officer, Resources Development Group (RDG)
Clint brings over 20 years of fundraising experience to his role as Chief Executive Officer of Resource Development Group. He has managed numerous funding campaigns for economic development organizations and chambers of commerce, in markets of all sizes throughout the US., facilitating hundreds of millions of dollars for client projects. In addition to his long career with RDG, Clint served as Director of Development at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA, Director of Major Gifts at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA, and Project Manager for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Forward Atlanta campaign. Clint earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a minor in Communication Arts from Georgia Southern University in 1999. Clint resides in Statesboro, GA with his wife Elizabeth and their four children. Founded in 1995, Resource Development Group provides customized fundraising and consulting solutions for a diversity of purposes including operations, marketing, advocacy, incentive funds, workforce development, business incubators, and special projects. RDG is the only firm in the United States focused exclusively on generating revenue for economic development organizations and chambers of commerce.