Advisory Board Members
Regional Director, Region 6 Procurement Technical Assistance Center
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 five talented individuals.
During his economic development career, Dan has assisted dozens of companies to establish, expand or relocate to Michigan and worked on many significant community development projects, totaling more than $3-billion in investment and creating 10,000 new jobs.
Dan Casey received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University (1985).
Director, Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation
Justin is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP), the economic development organization serving Shiawassee County, Michigan. Justin has been with the SEDP for over 14 years, with various responsibilities including providing customized services to existing businesses in the county, encouraging retention and expansion of jobs and capital investment; implementing a business recruitment program, with a focus on fostering regional and statewide marketing partnerships; and coordinating a public relations effort to gain support from program funders, community leaders, economic development peers and the public at large. Justin received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, Master of Arts degree in Applied Economics, and a Master of Public Policy degree, all from the University of Michigan.
Douglas G. Knerr serves as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of History, with tenure, at the University of Michigan-Flint. Prior to joining the University of Michigan-Flint on January 1, 2016, Dr. Knerr has a long-time service record at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, including Executive Vice President and University Provost (2013-2016); Campus Provost (2010-2013); Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Administration (2007-2010); Interim Dean of the Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies (2006-2007); Director of Learning Technologies (2000-2003); and instructional appointments since 1998.
At Roosevelt, Dr. Knerr’s accomplishments linked a commitment to the integration of academic and service excellence across the institution, increasing revenue through historic gains in full-time enrollment and retention and established a strategic framework for the enhancement of brand-distinctive academic quality.
Dr. Knerr received his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 1982, 1984, and 1996, respectively. He served as a Beamer-Schneider Sages Fellow and Faculty in Residence at Case Western Reserve University in 2006.
Dr. Knerr’s research interests are in the areas of U.S. urban and industrial history and the history of housing and domestic culture producing two books, several peer-reviewed articles, references, and a documentary film. His research has been favorably reviewed by the Journal of Urban History, Business History Review, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, to name a few.
Patricia Lucas is the Executive Director to the Lapeer Development Corporation, where she has served since graduating from college. She also facilitates the Lapeer County CEO Council. She has written economic development grants for a number of communities around Michigan. Patricia has served as a board member of the American Economic Development Council, which is now the International Economic Development Council and was one of the founding members and served as Treasurer of the Michigan Business Incubator Association for several years. She holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of Michigan in Accounting. She holds the following certifications:
- Certified Economic Developer designation from the International Economic Development Council.
- Certified Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council.
- Certified Grant Administrator from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Her service to the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) has included being the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Directors. She has been awarded the honor of being the MEDA Medalist of the Year.
David Mérot has an extensive background in economic development research and implementation. Most recently, he has been involved in numerous economic development research projects, including a bi-annual 7-county wages and benefits survey, broadband access study, opportunity youth fiscal scan, literacy network data collection, and data visualization. He has supported local business owners to expand their business operations in the area and into international markets in partnership with the State of Michigan STEP grant economic development initiative. David has facilitated and developed creative approaches related to entrepreneurship, community development, and a number of issues surrounding nonprofit funding, coalition implementation, and data collection for nonprofits and organizations in the region with the support of the Ruth Mott Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Harding Foundation and The Community Foundation of Greater Flint. David has been involved in strategic planning and development by coordinating, organizing, and facilitating local partner funding opportunity collaboration, as well as consulting on data analysis and branding for a number of organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Finance from EDC Paris. Prior to his arrival in Michigan, David worked in several countries and in multiple multinational firms.
Lawrence A. Molnar is the Associate Director of the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy, President of the Educational Association of University Centers, and immediate Past-President of the Michigan Business Incubator Association. His B.A. program in Journalism and M.A. program in Telecommunication/Management are from Michigan State University, College of Communication Arts and Sciences and his post- M.A. graduate program (ABD) was in the University of Michigan, School of Information. During his 30 years at the University of Michigan, Molnar has been involved in research and projects in the academic and private sector related to economic development, business incubation, technology transfer, and information science. He served as Principal Investigator for the EDA-funded Community Economic Adjustment Program working with communities in the upper Midwest where there were major manufacturing plant closures. He has extensive experience in assessing private sector firms to link them to intellectual property, technology, patents, expertise and resources of universities to provide the firms with opportunities to diversify and expand into new markets and sectors. He was recently Principal Investigator for an EDA-funded research study of the Business Incubation Industry in the United States that correlated incubator best practices with the success of companies after they leave the incubator. He was recently Principal Investigator for an EDA-funded program in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana that is designed to repurpose closed manufacturing facilities. He was also the Principal Investigator for a NOAA-funded economic impact study of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron and the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary in American Samoa. He is currently Principal Investigator for a U.S. Department of Defense-funded program to diversify the defense supply chain in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana in collaboration with Purdue University and The Ohio State University.
Paula is the Director of the EDA University Center. She has been a lecturer of Economics at UM-Flint for the past 25 years, and the Director of our Center for Economic Education for the past 8 years. She is a graduate of the Honors Program at UM-Flint, and holds an MA in Economics from MSU and a JD from Wayne State University Law School. Paula is passionate about community engagement, specifically in connecting our students with local business, education, civic, health care, and municipal leaders through a variety of initiatives. She is an active volunteer with many civic organizations and serves on the Grand Blanc City Council. Paula is eager to continue to expand and broaden meaningful relationships between UM-Flint and the community in ways that will benefit our community partners and our students, faculty, and staff alike.
Carl Osentoski has been Executive Director of the Huron County Economic Development Corporation since 1988. During his tenure, he has participated in the production of several community development plans, recreation plan updates, CDBG Grants and the development of downtown development organizations. He also serves as the executive director for Sanilac County Economic Development. In addition, Carl is a member of the Michigan Economic Developers Association and serves as chairperson of the Thumb Area Partnership - a regional economic development organization, also a member of the I-69 Regional Steering Committee, and Region 6 Prosperity Planning Steering Committee. Past Committees are: Huron County Community Foundation, Huron Medical Center Board of Directors, Thumb Area Workforce Development Board, and Ubly Village Council. Current projects include: renewable energy projects, regional economic development, Harbor Beach DTE Reuse Project, and CDBG Projects. Prior to working with Huron County, Carl served as Manager of the Thumb Community Growth Alliance, Program Manager for the Thumb Area Consortium. Carl lives in Port Austin with his wife Debbie and they have two grown sons.
Sue Peters, Director of Special Projects at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, provides support for the Flint Child Health & Development Fund and related activities. Sue brings a deep background in capacity building, project management, and community development; having been a Senior Program Officer with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Flint office for eight years. As a past member of the C.S. Mott Foundation’s Flint and Pathways Out of Poverty team she assisted with place-based grant making and managed a national microenterprise grant portfolio.
Peters served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia, South America. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Carroll College and a Master of Arts degree in policy studies from the Johns Hopkins University.
Mackenzie Price Sundblad
Mackenzie Price Sundblad is the Executive Director of the Huron County Community Foundation. She began her work with community foundations in 6th grade as a member of the Hillsdale County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Committee. Since that time, she has served on statewide grantmaking committees and been employed with Council of Michigan Foundations. Mackenzie is a founding member of the Huron County Young Professionals Network and is actively involved in projects and partnerships throughout the region.
Ken Sylvester is the Director of Research and Sponsored Programs at UM-Flint. Dr. Sylvester is an interdisciplinary historian who has worked on and supervised several federally-funded research projects on the relationship between population and environment. He has extensive post-doctoral training in qualitative, quantitative and spatial analysis methods. Dr. Sylvester earned his Ph.D. in history from York University, and B.A. and M.A. in history at the University of Waterloo.