advisory board

Derek Bradshaw
Director, Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission and GLS Region V
Derek Bradshaw has served as the Director-Coordinator of the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission (GCMPC) since 2012. Additionally, he serves as the Fiscal Officer for GLS Region V Planning and Development Commission. He has worked at the Planning Commission since 1996 and over the past 20 years has worked in both the Community Development and Transportation Divisions. In addition to the overall management of GCMPC, he oversees regional planning projects across a broad scope including community sustainability, public transportation, metropolitan transportation planning, trail planning, water trail planning, and economic development. Derek has served on various boards at a state and local level including the Michigan Transportation Planning Association, the Michigan Association of Regions, The Flint River Watershed Coalition, the Flint River Corridor Alliance and the International Affairs Center. Over the years, Derek has assisted many local units of government, agencies, and organizations to plan and implement successful projects around the Region. Derek is a member of the Michigan Association of Planning and Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Ryerson in Toronto.

Dan Casey
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).

Steve Erickson
Director, Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation 

Justin Horvath
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.

Jasmine McKenney
Jasmine McKenney, Program Manager of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce Procurement Technical Assistance Center, provides administration and direction of the Defense Logistics Agency and Michigan Economic Development Corporation funded organization that provides no-fee technical assistance to small businesses that are looking to begin or increase their footprint in the government marketplace. Jasmine holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Howard University. She also holds professional certifications in Contract Management and Government Contracting from The George Washington University and Certified Procurement Professional through the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers. Jasmine currently resides in Flint, MI with her husband and three children.

David Mérot
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.

Larry Molnar
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.

Janis Mueller
Janis Mueller’s career began over thirty years ago when she entered the international transportation industry, after she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Language and International Trade: German and Marketing from Eastern Michigan University. She is completing her Masters of Administration – International Finance degree in December 2018 from University of North Carolina- Wilmington.

Her operational management combined with her administrative abilities quickly propelled her into executive management and budget analysis. While working in the Detroit, Chicago and New York markets, she acquired skills in: logistics, sales, administrative, finance, operational planning, purchasing, change management and strategic planning. Janis owned and operated several small businesses in the construction and service industries in Michigan. She spent 8 years working with the Small Business Technology and Development Center at UNCW. She is a Certified Global Business Professional and completed the Economic Development Finance Professional Certification.

Janis is now the Regional Director for the Michigan Small Business Development Center at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan and her territory includes Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron and Tuscola Counties. She leads a team on business consultants to drive economic impact across the region. She sits on a variety of boards to help Small Business and Economic Development across the region and actively supports several non-profit organizations in the region.

Paula Nas
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
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
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 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 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.

Marcus Rankins
Marcus Rankins is the Vice President of Asset Development for Metro Community Development. Amongst his duties, Marcus is responsible for the organization’s commercial lending program that focuses primarily on microenterprises. He attended the University of Michigan-Flint, receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2008.  In 2014, Marcus also received an MBA from Cleary University in Michigan.  He has more than a decade of experience working within banking, as well as years of experience in various operational roles. Marcus is committed to ensuring underserved markets have the necessary access to resources and information.  As a middle school basketball coach (girls and boys), and a former Varsity football assistant coach – Marcus is involved in several community events, programs, and initiatives.  He, along with his wife and 2 children, reside in Genesee County.

Tyler Rossmaessler
Tyler Rossmaessler is the Director of Economic Development at Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. He leads business investment and job creation projects, and supervises staff that work on business retention and expansion. Prior to joining the Flint & Genesee Chamber in September 2017, Rossmaessler was a business development manager at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) where he cultivated collaboration among state, local, and private-sector stakeholders to promote jobs and investment in Michigan. He also was a senior consultant at The Clearing, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based management consulting firm dedicated to supporting “Change Agents” as they tackle the most daunting and complex problems facing our nation and their businesses. Rossmaessler has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He also has professional certifications in strategy and performance management (Georgetown University), and economic development finance (National Development Council). Rossmaessler and his wife, Emily, live in Fenton and have three young children.

Dylan Schafer
Dylan attended Michigan State University where he graduated with a BS in Economics in 2014. Dylan has been working with the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives (BLMISI) in Detroit since February 2015 as an Economic Analyst. Dylan first started his work under Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) where he focused on analyzing job vacancy data and has since moved onto the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) where his focus is the collection and analysis of Industry employment and wages. Additionally, in 2017 Dylan took on the role of regional contact for the East Michigan Prosperity Region where he provides all sources of labor market data for Michigan’s regional customers.

Khalfani Stephens
Khalfani Stephens, a Pontiac native, brings a wealth of professional expertise in his work to lead economic revitalization efforts in Flint. Stephens previously served in Clayton County, Georgia, as executive director of the development authority. Clayton County is a community of 250,000 residents and is home to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  He previously served as the economic development director for the city of Farmington Hills, business development manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and executive director of the Pontiac (Mich.) Growth Group.  While at the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Stephens worked directly with the City of Flint to identify opportunities to retain and expand local businesses. He also provided technical support during the master planning process, laid the groundwork for state funding that made the Capitol Theatre renovation possible, and implemented the state’s community ventures program to provide job opportunities to local residents.  While in Pontiac, he developed a plan that targeted investment to open a new apartment building, corner store, and 24-hour gym. The $20 million development became the foundation for an influx of new investment in the neighborhood.  In his role, Stephens will oversee Flint’s economic development team. His position is funded through grant dollars from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Ken Sylvester
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.

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