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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Gov. Snyder announces leadership changes at Talent Investment Agency, LARA

Stokes Comai

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

LANSING – Today, Gov. Rick Snyder announced a dynamic leadership switch in two key departments whose focus is on growing jobs and continuing to build Michigan’s economy.

Wanda Stokes will act as the new Director of the Talent Investment Agency (TIA). Stokes comes from her current position as Deputy Director at Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Current TIA director Stephanie Comai returns to LARA as part of a new leadership team headed by Shelly Edgerton, who became Director of LARA in April.

“We are blessed to have two strong leaders in Wanda and Stephanie,” Snyder said. “The vast knowledge and experience they bring to state government takes both these departments to a new level of leadership and will help continue building Michigan’s 21st Century economy.”

This reorganization has both Stokes and Comai switching departments. 

Comai originally began in the Snyder administration at the Department of Human Services and then became a Deputy Director at LARA. She left the department almost two years ago when the Governor created the department of Talent and Economic Development (TED) and asked her to lead TIA, which is housed within TED along with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation / Michigan Strategic Fund.  Comai will return to LARA as part of Shelly Edgerton’s leadership team to help the department continue its focus of being customer service driven and employer-friendly, which merges with Comai’s expertise as she has previously led key agencies in the employment security and workplace safety divisions.

At TIA, Stokes will leverage her expertise as an experienced leader in her oversight of the Unemployment Insurance Agency and Workforce Development Agency, helping the agencies continue to focus on the state’s workforce and spur the creation of more and better jobs.

Stokes is a Deputy Director with responsibility for Litigation Risk Management. She also provides oversight to the Bureau of Employment Relations, the Michigan Administrative Hearing System, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Workers' Compensation Agency, and administration of the Freedom of Information Act. Prior to joining LARA, Stokes served over 15 years in the Michigan Department of Attorney General where she was head of the Consumer Protection Practice Group and Division Chief for Licensing & Regulation. 

Comai is the Director of the Talent Investment Agency where she directs the initiatives of the state’s workforce development programs and the Unemployment Insurance Agency and serves as a top advisor to the Governor on talent and workforce issues. Prior to her role at the Talent Investment Agency, Comai was a Deputy Director at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs with oversight of Employment, Security and Workplace Safety. Prior to joining LARA, Comai served as the Director of Revenue and Partnership Enhancement for the Michigan Department of Human Services.