Whitmer Appoints Brom Stibitz to Serve as DTMB Director
Governor Bolsters Executive Office Staff Heading Into 2021, Names New Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Affairs Director, Public Affairs Director, Equity and Inclusion Officer
LANSING – Today Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed Brom Stibitz to serve as the Director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Stibitz has served as Acting Director for the department and Chief Information Officer for the state since former DTMB Director Tricia Foster was named Chief Operating Officer in March.
“DTMB is the backbone of state government,” said Governor Whitmer. “Brom has done an incredible job ensuring our 48,464 state employees have the right tools and technology they need to keep serving the people of Michigan as we battle a global pandemic. He's the right person to lead this crucial department during these difficult times, and I’m proud to have Brom serving in my cabinet.”
Stibitz has served as the Chief Deputy Director of DTMB since 2015, where he has been head of operations for the agency of nearly 3,000 employees, providing information technology and business and administrative services to Michigan’s residents, state agencies, and state employees.
“Serving the people of Michigan has always been an honor,” said Stibitz. “These have been challenging times, no doubt about it, but I am so proud of the way our team has gone above and beyond to ensure state government doesn’t miss a beat. I look forward to continuing to serve in Governor Whitmer’s administration as we work to build a stronger Michigan for all of us.”
During his tenure at DTMB, Stibitz has been instrumental in improving IT Governance, enhancing the state’s approach to IT security, and at the same time increasing overall customer satisfaction scores for DTMB. Prior to his role at DTMB, Stibitz served in leadership roles at the Michigan Department of Treasury and the Michigan Legislature. Stibitz holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Kalamazoo College and a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Michigan University. He and his wife, Youngsook, have three children.
Melanie Brown, Jennifer Flood, Zack Pohl Named Deputy Chiefs of Staff; Sarah Gonzales Triplett Promoted to Public Affairs Director; George W. Cook, III Named Director of Legislative Affairs; Poppy Hernandez to Serve as Equity and Inclusion Officer
Today the Whitmer administration also announced a series of promotions and new staff hires within the executive office. Three of the governor’s senior aides, Melanie Brown, Jennifer Flood, and Zack Pohl, will serve as Deputy Chiefs of Staff, reporting to Chief of Staff JoAnne Huls. The governor’s office also announced Sarah Gonzales Triplett will serve as Public Affairs Director, George W. Cook, III will serve as Legislative Affairs Director, and Poppy Hernandez will serve in the newly-created position of Equity and Inclusion Officer.
“This has been an incredibly challenging year for our state, and Jen, Mel, and Zack have each stepped up in a big way as we work around the clock to save lives and keep people safe from COVID-19,” said JoAnne Huls, Chief of Staff to Governor Whitmer. “These expanded roles will allow us to keep strengthening our team as the governor stays focused on fixing roads, improving public education and skills training, and protecting health care for the people of Michigan.”
Melanie Brown currently serves as Director of Community Affairs for the executive office, and is a veteran of state government. Brown previously served in multiple senior roles across the Granholm and Snyder administrations. As Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Whitmer, Brown will manage the appointments, community affairs, and constituent services divisions within the executive office.
Jen Flood currently serves as Director of Legislative and Public Affairs. Before her work in the executive office, Flood previously served as a government policy advisor at Dykema, and spent time in the Michigan House and Senate, including working for then-Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer. In her new role as Deputy Chief of Staff, Flood will manage the legislative affairs, federal affairs, policy, public affairs, and scheduling divisions within the executive office.
Zack Pohl currently serves as Communications Director. Prior to working in the administration, Pohl served as Whitmer’s campaign Communications Director, as well as senior communications roles for the Michigan AFL-CIO, former Congressman Mark Schauer, and the Michigan Senate. As Deputy Chief of Staff, Pohl will continue to manage the executive office communications division, and will take on additional responsibilities for strategic planning to advance the governor’s agenda.
Sarah Gonzales Triplett is currently Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the Whitmer administration. She was previously Deputy Chief of Staff at the Michigan Department of State, and served in leadership positions in the nonprofit sector and the Michigan House of Representatives.
George W. Cook, III will serve as the new Director of Legislative Affairs. Cook was previously the Senior Manager for General Affairs at Toyota North America, where he has worked for nearly a decade, with significant experience with advanced technology, alternative fuel, and safety technology policy. Prior to his work in the automotive sector, Cook was an aide in the Ohio Senate.
“Sarah and George both know how to bring people together to get things done,” said Flood. “Sarah’s extensive background in advocacy and state government give her the tools necessary to build coalitions needed to accomplish the governor’s goals. George brings to our team a proven track-record of delivering legislative results in a bipartisan fashion, and his skills will help us advance policies that support Michigan’s working families.”
Poppy Hernandez is currently the West Michigan Outreach Director for the governor’s community affairs team. She was previously Director of Special Projects and Board Liaison for Muskegon Public Schools, and a Health Educator with Muskegon County Public Health. As the executive office’s first-ever Equity and Inclusion Officer, Hernandez will report to Chief Operating Officer Tricia Foster. Hernandez will work to develop diversity and inclusion strategies within the executive office, and support collaboration across state government to promote a more equitable state workforce.
“Poppy brings so much energy, passion, and creativity to everything she does, and I’m thrilled to have her serving in this new role,” said Foster. “Governor Whitmer has already built the most diverse and inclusive cabinet in our state’s history and has achieved real progress to build a more inclusive state, but there’s so much more good work to do. The governor is committed to advancing real change, and she firmly believes that when state government reflects the rich diversity of our state, we get better outcomes for everyone.”