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Governor Whitmer Announces Selections for Workgroups to the Growing Michigan Together Council


August 7, 2023



Governor Whitmer Announces Selections for Workgroups to the Growing Michigan Together Council


LANSING, Mich. — Today, the Growing Michigan Together Council, through its Chairs Ambassador John Rakolta, Jr. and WSU Governor Shirley Stancato, announced selections for the workgroups of the Growing Michigan Together Council. The Council will utilize four workgroups, each with a specific focus area: 1) Infrastructure, 2) Jobs, Talent, and Economy, 3) PreK-12 Education, 4) Higher Education. Members of the workgroups were chosen based on a variety of criteria, including past and present professional experiences, volunteerism, and philanthropic involvement. 


“The diverse workgroup members of the Growing Michigan Together Council will be instrumental in our effort to grow our economy and population while protecting our natural resources,” said Governor Whitmer. “These members represent a range of professions, communities, and perspectives—all of which are essential to developing a comprehensive strategy for growth. I look forward to hearing from the council and its workgroups later this year. Let’s get to work!”


The workgroup members were selected among hundreds of extremely qualified candidates to broadly represent diversity among Michiganders and aims to encourage a bipartisan voice to make important recommendations for the future of the state. 


In addition to the workgroups, this fall, the Growing Michigan Together team will launch an ambitious public engagement plan with events across the state. The tour will include regional forums designed to discuss local challenges and growth opportunities in communities across the state. Additionally, many events will focus on collecting additional input from young people—at work, on campus, and online. Events in community spaces, workplaces, and on digital platforms like Instagram and Twitch will seek to include a broad range of perspectives. The tour will also meet college students where they are—on campus—convening both traditional students and adult learners with stops at universities, colleges, and community colleges.  Engagements include move-ins, on-campus listening events, homecomings, high schools, and other youth-focused events across the state.


Infrastructure & Place

Rachel Gray, Executive Director, Hello West Michigan

Ron Brenke, Executive Director, American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan

Herasanna Richards, Legislative Associate for State & Federal Affairs, Michigan Municipal League

Melvin Henley, Policy Manager, Community Economic Development Association of Michigan

Emily Thompson, Director of Economic and Community Development, Techtown Detroit/WSU

Candice Miller, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner

S. Evan Weiner, President & CEO, Edw. C. Levy Co.

John Proos, CEO, JP4 Government Solutions

Michael Alaimo, Director of Environmental & Energy Affairs, Michigan Chamber of Commerce

Larry Filson, Assistant Vice President for Design & Sustainability, Walbridge

Lottie Ferguson, Vice President of Development & Donor Services, Community Foundation of Greater Flint

Ron Hall, President & CEO, Bridgewater Interiors, LLC

James Hammill, Retired Wildlife Biologist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources 

Kerry Duggan, CEO, SustainabiliD

Rian English, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, Olympia Development of Michigan

Aidan Sova, Product Solutions Consultant, Google



Imani Harris, Communications Lead, 482 Forward

Kevin Polston, Superintendent, Kentwood Public Schools

Ja'Nel Jamerson, Vice President of Policy and P20 Partnerships and Executive Director ofthe Flint Center for Educational Excellence, Community Foundation of Greater Flint

Donna Lasinski, Vice President, Michigan Future, Inc.

Angelique Power, CEO, The Skillman Foundation 

Dr. Tina Kerr, Executive Director, Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators

Patrick Anderson, Principal & CEO, Anderson Economic Group, LLC

Nancy Danhof, Former Executive Director, Todd Martin Development Fund

Scott Koenigsknecht, Superintendent, Clinton County Regional Educational Service Agency

Andy Johnston, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Strategic Engagement, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

Terrence Martin, Sr., President, American Federation of Teachers

Armen Hratchian, Executive Director, Teach for America

Amber Arellano, Executive Director, The Education Trust-Midwest

Beth Correa, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Flagstar Bank

Alice Thompson, CEO, BFDI Educational Services

Stephen Kircher, President & CEO, Boyne Resorts


Jobs, Talent & Economy

Monique Stanton, President & CEO, Michigan League for Public Policy

Jeannette Bradshaw, Recording Secretary, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 58

Guillermo Cisneros, President & CEO, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Alaina Jackson, Managing Director, Global Detroit

Ahmad Nassar, CEO & Creative Director, Detroit 75 Kitchen

Ken Horn, Executive Vice President of Strategic Development, Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance

Randy Thelen, President & CEO, The Right Place, Inc. 

Chad Bassett, COO, BAMF Health

Stacie Bytwork, President & CEO, Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce

John VanFossen, Vice President of Government Affairs, Meijer

Ahmad Ezzeddine, Vice President of Academic Student Affairs and Global Engagement, Wayne State University 

Kevin Prokop, Managing Partner, Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC

Eva Garza Dewaelsche, President & CEO, SER Metro-Detroit

James Avery, Director of Talent Development, Flint & Genesee Group

Adam Finkel, Partner, Orfin Ventures

Abigail Baudry, Michigan’s Creative Coast Project Manager and Communications & Strategic Projects Coordinator, Traverse Connect


Higher Ed

Bryan Barnhill II, Board of Governors, Wayne State University

Kirsten Herold, President, U of M Lecturers Employee Organization and Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers 

Khary Turner, Executive Director, The Coleman A. Young Foundation

Doug Ross, Partner, Diploma Equity Project

Dr. Edward Montgomery, President, Western Michigan University

Carla Bailo, President & CEO, ECOS Consulting, LLC and Vice Chairman, Kettering University

David Nyberg, Executive Director of Business Engagement and Economic Development, Northern Michigan University  

Dr. Jim Sawyer, President, Macomb Community College

Dr. Richard Koubek, President, Michigan Technological University

David Egner, President & CEO, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

John Walsh, President & CEO, Michigan Manufacturers Association

Ryan Fewins-Bliss, Executive Director,Michigan College Access Network

Kevin Stotts, President, TalentFirst

Fatima Salman, President, National Association of Social Workers

Emily Hoyumpa, President, Associated Students of Michigan State University 

Alex Zhang, Partner, Zhang Financial


Workgroups will begin work immediately with the goal of submitting their reports to the Growing Michigan Together Council by mid-October.