LEAP Preferred Vendors
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Robert L. Trezise, Jr.
President & CEO
Prior to joining Lansing Economic Area Partnership as President & CEO, Bob Trezise was President and CEO of the Lansing Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), as well as manager of both the Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) and the Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (LBRA) for six years. Bob completely re-organized the LEDC into a dynamic organization, resulting in 50 historic achievements for the city in economic development and approximately 5,000 private sector jobs. He led the effort to rehabilitate scores of abandoned buildings including the long vacant Power Station plant in downtown on the riverfront into the new national corporate headquarters for Accident Fund, all totaling over $600 million in private investment. During this time, Bob also became the interim manager for the Principle Shopping District and re-organized that agency into a Main Street organization. Bob also oversaw the development of Mayor Bernero’s nationally recognized Linking Lansing and "U" program, linking Michigan State University and the knowledge class with the city as well as creating other innovative programming.
Bob was hired in 2001 Michigan Economic Development Corporation to create the state’s first downtown/community development department called the Community Assistance Team (CATeam). This team created strategic economic development plans for communities and also packaged urban tools and incentives, especially the brownfield program, for specific city projects. During his tenure at the state, Bob also created and operated the Michigan Main Street program and the BluePrints for Michigan’s Downtowns.
Prior to that, Bob spent two years as the Vice President for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, running their privately funded economic development and marketing program called Capital Choice. This program represented the Ingham, Eaton and Clinton county region. During this tenure, Bob played a leadership role with the Retain GM Quick Response Team effort and created the Capital Area Response Team (CARTeam), designed to accommodate GM and future suppliers locating to the region.
Bob started his career with Delta Township, a major township to the immediate west of Lansing, starting and operating their economic development program, landing many industrial plants. During that time Bob was recognized by the Lansing Chamber as the "Small Business Advocate of the Year" and was President of the Regional Economic Development Team (REDTeam).
Bob is proud to say that he grew up in the city, graduating from the Lansing Public Schools before receiving his Bachelors degree from James Madison College (Michigan State University) and his graduate degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University. Bob has volunteered for many committees including the WKAR public radio and TV Board of Advisors, the James Madison College Board of Visitors and the Greater Lansing Arts Council. Bob also served a year on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Lansing State Journal. In 2000, Bob was recognized by the Lansing State Journal as one of the "100 People to Watch in the 21st Century".
To contact Bob:
517.702. 3387 ext. 202
Tedi R. Parsons, CCC, CEC, CPC
Executive Assistant to the President & CEO
Tedi R. Parsons comes to LEAP bringing over 15-years of professional experiences with a strong background in human resources, operations and top level executive support, including holding positions as Vice-President of Operations & Human Resources, Sr. Executive Assistant, Facilities/Operations Manager, and Executive Administrator. He received his certification in Purchasing & Procurement after attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison, School of Business. Additionally, he holds designations as a Certified Career Coach (CCC), Certified Executive Coach (CEC) and Certified Professional Coach (CPC), including certifications in facilities management, ergonomics and human resources.
Currently, Tedi serves on the Education Committee and Race for the Cure team for the Susan G Komen – West Michigan Affiliate. He also provides his time and service at the Women’s Resource Center (Grand Rapids, MI), creating and providing specialized career service programs for their clients. Additionally, he provides assistance and direction for several community projects and nonprofits throughout the region.
To contact Tedi:
517.702.3387 ext. 204
Ray De Winkle, CEcD, EDFP
SVP, Global Business Development
Ray has served as President and CEO for GreaterFindlayInc. in Findlay, Ohio, with oversight of the Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau and Economic Development Council. Prior to that, De Winkle spent 19 years with The Right Place, Inc., in Grand Rapids as Vice President of Business Development, Director of the Small Business Development Center and Economic Development Consultant. Ray has extensive experience in all aspects of economic development as well as strategic and business planning in addition to working as a Business Analyst for Foremost Insurance Company.
Ray holds a B.B.A in Finance (Magna Cum Laude) from Grand Valley State University and is a Certified Economic Developer and Business Counselor.
To contact Ray:
517.702.3387 ext. 205
Director of Economic Development
With over 20 years of experience in economic development at both the regional and local level Karl adds a wide variety of skills and practical knowledge to the LEAP team. He is an expert in Brownfield Redevelopment, Intergovernmental Development, Development Finance and Business Expansion, Retention and Attraction. He has been directly involved in hundreds of economic projects from small micro-enterprise start-ups to major redevelopment projects including the GM Grand River and Lansing Delta assembly plants and the Accident Fund’s new world headquarters.
Mr. Dorshimer was born in Lansing and attended Lansing Public Schools. He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Resource Development with an emphasis in Economic Development. After MSU he was a General Contractor working in the construction business in Alaska. During the long winters he earned a Master’s of Science in Economic Development and graduated from the University of Alaska. His Master’s thesis was an evaluation of using tax incentives to encourage development.
He returned to Lansing and started his career in economic development at the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. While at Tri-County he was in charge of the Regional Economic Development program including developing an Overall Economic Development Plan for the Lansing region. Mr. Dorshimer left Tri-County Planning to go to work for the Capital Area Michigan Works! Agency. While at Michigan Works! he restructured their contractor evaluation system to improve the delivery of workforce training and education services to the region’s employers and workers.
Karl’s then moved on to the Lansing Economic Development Corporation (LEDC). While at the LEDC he advanced from Project Coordinator to Vice President and then President and CEO. He also started their Business Retention and Brownfield Redevelopment Programs. The Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (LBRA) was one of the first in the state and has been a huge success with over 50 projects totaling one billion dollars in private investment and created thousands of jobs. The success of the LBRA has been recognized nationally by the International Economic Development Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Mr. Dorshimer has earned many honors and professional certifications including: Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), Economic Development Finance Professional, American Institute of Certified Planners, Graduate of the Economic Development Institute, Outstanding Academic Achievement from MSU and the Most Outstanding Thesis Award from the International Economic Development Council. He is a past president of the Lansing Regional Economic Development Team and is a 20 year member of the Michigan Economic Developers Association. He has also published articles in the Economic Development Journal the premier publication of the Economic Development profession.
To contact Karl:
517.702.3387 ext. 210
Steven L. Willobee, LEED AP
Director of Manufacturing and Expansion
Steve is the Director of Manufacturing and Expansion for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). Steve has over 13 years of experience in assisting governmental and private clients secure financial incentives and address federal, state and local requirements associated with redevelopment projects, including seven years with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). He has managed various brownfield and other community redevelopment projects for municipal, industrial, and developer clients throughout Michigan. Steve has assisted clients in obtaining brownfield tax increment financing (TIF) and business tax credits, historic tax credits, low income housing tax credits, industrial tax credits, property tax abatements, grants, and other federal, state, and local resources.
Prior to joining LEAP, Steve was the Manager of Community Development and Funding for Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. (SME). Steve had a strong business and client development role for SME.
To contact Steve:
517.702.3387 ext. 207
Talent & Communications Director
Sara Graham serves as the Talent & Communications Director within the New Economy Divison of LEAP. In this role, Sara is responsible for working closely with the state and our regional partners to assist our region in becoming a welcoming community for the talented workforce we currently have and are striving to attract. In addition to this, Ms. Graham serves as the communications person for LEAP, working to tell our region’s story first, to ourselves, then beyond, to the state, nation and globe. Prior to this position, Sara served as the MultiMedia Marketing Specialist for LEAP working to develop a brand for LEAP through the web, social media and print materials.
Before joining Leap in 2010, Sara worked as a Social Media Manager for Gammet Interactive, where she gained extensive knowledge of digital marketing and social media since her graduation in 2008. She received her BA from The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. Sara is currently pursuing a degree in Graphic Design from Lansing Community College.
To contact Sara:
517.702.3387 ext. 209
Marchelle Smith is multi-talented bringing almost 12 years of downtown revitalization expertise and over 22 years of high-level business management experience. Marchelle keeps everything running seamlessly at the Lansing Economic Development Corporation, whether it is managing the organization’s complicated financial reporting and operations or pioneering and spearheading a Downtown Design Committee targeted towards revitalization efforts.
Marchelle has been responsible for implementing and administering several programs including Revolving Business Loan Programs, Arts and Culture Sense of Place Grant programming, Downtown Façade Improvement Grant program, a Business Sign Grant Pilot program and an Arts & Culture Matching Loan Fund program to name a few. She has led the way in the utilization of the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone program for the construction and rehabilitation of several housing developments throughout the city. Marchelle excels at every project at hand and takes the necessary steps to launch projects successfully. She has been active on several committees and is constantly involved in volunteer work. Outside of the office, Marchelle loves watching sunsets, enjoys visiting harbor towns, golfing and spending time with her husband, Michael.
To contact Marchelle:
517.702.3387 ext. 201
Co-Director, New Economy Division
Jeff Smith serves as Co-Director of the New Economy Division for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). In this role, Jeff establishes and extends programming for Startups, Placemaking, and Talent in the Lansing Region. Prior to joining LEAP, Jeff Smith spent the last 4 years as Project Manager for New Economy Initiatives for the City of East Lansing, as well as staff of the Lansing Regional Smartzone. In these roles, Jeff helped develop the operations and management programs for the Technology Innovation Center and the Hatch Student Business Incubator.
Prior to working with the City of East Lansing, Jeff spent 4 years as a Senior Analyst with Anderson Economic Group, conducting real estate market studies and feasibility studies for developers and communities across the state and nation. Jeff is a proud graduate of Michigan State University, earning both a Bachelors in Telecommunications and a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning.
To contact Jeff:
517.702.3387 ext. 203
Co-Director, New Economy Division
Ken Szymusiak serves as Co-Director of the New Economy Division at LEAP. In this capacity Ken oversees the use of economic development programs and tools to facilitate job creation and growth within the region’s entrepreneurial community. Prior to joining LEAP Ken served as Director of Business Investment and Innovation at the City of Lansing Economic Development Corporation where his work in real estate investment and business expansion programs resulted in millions of dollars of private investment in the city. Ken was also involved in a number of different economic development initiatives on a wide variety of topics including management of the city’s EB-5 Regional Center international investment program, the development of a small business loan fund, and the creation of the Next Michigan Development Corporation (“Aerotropolis”) at the Capital Region International Airport.
Ken holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwood University, and is recognized as a Certified Economic Development Professional (CEcD) with the International Economic Development Council.
Ken is also involved with numerous community boards and organizations including serving as Secretary of the Board at the Lansing Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITEC), Chair of the Business Development Committee at Downtown Lansing, Inc., and a Member of the Economic Development & Land Use Committee at the Michigan Municipal League.
To contact Ken:
517.702.3387 ext. 208
Business Development Manager
In collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, Inc. (Leap, Inc.) houses Kathleen White as the Business Development Manager covering Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties. Kathleen’s primary role is to assist companies with business retention, attraction, growth, and diversification, to foster job creation, increase private investment and access to contract opportunities. Leap, Inc. is dedicated to promoting economic development in the tri-county region and together they are committed to serving area businesses in all aspects of business development.
Kathleen’s experience includes more than fifteen years in economic development across all industries. Most recently, she focused on serving the state’s advanced energy storage companies and managed a portfolio of key battery-related companies, working to build out the industry’s supply chain and grow the industry statewide.
Ms. White received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.