Meet the Commissioners

The 23-member Building the 21st Century Economy commission serves as an advisory body within the Executive Office of the Governor. Members are charged with identifying priorities over the next 20 years along with short-term and long-term action items to achieve the vision of Michigan’s economic future. The commission will issue a final report to the Governor by June 30, 2017 for his consideration.

“Our state has made great strides over the past six years, but we must focus on the future of our economy to continue moving forward in the 21st Century. This commission will serve as the next step in our comeback by establishing a framework to grow new and existing industries within Michigan,” Snyder said.

Governor Snyder’s Appointees:

Sandy Baruah of Grosse Pointe Park is the president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber. He previously served in various roles of federal government, including working in the administrations of former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Baruah holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from the University of Oregon and a master’s of business administration from Willamette University. He will serve as chair of the commission.

JoAnn Crary of Frankenmuth is the president of Saginaw Future, Inc. (SFI), a private nonprofit alliance which works to generate new investment and job growth in Saginaw County. Crary holds a bachelor’s degree in business education from Ferris State University and a master’s degree in business from Central Michigan University.

Kathi Dobies of Beverly Hills is an engineering manager for Ford Motor Company. Dobies holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and computer science engineering from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering from Lawrence Technological University and a master’s degree in business administration and management from the University of Michigan.

Jim Holcomb of Haslett is the senior vice president and general counsel for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. He previously served as the director of policy and majority legal counsel for the Michigan House of Representatives, as well as chief of staff for a former member of the House. Holcomb holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University, a master’s of business administration from the University of Michigan, and a juris doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Joe Lauer of Birmingham is the founder and chief executive officer of the finance organizer Greenback, Inc. He founded Simplewire which was one of the world’s first providers of SMS text messaging. Lauer holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Michigan.

Jason McCormack of Portland is a project manager and contractor for National Heritage Academies. McCormack holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and finance from the University of Michigan.

Timothy Nelson of Traverse City is the president of Northwestern Michigan College. He serves on the Northern Michigan Knowledge Economy Strategies Project and is a member of the Continuous Quality Improvement Network, and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship. Nelson holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Michigan Technological University.

Sandra Pierce of Northville is senior executive vice president, private client group and regional banking director as well as chair of Michigan for Huntington National Bank. Pierce holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in business from Wayne State University.

Thomas Pleger of Sault St. Marie is the president of Lake Superior State University and was previously the campus executive officer at the University of Wisconsin – Baraboo/Sauk County. Pleger holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in anthropology and archeology and a Ph.D. in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Wisconsin.

Nedda Shayota of Bloomfield Hills is the vice president of Sigma Associates, Inc. She is a member of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute Board of Directors and serves as a board member for the Friends of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Shayota holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and a juris doctorate of law, both from Wayne State University.

Jessica Ann Tyson of Kentwood is the president and owner of JA PR Group, LLC. In 2016, she was issued the Community Leadership Award by the Michigan Republican Party and the Seeds of Growth Leadership Award by Grand Rapids Opportunity for Women. Tyson attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Grand Rapids Community College.

Legislative Appointees:

  • Kathleen Wilbur, appointed by the Speaker of the House
  • Matthew Cullen, appointed by the Senate Minority Leader
  • Matt Sweeney, appointed by the Senate Majority Leader
  • Lou Glazer, appointed by the House Minority Leader

Commission Members

Appointed by the Governor:

Sandy Baruah, Detroit Regional Chamber (Chair)

JoAnn Crary, Saginaw Future, Inc.

Kathleen Dobies, Ford Motor Company

Jim Holcomb, Michigan Chamber of Commerce

Joe Lauer, Greenback, Inc.

Jason McCormack, National Heritage Academies

Timothy Nelson, Northwestern Michigan College

Sandy Pierce, Michigan for Huntington National Bank

Dr. Thomas Pleger, Lake Superior State University

Nedda Shayota, Sigma Associates, Inc.

Jessica Ann Tyson, JA PR Group, LLC.

Legislative Appointees

Matthew Cullen, Rock Ventures – Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich

Bob DeVries, Michigan Senate – Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof

Kathy Wilbur, Central Michigan University – Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter

Lou Glazer, Michigan Future, Inc. – House Minority Leader Tim Greimel

Department Directors

Jamie Clover Adams, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Steve Arwood, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Patrick McPharlin, Department of Insurance and Financial Services

James Robert Redford, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

Kirk Steudle, Michigan Department of Transportation