Marla SchneiderPresident/CEOOffice: 231-722-3751[email protected]SEE MORE
Marla Schneider joined GMED as President/CEO on June 1, 2022. She previously spent a decade working as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Greater Fort Wayne Inc., the lead economic development agency for the Fort Wayne/Allen County Indiana region. Most recently she was the President of Three Rivers Distilling Co. in Fort Wayne, which was named the 2021 Small Business of the Year by Greater Fort Wayne Inc. She has a B.S. in Information Technology with an emphasis in web, media and human performance from Rochester Institute of Technology. She was also named a Fort Wayne Business Weekly Magazine “Forty Under 40” winner in 2014.
As GMED President/CEO, she will oversee the many economic development programs that currently support the community’s business growth. She will also be responsible for continuing to cultivate partnerships with businesses, local elected officials, regional and state economic development partners, and other stakeholders to develop the vision and strategic plan for economic development in Muskegon County.
Cathy Brubaker-ClarkeGrants & Program ManagerOffice: 231-724-3172[email protected]SEE MORE
Cathy graduated from Traverse City High school and went to Albion College for her undergraduate degree. She then went to the University of Michigan and obtained a Masters Degree in Urban Planning, with a concentration in economic development. Her first professional position was as Main Street Project Manager, through the National Main Street Organization in Saline, Michigan. She coordinated economic development, design and promotional activities in the downtown, including implementation of a successful streetscape plan in downtown Saline. After working four years as Project Manager, she took a position in March 1988, as Assistant Planner with the City of Muskegon. Primary responsibilities included establishing the Downtown Development Authority; working on property consolidation of the downtown mall and surrounding property. In 1994, Cathy became the Director of Planning for the City. She directed and implemented the Weed & Seed site in the City of Muskegon, and was responsible for community and economic development projects (including obtaining an EDA grant for the creation of the Seaway Industrial Park and subsequent development), historic district oversight, zoning and master planning. In 1997, Cathy was promoted to Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Muskegon. She directed her division, which included economic development, Community & Neighborhood Services, Recreation and Planning. She worked closely with area businesses on various economic incentives for expansion and new development, both in manufacturing and commercial development; often coordinating with Greater Muskegon Economic Development. Cathy has written and obtained grants and worked on several community-wide projects, with many community partners. She retired from the City in March 2017 and started her own consulting business CBC Community Development Strategies, LLC.
Cathy is Past President of the Muskegon Rotary Club, which has almost 240 members, all leaders in the Muskegon community. She is Vice-Chair of the Pound Buddies Board and volunteers at the Shelter. She is involved in her church, and is on the Downtown Dog Park Committee.
Cathy is married to Doug Clarke, a Third Grade Teacher at Reeths-Puffer Elementary. They have three children and four grandchildren (and two dogs!)
Marie ChabotteFinance DirectorOffice: 231-722-3751[email protected]SEE MORE
Marie joined Muskegon Area First as the Finance Director in 2020. She is in a shared position with the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of which she has been there for over 9 years. Marie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting at Baker College in Muskegon and has 40 years of experience.
In her free time, Marie is a part of the Lake Michigan Clipper Cup Sail Race Committee. She enjoys boating, reading, and is an avid “foodie.”
Kelsey RhodaDirectorOffice: 231-724-3174[email protected]SEE MORE
Kelsey Rhoda has been the West Michigan APEX Accelerator Director since December 2021 and a Procurement Counselor since October 2019. Kelsey’s passion for systems and working with others has lead her to thrive in highly-dynamic, team-based environments. Kelsey thrives under pressure and appreciates being able to utilize her expertise in systems and organizing to conduct a successful team-oriented office environment. Kelsey’s experience and education with customer service, project management, and administration have lead her to the career path of being the APEX Director, providing assistance to the business community interested in government contracting.
Kelsey graduated from Davenport University with an Associates in Business and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Healthcare Administration. Kelsey has started course-work to fulfill the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC’s) highest level of certification, the Certified Procurement Professional (CPP). Kelsey is taking classes from the Defense Acquisition University and Govology.
Kelsey is a member of APTAC, a national organization for members of APEX Accelerators nationwide, and the Michigan Alliance of APEX Accelerators, a Michigan member-driven organization for professional development. She is also a member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).
Eleanor WilsonCounselorOffice: 231-724-3171[email protected]SEE MORE
Eleanor Wilson joined West Michigan APEX Accelerator as a Counselor in February 2020. Eleanor’s experience with technical writing, and business trends drew her to the realm of government contracting. Eleanor enjoys a challenge and excels in a team oriented environment. Eleanor’s passion for creative problem solving and experience in market analyses have guided her to the career path of being a APEX Accelerator Counselor, providing guidance to the business community.
Eleanor graduated from The University of Michigan with a BA in English and proceeded to work in fast paced, productive environments. Eleanor is taking classes from the Defense Acquisition University and Govology. Eleanor has begun course-work to fulfill the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC’s) highest level of certification, the Certified Procurement Professional (CPP).
Eleanor is a member of APTAC, a national organization for members of APEX Accelerators nationwide, and the Michigan Alliance of APEX Accelerators, a Michigan member-driven organization for professional development. She is also a member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).
Britany CooperAPEX ACCELERATOR COUNSELOROffice: 231-724-3179[email protected]SEE MORE
Britany Cooper joined West Michigan APEX Accelerator in July 2023. Britany’s passion for helping others paired with her professional business and customer service experience initiated her interest in government contracting. Britany is solution oriented and enjoys working in a dynamic team environment to help assist the business community.
Britany graduated from Ferris State University with an Associates in Applied Science and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Health Information Management. Britany has started coursework to become a Certified Procurement Professional (CPP) via Govology and the Defense Acquisition University.
Britany is a member of APTAC, a national organization of members of APEX Accelerators nationwide, and the Michigan Alliance of APEX Accelerators a Michigan member-driven organization for professional development. She is also a member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of Greater Muskegon Economic Development is a blend of local governmental leaders, education, major utilities and private industry through a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. This group also provides the financial resources for the organization to operate.
|Tom Zant, Chair
Equity Group of Michigan
|Rich Houtteman, Vice Chair
|Jillian Meloche, Secretary
Nowak Machined Products
|Katie Mason, Treasurer
Greater Muskegon Economic Development
County of Muskegon
Hazekamp’s Premier Foods
Webb Chemical Service Corp.
Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce
City of Roosevelt Park
Northern Machine Tool
Muskegon Area Intermediate School District
Community Foundation of Muskegon County