• Jim Edmonson
    President / CEO
    Office: 231-722-3751

    Jim is a business consultant with 40 years of experience in economic and community development and was involved in projects valued over $2 billion and 6,000 new jobs.

    As a business consultant, Jim has managed loan portfolios in excess of $25 million in value. He has written hundreds of business plans; is a former business counselor for the South Louisiana Economic Council Technical Assistance Network Program (Thibodaux, LA) and, Grand Valley State University (Grand Rapids, MI) where he helped commercialize 22 products. He is a SCORE Certified business mentor. In addition, Jim has operated 4 business incubators.

    Jim is also an entrepreneur having founded a transportation company, a retail store, a manufacturing company, and his consulting firm.

    Jim has a BS from Northern Michigan University; and a MA from Western Illinois University. Jim has served as President and CEO of 6 private non-profits development organizations, served on dozens of community planning and zoning boards, and was a local elected official while living in Sackets Harbor, NY.

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  • Morgan Carroll
    Director of Business Development
    Office: 231-722-3751

    Morgan joined Muskegon Area First in June 2018 as the Director of Business Development. In her role she assists businesses to expand and relocate to Muskegon County, serves as staff liaison for the Muskegon Heights Business Association and the Business Resource Team, and is closely connected to the manufacturing community. 

    Morgan is a Muskegon County native. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics at Grand Valley State University. Morgan currently serves on the board of directors of the Muskegon, Ottawa, and Kent County Foreign Trade Zone, is a Loaned Executive for United Way, and serves on the City of Norton Shores Planning Commission.

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  • Cathy Brubaker-Clarke
    Community Development Specialist
    Office: 231-724-3172

    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!)

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  • Contessa Hood
    Economic Development Coordinator
    Office: 231-730-9139

    Contessa is a Muskegon County native. She graduated from Reeths-Puffer High School where she participated in sports and band. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Community Development, with a concentration in Health Science at Central Michigan University. Her passion for community and economic growth, has led her to join Greater Muskegon Economic Development in January 2021. She is determined to provide resources and knowledge to communities to help create change.

    During her free time, Contessa is a freelance artist who loves to paint portraits and abstracts.

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  • Marie Chabotte
    Finance Director
    Office: 231-722-3751

    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.” 

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  • Pamela Poort
    Director
    Office: 231-722-7700

    Pamela Poort has been the Director of Muskegon Area First’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) since 1989, counseling business owners in marketing their products and services to federal, state, local and international markets.  Ms. Poort has extensive experience in government contracting procedures and policies, government regulations, bid preparation, and pre- and post-award administration.

    Pamela attended Grand Valley State University, from which she received a B.B.A. majoring in Marketing with a Minor in Management.  She completed the International Marketing Program from the Thunderbird Management Center, American Graduate School of International Management, and has received her Associates and Master’s Certificate from the George Washington School of Business.  Her studies related to government contracting are ongoing through the Defense Acquisition University and Federal Publications.

    Pamela is a board member of the PTACs of Michigan, Inc., and is Chair of the By-Laws and Internal Policies Committees and also on the Finance Committee.  Poort is also a member of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC), and has obtained the highest level of certification within APTAC, Certified Procurement Professional (CPP).  She is active with several Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Organizations.

    The PTAC provides government contracting assistance to all business types in a 13-county service area that includes: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, and Ottawa.

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  • Kelsey Rhoda
    PTAC Procurement Counselor
    Office: 231-724-3174

    Kelsey Rhoda has been a PTAC 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 a PTAC Counselor, 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 PTACs nationwide, and the PTACs of MI, Inc., a Michigan member-driven organization for professional development. She is also a member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).

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  • Nichole Smith
    PTAC Procurement Counselor
    Office: 231-724-3187

    Nichole Smith joined Muskegon Area First’s PTAC as a PTAC Procurement Counselor in July 2021. Nichole’s experience as a skilled business professional coupled with her enthusiasm for process based environments has sparked her interest in government contracting. Nichole enjoys working in fast-paced, technical atmospheres that allow her to utilize her background to provide critical and creative solutions for the business community.

    Nichole has received education from Baker College of Muskegon with a focus in Business Administration and is taking courses to continue her education in the realm of government contracting.

    Nichole is a member of APTAC, a national organization of members of PTACs nationwide, and the PTACs of MI, Inc., a Michigan member-driven organization for professional development. She is also a member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).”

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  • Eleanor Wilson
    PTAC Procurement Counselor
    Office: 231-724-3171

    Eleanor Wilson joined Muskegon Area First’s PTAC as a PTAC Procurement 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 PTAC 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 of members of PTACs nationwide, and the PTACs of MI, Inc., a Michigan member-driven organization for professional development. She is also a member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).

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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 Houttemann, Vice Chair
Consumers Energy
Jillian Meloche, Secretary
Nowak Machined Products
Katie Mason, Treasurer
H&S Companies
Kim Arter

Laketon Township

Gary Allore
Mercy Health
Jim Edmonson
Greater Muskegon Economic Development
Mark Eisenbarth
County of Muskegon
Dave Hazekamp
Hazekamp’s Premier Foods
Amy Heisser
Howmet
Brad Hilleary
Webb Chemical Service Corp.
Cindy Larsen
Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce
Mark Meyers
City of Norton Shores
Stephen Olsen
Northern Machine Tool
Randy Lindquist
Muskegon Area Intermediate School District
Jonathan Wilson
DTE Energy
Mary Boyd
Avasure

 

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