Paul HillegondsPaul Hillegonds

Governor Representative, Chair

Paul Hillegonds recently retired as the Senior Vice President of Corporate Affair at DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE), a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. He oversees DTE Energy’s governmental relations efforts at the local, state, and federal levels as well as external and internal communications. He also served as Speaker and Co-Speaker of the House during his tenure in the Michigan House of Representatives (1979-1996). His previous associations include the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority, Children’s Leadership Council of Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation, Grand Valley State University Foundation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Future, Inc., New Detroit, Inc., the Center for Michigan, The Kresge Foundation, and the Michigan Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. He earned a law degree from the Thomas Cooley Law School and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan.

Alma Wheeler SmithAlma Wheeler Smith

Washtenaw County Representative

Alma Smith served in the Michigan Legislature for 14 years, 6 in the House and 8 in the Senate. She served on the powerful Appropriations Committee in both chambers. Prior to service in the Legislature, she worked as a Senior Producer at the University of Michigan Television Center and Legislative Coordinator for State Senator Lana Pollack. While working and raising three children, Alma represented her community as an Ann Arbor Cablecasting Commissioner, South Lyon Community Schools Board of Education Trustee and president, and Washtenaw County Commissioner. She currently serves as chair of the University Bank Board of Directors and as a director on the boards of SOS Community Services, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network and the Legislative Retirement System. Alma graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Journalism and did advanced degree work in Political Science and Business Administration.

Elisabeth (Liz) GerberElisabeth (Liz) Gerber

Professor of Public Policy, U of M, Washtenaw County Representative

Elisabeth R. Gerber is the Jack L. Walker Jr. Professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) and Research Associate at the Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her current research focuses on regionalism and intergovernmental cooperation, transportation policy, urban climate adaptation, state and local economic policy, land use and economic development, local fiscal capacity, and local political accountability. She is the author of The Populist Paradox: Interest Group Influence and the Promise of Direct Legislation (1999), co-author of Stealing the Initiative: How State Government Responds to Direct Democracy (2000), and co-editor of Voting at the Political Fault Line: California’s Experiment with the Blanket Primary (2001) and Michigan at the Millennium (2003). She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.

Freman Hendrix

City of Detroit Representative

For three decades, Freman Hendrix has dedicated himself to getting things done for the people and families of Detroit and Southeast Michigan. As president and principal owner of Advanced Security and Investigative Solutions, Hendrix is focused on creating jobs for Detroiters. The company, which in just five years has grown from 12 to more than 100 full and part-time employees, provides uniformed guard services to companies throughout southeast Michigan.

As a partner in the recently formed Brush Park Development LLC (a joint venture with Rock Ventures), Hendrix is focused on developing 8.5 acres in Brush Park renovating old Victorian mansions and building more than 300 market rates homes, which are badly needed in that neighborhood.

Since 2010, Hendrix has also served as Detroit’s voice on the board of directors for Greektown Casino/Hotel where he is committed to insuring Detroiters needs are heard.

From 2006-2009 Hendrix served as Chief Government Relations Officer at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) where he helped build bi-partisan coalitions in Washington D.C. and Lansing that resulted in $3.5 million in research grants from D.C. and $32 million from Lansing. Prior to EMU, Hendrix served as COO at a Detroit-based IT staffing and solutions company that saw a 35 percent increase in sales revenue during his three-year tenure.

As Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, Hendrix played a key role in Detroit’s resurgence, helping lead the City to its first balanced budget in years, and a continuous upgrading of its national bond rating.

A long-time community activist who co-founded the Rosedale-Grandmont Little League Baseball Program, Hendrix is an NAACP life-member and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

Chuck MossChuck Moss

Oakland County Representative

Chuck Moss teaches Political Science at Oakland University as an adjunct Professor. He served as State Representative for the 40th District in the Michigan House, as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Before serving in the legislature, Chuck was an Oakland County Commissioner, Birmingham City Commissioner, and Mayor. He also served as Chairman of the Oakland County Public Transit Authority, on the SEMCOG Executive Board, and the Michigan Association of Counties Board. Prior to politics, Chuck was political columnist for the DETROIT NEWS, and has hosted talk shows for radio and TV.

Donald MorandiniDonald Morandini

Adjunct Faculty, Macomb County Community College, Macomb County Representative

Don Morandini serves as Adjunct Faculty in both the School of Business and the Center for Workforce & Continuing Education at Macomb Community College. In 2014 he helped launch and served as Interim Director for the College’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, a new program designed to assist students start their own businesses. Previously, he helped develop Macomb’s Entrepreneurship Certificate Program.

Don retired as the Deputy Director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development in 2014. During his 41 year tenure with Macomb County, he was involved in the initiation of their Brownfield Redevelopment Program, served as the Regional Director of their Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Program and coordinated the Macomb County Home In Macomb Business Retention Program.

Don has been recognized by the Macomb Foundation with the 2004 Athena Award, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) with the 2007 Excellence Award, Leadership Macomb with the 2012 Leadership Award and Macomb County with the 2014 Beacon of Economic Excellence Award. His volunteer activities include Leadership Macomb, the Macomb Intermediate School District Global Trade Mission and the Parade Company. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and his Masters from Wayne State University.

Timothy J. SoaveTimothy J. Soave

Director of Finance, Older Person’s Commission of Rochester Hills, Rochester, and Oakland Township, Oakland County Representative

Tim is currently the Director of Finance for the Older Person’s Commission of Rochester Hills, Rochester, and Oakland Township (OPC) responsible for financial planning, budgeting, accounting, financial reporting, audit preparation, cash collection, grant management, and municipal relations for an organization which provides services to individuals 50 years or older in eastern and northern Oakland County. Services provided include nutrition, transportation, health and fitness, life-long learning, recreation, travel, counseling and senior support. Annual budget of approximately $4.0 million, 18 full-time staff, and 1,600 volunteers.

Tim retired from Oakland County in April 2014 after serving the County citizens for over 35 years. His last position was as the Manager of the Fiscal Services Division within the Department of Management and Budget, a 90-person division that provides all aspects of financial management for the County ($776 annual budget) with the exception of cash management and investments. Tim is also involved in professional financial organizations, being only one of five reviewers for the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Budget Presentation Awards program, as well as being a Past President and an Honorary Life Member of the Michigan Government Finance Officer’s Association (MGFOA).

Tim is an appointee, of the State Treasurer, to the Michigan Committee on Governmental Accounting and Auditing, an advisory committee to the State Treasurer. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a Masters of Public Administration degree from Oakland University, in addition to being recognized as a Certified Public Financial Officer by the GFOA (one of seven in the state). Tim is also a part-time instructor in Public Budgeting and Finance for Oakland University’s Master of Public Administration program.