Paul 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.

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.

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.

John W. Swatosh

Macomb County Representative

John Swatosh, is a former Deputy Director of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) and Deputy General Manager the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He attended and graduated from Denby High School in Detroit in 1965 and from Michigan State University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.

After graduating from MSU, he served in the US Army as a Counter Intelligence Agent in Military Intelligence from 1971-1973. He served in the Republic of South Viet Nam (1971-1972) and Army Intelligence Command Headquarters (1972-1973) where he worked on Special Projects such as ‘Operation Homecoming’ and “Project Purge”.

He then worked in the private sector for the next 30 years, focusing on Marketing, Strategic Planning, Global Market Development and Project Management in the fields of biotechnology and Medical Devices.

While a resident of New Hampshire, he worked for the McCain 2000 campaign, serving as a County chairman and as a McCain delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention.

John returned to the Detroit area in 2004 and started a consulting business, focusing on Marketing, Planning and Project Management with the objective of helping Michigan start-up companies.

In September of 2006 he left his consulting business to join John Hertel as his Deputy Director of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC). He coordinated the process of developing the Regional Transit Plan that was approved by the political leaders of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties and the City of Detroit in December of 2008. At the end of the RTCC project John Swatosh joined John C. Hertel at the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), serving as the Deputy General Manager. He retired from SMART in December of 2014.

John has served his community on the Harrison Township EDC and the Downtown Development Authority. He also was active in his church, Trinity Lutheran Church of Clinton Township, where serves on the Mission Council and he volunteers in the Trinity Food Pantry.

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.

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 million 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.

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.

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.

June Lee

Wayne County Representative

June S. Lee has dedicated the entirety of his professional life to public service for the residents of the City of Detroit and Wayne County. A graduate of Rochester Adams High School, he received his BA from the University of Michigan. Thereafter he attended Wayne State University Law School while working as a law clerk for the City of Detroit Law Department. Upon achieving his juris doctor degree, he accepted an appointment as Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Municipal Section. June then moved on to the office of Detroit City Council member Sheila M. Cockrel, where he would eventually rise to the position of Chief of Staff.

He later joined Wayne County and served in various leadership roles for the Office of the Wayne County Executive, most recently as Assistant County Executive to Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. In that role, he was responsible for executive oversight of operations in several service departments. He was also charged with implementing the Wayne County Executive’s economic development and job growth initiatives and continues to serve on various boards related to economic development.

June is currently Vice President of Administration for the Wayne County Airport Authority which operates both Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County and Willow Run airports. He is responsible for overseeing the administrative functions of the Authority and focuses on directing organizational effectiveness and continuous process improvement activities.

Robert Luce

Wayne County Representative

Rob Luce is the executive director of the Detroit Region Aerotropolis Development Corporation, a five-community, two-county public-private partnership with the Wayne County Airport Authority, driving corporate expansion and new investment around Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run Airports. He is responsible for the strategic development and day-to-day operations of the organization and reports to the Aerotropolis board of directors.Luce formerly served as the director of MICHauto and Automotive Retention & Growth at the Detroit Regional Chamber where he worked to market the state’s automotive assets, to advocate for the industry’s interests in Lansing, to recruit automotive and next-generation mobility investment into Michigan, and to augment the industry’s talent pipeline.Prior to joining the chamber, Luce was a legislative aide in the Michigan State Senate and served as fundraising director for a State Senate Campaign. He has also worked in government relations and at Quicken Loans. Luce holds degrees from Adrian College and Eastern Michigan University as well as certificates in public budget management and local government management. He currently sits on the boards of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeastern Michigan, Schoolcraft College Foundation, Canton Community Foundation, and Adrian College Alumni Association, and previously served as vice president of the board of directors for Michigan Technical Academy in Detroit.