PHIL ROOS, BOARD PRESIDENT
Phil is an expert on organizational strategy, innovation, branding, and entrepreneurship, a successful entrepreneur, and a consultant to a wide range of for-profit and non-profit organizations. Currently, he is CEO of Great Lakes GrowthWorks (GLGW), an innovation and growth strategy consulting firm that helps both large global organizations and emerging companies (particularly those in the health, wellness, sustainability, and “craft” consumer products arena here in the Great Lakes region) to grow, prosper, and make a positive difference. Phil was previously CEO of Among Friends Baking Mixes, a natural/healthy baking mix company. Prior to that, he was Managing Director of GfK Strategic Innovation, the practice area formed by the acquisition of Arbor Strategy Group (ASG) by GfK Group, a leading global marketing research and consulting firm Phil founded ASG in 1998. Phil held previous positions as Chief Marketing Officer for Frank’s Nursery & Crafts, Senior VP Marketing for Little Caesars Pizza, President of Delicious/Frookie snack company, and Managing Director of Marketing Corporation of America’s consumer industry consulting practice. Phil started his career in brand management with the Quaker Oats Company.
In additional to his role with Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Phil currently serves in a board or leadership capacity with a variety of non-profit organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation, Michigan Wolfpack, the Michigan Economic Center, and the University of Michigan”s Zell-Lurie Commercialization Fund.
Phil earned a BBA from the University of Michigan and a MBA from Harvard. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Janis Bobrin, Vice President
Before stepping down in 2012, Janis served 24 years as the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner. She was re-elected to the position five times and has been applauded for advancing sustainable storm water practices and increasing public education efforts around water stewardship in the County. As an officer with the Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners, she worked to ensure that water quality protection and environmental resource management became integral parts of Drain Commissioners’ jobs in Michigan. Before becoming Water Resources Commissioner, Janis worked as an Environmental Planner and Manager of Water Quality Programs for SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments). In addition to serving on the MLCV Board, Janis is currently serving as one of Ann Arbor’s representatives to the Huron River Watershed Council Board and Executive Committee. She is also a citizen member of Washtenaw County Parks Commission, and serves on other non-environmental nonprofit Boards. She holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.
Denise Thal oversees business operations at Planned Parenthood of Michigan. Prior to that she served as vice-president and CFO at The Henry Ford. Many years before that she worked on the Bubble Project, an early cap and trade effort at the federal EPA. She has also served on the boards of the Ecology Center and the Leslie Science and Nature Center.
George Davis, Secretary
George is a Manager for Public Affairs and Public Safety at the Detroit Salt Company (DSC), owners and operators of the legendary underground Detroit Salt Mine. He manages government relations for DSC, including federal, state, and local governments. He also spearheads community outreach and sustainable development initiatives for the company. In addition to DSC media relations, he gives direction to company security and safety measures.
Before joining the private sector, George served as an Executive Assistant to Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, where he led initiatives targeting illegal dumping, abandoned cars, and hazardous material spills for the City of Detroit. He also served as a Public Policy Analyst for the Detroit City Council, where he provided analysis on environmental initiatives, including brownfields and other efforts of the Department of Environmental Affairs. He also served as a federal grant monitor with Empowerment Zone Development Corporation of Detroit and the Project/Outreach Coordinator with the Legislative Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan.
He currently serves as the Board President of the Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, Co-Chair of the Detroit Climate Action Committee Business and Industry Work Group, a founding member of the Detroit 2030 Coalition, a member of the Energy and Environment Committee of the Detroit Regional Chamber, Director of the Michigan Mining Association, a Board member of the Oakwood Heights Business Association, and the Detroit Local Emergency Planning Committee. He is also a member of the Geological Society of America and a member of the Michigan Geological Basin Society.
George is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he studied political science as an undergraduate and educational policy as a grad student. He is accredited as a Professional Emergency Manager (PEM) for natural disasters through FEMA and the Michigan State Police. He is a graduate of the Leadership Detroit Class XXII. George is also a volunteer Weather Spotter through the SKYWARN Network of the National Weather Service.
Sarah Anthony began serving as an Ingham County Commissioner in 2013. She is currently the Vice- Chairperson in the Board of Commissioners and as a Member in the Law & Courts and Finance Committees. To date, she is the youngest African American woman serving as a county commissioner in the United States. In addition to her work as County Commissioner, Ms. Anthony works with the Michigan College Access Network. In her role as deputy director for partnership and advocacy, Sarah works to expand college opportunities for low-income students by maintaining existing and cultivates new college access partnerships across the state. Before joining MCAN, she worked as a legislative assistant in the Michigan House of Representatives, specializing in higher education policy. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in political science/legal studies from Central Michigan University and a Master’s of Public Administration degree from Western Michigan University. She is also a fellow of the University of Michigan’s New Leadership Academy. She has received several local and statewide awards, including the Ten of the Next Ten Award from the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Leadership Award from the Michigan Democratic Party. In addition to her formal duties as an elected official, she is an active community volunteer, lending her talents to several social justice, feminist and environmental groups in Michigan. These organizations include, but are not limited to: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Capital Area Transportation Authority, Greater Lansing Food Bank, Capital Area Michigan Works! Administrative Board, Ingham County Democratic Party, and Lansing Branch of the NAACP.
Mark is currently, the President and Managing Partner of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm, PLLC, a leading plaintiff’s trial firm based in Michigan. He serves on the Executive Board of the Michigan Association for Justice. He was elected by both defense and plaintiff attorneys to serve on the State Bar of Michigan Negligence Section Council where he co-edited the Negligence Section newsletter. Mark was recently honored as a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation. He lectures at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Michigan College of Literature Science and the Arts on tort and civil rights law.
Mark received a B.A. (’93) from the University of Michigan and graduated from the J.D/MBA joint-degree program (’96) between the Law School and School of Business Administration at the University of Michigan.
Mark was appointed by Governor Granholm to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, as Chairperson of the Commission, and is currently the longest serving member of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. He also served in the White House during the Clinton Administration as the Director of Press Pool Operations, and worked as an associate in the Real Estate Investment Banking Group with Citigroup Global Markets in New York City.
Mark is very active in the community having served on the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor (Board of Directors), the Isaiah Fund (Trustee), the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County (Chairperson of the Community Relations Committee), the Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County (Advisory Board), and the University of Michigan Hillel (Governing Board and Board of Trustees). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Funds for Justice.
Mark lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his family.
Until recently, Fred was an executive officer and part owner of Wallside Windows, a leading manufacturer and installer of replacement windows for the residential and commercial markets. Fred developed the company’s strategic growth plan; modernized manufacturing processes; overhauled the IT infrastructure; rationalized sales and marketing programs, including creating new brand positioning and graphics; and implemented policies to meet new federal regulations – all designed to improve top and bottom line performance. Fred recently stepped down from his day‑to‑day duties at Wallside to pursue other interests, but continues to provide strategic guidance to the company.
Prior to his role at Wallside, Fred founded, led and subsequently sold Lexicom Publishing Group, a custom publishing business for telecom companies. Before Lexicom, Fred spent nearly a decade as a journalist for select publications and businesses. He studied history as an undergraduate at The University of Michigan and earned his master’s degree in journalism from U-M.
A lifelong resident of Michigan, Fred is interested in efforts to transform and grow Michigan’s economy and views the state’s environment and natural resources as critical elements of those efforts. Fred serves on the advisory board of the Michigan Economic Center.
As president and CEO of Principia, LLC, Keith Cooley is a strategist and management consultant focusing his inventive problem solving skills on linking America’s recovery to global economic competitiveness, the “clean economy” and job creation for a talented but as of yet undiscovered urban workforce. Additionally, he spent two years as president and CEO of NextEnergy Center, a year as director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, five years as CEO of Focus:HOPE and held several other positions in which his accomplishments made a significant impact.
Keith has served as a cabinet member to Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm, advised (then French Presidential candidate) François Hollande on future energy trends and hosted Vice President Biden’s announcement of a $1.3 billion award to Michigan for vehicle electrification. Named a national public opinion leader by the Bush Administration in 2006, he was chosen to visit U.S. troops deployed in the Middle East, touring and observing the day-to-day operations of active military installations.
Cooley’s professional activities and affiliations include service with The University of Michigan Nuclear Engineering Advisory Council; Michigan State University’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams; the Michigan Environmental Council and the Public School Academies of Detroit.
George Heartwell serves in the part-time capacity of Community Sustainability Coordinator at Grand Valley State University following his retirement as Mayor of Grand Rapids. During his 12-year tenure as Mayor the city was recognized by the United Nations as the country’s first Regional Center for Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development, by the US Chamber of Commerce as the nation’s most sustainable mid-sized city, and Heartwell was recognized by the US Conference of Mayors with the first place award for climate protection in the large city category. He has spoken widely throughout the globe on the subject of sustainability and is recognized as a content expert in this field. Heartwell has received Gubernatorial appointments from both Democrat and Republican Governors of Michigan, including his current appointment as State Transportation Commissioner, and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Resilience. He was credentialed by the United Nations to represent US Mayors at COP21, the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015. In retirement Heartwell is also producing maple syrup, raising bees gardening and spending as much time as possible fly fishing.
Rudy Hobbs is principal consultant at RJH Consulting, a firm specializing in governmental affairs and business development.
Rudy began his career as a first-grade teacher in Detroit Public Schools (DPS). His passion for politics was sparked in 1999 when former Governor John Engler took over DPS, removing local control and drastically altering the trajectory of the state’s largest school district. It was at that moment that Rudy realized the impact that government and public policy have on our communities.
That transformative experience compelled Rudy to a career of public service, notably as Treasurer of the Southfield School Board and as Michigan State Representative, representing the City of Southfield and Lathrup Village. During his tenure in the Michigan House of Representatives, Rudy established himself as a committed and passionate public servant. He was elected Minority Floor Leader by his colleagues, making him the second highest ranking Democrat and the highest ranking African American in the House. During this time, he was honored to be named Legislator of the Year by the Michigan Municipal League and Legislative Champion of the Michigan Nonprofit Association. His policy portfolio focused on education, women’s rights, non‐violence, mass transit, quality healthcare, and increasing the minimum wage.
Prior to launching RJH Consulting in 2017, Rudy served as Chief of Staff for Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans.
Rudy has run several Democratic campaigns and served as Congressman Sander Levin’s Michigan Director, as well as Statewide Policy Advisor to Governor Jennifer Granholm and Lieutenant Governor John Cherry on education and economic development initiatives.
He has served on the Board of Directors of several regional education and nonprofit institutions, including Botsford Hospital, Art Institute Authority, Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), Birmingham YMCA, Lathrup Village Community Foundation, Lathrup Village, and the South Oakland County NAACP.
Rudy attended Alabama State University before transferring to Michigan State University, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Teaching and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration.
Rudy and his wife Dedra are proud parents of three lovely daughters: Amber, Alexis, and Amyre.
Jerry is a very successful businessman, with a rich and varied career having created over $1,000,000,000 of shareholder value during his professional career. His experience includes: General Manager of Michigan CAT’s Engine Division from 1983 to 1987; founding Landfill Energy Systems in 1987, for which the EPA awarded this alternate energy company a certificate that declared that methane reduction achieved by its power plants was equivalent to taking 800,000 cars off of the road.
Jerry was also the CEO of Michigan CAT from 1988 to 2011; and Chairman and founder of Oak Adaptive, Inc. that provides software tailored to Caterpillar dealers, as well as an innovative sentencing app that provides information for use within the criminal justice system. Jerry is currently semi-retired and manages Rule of Ones, LLC an investment vehicle.
Jerry’s education is as extensive as his business career, having attended the University of Michigan from 1971 to 1973, and a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor fraternity. He graduated from Tulane University in 1975, 1st in class, summa cum laude with honors in economics, and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor fraternity. Jerry also attended Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1976, and co-authored “Price Elasticity of Demand for Air Travel.” Published in the 1976 fall edition of Transport Economics and Policy. This paper informed Congressional debate when airline fares were deregulated. It is still utilized as instructional material at the University of Chicago Economics Department.
Jerry is affiliated with a number of organizations, he is the Chair of Michigan Colleges Alliance, a group of 15 private independent colleges, Board member of Detroit 90/90 Schools. He was the Chair of the Michigan State Transportation Commission from 2010 until 2015; past Director of Warren Equipment Company, a Texas-based gas compression fabricator and Caterpillar dealer with revenues in excess of $1,000,000,000; Past Vice-Chair of St. Mary Hospital in Livonia; Past Trustee of the Michigan Nature Conservancy; Past President of the Michigan Construction Equipment Dealers Association.
Jerry is married with three children, two grandchildren and two stepchildren. He enjoys outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking, hunting, fishing, golfing, sailing and skiing. Jerry practices “eco-restoration” on several properties in Michigan; and owns and manages for bio-diversity and carbon sequestration over 43,000 acres of forestland in central Tennessee.
Riyaz Kanji is a founding member of Kanji & Katzen and he is the Directing Attorney for the Ann Arbor office, representing Native American Tribes in fields spanning treaty rights, sovereignty protection, taxation and regulation, land claims and land use, reservation boundaries, gaming and economic development, and environmental protection.
Riyaz served as a law clerk to the late Honorable Betty Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice David Souter of the United States Supreme Court. Riyaz then spent two years as a Skadden Fellow at Evergreen Legal Services in Seattle, where he principally worked on the shellfish proceedings in United States v. Washington, and three years as an associate at Williams and Connolly in Washington, D.C., where, in addition to significant tribal representation, he litigated complex matters for clients including President Clinton, ABC News and Georgetown University.
Riyaz graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in Social Studies in 1986, and received his J.D. in 1991 from Yale Law School, where he served on the Law Journal and won the Potter Stewart Prize in the Moot Court competition.
Chris Kolb served as a state representative, as a member of the Ann Arbor City Council and in the environmental management field before becoming president and CEO of the Michigan Environmental Council in 2009. Kolb was one of the Legislature’s most consistent and vigorous defenders of clean water, clean air and public health during his six years in the State House. He was instrumental in important environmental legislation, including joint planning commissions, land bank authorities, lead poisoning prevention for children, regulation of dangerous polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs), establishment of a fund to help clean up leaking underground storage tanks, and numerous land use initiatives.
In 2015 he was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, which investigated that city’s drinking water crisis, found state-appointed emergency managers and the Department of Environmental Quality chiefly responsible and provided recommendations to prevent similar disasters statewide.
Dr. John (Joe) Schwarz
A long time resident of Battle Creek, Joe is a dedicated physician and public servant. With a medical degree from Wayne State University, Joe has practiced otolaryngological medicine (ear, nose, and throat) in his hometown since 1974. Joe also has degrees from U of M and Harvard.
Elected to the State Senate in 1987, Joe served in the Michigan Legislature until 2002. In 2004, Schwarz was elected to represent the seventh district of Michigan in the US Congress. Schwarz is a member of The Republican Majority For Choice, Republicans for Choice and Republicans for Environmental Protection. In January 2007, Schwarz was appointed to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Emergency Financial Advisory Panel.
Joe currently sees patients at Grace Health in Battle Creek and teaches in at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. In 2008, Joe led the successful passage of Proposal 2, which allowed state funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Mark is an architect and urban planner with degrees from the University of Michigan. He has worked advocating sustainable design and green development with several organizations, and with Chinese development issues, design for the elderly, business planning and finance, and development economics.
Bob Sutherland started Cherry Republic 25 years ago with a t-shirt he sold from the trunk of his car. A few years and many thousands of those t-shirts later, Bob branched out into cherry products. It took a huge effort for those first few products– Dried Cherries and Cherry Boomchunka Cookies, but slowly with good hiring and help from all over northern Michigan, the company now has 170 terrific cherry products. As the product line has grown, so has the business. Bob outgrew the trunk of his car many years ago and now has two flagship destinations in Glen Arbor and Traverse City and two satellite stores in Charlevoix and Ann Arbor. In addition to those, Cherry Republics thriving website and catalog business.
Before the start of Cherry Republic, Bob was board president of Michigan Land Use Institute for 5 years and commissioner of Leelanau County for a year.
Bruce is Hooper Hathaway Beuche and Wallace’s senior litigator. Hooper Hathaway’s litigation department, which Bruce has built over the past 30 years, comprises the majority of the firm’s attorneys who each have extensive experience in major litigation throughout the United States. Under Bruce’s leadership, the litigation department emphasizes aggressive strategies to win prompt disposition of difficult disputes and creative use of alternative techniques including, arbitration, mediation and facilitation where appropriate, with the goal of reaching the most economical result by the most expedited available measures.
Bruce has obtained successful trial results in lawsuits spanning contract disputes, employment, securities, trade secrets, environmental protection, personal injury, defamation, unfair competition, antitrust, banking, uniform commercial code, class actions, and complex commercial and business tort lawsuits. As prevailing counsel in numerous summary judgment and appellate decisions and as general counsel to a variety of corporate and non-profit clients, Bruce’s roles as litigator and counselor involve many different industries and public and private entities throughout southeastern Michigan and elsewhere.
Bruce is the author of numerous articles on various legal topics, as well as books on environmental litigation and discovery practice, and is a frequent lecturer at the University of Michigan, Wayne State and other law schools. Bruce is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Elizabeth is an attorney with Welch Law and works exclusively in the area of labor and employment law. Her work includes assisting management with issues related to hiring and firing, wage and hour compliance, union avoidance and negotiations, as well as all aspects of employment law with various government agencies on the local, state and federal levels. She has extensive experience practicing in front of the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, and the state/federal Departments of Labor. Elizabeth is also a trained mediator.
In 1995, Elizabeth received her law degree from Ohio State University, where she served as a top editor for the Law Journal. She graduated from Penn State University with a history/business degree with honors and magna cum laude in 1992.
Elizabeth is very involved in Grand Rapids’ vibrant non-profit community. She is a graduate of the Leadership Grand Rapids program and serves as a Trustee for both the Steelcase Foundation and the East Grand Rapids Public Schools. She is a past board member of Home Repair Services, the Home & Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids, Camp Henry, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the Hugh Michael Beahan Foundation (which served St. Andrew’s school students). She also works with parents on grassroots issues related to public education through Michigan Parents for Schools.
Emma White owns her own public opinion research and communications consulting firm, Emma White Research, LLC, where her clients include conservation organizations, labor unions, and local governments. She previously spent 9 years at Belden Russonello Strategists in Washington DC and her work there was instrumental in helping a coalition of conservation groups secure federal funding for Great Lakes Restoration. Emma has a BA in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College and an MS in Survey Methodology from the University of Michigan; she lives in Ann Arbor with her wife Stephanie and their young son and spends as much time as she can enjoying Lake Michigan and the state’s other treasures.