About Advancing Macomb
Advancing Macomb is a business and community leadership group representing 20 leading employers, three principal business organizations and the largest higher educational institution in Macomb County, an area encompassing approximately 900,000 residents and 18,000 businesses. Our organization is committed to enhancing local communities by leveraging a unified civic leadership voice throughout the Detroit region.
Macomb County is heralded for its natural resources, proud residents known for their strong work ethic, a business friendly environment, excellent schools from Pre-K through Community College, a talented workforce and affordable housing. It is also seen as a region with a strong industrial base and growing cultural diversity. People move to Macomb because of the schools, effective leadership and excellent business environment.
- 18,000 businesses
- Strong manufacturing sector – automotive, defense, robotics, materials production and medical
- Growing college-educated population
- Strong technical education programs
The County is anchored by a robust infrastructure and a surging workforce. These two community characteristics establish Macomb County as a location of choice for businesses engaged in engineering, research and development, and advanced manufacturing. With approximately 34,000 acres of industrial and institutional land, Macomb County has the capacity to service existing and new business.
Melissa Roy - Advancing Macomb Executive Director
Melissa Roy leads Advancing Macomb with a focus on unified economic and community development for Macomb County. She sees greater success for Macomb and the greater Detroit Region by building on, investing in and marketing local economic, community and natural resource assets. With a career centered on public policy and economic development throughout the Detroit area, Ms. Roy’s current work on growing Macomb locally is also met with a charge to provide a greater intra-regional connection with the city of Detroit and surrounding communities. Connecting Macomb’s strong manufacturing, production, agriculture sectors and Macomb’s waterways and community assets into the metropolitan economy, creates a more vibrant Detroit Region
For questions, please contact Melissa Roy at email@example.com
OfficersEach member of Advancing Macomb’s board of directors has a professional or personal connection to Macomb County and a professional or personal leadership role in the broader Detroit Region. Their mission is to provide thoughtful civic leadership for Macomb, attract investment for local assets and provide a deeper connection to the region at large.
David GirodatFifth Third Bank
Barbara RossmannHenry Ford Macomb
Steve KurmasDTE Energy
Maria SilamianosOmega Talent
Paul TrulikApparatus Solutions
Board Members at Large
John Blanchard - GM (General Motors)
John Blanchard is director of local government relations for General Motors. He was recently appointed as lead executive for GM to oversee all projects and initiatives within the City of Detroit and communities throughout Southeast Michigan. This is in addition to his role as a liaison between GM and city and county governments in key GM markets across the United States with a focus on coordinating local public policy and government relations activities that will impact the company. Blanchard currently serves on the boards of several other local organizations including Automation Alley, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the GM Foundation. Prior to his current assignment, Blanchard led the GM Worldwide Real Estate Group and was responsible for the acquisition, disposition and redevelopment of all corporate real estate around the world, including overseeing the redevelopment of the GM Global Headquarters at the Renaissance Center. Blanchard is a lifelong resident of Macomb County.
Tom Brisse - McLaren Macomb
Tom Brisse, a healthcare executive with 27 years of progressive leadership and operations experience, is president and CEO of McLaren Macomb. Prior to joining McLaren Macomb, Brisse served as executive vice president of operations for Beaumont Health System. He received his Bachelor of Arts in sociology and Master of Health Services Administration with a concentration in general management from the University of Michigan. Brisse is currently serving as a Member at Large of MCACHE, as well as a board member for the University of Michigan Club of Greater Detroit. He has also served as a board member of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber and Joint Venture Hospital Laboratories, co-chair of the American Diabetes Association Annual Gala, and past publicity chairman of the Michigan Health Management Systems Society. Brisse joined Advancing Macomb in early 2015 seeing its importance to create a vehicle for discussing, developing and promoting the continued growth and development of Macomb County.
Mashell Carissimi - JMC Electrical Contractor, LLC
Mashell Carissimi is the CEO and Owner of JMC Electrical Contractor, LLC, a 100% certified woman owned union electrical contracting firm providing commercial, industrial, and institutional electrical services. Mashell’s hard work and dedication has helped JMC double sales year-over-year since its inception in June of 2010. JMC’s sales continue to grow and JMC was listed on the 2015 Inc. 500 list of Fastest Growing Companies. Mashell serves on number of boards: Vice President (past treasurer) National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), National Electrical Contractors Association of Southeast Michigan, Project Accelerate and Habitat for Humanity in Oakland County.
A native of Michigan, Mashell received a Bachelor of Administration, majoring in accounting, from Baker College in Flint, Mich., in 1998; and four years later she received dual MBA’s majoring in industrial management and in human resources management, all while working full time. Mashell was the recipient of the 2014 NAWBO Top Ten “Up and Coming” Award, winner of the 2014 NAWBO Greater Detroit Member of the Year, and an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Enterprising Women of the Year Award. She is a winner of the 2015 Enterprising Women of the Year Award and an Athena Award honoree.
Matt Casey - Warner Norcross & Judd
Matt Casey is a partner at Warner Norcross & Judd, one of the largest law firms in Michigan with eight Michigan offices and more than 200 attorneys. While his practice is business based, he has a specialized focus in representing financing institutions in the documentation of commercial loans as well as the workout of troubled loans. Active in the community, he is a board member of the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, the St. John Providence Foundation Board and the Macomb Community College Foundation Board. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the Wayne State University School of Business Administration and has a juris doctorate degree from Wayne State University Law School. Casey is a lifelong Macomb County resident and has practiced law in the county for nearly twenty-five years.
Melanie D. Davis - Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Melanie D. Davis, APR is President & CEO for the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Melanie served as executive director for the Adcraft Club of Detroit, president for Macomb County Chamber and vice president of marketing and communications for the Detroit Regional Chamber. She has spent the last 20+ years in these roles developing a robust track record of increasing revenue growth, acquiring new memberships and executing an integrated approach to serving the needs of the members she served. Melanie lives in Sterling Heights, Michigan with her husband, son and daughter.
Eric W. Dietz - Huntington Bank
Eric W. Dietz is a senior vice president, regional manager for Huntington Bank’s Private Client Group. Under his leadership, a team of experts deliver personal and customized banking and wealth management services to Huntington’s private banking clients. He began his banking career in 1987 after obtaining his bachelor’s degree in finance from Michigan State University. Prior to joining Huntington, he held various leadership roles within commercial banking at Fifth Third Bank and National City Bank. Dietz also serves as chapter president for the Diabetes Research Foundation Southeast Michigan Chapter and as a board member for Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park, MI. He resides in Troy with his wife and their two children.
David Girodat - Fifth Third Bank
David Girodat is president and chief executive officer of Fifth Third Bank for Eastern Michigan. His first job in the industry was in 1988 when he worked as a junior loan officer for First National Bank. Since then, the bank transitioned to Old Kent Bank and then Fifth Third. Over the years, Girodat held positions of increasing responsibility including regional loan officer, middle market banker, chief of real estate and senior commercial banker. He became president in 2007. He also serves on the boards of Walsh College Foundation, Detroit Regional Chamber, New Detroit and Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. Girodat grew up in Warren and attended classes at Macomb Community College. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in finance from Walsh College.
Terry Hamilton - St. John Macomb
Terry Hamilton is the president of St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital. He comes to St. John Providence from Ascension Health’s Indianapolis ministry, where he led the financial operations for St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent, St. Vincent Women’s Hospital and the St. Vincent Stress Center. He holds an MBA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In the community, Hamilton is the president of the Warren Rotary Club, serves on the Finance Council for the Archdiocese of Detroit, serves on the Finance Committee for Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan and serves on the Board of the Madison Heights / Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce. He came to Macomb County in 2007 as senior vice president of operations for the Warren, Michigan-based St. John Providence Health System. Hamilton is a leader in Macomb and across the Detroit region.
Marie Hocker - Ford Motor Company
Marie Hocker is the Local Affairs Manager at Ford Motor Company. A leader throughout the Detroit region and statewide, she works with local elected officials and other stakeholders in Michigan on key issues that require collaboration with government officials. She is responsible for the development and implementation of Ford’s community giving in Michigan plant communities. Previously, Hocker worked as a legislative coordinator in Ford’s Washington, D.C. office. She also served on Capitol Hill where she focused on education, transportation, labor and budgetary policy for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. She is a proud City Year Detroit alumnus (2006 grad) and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wayne State University. Hocker enjoys many recreational activities in Macomb County, including concerts at Freedom Hill with friends and family.
Tom Horton - Waste Management
Tom Horton is public affairs manager of the Michigan, Ohio and Indiana area for Waste Management. He is responsible for the administration and direction of public and legislative affairs in the Area’s three states. He also serves as Waste Management’s government affairs manager for Michigan and Indiana with a specific focus on state legislative affairs. He represents the company’s interests at the state government level and is involved in initiatives to maintain and develop public sector business opportunities involving non-hazardous solid waste collection, recycling and processing solutions. With over 30 years of experience in business related public and legislative affairs, marketing and sales activities, Horton has been involved with the environmental and solid waste services industry during his entire career. Prior to his employment with Waste Management, he directed similar business activities at Detroit based City Management Corporation and served as metro Detroit’s District Sales Manager for Browning Ferris Industries, Inc. Horton holds a B.A. degree in political science from Indiana University.
Gayle Joseph - JACK Entertainment
Gayle Joseph is vice president of communications for JACK Entertainment, a Detroit-based urban gaming company focused on the development and operation of gaming facilities that are designed to maximize connectivity and economic impact in the local regions where they reside. In her role, Joseph oversees internal and external communications for the company, and serves as corporate spokesperson. Joseph joined JACK Entertainment from global PR giant, Edelman, where she served as executive vice president. Previously, Joseph held a variety of agency positions working with some of the world’s most recognized brands, including Microsoft, General Motors, Guardian Industries and Sprint. A lifelong Macomb County resident, Joseph serves on the board of directors of the Public Relations Society of America, Detroit Chapter; is a member of Inforum and the Detroit Economic Club; and is actively involved with the Detroit Regional Chamber. Joseph earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and public relations from Northern Illinois University.
Thom Lipari - Lapari Foods
Thom Lipari is a lifelong Macomb resident and president and CEO of Lipari Foods, a specialty wholesale food distributor. The company was founded in 1963 by Thom’s father, Jim Lipari. In 1971 Thom joined the company as the fourth employee. Throughout the years he worked across every department of Lipari Foods in order to be grounded in all aspects of the company’s operations. He has played a major role in the company’s tremendous growth over the past 15 years, closing multiple strategic acquisitions and leading his team into new business opportunities, such as expansion into the Dairy and Better-For-You categories as well as the Convenience and Gas class of trade. Today, Lipari Foods stocks over 18,000 items every day in its central warehouse in Warren, MI and distributes a total of 20,000+ items throughout the Midwest. The company employs over 1,200 associates.
Steve Kurmas - DTE Energy
Steve Kurmas is president and chief operating officer of DTE Energy. A licensed professional engineer, Kurmas holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering from Wayne State University. In 1996, Kurmas was selected by Gas Industries magazine as outstanding gas industry manager of the year. He was elected to Wayne State University’s College of Engineering Hall of Fame and also received the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Achievement Award in 2001. Kurmas serves on the board of directors of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and YMCA Southeast Michigan. He is also treasurer of the board of directors of the Engineering Society of Detroit and treasurer of the Michigan Economic Development Foundation. He and his wife Teri are lifelong residents and supporters of Macomb County.
Martin Manna - The CHaldean Chamber of Commerce
Martin Manna is the President of The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and the Chaldean Community Foundation. The Chaldean Chamber of Commerce seeks to represent the estimated 15,000 Chaldean owned businesses in Michigan. The Chaldean Community Foundation provides social services to more than 18,000 annually. Martin is also one of the founders and publishers of The Chaldean News, a monthly magazine distributed to over 10,000 Chaldean households. Martin is involved in several civic and community affairs. Currently he is a Director for New Detroit and Advancing Macomb, one of the organizers and Board member of The Bank of Michigan, a Director for the Nineveh Council of America and an Advisor with In Defense of Christians.
John Nitz - O'Reilly Rancillo P.C.
John Nitz is a founding member of O’Reilly Rancilio P.C. and has served as a director and officer of the Law Firm. During his 40 years as a practicing attorney, Nitz has broad experience in many areas of the law. Nitz coordinated the work of several law firms in the drafting of the Charter for the County of Macomb, which was approved by the electorate in November 2009. The firm was general counsel for the Macomb County Charter Commission, and currently is special counsel to the Macomb County Executive, Mark A. Hackel. Active in the community, Nitz has served as a director and officer of many organizations including as a trustee, secretary and president of Warren Consolidated Schools, as a director of the Warren, Center Line, Sterling Heights Chamber of Commerce, president of the Warren Rotary Club, founder and past president of Leadership Macomb, trustee of the Warren Consolidated Schools Foundation, trustee for the Utica School Foundation for Educational Excellence, and director and president of Friends of the Octagon House.
Brian Pilarski - Brown & Brown
Brian is the Sales Leader for Brown & Brown in Sterling Heights. Together with the Michigan President, Brian supports the Michigan workforce development, regional growth and strategic planning. His specialty is one-on-one interactions with clients to help solve business risk needs. Brian’s accomplishments have kept Brown & Brown as the largest insurer in Macomb through strong client development and year-over-year sales records. Brian is a proud graduate of Central Michigan University, where he completed his undergraduate degree and Walsh College, where he completed his Masters of Business Administration. Brian is actively involved in community organizations: Forgotten Harvest, Cornerstone Schools, the American Polish Cultural Society and Walsh College.
George Phifer - Huron-Clinton Metroparks
George Phifer is the Director of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks serving as the Chief Executive Officer responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority. Prior to serving as Director, Phifer served as Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. As Deputy Director, Phifer was responsible for the overall administration and operation of all 13 Metroparks. He first began working for the Metroparks in September of 2008 as the Chief of Police. Prior to the Metroparks, Phifer worked for nearly 20 years at the Pontiac Police Department, beginning as a police cadet and progressing through the ranks to retire from the department as a police captain in 2004.
George Phifer earned his Master of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University, a Bachelor of Business Leadership degree from Baker College and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice from Oakland Community College. He is a graduate of the Eastern Michigan University Police School of Staff and Command. Phifer most recently received certification on Government Performance through the Harvard John F. Kennedy School for Executive Education. Phifer is a member of the National Recreation and Park Association, the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association, the International Association Chiefs of Police and the Michigan Association Chiefs of Police.
Barbara Rossmann - Henry Ford Macomb hospitals
Barbara Rossmann joined the organization in 1999 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2004. Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals is among Macomb County’s leading employers and health providers, with nearly 3,000 employees, 900 medical staff members, an acute care hospital with tertiary level services, an inpatient behavioral health facility and an extensive regional ambulatory network including six health centers. With annual net operating revenue of approximately $400 million, Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals is the second largest operating unit of Henry Ford Health System, recognized as a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient.
Barbara received Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science degrees. In addition to executive leadership roles within the Daughters of Charity Health System and Trinity Health, both leading health systems in the United States, Barbara served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.
Barbara’s commitment to the southeast Michigan region extends beyond her work through Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals. She serves as a board member for the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber, Greater Detroit Area Health Council, Michigan chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Macomb Health Plan; Families Against Narcotics Advisory Board, Leadership Macomb, Advancing Macomb, Medstar, Macomb Community College Foundation, 5/3 Bank Eastern Division Board of Directors, Southeast Michigan Red Cross board, and a member of the Michigan Hospital Association’s Legislative Policy Panel.
Mark Rusch - The Proper Group
Mark Rusch is the CFO of The Proper Group, headquartered in the city of Warren. In 2007, Crain’s awarded Mark the CFO of the year. Mark established an ownership stake in Proper Mold & Engineering in 1992. The company became PME upon Mark’s ownership with partners Geoff O’Brien and Tom Ruczynski in 1996. Mark has help start the numerous entities that make-up the Proper Group today. PME reorganized as Proper Group International Inc. in 1998 and completed a second reorganization as Proper Group International LLC in 2015, by adding private equity to their corporate structure. Mark is involved with numerous organizations, serving in a variety of leadership roles: Financial Executives International (Since December 1994 & past Chapter President); Walsh College Finance Advisory Committee (2010 to present); Trustee - Grosse Pointe Shores Improvement Foundation (April 2007 to present); American Institute of CPA’s and the Michigan Association of CPA’s. He also volunteers with Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish Community, Grosse Pointe Neighborhood Club, CYO softball coach and with the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.
Jim Sawyer - Macomb Community College
Jim Sawyer became the sixth president of Macomb Community College on July 1, 2017. During his fifteen years at Macomb, he has served as the Dean of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Vice Provost for Career Programs, and Provost and Senior Vice President for the Learning Unit. Prior to joining Macomb Community College, Jim held leadership positions in engineering, quality, and operations at companies such as Chrysler, Dana, Ancor and New Haven Foundry. Jim is an American Society for Quality Certified Quality Engineer and he holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Lawrence Technological University, a Master of Science in Administration and Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Central Michigan University. Jim currently serves on the boards of Leadership Macomb, St. John Providence Hospital, Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development, Advancing Macomb, Michigan Design Council and the American Society of Body Engineers Foundation.
Mike Semanco - Hitachi Business Finance
Mike Semanco is president and chief operating officer of Hitachi Business Finance. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial services and banking industry. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from Walsh College in 1991 and a Master of Science degree in finance in 1999. In 2006, Semanco was named the Walsh College Distinguished Alumnus and is a member of the Board of Trustees. He is active within the local business community as a member of the Detroit Economic Club, Troy Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Mayor’s Business Council of Rochester Hills. Semanco was named to Crain's Detroit Business 40 Under 40 Class of 2007 and was named 2008 Michigan Financial Services Champion from the Small Business Administration. Semanco is a lifelong Macomb County resident.
Grace Shore - Macomb County Chamber
Grace Shore is the CEO of the Macomb County Chamber, a 900-member organization that is respected throughout the state. Shore has built a reputation as a progressive and impactful member of the local business community during her more than 36 years with the chamber. Under Shore’s leadership, the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce has been twice recognized with the Outstanding Chamber of the Year Award from the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals. Shore has lived and worked in Macomb County for most of her life, and she is involved in numerous professional, civic and business organizations in Macomb and throughout the region.
Maria Silamianos - Omega Talent
Maria Silamianos is president of Omega Talent, a professional recruiting firm providing permanent and temporary staffing solutions to companies across all industries. Omega Talent is located in Macomb County. Silamianos is one of the founding members of Omega Solutions, a professional employer organization. Maria and her partner grew Omega to be one of the largest PEO in the State of Michigan. In 2013, they merged their PEO with another to focus on contract and permanent staffing, Omega Talent. Silamianos is currently on the executive board for Advancing Macomb, co-chairs the foundation for MCC, is a board member for the Macomb Chamber and sits on the philanthropy board for Henry Ford Macomb. Silamianos is a longtime resident of Macomb County who enjoys many recreational activities within the county, including boating, biking and rollerblading.
Paul Trulik - Apparatus Solutions
Paul Trulik is president and CEO of Apparatus Solutions Inc. He has more than twenty years of experience in finance, accounting and human resource management. In 2009, Trulik created Apparatus, which is an organization focused on bringing exceptional financial and administrative services to the nonprofit and social enterprise community of Michigan. Trulik holds many key financial and administrative positions within the non-profit community of Southeast Michigan, including chief financial officer of Business Leaders for Michigan and the Downtown Detroit Partnership as well as treasurer for Invest Detroit Foundation and Advancing Macomb. Trulik has a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from Walsh College. A Macomb County resident, he lives in Shelby Township with his wife and three children
Ursula S. Warren - CMS Energy
Ursula Warren is Area Manager of Public Affairs for Consumers Energy, responsible for activities within Southeast MI for local government, plant public affairs and community relations within Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair Counties. She has spent over 20 years working for Consumers Energy in various operations, customer service related and public affairs areas of responsibility.
Ursula is a member of many boards of directors which include the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, where she was 2014 chair of the public policy committee, and 2017 board chair. The Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, South Oakland YMCA and Banks Triumph Church, Detroit, MI where she also serves as chair of the finance committee.
Ursula is a product of Detroit Public Schools and a graduate of University of Phoenix and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Human Resources.
Macomb County History
With roots that can be traced back to the 17th century, Macomb County was formally organized in January, 1818 as the third county in the Michigan territory. Named in honor of Alexander Macomb, Jr., a highly decorated General of the U.S. Army who was highly decorated in the War of 1812 and a hero of the Battle of Plattsburg, Macomb County has been a beacon for immigrants who were and still are attracted to the County for land and jobs.
In the past 10 years, Macomb County has experienced the most population growth (6.7%) of any county in Michigan and, with 840,978 residents, it is the third most populous county in the state. Macomb County is home to more than 130 parks covering 12,000 acres, has four major public parks (Freedom Hill County Park, Macomb Orchard Trail, Lake St. Clair Metropark and Stoney Creek Metropark) and is recognized for its 89.34 square miles of water including Lake St. Clair, which borders the County on the east.