Fellows & Scholars

About the Program

The mission of Prima Civitas is to aggregate the knowledge assets of our networks in order to increase the prosperity level of Michigan communities and companies. Prima Civitas Fellows and Scholars are thought leaders in their fields and provide the expertise and perspectives necessary to deliver world-class results.

Prima Civitas Fellows donate their time and manpower to various activities within the organization; Scholars share their intellect and provide leadership to several of our initiatives.

We highly value the work and efforts of these important volunteers. Together we are guiding Michigan’s economy toward a bright and productive future.


Eric Frederick
State Program Manager for Connect Michigan

Eric Frederick is the state program manager for Connect Michigan, a nonprofit organization tasked with facilitating the expansion of broadband and technology access, adoption, and use throughout the state. Eric and Connect Michigan have been leading the way since 2009 to bring the economic and quality of life benefits of broadband to all Michigan residents.

As Connect Michigan’s program manager, Eric’s duties include developing and leading a coordinated initiative for broadband capacity building, continued broadband inventory mapping, local and regional technology planning, technical assistance, and ultimately, increased broadband adoption and digital literacy. As a Prima Civitas Fellow, Eric provides key insights to Michigan’s broadband and technology industries and critical guidance on the information and communications technology aspects of various projects. Eric’s complementary interest and background in community planning and development lends a unique perspective to issues of technology and the knowledge economy, as they relate to Prima Civitas’ activities.

Prior to joining Connect Michigan, Eric worked for LSL Planning, Inc. as a project planner. He holds a masters of urban and regional planning degree from Michigan State University and a bachelor of science degree with a major in planning and minor in geographic information systems from Northern Michigan University. Eric is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional.

David Hollister
CEO, Hollister Solutions, LLC

David was the first President and CEO of Prima Civitas, and returns to share his expertise and perspective as a Fellow. Most recently David consulted with the Flint Genesee Chamber of Commerce and Flint Area Reinvestment Office, and chaired Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s Fiscal Health Initiative. Hollister has served in local elected office as a county commissioner and Mayor as well as in state government as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, and Director of the former Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth. Hollister was elected Lansing’s mayor in 1993, 1997 and 2001. As mayor, Hollister’s successes included $2.9 billion in investments to city infrastructure and civic life, including a new city transportation center, a new downtown minor league baseball stadium, five new state office buildings, three General Motors manufacturing facilities and revitalization of Lansing’s historic Old Town. Also as mayor, Hollister created and led the regional Lansing Works! Keep GM movement to maintain a major GM presence in the Lansing area. In addition, he helped structure a regional tax sharing agreement with Alaiedon and Meridian townships to keep Jackson National Life Insurance Company in the region.

Dennis Sykes

Dennis is Prima Civitas’ former Executive Director. Dennis brings more than 35 years experience in business and operations. He is currently assisting staff in talent-related program development.

Gerald (Jerry) Richards
Local government manager (Ret.) and municipal consultant

With over 30 years of municipal leadership in small to medium sized Michigan communities, Jerry Richards has a successful track record of consolidating municipal operations to gain efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve services. Richards has extensive experience in government finance, human resources, project planning and development, asset management, and public works project management. He has a passion for promoting and implementing fiscally responsible government practices.

Richards was responsible for development of budgets ranging from $2.0 million to $35 million, and has consistently balanced budgets without the use of fund balance. He built up Meridian Township’s Fund Balance in the General Fund from $50,000 in 1993 to over $5 Million in 2012 in very challenging economic times. Richards developed successful partnerships with neighboring communities for police service, sharing a Level 4 Assessor, water and sewer utilities, mechanical and building inspection services, and fire/EMS service.

In addition to his public sector experience, Richards has previous private sector experience in plant engineering and information technology marketing. He is currently working as a project development manager for a consulting engineering and environmental services firm and is a consultant specializing in placing recruitments for local government managers. Jerry is a native of Escanaba and has spent his entire career in Michigan except for military service time. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan Technological University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University.


Dr. Joseph R. Codde
President and CEO, Codde Group, LLC and Professor Emeritus, College of Education, Michigan State University

Dr. Codde has directed projects in the broader Middle East, North Africa, and Central/South Asia. He served as interim country manager for a large-scale USAID funded teacher education reform program in Pakistan and has directed other international projects including a Partnership Schools Program in Algeria in collaboration with Creative Associates International and funded by the US State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). He also directed a three-year MEPI/HED funded university partnership program where he worked with the Lebanese American University to develop a program that trains teachers how to use and teach with computer technology. Dr. Codde developed a graduate certificate program for in-service teachers in the United Arab Emirates that focused on the use of ICT in education.

Dr. Codde has extensive experience with teacher professional development in the areas of educational technology and ICT in education, as well as developing state level standards. He developed and managed one of the university’s largest outreach programs targeted at teaching educational technology to Michigan’s in-service K-12 teachers and educators.

Additionally, Dr. Codde was a core member of the university’s Muslim Studies Faculty, an affiliate member of the Canadian Studies program, is Chair of the Featherstone Society, Chair of the MSU Military Education Advisory Council (previously active with OSAC Beirut, OSAC Algiers, and a founding member of OSAC Islamabad). In addition to his work with MSU, Dr. Codde has worked as a consultant on programs in Algeria (ICT in Education) and with a private donor to design a program for rebuilding schools destroyed by the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

Dr. Tunga Kiyak
Managing Director for Academy of International Business at Michigan State University

Dr. Tunga Kiyak is the Managing Director of the Academy of International Business, a nonprofit professional association, and also serves as an Outreach Specialist at Michigan State University’s Center for International Business Education and Research. Prior to his work at MSU, he was the originator and curator of “International Business Resources on the WWW,” the predecessor to globalEDGE.

A frequent speaker to academic and professional audiences at events organized by organizations such as the American Marketing Association and the Academy of International Business, Tunga’s research has been published in several scholarly journals. Currently, he teaches MBA students and undergraduates at MSU, having previously taught classes at the undergraduate, full-time, and MBA levels on topics including international business, international marketing, managerial marketing, business statistics, and entrepreneurship.

Tunga holds a B.S. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bogazici University, Turkey; an MBA in Marketing & Finance and a Ph.D. in Marketing & International Business from Michigan State University. He is a member of the Academy of International Business (AIB), the Academy of Management (AOM), and NASBITE International.

Tremaine Phillips
Former Prima Civitas Director for Innovation and Region Building, currently attending Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University

A graduate of Michigan State University, Tremaine earned a degree in Environmental Economics and Policy, and specializations in both Geographical Information Systems and Environmental Studies.

Upon graduation, Phillips was honored with the distinguished Richard Lee Featherstone Award for his leadership and intellectual curiosity outside of the traditional university curriculum. Prior to his employment at Prima Civitas, Tremaine worked as the Energy Program Associate for the Michigan Environmental Council and as the Assistant Deputy Director for the Michigan Dept. of Energy Labor & Economic Growth.

In 2010, he was one of ten mid-Michigan young professionals to receive the Lansing Regional Chamber’s 10 Over the Next 10 award. Additionally, Tremaine is a past fellow of MSU’s Climate Change Leadership and the Michigan Environmental and Natural Resource Governance programs. Tremaine is currently pursuing dual J.D./ MPA at the Moritz College of Law and the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State. He will specialize in Energy and Administrative Law.

Dr. Eric Scorsone
Extension Specialist, State and Local Government Program, Michigan State University

Dr. Eric Scorsone rejoined MSU in 2011 as an Extension Specialist, State and Local Government Program, in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. He worked as senior Economist at the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency in 2010 and returned to Michigan State University in 2011. He also worked at MSU from 2005 to 2010. Prior to working at MSU in 2005, Dr. Scorsone developed award winning extension programs as an Assistant Extension Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky in the areas of rural health economics and economic development. He also served as an economist for the Colorado Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budget and as a Senior Economist for the City of Aurora, Colorado.

He received his Ph.D. from Colorado State University, where his dissertation focused on economic models of growth in the Denver housing and labor markets. He received his Master’s degree from Michigan State University and a B.B.A. from Loyola University of Chicago. He has also worked on international development projects in Thailand, Macedonia and Indonesia and has taught at the University of Bologna, Italy and University of Valencia, Spain in public performance management. He has published in State and Local Government Review, Growth and Change, Journal of Appalachian Studies, Economic Development Quarterly, Journal of Federal Studies, Public Money and Management, and International Review of Administrative Sciences. Dr. Scorsone is from Saginaw, Michigan and currently resides in DeWitt, Michigan.

Dr. Scorsone’s research and outreach Interests include: Local government finances and administration; local government financial emergencies; local government budgeting; state-local policy; intergovernmental consolidation; international local government comparisons.

Dr. Mark Wilson
Professor of Urban and Regional Planning in the School of Planning, Design and Construction at Michigan State University

Mark is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning in the School of Planning, Design and Construction at Michigan State University, and serves as Chair of the International Geographical Union’s Commission on the Geography of Global Information Society. He has undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Melbourne (Australia), and an AM and PhD in Regional Science from the University of Pennsylvania. His research and teaching interests address urban and regional planning, information technology, economic geography, public policy, and nonprofit organizations.

Specific research interests focus on three themes: 1) The economic, social, and political dimensions of the Internet, knowledge and innovation, with recent books: Global Information Society (Rowman & Littlefield 2013) with Aharon Kellerman and Kenneth Corey, and Urban and Regional Technology Planning (Routledge 2006) with Kenneth Corey; 2) the planning, land use and economic issues associated with mega events, such as the Olympics and worlds fairs; and 3) regional economic development, with emphasis on the role of nonprofit organizations, and the local economic development potential of export industries. For additional information visit www.mark-wilson.org.