Director of Marketing & Communications
Sheri Greenhoe is Director of Marketing and Communications at Prima Civitas. She is responsible for managing all aspects of communications and marketing for Prima Civitas. As a member of the leadership team, Sheri develops and leads the management of relationships with a variety of key audiences on behalf of Prima Civitas and its stakeholders, and manages all aspects of communications, and marketing. Sheri also advises and assists other Prima Civitas executives in the development of organizational policy and grant proposals.
Prior to joining the organization, Sheri served for 20 years as director of marketing communications and media at the Michigan State Medical Society. There she was responsible for all external relations and physician member communications, serving as executive editor of the statewide association’s newsletter, website, social media, collateral materials and magazine.
Concurrently, Sheri served as executive director of the MSMS Foundation, managing fundraising, donor relations, grant-making, and special events. She also established an annual statewide volunteer initiative benefiting those in Michigan’s domestic violence shelters.
Earlier in her career, Sheri was recruited to manage communications as a contracted consultant for Michigan State University’s “MSU 2000” Capital Campaign. She also previously served as director of public relations for Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, and as producer of the Sparrow Foundation’s live and video segments for the annual “Children’s Miracle Network” telethon. Sheri also worked as marketing director and sponsor relations manager for the nonprofit Michigan Festival, a 10-day arts and music festival that was a partnership between the City of East Lansing and Michigan State University.
Sheri earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University, with emphases in marketing, and was nominated for and is a graduate of the Community Leadership Development Academy at Lansing Community College.
Janet Groves serves as finance manager at Prima Civitas, with responsibility for all accounting functions and financial activities. In addition, she provides support for human resources and operations functions.
Prior to her position with Prima Civitas, Janet worked as the chief financial officer for the Capital Area United Way. During that time, she served on the Grant Awards Committee for the Capital Region Community Foundation. In addition to her experience in the nonprofit arena, Janet spent more than 10 years working as the firm administrator and controller for a CPA firm based in Flint.
Janet has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Michigan Association of CPAs. She has been active in the Exchange Club of Flint, the Kiwanis Club of Flint, and the United Way of Genesee County.
Senior Vice President & Director of Regional Initiatives
Attorney James Smiertka is Senior Vice President, and Director of Regional Initiatives for Prima Civitas. Jim has practiced law in both the private and public sectors for more than thirty years. He oversees legal matters and engages as a principal in economic development projects.
As an expert facilitator, Jim assists local communities and groups to create economic development non-profits; advises and consults with local governments regarding legal and administrative matters including intergovernmental cooperation; networks and collaborates with governmental and private groups concerning economic and workforce development; and links groups and agencies to assets and resources on a regional basis to facilitate their respective goals and objectives through strategic planning.
Jim was key in facilitating the coordination of four county governments and 31 municipalities to form the extensive and award-winning I-69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation. Also, in a project assisting the City of Flint with financial and administrative reorganization, Jim and team analyzed the Flint legal department and its representation of the City, recommended restructuring and new processes, and participated in its re-establishment as a viable legal counsel to the City. Jim also served on the steering committee of a project assisting the City and the Township of Davison with shared services and community re-envisioning.
Previously Jim served as Senior Policy Executive, Special Assistant for Legal Affairs, and Acting Deputy Director for the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (now Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs).
From 1994–2004, Jim was City Attorney of Lansing. During his tenure he developed in-house experience in the law department to enable the City to engage in multi-jurisdictional projects of significant regional importance, such as PA425 agreements, resulting in the two new GM assembly plants, the Jackson National Life headquarters, and a residential development in Meridian Township.
Other positions held by Jim include: Assistant City Attorney for Kalamazoo; General Counsel for the Pontiac Silverdome and its operating authority; and Deputy City Attorney for Pontiac. During his career Jim has advised and represented more than 30 local public and private boards and authorities on tax increment financing, downtown development, building of public facilities, courthouse and hospital construction, stadium and entertainment operations, and pension funding and administration.
A native of Detroit, Jim graduated from the University of Detroit with a bachelor’s degree in business management, with emphasis on finance. He earned his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law.
Chief Executive Officer & Board Chair
Arnold began his role as chief executive officer and chairman of Prima Civitas in March, 2014. He serves as the day to day officer in charge of carrying out the organization’s mission to strengthen Michigan’s economy by connecting, convening, collaborating and adding expert capacity to projects that support Michigan’s economic growth.
Arnold, who had previously served as Treasurer of the Prima Civitas Board, joined the organization from the Michigan Municipal League, where he worked with municipal officials, interest groups, the governor’s office, state agency directors and staff, and legislators as the League’s director of state and federal affairs. Prior to that, as director of strategic initiatives, he was responsible for the planning and development of new programs, services, publications, and outreach strategies to support broad place-based policy initiatives and programming. This included development and implementation of the League’s Center for 21st Century Communities, created to help local officials identify,develop, and implement strategies to grow and strengthen Michigan’s communities in the coming decades.
As president of the Michigan Municipal League Foundation he worked to engage local officials in innovative League programs to enhance and develop leadership in local government through research and education, and by providing opportunities for training.
Previously, Arnold worked for the Michigan House of Representatives Democratic Caucus as a legislative aide, policy analyst and policy director. In those roles he was responsible for serving as a liaison to caucus leadership and coordinating caucus activities on the House floor; for development and implementation of caucus strategies including design, research, coordination and preparation of legislation; and directing day-to-day management of administrative, policy development, constituent services, and support functions within the framework of the Democratic Caucus’ overall plan.
He also served as an elected member of the Waverly Community Schools Board of Education as treasurer and president, and as treasurer of the Waverly Education Foundation. He currently is a board member of Creative Many Michigan, the Michigan Parks and Recreation Association, Michigan Rural Development Council and Michigan Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association. Arnold is a graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Social Science Multi-Disciplinary program with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Director of Talent Initiatives
Mary ZumBrunnen is director of talent initiatives at Prima Civitas. A strong proponent of sustainable community development, Mary has more than 15 years of experience working to build community food systems. She is the lead on a number of agriculture and food aggregation, access and workforce projects at Prima Civitas.
In her role as Talent Director, Mary builds innovative strategies and solutions to workforce development issues such as: building and integrating talent pipelines; experiential cooperative learning; employment creation; inclusion and team building; “brain drain” solutions and developing a culture of entrepreneurialism. Mary’s focus is on maximizing partnerships across the state between various stakeholders to advance Michigan’s talent and business.
Prior to joining Prima Civitas, she was chief service officer to the City of Flint, developing and implementing civic engagement and safety programming. Previously she was director of the Greater Flint National Service Accelerator Initiative and Fund, and was the AmeriCorps*VISTA coordinator for the Tri-County Power of We Consortium.
Mary holds a BS degree from Michigan State University in Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications, and an MS from MSU in Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies.
Senior Consultant, Municipal & Organizational Services
Jerry Ambrose’s governmental experience includes 40 years in senior management, including 30 years in county government finance and administration, and nearly 10 years in municipal finance and administration. Most recently, Jerry served as a senior member and leader of the emergency management team charged with restoring the City of Flint (Michigan) to financial solvency. His nonprofit experience includes 10 years on the Board of the Capital Area United Way, three as Chair. Jerry also has served for 20 years on the Board of Directors of Mason State Bank.
Senior Consultant, Municipal & Organizational Services
Michael K. Brown is a Flint native with more than 35 years of experience in public service in both government and the non-profit sector. He was born and raised in the City of Flint, where he attended and graduated from St. Michael’s School. Michael attended Mott Community College and Saint Louis University earning a Bachelor’s degree in history from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He furthered his education with Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Stockholm in 1974.
Michael returned to Flint in 1974, where he and his wife, Linda, opened a child care center, (Mamas and Papas) which they operated for five years.
He was elected to the Genesee County Board of Commissioners and spent four years in county government, chairing the Board in 1983 and 1984. He left the Board of County Commissioners to work for the Michigan Association of Counties, representing the public policy interests of all 83 counties in Michigan. Michael has also worked in Flint Mayor Matt Collier’s administration as Director of Intergovernmental Relations, and Director of Community and Economic Development.
Michael left local government in 1991 to work in the non-profit sector for 17 years. He presided over the Red Cross in Genesee and Lapeer Counties and was President of the United Way of Genesee County in Flint and the Capital Area United Way in Lansing, Michigan. In addition he has served as the Executive Vice President at the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Michael returned to local government to become acting Mayor of Flint in February 2009, upon the resignation of the serving Mayor. He held the position for six months until the election of a new mayor in August 2009.
In September 2009, Brown established the Flint Area Reinvestment Office (FARO), to provide technical assistance to public, private, and nonprofit organizations. The primary focus of FARO is to seek grants and utilize federal and state funding for Flint area initiatives. FARO is supported with funds from Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ruth Mott Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and the United Way of Genesee County.
Michael was later tapped by Governor Snyder to lead the City of Flint as Emergency Manager, to set Flint on a course of long term financial solvency.
He and his wife Linda have been married 40 years. They are parents to five children, who were educated in the Flint Community Schools, and grandparents to three grandchildren.
Fleming, K. Scott
Senior Consultant, Economic Development
Scott Fleming, CEcD has been engaged in economic development and commercial real estate for more than 20 years. He has led strategic planning efforts for large metropolitan areas, small communities, professional associations and nonprofit organizations.
Prior to joining Prima Civitas as senior consultant for economic development, Scott was vice president of economic development for Will County, Illinois. In that role, he oversaw industrial development, marketing, administration of technical assistance programs, and development of collaborative relationships with the business community.
Scott served previously as chief executive officer of the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation in DeSoto, Texas where he was charged with revitalizing and expanding the local business community; and he was President and CEO of The Enterprise Group of Jackson, Michigan, a countywide economic development agency. Scott served on the board of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, was a board officer of the Michigan Economic Developers Association and was elected its president in 2011.
Earlier in his career, Scott was principal account manager with DTE Energy, where he successfully recruited new businesses,developed innovative financing strategies, created business recruiting and retention programs, and advanced the development of business and technology parks. He was responsible for project feasibility analysis, public policy development, long-range development strategies, incentive programs, and brownfield redevelopment. Scott also honed his real estate skills as an economic development consultant with Land Company of Michigan.
Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a masters degree in urban planning and from Wayne State University. In addition, he is a certified economic developer, certified professional community and economic developer, completed the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute program, and holds a Michigan real estate license.
Michigan Economic Center
Director, Michigan Economic Center
John Austin is the Director of the Michigan Economic Center at the Prima Civitas Foundation. He is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution where he directed the Great Lakes Economic Initiative. He previously held the position of Executive Director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. He served as policy director for the Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth. He is also a Lecturer at the University of Michigan. Mr. Austin holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College in Economics and Political Science.