December 20, 2019
SVSU's Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy continues legacy of leadership
Inspired by one of the region’s trailblazers, a Saginaw Valley State University-based political leadership program continues to create a legacy of its own nearly a decade after its founding, organizers say.
SVSU’s Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy on Friday, Dec. 13 graduated 12 members of its 2019 cohort while inducting 15 members into its 2020 class. Participants include local politicians, CEOs, first responders and SVSU students, among others.
“I am consistently inspired by all the individuals who take part in this program,” said Riley Hupfer, program coordinator and the director of SVSU’s Center for Community Engagement. “They each bring unique perspectives and teach us valuable lessons. I look forward to what our 2019 cohort will continue to accomplish in the community, and what our 2020 cohort will achieve together, now, and in the future.”
Civic and business leaders founded the organization in 2011, naming it after the late Henry Marsh, who was one of the first black mayors elected in the United States when he led Saginaw beginning in 1967. Graduates include elected representatives in communities across the Great Lakes Bay Region.
The Henry Marsh Institute of Public Policy’s mission involves educating citizens to be effective advocates and change agents in the Great Lakes Bay Region. The 10-month program incorporates the understandings of local political institutions, public policy analysis, campaigning, and effective governance.
Jamie Forbes, an advisory board member with the institute, was excited for the leadership members offer their communities.
“I am confident that the graduating class of the Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy will go forward to use their incredible skills, leadership and relationships across the political spectrum to positively move our region forward,” Forbes said. “They are truly the legacy of Henry Marsh in action.”
The 2019 graduating class includes the following 12 individuals:
- Brad Blanchard, of Auburn; an environmental, health, and safety specialist at SK Innovation
- Moira Branigan, of Bay City; director of YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region
- Madison Clements, of Auburn; director of governmental affairs at Bay Area and Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
- Angela Cole, of Midland; legal counsel and litigator at the Law Office of Angela Cole
- Stephanie Davis, of Auburn; vice president and chief learning officer at Greater Michigan Construction Academy
- Karen Gerhardt, of Saginaw; owner and artist at Sister Studio
- Steven Gerhardt, of Saginaw; technical consultant at KLA Laboratories
- Brandon Harris, of Saginaw; sales assistant at Art Van Furniture
- Alan Malesky, of Saginaw; fire chief at Kochville Township Fire Department
- Channing McKay, of Saginaw; program assistant at Saginaw Community Foundation
- Stephen Prince, of Bay City; an SVSU student studying management
- Bill Wickes, of Saginaw; constituent services representative for U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee
Those who have been inducted into the class of 2020 include the following individuals:
- Denise Berry, of Saginaw; chief executive officer at Family & Children's Services of Mid-Michigan
- Martin Blank, of Bay City; physician at Martin Blank, MD, PLC
- Lucy Cornwell, of Haven; an SVSU student studying political science
- Jocelynn Fair, of Essexville; residential advocate at Underground Railroad and an SVSU student studying public administration
- Andrea Foster, of Saginaw; director of programs and partnerships at Little Forks Conservancy
- Jennifer Geno, of Saginaw; executive director of Career and Technical Education at Saginaw Intermediate School District
- Scott McFarland, of Midland; owner of Scott McFarland, LLC
- Tom Meyer, of Saginaw; manager of patient logistics at Covenant HealthCare
- Diane Middleton, of Auburn; vice president of advocacy at Midland Business Alliance
- Susan Moody, of Saginaw; director of memberships and sponsorships at Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
- Thom Pepe, of Midland; senior director for community impact and engagement for the Great Lakes Loons
- Maria Sandow, of Midland; co-owner at Grandma's Pumpkin Patch, Earthmovers of Midland, and Larkin Food Center
- Chloe Updegraff, of Midland; coordinator at Great Lakes Bay Regional Census Hub
- Paul White, of Flint; attorney at Law Office of Paul J. White
- Mitzi Zanotti Brown, of Bay City; group sales director for the Saginaw Spirit