14th Annual Men of Excellence Honorees

The Michigan Chronicle Men of Excellence Awards, in its 14th year, recognizes local African American men who inspire others through their vision, leadership, exceptional achievements, and participation in community service. They are men who exemplify extraordinary stature, poise and integrity who continue to break the mold and affect change in their professions and community.

In 2022, we will induct a new class of honorees who are champions of economic empowerment and diversity, backbone of religious and educational organizations, and driving forces in politics and community service into the exclusive society of professional men who have previously received the distinction of Men of Excellence.

Congratulations to the 14th Annual Men of Excellence Honorees! 

  • Thomas J. Seabron
    Thomas J. Seabron
  • Terrence M. Hicks
    Terrence M. Hicks
  • Roger Williams
    Roger Williams
  • Ritchie Harrison
    Ritchie Harrison
  • Rev. Charles Christian Adams
    Rev. Charles Christian Adams
  • Rev. Dr. Steve Bland Jr.
    Rev. Dr. Steve Bland Jr.
  • Reginald B. Scott II
    Reginald B. Scott II
  • Paul C. Ajegba
    Paul C. Ajegba
  • Nathaniel L. Wallace
    Nathaniel L. Wallace
  • Michael D. Williams
    Michael D. Williams
  • Maurice Williams
    Maurice Williams
  • Marcell R. Todd Jr.
    Marcell R. Todd Jr.
  • Lester A. Booker Jr.
    Lester A. Booker Jr.
  • Kenneth Mathies
    Kenneth Mathies
  • Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Harris
    Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Harris
  • John. E. Johnson Jr.
    John. E. Johnson Jr.
  • James Williams
    James Williams
  • Chief James White
    Chief James White
  • Jacques Mullins
    Jacques Mullins
  • Jonathan Jennings
    Jonathan Jennings
  • Judge Edward Ewell, Jr.
    Judge Edward Ewell, Jr.
  • Earl Newsome
    Earl Newsome
  • Dwane Casey
    Dwane Casey
  • Dr. Dexter K. Flemming
    Dr. Dexter K. Flemming
  • Dimitrius Hutcherson
    Dimitrius Hutcherson
  • Deola Animashaun
    Deola Animashaun
  • Darrell Rounds
    Darrell Rounds
  • Daniel Jackson
    Daniel Jackson
  • Damany Head
    Damany Head
  • Coleman A. Young II
    Coleman A. Young II
  • Caleb Rutledge
    Caleb Rutledge
  • Brian McKinney Sr.
    Brian McKinney Sr.
  • Bill Grice
    Bill Grice
  • B. Donta Truss
    B. Donta Truss
  • Andre L. Johnson
    Andre L. Johnson
  • Amin Irving
    Amin Irving
  • Senator Adam Hollier
    Senator Adam Hollier

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Are you ready to engage your brand with Detroit’s largest community of professional and influential men and their network? Opportunities to promote and advertise your business, amplify your message, and engage thousands of metro Detroiters are now available. Receive more information on how you can become an official sponsor of the 2021 Men of Excellence Honoree Ceremony by calling the
Michigan Chronicle sales office at (313) 963-5522.

Thomas J. Seabron

Senior Vice President Wealth Management, Global Financial Advisor
Morgan Stanley

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Tom was a football team member and four-year varsity letterman. After completing his undergraduate education, Thomas played professionally with the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Cardinals. He has been married for 30 years to his high school sweetheart Kathryn, and they have two adult children. Currently, a senior vice president and financial advisor with Morgan Stanley. Thomas is also the recipient of the “Citigroup Quarter Century Club” and “Smith Barney 30 Year Custom Crystal” Awards, in acknowledgement of his years of service with both companies. Tom offers serious investors 33 years of experience and financial guidance to help determine and meet investment objectives. He prides himself on possessing the exceptional ability to form dedicated client relationships.

Terrence M. Hicks

Managing Principal
Metro Strategies, Inc.

Terrence M. Hicks is a driven successful community relations and workforce strategist. He has over 15 years of experience in the corporate, non-profit, education and public sectors.

Terrence’s career began in the corporate world at the Ford Motor Company Fund. Hicks co-managed a $5m budget, and managed more than 20 non-profit organizations.
For Metro Strategies, Terrence focuses his work on new paradigms that enable local, minority businesses to participate in large infrastructure projects.
Terrence also headed the MDOT’s Office of Business Development where he developed and implemented some of Michigan’s most creative and innovative policies to ensure the inclusion of small, local-based businesses.
Hicks served as past president (2010-2012), Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Michigan Chapter where his leadership earned them the 2011 COMTO Emerging Chapter of the Year.
As a significant pillar of his business, Hicks was one of the first to obtain the Part 107 Unmanned Airial Vehicle (Drone) pilot’s license. In 2021, Hicks was appointed to the Aviation Rules Committee (ARC) Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) rules recommendation team.

Roger Williams

Agency Owner
Roger Williams Insurance, Inc.

Roger is a husband, father, coach, entrepreneur, and champion for his community. He currently owns a State Farm Insurance agency and coaches youth basketball. Roger has served on the boards of the Detroit Public Schools Academy, Neutral Zone and A Place of Refuge. Roger has also been a mentor for the Midnight golf Program since 2006.

As a graduate of Siena heights University, Roger spent his first ten years of his career in education. After volunteering as a business coach for Camp Enterprise through New Detroit the Coalition, he decided to make the leap into entrepreneurship and has opened a number of businesses since then.

As a leader in his community, Roger has used his experience to help young people excel as adults. Roger believes that through mentorship and fellowship any community can be great.

Ritchie Harrison

Co-Director, Great Lakes Leadership Academy
Michigan State University Extension

Ritchie H. Harrison is a leader and an advocate for building thriving communities. He grew up in Detroit, attended Martin Luther King Jr. High School, and he also lived in the southern US and on the east coast. He credits his upbringing for shaping his vision and appreciation for urban planning and community development.

Currently, Ritchie is the co-director of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA) at the Michigan State University Extension. For more than 15 years he has been involved in neighborhood improvement and transformation in the City of Detroit. He serves on the City of Detroit Planning Commission and is a member of the board of directors for Sidewalk Detroit and Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. Additionally, Ritchie serves as a principal facilitator for Brother Also Read.

Ritchie is an alumnus Eastern Michigan University (BS urban planning), University of Detroit-Mercy (Master of Community Development), Great Lakes Leadership Academy, Larson Leadership Program at ULI, and the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program at Wayne State University. He is an outdoor enthusiast and an avid runner who has completed nine half marathons.

Rev. Charles Christian Adams

Senior Pastor
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church

Rev. Charles Christian Adams served as the presiding pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church for eleven years as well as Co-Pastor, all this alongside his father, Dr. Charles G. Adams. On October 1, 2019, Rev. Charles Christian Adams became the fourth pastor in Hartford’s history. In addition to his preaching and teaching ministry at Hartford, Rev. Adams has traveled the world, ministering in Geneva, Switzerland for the World Council of Churches, Harare, Zimbabwe for the Baptist World Alliance Youth Conference and Johannesburg, South Africa for the American Baptist Churches. In April 2013, Rev. Adams received the prestigious honor of being inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College.

Rev. Adams is a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, lifetime member of the NAACP and currently serves as the 1st Vice President of the Michigan Progressive Baptist Convention. He sits on the board of directors for the Detroit Recovery Project, Center for Urban Youth & Family Development and the Emmanuel House Recovery Center. Additionally, he sits on the board of directors for Morehouse School of Religion, Loyola High School and Ecumenical Theological Seminary.

Rev. Dr. Steve Bland Jr.

Senior Pastor
Liberty Temple Baptist Church

Rev. Dr. Steve Bland Jr. has served as the Senior Pastor of Liberty Temple Baptist Church in Detroit, MI. for the last seventeen years. He also served as former Pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church in Rockford, Illinois, where he served faithfully for over 16 years. A native of Chicago, Illinois, he recently celebrated over 37 years in the Gospel Ministry.

Dr. Bland is a renowned, sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics, including leadership development, biblical studies, church administration, life skills management, voter engagement, financial management, and effective teaching. He has hosted a gospel radio show called “Rappin with the Rev” and a community issues show called “What’s Going On!” He is a counselor and life coach. Dr. Bland serves on the Governor’s and Mayor’s Advisory Board in Michigan as he did in Illinois. He was the first president of the Young Pastors & Ministers of the National Baptist Convention USA, and was president of One Church One Child, State of Illinois. He is the founder of Project R.I.S.E.
Dr. Bland is married to the former P. Jennette Brooks, and father of four children.

 

Reginald B. Scott II

CFO
Detroit Land Bank Authority

Reginald B. Scott II is a lifelong Detroiter with a consistent history of public service.

Reginald is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at the Detroit Land Bank Authority where he is responsible for managing a 56M annual budget, and prior to his promotion, he served as director of disposition responsible for all sales and creation of sales programs that bolstered the growth of the organization.

Prior to joining the DLBA, Reginald was Chief Financial Officer for Innovative Teaching Solutions, which serviced the largest charter school district in the State of Michigan. Reginald orchestrated a 28M bond issuance for the acquisition and construction of schools in Northwest Detroit. Under his financial leadership, the Academy earned unqualified audit opinions for successive years.

Subsequently, Reginald founded an educational consultancy designed to provide financial and operational support for non-profit and school entities.
Reginald has a master’s degree in leadership from Wayne State University, and a BBA from Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan. Reginald currently active serves on several boards within community and a men’s leader in his local church.

Paul C. Ajegba

Director
Michigan Department of Transportation

Paul C. Ajegba has more than 31 years of experience with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and after 28 years with the department, he was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as director on Jan. 1, 2019. He previously served MDOT for three months as Metro Region engineer and before that as University Region engineer. During his seven years in the University Region, Ajegba oversaw his team's involvement in the planning, design and building of several major projects, including the US-23 Flex Route, a project nominated for the America’s Transportation Award, landing among the top 12 national finalists. Other notable projects include the I-94 improvements project in Ann Arbor/Jackson, the I-96/US-23 interchange, and the I-75 freeway project.

Ajegba holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Prairie View A&M University and a master’s degree in construction engineering from the University of Michigan. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Michigan.
Ajegba is a member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and serves on the following boards: The Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), ITS America, Mcity, the University of Michigan Civil and Environmental Engineering Friends Association (serves as board chair), the Engineering Society of Detroit, and the Mackinac Bridge Authority.

Nathaniel L. Wallace

Program Director
Knight Foundation

Nathaniel L. Wallace joined Knight Foundation in September 2019.
Wallace comes to Knight with nearly two decades of entrepreneurial and business management experience. Previously, he served as vice president of operations and co-owner of his international family firm, Communications Professionals Inc. (CPI). There, Wallace created both the IT services and staffing arms for the $20 million firm; developed infrastructure to pursue new markets; and led business and partnership development, talent acquisition, and growth strategy.
As a proud Detroit native, Wallace is deeply motivated by new possibilities for the city and its residents. He is an avid supporter of the local arts and cultural community and a strong advocate for artists of color.
Wallace is president of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Founders Junior Council board and is also on the board of Downtown Detroit Partnership and Artworks by Matrix Human Services. Other organizations Wallace has served with include the Music Hall of Performing Arts, Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program, Emerging Art Leaders Detroit, The District Detroit Art Advisory Committee, and Michigan Opera Theatre’s Opera Club.

Michael D. Williams

Director of Financial Aid
Schoolcraft College

Michael is the director of financial aid and member of the executive team at Schoolcraft College. He has worked in the financial aid industry for over 18 years now in various capacities at 2- and 4-year public schools. He has served as the 2020 President of the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association (MSFAA) and currently serves as the Delegate-At-Large for the Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA).

He has served in various committees on campus namely the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that was created to break down barriers, improving the student experience and with the understanding that diversity creates value not just for students but for the college community as a whole.

He has a BS in information systems management from Wayne State University and has been volunteering as a youth football coach for the past 19 years currently with the Detroit Spartans Youth Organization and providing mentorship to young men and women in the Detroit area. Michael also is founder of Selfless Images his very own photography company.

Maurice Williams

General Manager – Sales Support, US Operations
General Motors

Maurice Williams began his General Motors career thirty-seven years ago with the Pontiac Division in Los Angeles, California as a district manager in training. Since that time, he has earned positions of increasing responsibility in sales, service, and marketing departments throughout the company.

In his current position as general manager sales support since 2015, Maurice leads the teams throughout the United States in charge of order fulfillment, dealer business development, dealer diversity initiatives and other operations support for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. Under his leadership, GM expanded US automotive industry dominance in the number of minority owned dealerships.

Prior to this role, Maurice served as president and managing director of GM’s Middle East operations. There he led the sales, service, and marketing organizations representing GM brands in Middle East countries.

Chief among his professional accomplishments, Maurice most values the mentorship, guidance, and support he has given to the advancement of previously underrated and unrecognized employees. Maurice continues to play a pivotal role in the advocacy of diversity, inclusion, and promotion of underrepresented talent to management and executive level positions.

Marcell R. Todd Jr.

Director, Detroit City Planning Committee
City of Detroit

Marcell R. Todd, Jr. is a native Detroiter and product of Detroit Public Schools. He studied architecture at Cass Technical High School and in 1991 earned a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from Lawrence Technological University. Marcell’s service with the city of Detroit began as an intern with the City Planning Commission in June of 1990. Over the years he rose through the staff, and in December of 2006 the City Planning Commission, following the recommendation of the city council, appointed him as the new director. He continues in that capacity today, leading a staff of city planners as a member of the city council’s legislative policy division.

Marcell and his lovely wife Pamela Rhoades Todd celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary earlier this year. They reside on the westside of Detroit with their three sons, Jordan, Evan and Adam as well as the family dog, Bailey. Marcell is also ordained clergy in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves as an associate minister at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Midtown.

Lester A. Booker Jr.

Vice President, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Communications
Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

An award-winning marketing and communications leader, Lester A. Booker, Jr. is the first-ever vice president, head of diversity, equity & inclusion communications at Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Booker helps iconic brands successfully engage and support underrepresented communities through authentic communications and innovative community-focused programming.

Before joining Citizens Financial Group, Inc., he held positions with General Motors, the Ford Motor Company Fund via Campbell Marketing and Communications, Palace Sports & Entertainment with the Detroit Pistons and Detroit Shock.

As a distinguished Central Michigan University (CMU) alumnus, Booker continues to support his alma mater as an alumni association board member and serves as a member of the Chippewa Athletics Hall of Fame selection committee, Detroit Advisory Task Force, and Black Alumni Chapter. In January 2020, he also established the Lester A. Booker Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. This annual $5,000 scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student committed to uplifting underrepresented communities.
A Detroit native, Booker holds a Master of Science in administration degree, with a sports concentration and a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in broadcast and cinematic arts both from CMU.

Kenneth Mathies

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for The Auto Club Group
Automobile Association of America (AAA)

Ken Mathies currently serves as the vice president and chief diversity officer for The Auto Club Group – Automobile Association of America (AAA). Ken is a certified diversity professional (CDP) and has over 30 years of leadership experience within information technology organizations, business management, marketing, and legal operations. In his current capacity, Ken works collaboratively with executive leadership, corporate business organizations and employees to promote a corporate culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and corporate social responsibility.

Ken has held a number of leadership roles for The Auto Club Group (AAA) including manager technology deployment, director of enterprise technology support & implementation, and director of service desk operations & security administration.

Ken was the recipient of the MIDC 2018 Diversity Leadership Award, 2020 Corp Magazine Diversity Leader Award, named to the 2021 Top 100 Chief Diversity Officers and is currently nominated for the 2021 Executive of the Year by the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council. Ken serves on the board of directors for an Ohio based information technology corporation and serves on the board of directors for the Michigan Diversity Council.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Harris

President
Ecumenical Theological Seminary

The Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Harris serves as the sixth president and professor of biblical studies at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. He most recently served as president and academic dean (2017-2020). He served as vice president of academic affairs/academic dean from 2011-2016. Dr. Harris is the founding pastor of the Detroit Bible Tabernacle (formerly Detroit Baptist Temple) where he has been honored to serve for over thirty-five years.

Dr. Harris has served on the executive board of the Great Lakes Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, the board of trustees of Western Theological Seminary and as education chair of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity. He now serves on the board of Westside Christian Academy and is chair of the board of directors of Franklin Wright Settlements, Inc., in Detroit. Currently, Dr. Harris is presiding over the pastoral advisory committee for the DPTV series, “The History of the Black Church in Detroit.”

He was married to the former Ruthie White for fifty years before her passing in 2020 and is the father of two dynamic daughters.

John. E. Johnson Jr.

Executive Director
Michigan Department of Civil Rights

John. E. Johnson, Jr. is the executive director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and a member of Governor Whitmer’s cabinet. MDCR is the operational arm of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, enforcing state and federal civil rights laws. Johnson oversees an annual budget of more than $18 million and offices in Lansing, Grand Rapids and Detroit.

Before his appointment, Johnson served as MDCR’s legislative liaison. Prior to his service with MDCR, Johnson was the director of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, a position he held for seven years.

Johnson has held several leadership positions, including corporation counsel for the City of Detroit, general counsel to the Detroit NAACP, deputy director of the Legal Aid and Defender Association, and hearing officer for the Michigan Tax Tribunal. He was a management consultant with Legal Services Corporation and owned a private law practice.

Johnson was born in Buffalo, New York. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Howard University and a Juris Doctorate from Valparaiso University. He has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan for more than 41 years.

James Williams

Vice President Global Key Accounts and Automotive Vertical Leader
North America at CEVA Logistics

James Williams is an experienced leader that embodies an entrepreneurial spirit and the practical understanding of a corporate industry veteran. Deep and broad experience in the OEM and Tier Automotive vertical, plus strong knowledge in other Supply Chains. A leader that strives to maximize business potential through innovation and enhance morale for both clients and colleagues.

James’ proven track record of driving exemplary financial results is contributed to his well-rounded background and the required skills, knowledge, and ability for developing and executing corporate strategy. In addition, his relentless desire for continuous improvements has led to standardized practices, reporting, and visibility in every phase of business development, from concept, through planning and execution, to optimization and replication across five continents.

James has more than 20 years of experience in Sales Management, Sales Operation, Global Account Management, and business development. James is currently Vice President Global Key Accounts and Automotive Vertical Leader for North America at CEVA Logistics focusing on bringing innovative supply chain solutions to global automotive clients.

Chief James White

Police Chief
Detroit Police Department

James E. White, born and raised in Detroit, is a 24-year veteran at the Detroit Police Department. White led the Detroit Police Department’s efforts to be released from two-decade-long federal consent agreements, which required the implementation of policies, training, and processes to protect the constitutional rights of citizens DPD officers engage or detain.
White also established a civilian advisory committee to help bridge the gap between civilians and sworn members within the department. He also worked to ensure that returning citizens had opportunities for employment within the Detroit Police Department in certain non-sworn capacities.
White left DPD in August 2020 when he was named Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and served as a member of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s cabinet. White was tapped for that role because of his track record of civil rights leadership at DPD.
White, who is a state-licensed mental health counselor, has stated his commitment to look after the well-being of officers on the force who face difficult daily challenges.

Jacques Mullins

National Sales Director
Ace Petroleum, Inc.

An eclectic, award-winning, professional career has stationed Jacques Mullins securely as a highly regarded employee across consumer products, mechanical fasteners, medical technology, and petroleum industries. In each of these arenas, Jacques experienced meteoric rise in both position and responsibility.

During Jacques’ stint with AGFA Corporation, he grew the film business by 25%. During consecutive years, Jacques earned AGFA awards. Among other achievements, he won the President’s Club Award for Top Salesperson in the Central Zone, and he was a three-time winner of the Gold Rush Award for Exceeding Sales in all revenue areas.

In addition to Jacques’ commitment to excellence in the workplace, he accepts engagements to lecture youngsters about making wise decisions, setting goals for the future, discovering what is needed to achieve goals, and creating the disciplines to transition dreams into reality. He passionately champions entrepreneurial thinking among persons who dream of making life better for themselves, their families, and their community. Jacques aspires to positively impact the lives of these dreamers with explosive power.

 

Jonathan Jennings

Vice President, Global Commodity Purchasing and Supplier Technical Assistance
Ford Motor Company

Jonathan Jennings is vice president, global commodity purchasing and supplier technical assistance, effective Aug. 1, 2020. He reports to Hau Thai-Tang, chief product development and purchasing officer.

In this role, Jennings is responsible for all production procurement, together with quality and launch performance of the supply base through the company’s supplier technical assistance team. Previously, Jennings was executive director, Global Commodity Purchasing, responsible for production commodity purchasing, strategic planning, material cost delivery and overall production supplier cost performance.

Before commodity purchasing, Jennings was director, Enterprise Product Line Management – Luxury Vehicles. In that role, he and his global Lincoln team applied deep customer insights to deliver highly desired products and value to the customer along with managing business results.

Jennings joined Ford in 1993 as a manufacturing engineer at the Cleveland Casting Plant, where he held a variety of cross-functional roles there. He also served as Supplier Technical Assistance engineering director in Asia Pacific and Africa, where he oversaw approximately 1,800 supplier manufacturing facilities for Ford. Besides Detroit and Cleveland, Jennings has lived and worked in Kansas City, Chicago, Hermosillo (Mexico), Bangkok (Thailand) and Shanghai.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA and a master’s degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University.

 

Judge Edward Ewell, Jr.

Judge
Wayne County Circuit Court

Judge Edward Ewell attended the University of Michigan majoring in Economics. He pursued a Master’s of Science program from Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA. He then attended Wayne State University Law School before clerking for the late Honorable Damon J. Keith of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

During his tenure in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he was also responsible for prosecuting criminal civil rights violations.  Judge Ewell was then appointed general counsel for Wayne County. He managed a municipal corporate law office which handled an array of lawsuits and claims against the county as well as development projects.

In August 2003, Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed Judge Ewell to the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan. He was recently recommended for appointment to the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Judge Ewell lives in Detroit with his wife of thirty-three years, Cooley Law Professor Florise Neville-Ewell. They have two grown children.

Earl Newsome

Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Cummins Inc.

Earl Newsome is vice president and chief information officer of Cummins Inc. He assumed the role in April 2021.

Newsome came to Cummins after five years at Linde, a global industrial gases company, leading the organization as the Americas IT CIO where he served as a trusted advisor and business partner on IT.

Newsome is a skilled strategic leader with over 30 years of global IT leadership experience and a strong vision for leading IT and digital transformations for global companies.

Newsome began his career serving in the U.S. Army after graduating from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Following his military service, Newsome has dedicated his career to leading IT development and initiatives across several industries, including his time as vice president of Global Shared Services and chief technology officer at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

Newsome is actively involved in several leadership organizations, including the Executive Leadership Council, the Information Technology Senior Management Forum and the West Point Association of Graduates. He also serves on the board of directors, Beacon (BECN), and board of directors, NaviSite.

Dwane Casey

Head Coach
Detroit Pistons

Dwane Casey was named head coach of the Detroit Pistons on June 11, 2018 after seven years at the helm with the Toronto Raptors.  Casey came to Detroit after being named 2018 Coach of the Year by the National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) and being honored as the 2018 NBA Coach of the Year as voted upon by national media covering the NBA.

While with the Raptors, Casey led the Raptors to a franchise record five consecutive postseason appearances from 2014-18. He was also selected as the Eastern Conference head coach at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. Casey left the Raptors as the franchise’s all-time winningest coach.

Casey, 64, has served as a head coach, associate head coach and assistant coach in the NBA for 24 seasons. He has coached in two NBA Finals (1996 and 2011).

A native of Morganfield, Kentucky, Casey earned a degree in business administration from Kentucky in 1979.  He was inducted into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame on September 7, 2021. Casey and his wife, Brenda, have a daughter, Justine, and son, Zachary.

Dr. Dexter K. Flemming

Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon
Michigan Center for Oral Surgery

Dr. Flemming was born and raised in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad and after earning a scholarship, he attended the University of the West Indies Dental School. After earning his DDS degree, Dr. Flemming completed a general practice residency, oral medicine residency and Master of Science in oral biology at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Dr. Flemming then served as a clinical assistant professor and assistant general practice residency director at the University of Michigan school of dentistry.  Following this, Dr. Flemming enrolled at the Ohio State University and completed an oral maxillofacial residency.  Dr. Flemming entered private practice in September 2007.

Dr. Flemming practices a full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery with expertise ranging from dental implant surgery and wisdom tooth removal to corrective jaw surgery. This also includes techniques designed to rebuild bone structure with minimal surgical intervention and optimal patient comfort. We can also diagnose and treat facial pain, facial injuries, and fractures.

As a dedicated husband and father of two, Dr. Flemming has many interests outside of oral surgery. He enjoys traveling, sports and is involved in his church.

 

Dimitrius Hutcherson

Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Technology Officer

First Independence Bank

 

Dimitrius Hutcherson works for First Independence Bank as executive vice president, chief administrative officer & chief technology officer.  He has responsibility for the human resources, technology, retail banking, and external affairs.   

Dimitrius is chairman emeritus of the National Black Child Development Institute, Inc., board member and treasurer, Harvard Business School Club of Michigan; board member, Michigan Roundtable on Diversity & Inclusion; board member, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation; board member Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan and board member, the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation. He served as vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the Lincoln University of Pennsylvania where he chaired the Investment Committee (Sept. 2015 – Oct. 2020).

Dimitrius has prior work experience in senior level roles at PNC Financial Services Group, Deloitte Services, LP, Freddie Mac, GMAC Commercial Mortgage, GE Capital, Ernst & Young, LLP and JP Morgan Chase. Dimitrius earned a BA degree in finance, cum laude, at Morehouse College and an MBA in finance and business strategy from Harvard Business School.

Deola Animashaun

North Central Community Region Executive for the Retail Community Banking Division
Bank of America

Deola Animashaun is the North Central Community Region Executive for the Retail Community Banking Division for Bank of America.  This region consists of 8 markets spanning across Chicago, Dallas, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Iowa.  As the Region Executive, Deola is responsible for developing end-to-end business strategies to improve productivity, proficiency and the overall competitive position in the community markets.

He formerly was Consumer Banking Region Executive for Michigan and previously the Consumer Banking Market Leader in West Cobb, Georgia. Deola joined the Bank of America Team in 2016 after 12 years at Chase serving in various leadership roles.

A graduate of the Georgia State University Executive MBA program, Deola is passionate about Diversity and Inclusion. His work and commitment earned him the prestigious 2019 Diversity and Inclusion award. He is a member of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, the NAACP and co-chair of the Black Professionals Employee Networking Group. Deola is also the executive sponsor for PCN Michigan chapter.  Deola resides in Sterling Heights, Michigan with his wife Ada.  They have one son and three daughters.

 

Darrell Rounds

Lead, North American EV Infrastructure Strategy

General Motors

 

Darrell Rounds has been employed by General Motors for over 24 years and currently serves as a leader within the Electric Vehicle Occupational Safety organization. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University and his M.S. degree in Construction Management from Eastern Michigan University. He carries the designation of Facilities Management Administrator from BOMI International and is a Certified Energy Manager with the Association of Energy Engineers.  He serves on several industry boards including the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Industry Advisory Group and the National Institute of Building Sciences as its Treasurer.

Darrell is an Associate Pastor of Outreach at the Detroit Campus of Kingdom Apostolic Ministries where the Senior Pastor is Bishop Lambert Wade Gates, Sr. He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and is the Membership Director of the Iota Rho Lambda Chapter serving Pontiac, MI. Among his many achievements, his proudest accomplishment is being a devoted husband to his wife Suwanya and a father to his three children Kristen, Darrell Christopher, and Alexis.

Daniel Jackson

CEO

DMC Sinai-Grace

 

Daniel Jackson is the chief executive officer at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital. Most recently he served as vice president, administration, with WellStar Health System & Atlanta Medical Center – South, where he previously served as chief administrative officer prior to its acquisition from Tenet. Daniel brings nearly 20 years of valuable healthcare experience to the DMC, having worked in numerous senior leadership roles, including prior roles with Tenet.

 

Daniel earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Morehouse College in

Atlanta, and a Master of Science in public health administration from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. He is highly committed to the community that Sinai-Grace serves and understands the importance of engaging with the community in meaningful and relevant ways.

Daniel’s focus is on cultivating a culture at Sinai-Grace that makes the hospital an employer of choice which will attract and retain the best talent available in order to provide compassionate, high-quality and safe care to the patients they serve.

Damany Head

Chairman
Pontiac Regional Chamber of Commerce

A managing partner in Essential Recycling, where he has been expanding recycling in the commercial industry since 2008.

A graduate of Ohio Northern University with a degree in mechanical engineering, Damany spent half of his professional life working for engineering firms, like Quaker Chemical and General Motors. During the height of the recession in 2008, Damany was faced with a decision: would he continue his career as an engineer or hone the skills he already possessed into a business that could help business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders for years to come. Essential Recycling was born in that moment.

In 2016, he became the chair of the Pontiac Regional Chamber of Commerce Board, where he works with civic governmental business leaders to have a voice in the city’s planning initiatives.

Damany lives in southeast Michigan, with his wife, Shanell, and their three children.

An accomplished trainer and public speaker, Damany has been studying leadership and training for over ten years. He is currently a National Trainer with the New Leadership Council and conducts training workshops throughout the country.

Coleman A. Young II

Councilman
City of Detroit

Coleman Alexander Young II, 39, City Councilman At Large for all Detroiters, served in the State House and Senate for 12 years. He passed 13 laws helping his constituents and resolved 12,000 constituent complaints, created 10,000 jobs with movie tax credits and appropriated $800,000,000 back to his district. He is focused on putting his legislative experience to use for the residents of Detroit. His priorities are: 1)Getting ALL Detroiters safely vaccinated to fully re-open the economy; 2)Neighborhood Public Safety and Development; 3)Streamlining Small Business Development Processes for Minority Businesses; 4)Establish a pilot guaranteed income program to address poverty; 5)Establish a Pilot Police Program for Advanced Peace, that includes Community Intervention; 6)Affordable Housing; and 7)Grants for Seniors and Residents for Home Improvement.

Coleman founded the Coleman A. Young II Educational Foundation to give free afterschool programs and laptops to Western, Renaissance and Martin Luther King High School students. These students attended Google and Princeton STEM Camps. He is a proud Tuskegee Airmen representing his father, Mayor Coleman A. Young and is a member of St. Paul Church of God In Christ.

 

Caleb Rutledge

President & CEO
Goodwill’s Green Works

As a highly accomplished executive with extensive experience in advertising, marketing strategy, project management, digital media planning and vertical integration, Mr. Rutledge is currently the President and CEO of Goodwill Green Works (GGW) a subsidiary of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit (GIGD). Mr. Rutledge is responsible for leading the organization in every aspect of the business including, diversifying revenue streams and ensuring profitability while delivering quality service. His responsibilities also include the overall safety initiatives in GGW, GIGD and commercial sales and operations. As a member of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit’s Executive team, he helps set the organization’s strategic direction and contributes to the entire organization’s successful execution of the strategic plan.
Prior to joining GGW, Rutledge held several positions at Habitat for Humanity Detroit including: Director of Operations, ReStore Director, and Procurement Manager.
As an aspiring young professional Rutledge recognized the importance of giving back. He co-founded the non-profit Legacy Associates Foundation (LAF), which focused on economic empowerment, scholastic achievement, and community involvement.

Brian McKinney Sr.

CEO, Founder
Gayanga

Brian McKinney Sr. is the CEO and Founder of Gayanga Co., a licensed, bonded, and insured construction engineering startup specializing in total demolition, site clearing excavation and earthwork, environmental services, asset recovery, underground utilities (electrical and water), and trucking. Over the last decade, Brian has amassed a wealth of experience in startup culture, business ownership, leading-edge technologies, analytics, real estate development, coalition building, and unlocking the potential of underserved communities.

Before founding Gayanga Co., Brian launched a series of tech startups, including The Tax Chief, an online tax preparation service that allowed Certified Public Accountants to prepare taxes at a low-cost rate for individuals traditionally targeted by substandard tax franchises in urban communities.

When away from work, Brian strives to make a social impact through technology as the cofounder of JOURNi, a tech non-profit working to increase computer science training and startup access in underserved communities. He also works with universities in Michigan to bring tech professionals of color on campuses to speak about tech and career development.

Bill Grice

Vice President and Executive Director
Minority Business Development Agency, MBDA

Bill Grice is currently the President and CEO of MW ADVANTAGE LLC and Director of the Minority Business Development Center in Detroit Michigan (MBDA), the MBDA Center operates under a federal grant from the Department of Commerce department. The Center is Operated by the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC).

Prior to joining MBDA Bill served in many roles as a resilient C-Suite leader and serial entrepreneur. Bill is a noted industry sector expert and advisor in automotive, consumer, industrial, and medical products as well as machinery & equipment. Bill has an extensive background working with public and privately-owned companies in the areas of turnaround management. He has successfully assisted and obtained new and expanded credit facilities with alternative sources of capital. As an investor, he has also actively participated, invested, and completed M&A activities and transactions.

Grice is a family man married for 34 years to high school sweetheart, with three lovely adult children and five grands who are the love of his life!

Bill has helped facilitate capital raises of $4.5 million for the Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation.

B. Donta Truss

Vice President for Enrollment and Development
Grand Valley State University

B. Donta Truss has served 22 years strengthening higher education institutions and establishing pathways that provide access to students, especially low-income and first-generation. As an accomplished administrator and educator, his experience ranges from roles at Historically Black Colleges/Universities to Predominantly White Institutions. He has held positions in nearly every branch of academia. Truss is currently Vice President for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach at Grand Valley State University.

Truss is a triple graduate of Alabama State University. His doctorate is in Educational Leadership, Policy and Law. He has received several commendations, including recognition by his alma mater as a Top 50 Under 50 recipient, Georgia Trend Magazine’s 40 Under 40 leader, and for the Cuthbert Georgia Rotary President’s Award. He is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated and holds professional memberships in NASPA, SAIR, and Chi Sigma Iota. Truss also mentors through his nonprofit, Turning Dreams into Reality (TDI), aimed at developing African American Male collegiate scholars.

Andre L. Johnson

Founder, President, CEO
Detroit Recovery Project

Andre L. Johnson, a native Detroiter, is the Founder/President/CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project Incorporated–a non-profit, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) delivering services to more than 3,000 people annually.

Detroit Recovery Project provides comprehensive integrated health services that include a full range of mental health and substance-use disorder services such as: primary care, therapy, psychiatric evaluations, peer recovery coaching; GED preparation; twelve-step support groups; housing assistance; job readiness and employment assistance, as well as and HIV prevention, testing, counseling and harm reduction services.

Johnson is known internationally for his work in the field of addiction. In 2016, Johnson was recognized at the White House by President Barack Obama as the “2016 Champion of Change for Prevention, Treatment and Recovery”. Johnson consulted on behalf of the United States President Emergency Plan Against Aids to the Department of Ministry of Health, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and Zanzibar. Johnson is also a board member of the Wayne Center–an agency that provides services for the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled.

Amin Irving

Founder, President, CEO
Ginosko Development Company

Amin Irving is the founder, president, and CEO of Ginosko Development Company with a capitalized portfolio value of over $585 million. He is responsible for the overall performance and operation of all divisions of the  GDC family of companies. Irving oversees the strategy and the development process throughout the full life cycle of a real estate endeavor.

Irving is driven to help catalyze socio-economically diverse neighborhoods through housing development. Irving was attracted to real estate development at 18 after his mother’s passing when he found himself in difficult negotiations over the sale of his mother’s home. “The broker thought that I should sell the house for $20,000 less than what I thought it could be sold for; and the house ended up being sold at my suggested price within two weeks,” said Irving, “That sparked my real estate drive.”

Irving has served on numerous Boards and Advisory Councils including the Chairman of the Board for both the Michigan Housing Council and the Area Agency on Aging 1-B. Irving was awarded the Crain’s Detroit  Business Top 40 Businessperson’s under 40 years old in 2008.

Senator Adam Hollier

2nd Senate District
Michigan Senate

Senator Adam Hollier was born and raised in the north end of Detroit where generations of his family have lived since the 1940s. The son of a former social worker and a retired Detroit Fire Department captain, service to people and the community were ingrained in Hollier from a young age.

Sen. Hollier served as a volunteer firefighter before enlisting in the U.S. Army and graduating with distinction from officer candidate school. He currently serves as a paratrooper and Public Works Officer in the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion.

He began his public service in roles as a staffer in the state legislature and with local officials in the city of Detroit. As senator, Hollier has secured funding and gained bipartisan support for critical programs throughout the region, including career readiness, business development, mentoring and education initiatives. Senator Hollier has a passion for community and believes that developing careers and businesses, strengthening public education, pushing for fair representation within district maps, affordable childcare, and fostering strong, safe neighborhoods are key to the continued growth of our region.

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