PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW

Ned Staebler


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Ned Staebler serves as the president and CEO of TechTown Detroit, Detroit’s most established business incubator and accelerator and Vice President for Economic Development at Wayne State University. He leads both organizations’ efforts to strengthen the Detroit region’s neighborhoods, businesses and leaders, overseeing a range of activities around innovation and entrepreneurship, business development and attraction, talent retention, transit and mobility, and placemaking.

TechTown has become Detroit’s entrepreneurship hub and a business service organization that provides a breadth of diverse and innovative programming, education and resources for early-to growth-stage small businesses and tech entrepreneurs. The organization offers a variety of programs to support tech startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial education from technology-based programs to small business services and entrepreneurial education.

Staebler is a fierce advocate for providing an equitable playing field for Detroit’s small business and tech startups. Under his leadership, TechTown recently secured a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship to unlock angel capital and diversify angel investing throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

Staebler previously served as the Vice President for Entrepreneurial and Capital Services at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In this role, he was responsible for the oversight of the Michigan Strategic Fund Board and the 21st Century Jobs Fund, a $2 billion, 10-year initiative to transform Michigan’s economy. As part of these efforts, Staebler led the investment and management of $600 million of state funds into entrepreneurial companies, venture capital and private equity funds, and strategic service providers.

Staebler also spent nearly a decade in the private sector, working in both startup and Fortune 150 environments. He served on the management team of the Helios Group, a technology-based, startup financial services firm that he helped grow from 30 to 130 employees. After Helios was acquired in 2000 by Bear Stearns, he spent the next three years in the company’s London, England office as an Associate Director.

A Detroit native, Staebler is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Harvard, and he received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He serves on various boards, including NextEnergy, Midtown Detroit, Inc., the Detroit Historical Society, MichBio and the Ann Arbor Local Development Finance Authority.


Damany A. Head


Chair, Pontiac Regional Chamber of Commerce


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Damany Head is an engineer by trade, and a leader by birth, a dad of three, and he is using that combination to lift the city of Pontiac. He is a Pontiac business owner, serving as managing partner of Essential Recycling. The company is aggressively expanding recycling in the commercial industry by helping companies find a way for every resource used to find its way into valuable processes or products. But for Head, that mission is about more than just his own business. He’s a man on a mission–working to harness and maximize the potential of the city of Pontiac and its people.

In 2016 while still managing Essential Recycling, Head assumed the role of Chair and President of the Pontiac Regional Chamber of Commerce Board. There, he works closly with local and state government officials on planning initiatives, advocates for Pontiac based businesses, and works to attract new business to the city. During his time as Chair, Head has substantially increased membership significantly at the chamber–a Chamber on the verge of collapse when he came on board– and has added high profile companies to the membership rolls, such as Auch Construction, General Motors and Flagstar Bank. And while doing all of this, it was not uncommon to find Head coming into a Chamber meeting with his children in tow. His wife, Shanell, is also active in the Chamber and the family works together to champion the success of the city.

While working with the members of the Chamber community, Head realized that his organization could have a larger impact beyond the traditional role that Chambers of Commerce typically play. He knows that Pontiac’s success is ultimately tied to the educational success of its residents. If you don’t have a well-educated workforce, businesses don’t want to invest in your community. Housing values remain depressed because people have trouble finding work. Head believes education has to be a priority–starting with our children.

Under Head’s leadership, the Pontiac Chamber created the nonprofit Pontiac United Education Coalition (PUEC). This unique organization within the Chamber is a consortium of all schools; public, private and charter operating within the city of Pontiac. PUEC is an Initiative that is inclusive of parents, teachers, educators, and community stakeholder all working together to improve educational outcomes for students in the city. PUEC’s goal is to strengthen the education system in Pontiac to create economic opportunities for residents, while making Pontiac more attractive for further investment and job growth.




Mike McGuinness


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Mike McGuinness currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of the Berkley Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Executive Director of Oakland County’s Historical Society and a Board Trustee for the Pontiac School Board.

McGuinness received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Oakland University, where he served as Student Body President and won Student Leader of the year. During his childhood, his father was dealing with mental illness over the years including time as a patient at the historic asylum in Pontiac. After the asylum was closed and torn down, McGuinness was inspired to pursue a career in politics, with the goal to preserve vulnerable historical sites and to improve the state’s mental health policies.

McGuinness started out as a member of the legislative staff of the Michigan House of Representatives, then served as a commissioner of the Pontiac Charter Revision Commission. He later served as Chairman of the Pontiac Arts Commission, which works to enhance the aesthetic and cultural experience for city residents and visitors; there, he created the Pontiac Arts Crawl and the Hauntiac initiatives.

In 2016, he was honored to be elected by the voters of Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Bloomfield Township, Lake Angelus, Orion Township, Sylvan Lake, Waterford Township and West Bloomfield Township to be serve on the Pontiac School Board; he was re-elected in 2020 and while serving as Board President, the District successfully eliminated their $51 Million structural deficit. He was also enlisted by Oakland County’s Historical Society to lead as their Executive Director, where he focused on celebrating the county’s history and preserving local historic sites.

This past July, McGuinness was selected as the Interim Executive Director for the Berkley DDA. In his short amount of time there, he has been proactive by spearheading Berkley’s first ever BOO!KLEY Nights, a monthlong celebration of Halloween-themed events designed to generate excitement and traffic to downtown Berkley