Dr. Farshad Fotouhi is currently Dean of the College of Engineering at Wayne State University. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University, College of Engineering in 1988 and joined the faculty of Computer Science at Wayne State University in August 1988. He served as the Department Chair from January 2004-February 2011. Before joining WSU in 1988, he was a faculty member of the Lyman Briggs School, Michigan State University, while earning his Ph.D.
Dr. Fotouhi’s current research interests include Biomedical Informatics, Semantic Web and Multimedia Systems. He has published over 180 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. His research has been supported by NSF, NIH, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, Ford Motor Company and many other industries.
Ron Fournier is the Associate Publisher for Crain’s Detroit Business. As Associate Publisher, Fournier leads editorial content strategy and works to expand new business and audience opportunities for the publication. Prior to joining Crain’s, Fournier served as editor-in-chief of the National Journal for two years and as senior political columnist for the National Journal and The Atlantic. Fournier has won many journalism awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award and the White House Correspondents’ Association Merriman Smith Memorial Award. A graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy, Ron began his journalistic career in Hot Springs, Ark., moving to Little Rock to cover then-Gov. Bill Clinton. Fournier is the author of Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations which became a NYT bestseller. He serves on the senior advisory board of the Harvard Institute of Politics.
Jennifer graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Broadcast Communications along with a double minor in English and Journalism. While there, she worked in the Sports Information Department covering football, women's gymnastics and basketball.
After living in Chicago, Jennifer made her way back home to Detroit, working for WDFN and covering the Lions, Wings, Tigers, and Pistons, along with both Michigan and Michigan State sports. This led to a full-time job as the News Director at Fox 2 Detroit where she currently works.
Yodit Mesfin Johnson
As Chief Relationship Officer at NEW (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work), Yodit initiates strategic partnerships, high impact collaborations, and innovative business opportunities. Prior to joining NEW, she directed a statewide business development project for the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED). Yodit studied Marketing and Communications at Eastern Michigan University, and is the 2014 recipient of the American Business Women’s Association Rising Star award. Yodit is founder of Lips & Hips, a leadership program for girls and women.
Bruce Nyberg joined Flagstar’s board in March 2015, after serving as interim director of Community Banking. As a board member, he serves on the company’s risk committee.
Prior to Flagstar, he was regional president-East Michigan for Huntington Bancshares Incorporated for six years. He had a 28-year career at NBD Bancorp (now Chase Bank), where he led Michigan Commercial Banking, Retail Banking Operations, Marketing, Information Technology, and Electronic Banking. Among his board memberships are the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees, Forgotten Harvest, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion.
Stephen Luigi Piazza
Stephen Luigi Piazza is the Senior Director of Mortgage Loans with Quicken Loans here in Detroit. In his nearly 20 years with Quicken, he has been instrumental in many key projects, including leading the company’s presenting sponsorship with the Detroit Pistons. He joined the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program Advisory Board in February of 2014 and has worked tirelessly to support efforts to grow the program. Stephen is currently the co-host of Opportunity Detroit, a radio program focusing on the revitalization of Detroit.
Jim Ryan founded JPRA Architects, an award winning architectural firm specializing in National and International commercial projects, and directed design and marketing activities until his retirement in 2008. He serves Lawrence Tech University on the Alumni Board, Steering Committee, and Distinguished Architectural Alumni. Jim serves as the Architectural Advisor to the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program.
Hubert Sawyers, III
Hubert is principal at SORSAW Enterprises, a digital marketing consultancy that specializes in optimizing search and social efforts to enhance business activity. Hubert has supported other local causes including North Rosedale Park Civic Association and Michigan Humane Society. A Michigan State University graduate, he studied both International Relations and Japanese. Born and raised in Detroit, he now resides in Ferndale, and spends time collecting records, cooking, and staying physically active.
Tahir Whitehead was selected by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Temple University. Whitehead, who became one of the teams most valuable players on special teams through his first two seasons, moved into the starting lineup at middle linebacker for Detroit September 28, 2014. Whitehead finished an impressive season with 86 tackles, 2 interceptions and 5 passes defensed. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Whitehead has found his niche working with youth in the Metro Detroit area, with a primary focus on education. Since September of last year, Whitehead has hosted events with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Public School Systems Proud Strong Learner’s Program and Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program.