Introducing Our New Regional Directors

August 30, 2017 - 4 minutes read

The Michigan SBDC is in an exciting time of growth. Over the past year we have celebrated the accomplishments of three of our Regional Directors as they entered retirement and one who moved on to other opportunities. Each of the four Regional Directors had a significant impact on their Regional communities. We thank them for their years of dedication to the Michigan SBDC.

We are excited to introduce four new Directors who will continue that momentum.  All of the individuals below bring passion and excitement to the Michigan SBDC leadership team. We are incredibly proud to introduce you to our new Regional Directors: Ed Garner, Kristi Kozubal, Janis Mueller and Wendy Thomas.

Ed Garner

The Michigan SBDC welcomes Ed Garner to the West Michigan Region team, as Regional Director. He previously served as President/CEO of Muskegon Area First, a private, non-profit corporation serving all of Muskegon County. Garner is currently the Board President of the Urban League of Greater Muskegon and the Board Treasurer for the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. During his career, Ed has been recognized for having the best Satellite SBTDC Center in 1999 and the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award in 1998. Garner has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Western Michigan University and Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from Michigan State University.


Kristi Kozubal

Kristi Kozubal has been named Regional Director of the Great Lakes Bay Region, hosted at Delta College. With over 15 years of experience working with small businesses, non-profit agencies and local government organizations, Kristi brings a vast amount of experience to the MI-SBDC. Kristi has expertise in counseling and advising individuals and businesses includes strategic planning, data analysis, communications, negotiations, policy-making, financial restructuring, succession planning, executive recruitment and business management. Kristi is a licensed Michigan attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Michigan State University College of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan.


Janis Mueller

Janis Mueller is now serving as the Regional Director for the I-69 Trade Corridor Region, hosted at Kettering University.  Previously, Janis served as a Senior Business Consultant for the SBTDC North Carolina in Wilmington and served as an interim regional director there for almost a year. Janis is eager to continue to focus on entrepreneurship in the Flint area, as well as focusing on more collaboration with the resource partners in the community and region. She brings with her family-business ownership experience, international expertise, and some advanced certifications. Janis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business and German from Eastern Michigan University and is working toward her Masters of Business Administration through the University of North Carolina Wilmington.


Wendy Thomas

Wendy is currently serving as the interim Southeast Michigan Region Regional Director, hosted by Eastern Michigan University. She has been with the Michigan SBDC network for over 20 years and has served in leadership, consulting, training, and administrative roles. Wendy has counseled hundreds of start-ups and existing businesses over the years resulting in clients obtaining financing as well as launching and growing their small businesses. She was named Small Business Consultant of the Year by the Small Business Administration. Wendy is also certified as a Small Business Administration Export Trade Specialist. Wendy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Michigan State University, Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Entrepreneurship, and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Eastern Michigan University.