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Planning and Economic Development



Department Leadership



Vicky Rowinski, CEcD
Department of Planning and Economic Development

Vicky Rowinski is the planning and economic director for Macomb County, the third largest county in Michigan.  In her role, she supports five distinct program areas: Community Planning, Economic Development, GIS and Data Services, Parks and Natural Resources, and Marketing, Communications and Outreach. Prior to joining the county in 2013, Vicky Rowinski worked in economic development at the Detroit Regional Chamber and previously counseled businesses at the Macomb Regional Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Rowinski has a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Baker College, a Master of Science in administration with a concentration in leadership from Central Michigan University and a master’s certificate in government contracting administration from George Washington University. She currently sits on several boards including the Greater Detroit Foreign Trade Zone, MichAuto, the Macomb County Robotics Collaboration and Innovation Center, the Michigan Chapter of Women in Defense, and the Michigan Automotive and Defense Cyber Awareness Team (MADCAT). Rowinski is also involved in the program council for Leadership Macomb and the membership committee for Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA).  She currently teaches at Oakland University and is a licensed real estate agent and member of the Greater Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® (GMAR).




Jeff W. Schroeder, AICP
Deputy Director
Department of Planning and Economic Development

Schroeder previously served as a program director for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development's planning and GIS mapping services. Throughout his tenure, Schroeder focused on a broad range of regional and local planning and policy issues. He also led work related to Macomb County’s Brownfield Program, community planning, grant administration, recreation and non-motorized planning, community visioning and placemaking.
Schroeder has a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan, along with an undergraduate degree in land use planning from Northern Michigan University. He received his AICP certification from the American Planning Association and currently belongs to the American Planning Association and the American Planning Association: Michigan Chapter. Schroeder is also a graduate of Leadership Macomb - Class XIX.



Staff Listing Alphabetically



James Ahee
Program Director
Business Development Services Group

Industry areas: Aerospace, Automation and Robotics, Automotive, Cyber Security, Defense, and Information Technology

Geographic areas: Middle East

Jim Ahee assists local companies in the region as well as firms that are based outside of southeast Michigan, both nationally and internationally, that may be interested in expanding or relocating to Macomb County. Before joining the economic development team in Macomb County, Ahee owned two market research and consulting firms which served a number of Fortune 500 companies across the country.

Ahee obtained his Master of Business Administration from Wayne State University and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management and marketing from Lawrence Technological University.



Curt Chowanic
Business Developer Senior
Business Development Services Group

Industry areas:  Automotive, Advanced Manufacturing and Defense

Curt Chowanic works on behalf of all industries within Macomb County to support business attraction, retention, growth and development.  As an advocate for businesses, he works on their behalf to help drive job creation and investment within the county.  He has extensive experience in real and personal property tax incentives and abatements.

Prior to joining the Macomb County, Curt Chowanic worked at Paradigm Tax Group and was responsible for securing incentives on behalf of his clients.  He has also worked for DTE Energy, Arthur Andersen LLC, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC and Oakland County.

Chowanic has a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Wayne State University and Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Wayne State University and is a member of the Michigan Economic Developers Association.



Jack Johns
Project Manager
Business Development Services Group

Industry Areas: Automotive, Energy, Food and Agriculture, and Retail Geographic Areas: Asia and Australia

Jack Johns specializes in working with food processing, agriculture, automation, robotics, connected vehicles, energy and retail businesses on the retention side. He works with all business sectors on the attraction side to help make Macomb their home. He has 12 years of prior experience in workforce development at Michigan Works! as the employment service supervisor.

Johns has a master’s degree in human resource administration from Central Michigan University, with an undergraduate degree in human resource management from Oakland University. He is a member of the Michigan Economic Developers Association, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce and Macomb Food Collaborative Conference Committee. He served as a former Mount Clemens city commissioner.



Hali Lenney
Business Developer
Business Development Services Group

Hali has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Madonna University and a Masters from Central Michigan University in Health Service Administration. Hali will work to help area businesses achieve their goals for growth. 



Gerard Santoro, AICP
Program Director
PArks and Natural Resources Group 

Gerard Santoro provides support for projects, grants and the administration of various levels of programming associated with our Blue Economy Initiative. Santoro is a certified planner with the American Planning Institute. He has 18 years of experience in the professional planning occupation; the last 12 years have been with Macomb County. He previously served as a research specialist and as an area manager for Silicon Valley-based Etak Digital Maps.

Once Santoro completed his graduate studies in urban planning, he made a transition to the professional planning occupation. He has commendations from the Michigan Association of Planning, Michigan Society of Planning, Clinton River Watershed Council and Michigan Boating Industry Association.



Todd Seibert
Business Developer Senior
Business Development Services Group

Industry Areas: Healthcare and Defense 

Todd Seibert is the newest member of our team, joining the department with more than 12 years working in business and workforce development. Seibert’s experience is both personal and professional. Early in his career, he helped manage his family’s small business. He then pursued a role with Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, where he worked closely with employers on staffing, retention and business expansion. Seibert is a Certified Business Solutions Professional and an expert in designing solutions that integrate workforce development, economic development, education and local/state government assets. 

Seibert holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Wayne State University. 



Maria Zardis
Program Director
Business Outreach and Communications Group

Maria Zardis and her team help to tell the good story about Macomb County while providing opportunities for people to interact and learn. She also serves as the liaison for the Macomb County Film Office.

Zardis earned a Masters of Management from Walsh College and a Bachelor of Science in public administration from Grand Valley State University. She represents the county as a member of the Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development board of directors, Detroit Regional Partnership Talent Attraction Committee, Macomb County’s Great Start Collaborative and Macomb County Human Services Coordinating Body.