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Zach Guerrette

I work with a small but very talented group of scientists to evaluate the human and ecological health hazards of chemicals in consumer products and in the environment.  Most of our work deals with assisting companies in improving the sustainability of their products by identifying safer alternative ingredients and conducting product safety evaluations.  I've really enjoyed working with an intelligent and exciting group of people and I'm really proud of the work we do to protect the public's health.  

Job Title: Toxicologist
College: University of Washington, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Toxicology Ph.D., Seattle, WA

Jeff May

We are performance brokers for artists and bands across the country, Canada, and Australia.  If they are performing in these respective countries, we had a hand in it setting it up.  I started off as a local concert promoter while I attended the University of Michigan and eventually landed an internship with the company, which ultimately led to the position I hold today.

My favorite elements of the job are working to give great artists a lifestyle that allows them to pursue their artistic visions with minimal constraints and knowing that you are one of the many unseen hands that make memorable nights for thousands of audience members possible.    

Job Title: Jr. Agent / Assistant to the Sr. Vice President
Company: Fleming Artists
College: University of Michigan, College of Literature, Science & The Arts, Ann Arbor, MI

Heather Anne Leavitt

My love for cake design stems from an education in art, a passion for food, and a childlike refusal to believe that there is anything I cannot create. While attending the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, I packed up my paintbrushes and headed to Florence for a semester abroad. Though I had hoped that immersing myself in the realm of the Italian masters would rub off on my artistic prowess, I found myself more interested in the perfect foam atop my cappuccino. I began to cook, and realized that I loved it. My time in Italy began to revolve around trips to the local market, home-cooked multicourse dinners with my roommates, and weekend pilgrimages to sample different types of regional cuisine.

Upon returning to the States, my newfound passion for food seeped into my art making. For my art school thesis, I dedicated myself to forming the same connection to food in Michigan that I had experienced in Italy. After working with food producers and artisans in the Ann Arbor area, I created a series of edible monuments to honor each one.

Since graduating in 2007, I have had the to opportunity to work with Eve Aronoff as a cook at eve the Restaurant, as well as with Courtney Clark of Cake Nouveau on a series of Food Network Challenges. Both experiences have been influential in developing who I am as a cook and an artist.

I love what I do, and look at each new cake as a challenge to create something beautiful that will make someone’s day.

Job Title: Owner
Company: Sweet Heather Anne
College: University of Michigan, School of Art and Design, Ann Arbor, MI

Darshan Patel

I am currently a Marketing Consultant at Google for the education sector, where I manage over $80M in annual revenue and am leading marketing consultations for colleges and educational resources clients. In this role I develop, strategize, and implement branding and direct response digital marketing campaigns. As an MBA candidate at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, I am focused on strategy and branding communications, which will expand my scope at Google.

Though I miss Pittsburgh, life in Ann Arbor continues to be a great experience. I've been impressed by the extremely high caliber of professionals and students in the downtown area and the community feel that's created by their presence.

Job Title: Marketing Consultant
Company: Google
College: University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, MBA, Ann Arbor, MI

Brittany Galisdorfer

I work for the University of Michigan’s Office of Financial Analysis, which is responsible for the annual budget/financial planning process for the non-academic side of the university.  One of the key initiatives that I’m currently supporting is the university’s ongoing effort to contain costs, maximize resources, increase efficiencies, and reinvest in the institution. Having spent most of my career working with financially distressed local governments, this job offers me the opportunity to get a firsthand perspective on U-M’s approach to sound financial management against the backdrop of declining state appropriations and other economic challenges. I feel lucky to be part of an institution with such a strategic and long-term approach to fiscal responsibility and to be learning so much!

Job Title: Business Analyst Intermediate
Company: University of Michigan
College: University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Ann Arbor, MI

Meredith Baker

I get to go into work every day and think about how to make your next meal more delicious, more special, more convenient and, really, more of what you need when you order out. The needs of our consumers are what fuels Domino’s innovation. A big part of my job is using insights into what people look for when they order from Domino’s to bring solutions to life that address those needs. This task can be accomplished in many ways, including developing a new menu item, finding a better way to package something, or making sure our current recipes and ways of doing things are relevant to our consumers. There is never a dull moment, and there is never a lack of inspiration. I love that about my job.

Working for an iconic, global brand is wonderful - especially for a marketer. No matter where I am, all I have to do is mention that I work for Domino’s Pizza and I can come away from the conversation with 10 new ideas or musings because – when you think about it – almost everyone is a pizza consumer. I started working for Domino’s almost 4 years ago and have had the opportunity to work in different roles during that time, both here in Ann Arbor and in the field. I spent 18 months as a Field Marketing Leader based in Milwaukee, consulting franchise owners on local marketing plans.

Domino’s is a company full of smart, creative people and we are given the opportunity to develop our careers by taking on roles in different parts of the country and – with our continued growth abroad – different parts of the world. This fosters a spectrum of perspectives within the organization, which adds to the strength and potential of the company as a whole, as well as for individual professionals. Domino’s is a special place, from our offices based at Domino’s Farms to our restaurants all over the world. I am very proud and thankful to be part of the team.

Job Title: Program Leader, New Product Marketing, Brand Innovation Team
Company: Domino's
College: Michigan State University, College of Communications, Arts & Sciences, East Lansing, MI

Miles Putnam

I serve on the investment committee for a local money manager. Our firm invests about $300 million for about 200 clients. Half our client base comes from Michigan, with the other half peppered across the country. Our main focus is domestic growth equities. We also have a growing business in municipal bonds. I mainly follow companies in the retail and technology sectors.
There's more money in Southeast Michigan than people often assume. The auto industry made a lot of people rich over the years, and a good amount of that money is still here. The investment finance industry isn't nearly as developed here as, say, Chicago, but I'd bet that it's on the way up.

Job Title: Research Analyst
Company: Seger-Elvekrog, Inc.
College: University of Michigan, BA in Economics, Masters in Information Science, Ann Arbor, MI

Gretchen Piatt

I came to Michigan in July, 2011 to start a position as an assistant professor of medical education in the Department of Medical Education at the University of Michigan.

In my role as an assistant professor, I conduct community-based diabetes research, which focuses on improving health systems and health care delivery for people with diabetes and cardiovascular disease; understanding the behavioral and psychological aspects of diabetes prevention and management; and developing and implementing diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment interventions in the community. I contribute to numerous diabetes research studies and author diabetes publications. I routinely present my research and national and international diabetes conferences and serve on local, state, national, and international diabetes committees.

Job Title: Assistant Professor of Medical Education
College: University of Pittsburgh

Brian Kelly

When my wife and I began to consider our next move from Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Bay Area seemed like a great fit, professionally. It certainly has some of the best tech opportunities in the U.S., but it didn't feel like a good fit, personally. We were both ready to find a place where we could own a home we loved, see our friends and family regularly, and not have horrendous commutes.

My wife grew up in Brighton, so Ann Arbor has long been in the backs of our minds as a place that might suit both of us well someday. I decided to reach out to SPARK and learn a bit more about the tech community in Ann Arbor while visiting my in-laws over the holidays. A few weeks later I found myself interviewing in town with an emerging security software firm, Duo Security. My previous professional experience was a perfect match for the product marketing role Duo had been seeking to fill. But what really sealed the deal for me was quickly recognizing how much Dug Song, Duo Security's CEO, cared about building a fantastic company and culture. Not even a month later I moved to Ann Arbor and started working for Duo.

I'm now a few weeks into the job, and I already feel like part of this community. The attitude of people here really is a lot more collaborative than competitive. I'm not sure if it's purely due to it being a smaller city than D.C., but I've found it to be a lot more accessible?personally and professionally. My wife and I are living just over a mile from downtown and my commute never takes longer than 10 minutes. She reminds me that this will come in handy when we have our first child in a couple months.

I feel really fortunate to have landed here, and I'm looking forward to growing our company and my family here for years to come.

Job Title: Senior Product Marketing Manager
College: Virginia Tech University

Michelle Machiele

Dr. Brittany Affolter-Caine, the Director of Talent Enhancement at SPARK, is articulate, warm, and direct. As a stay at home mom wanting to reenter the work force, Dr. Affolter-Caine encouraged me to look at temporary jobs to get my foot in the door at the University of Michigan.

 A temp job at the University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women (CEW) was just the ticket. The part time hours allow me to stretch my wings at UM while keeping up with my afternoon job as a middle school running coach and duties as PTSO president at Huron High School.

At the CEW, I schedule appointments for women and men to talk one on one with a counselor for resume review, job search strategies, or to discuss issues such as work-life balance. I meet new people every day, and am delighted when friends come to the CEW. Plus, it is energizing to work with college students at an office in downtown Ann Arbor. I’ve learned many software programs and am preparing to go Google with the rest of the campus.

Here are ideas to pass along:
1.     Find people to be on your job search team (i.e. SPARK, MEDC, CEW)
2.     Keep connected on Linked In
3.     Learn new technology (try Lynda.com  or ask a younger person to teach you)
4.     Be true to yourself to find the right job for you and your family

Job Title: Administrative Assistant Temp
College: Eastern Michigan University & University of Arizona

Jimmy Hurley

I graduated from Western Michigan University in December ’10 with a bachelor’s in Business Marketing. I had worked part-time at a home care nursing agency upon moving back home to Ann Arbor for about the first 7 months. Throughout this entire span of time, I was aggressively applying to jobs and creating an online presence in every online job portal under the sun- trying to gain an entry level position in anything related to Marketing.

A couple months after settling back into my parents house, my father encouraged me to create a profile on Ann Arbor SPARK’s website and join the ‘jobs posting’ mailing list, as he had been on the list himself for about a year at the time. Long story short, I quickly realized that after I had received my first few ”weekly talent search’ emails from SPARK that I need look no further to find a job- and I did.

The thing I love about SPARK’s ‘talent search’ job postings is that all of the posts are for REAL jobs, posted by REAL people… I can’t tell you how frustrated I became with the generic, automated, scammish, and illegitimate SPAM that so many of the online job portals refute as ‘job postings’- most of them are a waste of everybody’s time.

Some time around mid July, I had responded to a new posting that I saw on the SPARK ‘weekly talent search’ email for an opening position with a new startup company called CreateMyTee.com. The position was titled ‘Shirt Specialist’, and I thought it sounded like an exciting and fun opportunity to begin my professional career. I emailed Josh Fales (president, founder, and CEO of CreateMyTee.com) in regard to the posting, and didn’t hear back for a few weeks. To be honest, I almost forgot I even applied to that position after a few weeks had passed- but sure enough, I got a call from Josh in late July. After many hours of questions, answers, restless nights, and uncertainty, I finally got a call in early August from Josh and Steve saying that I had been selected to fulfill the role of Shirt Specialist at CreateMyTee.com!

I can’t thank Ann Arbor SPARK enough for helping me get to where I am today, and starting me off on this new and exciting path at a rapidly expanding startup company. The positive energy and optimism for the future is impossible to ignore from inside our tiny little office across the street from the Ann Arbor Airport, and I believe it’s not too much of a stretch to say that just a couple years from now, it’ll be hard to find somebody who hasn’t heard of us. Thank you Ann Arbor SPARK!

Job Title: Shirt Specialist
Company: Create My Tee.com
College: Western Michigan University

Amelia Bateman

I had been searching for a position that would propel my career forward for over a year.  I was unable to find many positions posted.  When I did find a position I wanted to apply for, and send a resume, I almost never heard back.  One day I was talking to my cousin, and he suggested I look on SPARK’s website.  As soon as I got to SPARK’s Job Portal I could not believe the number, and quality of positions posted.  I applied to 4 positions that night, and got 3 calls later that week.  That lead to 2 interviews and finding my current position at VC Web Design.  My position here is exactly what I was looking for.  For the first time in many years I felt like I was on track.  

Since beginning my position as Marketing and Business Development Executive with VC Web I have attended many educational, and networking event through SPARK.  I can honestly say they are some of the best events I attend on a regular basis.  I have met potential clients and partners.  

It’s hard to believe that 5 months ago I had never heard of SPARK.  Now, just a few months later the resources provided by SPARK have impacted my career in ways I would not have expected were possible.  Many thanks to the SPARK team!

Job Title: Marketing and Business Development Executive
Company: VC Web
College: Eastern Michigan University

Danielle Gartner

I'm a Michigander, through and through!  Having spent most of my life and many vacations in this lovely state, I have an intense desire to not only see good things happen here, but to be a part of that story.  Michigan is such an amazing place that I have trouble imaging myself leaving and Ypsilanti a gem, often overlooked.

I've known about Growing Hope since moving to the Ann Arbor/Ypsi area in 2006 for school and have since made sure to check out what exciting things this amazing organization has going on, from their youth programs to the Downtown Ypsilanti Farmer's Market and the Growing Hope Center urban demonstration farm to their Garden Leadership Training course. 

Once I was alerted to an opening, I jumped at the opportunity to join the Growing Hope team and thankfully they felt I was a good fit!  I'm beyond excited to be working to increase opportunities for healthy food access and food consumption in the Ypsilanti area by working with residents to grow their own food.  It is such a powerful experience.

My job specifically is in managing the youth programs including after school clubs, summer camps, a youth internship program and gardening programs around residential raised bed installations and leadership training for community gardeners, in addition to doing some work on program evaluation.

Job Title: Garden and Youth Program Manager
Company: Growing Hope
College: University of Michigan

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