Board of Managers

Grow Michigan’s Board of Managers understands the unique characteristics and complexities of running lower middle market businesses. Their backgrounds enable them to be supportive to all key company and management decisions, build corporate strategies, develop and execute financial strategies and offer unique operating expertise and perspective.

Kenneth Kelly
Executive Chairman

Kenneth Kelly serves as Chairman and CEO of First Independence Bank, a minority depository institution, based in Detroit, Michigan. He is a respected leader in the banking community, currently serving as Chairman of the National Bankers Association. In 2018, he was named to the Federal Reserve Bank’s Seventh District Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC). Mr. Kelly was also selected to become a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman’s Advisory Committee on Community Banking which is charged with providing advice and recommendations to the FDIC on a broad range of community banking policy and regulatory matters. In October 2020, he is expected to be seated on the American Bankers Association Board of Directors. 

Mr. Kelly has testified as an expert witness before the U.S. Congressional House Financial Services subcommittee on consumer protection and financial institutions and has provided input to the full committee of the House Financial Services during its COVID19 listening session. Also, Mr.Kelly provided input and advice to the Secretary of Treasury and White House Staff during COVID19 on the state of minority banks.

Mr. Kelly’s leadership in various organizations has culminated in him being selected as the chairperson of the Auburn University Engineering Alumni Council. In this role, Mr. Kelly works with a successful group of alumni including many CEOs to assist the dean of the college with research and development, fundraising, academic achievement and overall guidance to the college to become the best student-centered program in America. In 2019, the dedication of the new Brown Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center included the naming of the Kenneth Kelly Engineering Academic Excellence Program Reception Area.

Prior to banking, Mr. Kelly enjoyed a 27 year career as an electric utility business leader in numerous roles within Southern Company. His last role entailed negotiating acquisitions of large renewable solar projects valued at $3.4 billion in partnership value. In 2018, Mr. Kelly was inducted as the 137th Distinguished Auburn Engineer. On February 22nd, 2020 he was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.

Mr. Kelly grew up in Eufaula, Alabama and received an electrical engineering degree from Auburn University and completed the executive MBA program at the University of Alabama.
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Henry J. Brennan III

Mr. Brennan is a founding member of Grow Michigan, LLC. He is a partner with Howard & Howard, PLLC and provides legal counsel to Grow Michigan, LLC. He concentrates his practice in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and real estate. Mr. Brennan is AV Rated by Martindale Hubble (its highest rating based on peer review), he has also been consistently designated as a Top Lawyer by DBusiness and a Michigan Super Lawyer.

Brennan in addition has been a founder and equity partner in several business ventures, including A3 Integration, TradeLogix and FreightVerify. Mr. Brennan serves on several corporate boards and advisory committees, in addition to being involved with several civic and philanthropic organizations.

He received a B.A. in Economics and English from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Wayne State University Law School.
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Patrick McQueen

Patrick M. McQueen is a Managing Director of McQueen Financial Advisors, providing an array of consulting services to financial institutions.  McQueen serves on the Board of Directors of EnerBank USA (Salt Lake City)  and serves as Chair of the Audit Committee for Grow Michigan. Previously, he served in varying capacities, including Chairman, President and C.E.O.  of The Private Bank and successor banks. Previously, McQueen spent eight years in State Government, serving as the Commissioner of Banking and briefly, as the Acting Commissioner of Insurance. The first 24 years of his banking career was spent with Comerica Bank, and its predecessor, Manufacturers National Bank.

Current assignments include serving on the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the Motor City Lyric Opera Board, the Kelly (Services) Relief Fund Board and the Oakland Community Foundation Board. McQueen holds a B.B.A. From the University of Michigan-Dearborn and an M.B.A. From Michigan State University. McQueen also graduated from the Graduate School of Retail Banking at the University of Virginia.

He and his wife, Catherine, reside in Bloomfield Hills. All three children reside in the area.
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Chris Cook

Chris Cook serves as Director – Capital Access for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In this role, Mr. Cook is responsible for managing the MEDC’s effort in supporting Michigan based companies seeking commercial lending from microlending through lower middle market companies. Mr. Cook oversees the Michigan Strategic Fund’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (“SSBCI”) allocation.

Mr. Cook received a BA in Supply Chain Management from Michigan State University. He has over 13 years of experience in the financial services industry. This experience includes assisting small businesses secure financing through a variety of sources including the support of SSBCI and SBA.

Julius Edwards

Julius Edwards serves as the Senior Commercial Real Estate Investment Manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, focusing on overseeing the underwriting and structuring of incentives for the Michigan Community Revitalization Program.

Mr. Edwards received his B.A. in Finance from Michigan State University. He has over 22 years of experience in the financial services industry. That experience includes providing creative financing solutions for businesses in various phases of the life cycle, commercial real estate and affordable housing projects.

Aileen Boven

As Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Officer for the MEDC, Aileen Cohen leads strategic efforts to leverage best practices to incorporate DEI into MEDC’s training, hiring, recruitment and promotion practices, procurement policies and programs, and marketing and services guidelines and objectives to ensure the organization supports a more welcoming, accepting and engaging environment for its employees and its customers.

Prior to joining the Capital Access team, Aileen worked in the MEDC’s legal division as a Senior Contract and Grant Specialist. Previously, Aileen also worked at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, serving in a variety of different roles. Altogether, Aileen has worked for the state of Michigan since 2006. Aileen earned a Master of Business Administration from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Northwood University. Aileen also received a Certificate in Organizational Inclusion & Diversity from Michigan State University.
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James York
First Merchants Bank

James “Jamie” York is First Vice President of Commercial Lending for First Merchants Bank, a full-service commercial and consumer bank headquartered in Michigan with assets of approximately $2.5 billion.

York joined Level One in 2010 and during his tenure has played an integral role in four bank acquisition and managed assets.  He currently leads the Bank’s Commercial Lending Group which serves, Ann Arbor, Jackson and Western Wayne County.  York also manages the bank’s leasing and syndicated loan activities. 

Previously Jamie worked as a commercial lender, leasing agent and asset manager on contract to the FDIC. York has been in the commercial banking industry for more than 20 years, including serving as a FDIC resolution assistance consultant supporting the resolution of assets of four financial institutions during the financial crisis of 2009.
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Donnell White
Huntington Bank

Donnell R. White is the senior vice president and regional diversity, equity, and inclusion director of Huntington National Bank. Previously serving as the Senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer and director of strategic partnerships for TCF National Bank August 2019 to June 2021. He also previously served in the same role at Chemical Bank June 2018 to August 2019.

Prior to joining Chemical Bank, Mr. White served as executive director of the Detroit Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he helped lead the organization’s largest local Branch – also one of its oldest and most storied Branches. While there, he was responsible for the strategic, financial and operational oversight of the organization and also served as the spokesperson and community liaison for the organization.

Donnell is active in the community serving as a board member of the National Diversity Council, Live 6 Alliance, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, Arab American and Chaldean Council, and Crime Stoppers of Michigan. In addition, he serves on the Michigan Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) Leadership Council, Grow Michigan Board of Managers, Federal Bureau of Investigations Multicultural Advisory Committee, Wayne State University President’s Community Advisory Group, Focus Hope Advisory Group, Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity Advisory Group, and the Michigan State Police Citizen’s Advisory Council. He is Board Trustee for Michigan Children’s Foundation, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Public Safety Foundation.
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Rev. Charles E. Williams II

Charles E. Williams II is the Pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit and the Michigan Chair of the National Action Network. He can often be heard on Sirius XM channel 126 as the co-host of 'Keeping it Real’ with Rev. Al Sharpton.

Charles is engaged in research at the University of Michigan in the Center on Assets, Education and Inclusion and at Poverty Solutions. His research interests include poverty, inequality, health disparities, and the intersection of race and religion. Charles enjoys training for marathons, sailing, and spending time with his wife, Angela, and their two young children.