Ed Garner, President & CEO
Ed Garner is President/CEO of Muskegon Area First, a private, non-profit corporation serving all of Muskegon County. Prior to Muskegon Area First Ed Garner was the Economic Development Vice President of the Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg Chamber of Commerce. Previously he served as Executive Director for the Kent Area MicroBusiness Loan Services, an economic development group providing training and loans to small businesses, Muskegon Economic Growth Alliance, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC), FMB Lumberman’s Bank (now Huntington Bank), and Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Garner is currently the Board President of the Urban League of Greater Muskegon and the Board Treasurer for the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. He previously served on the boards of the Muskegon Heights Public School District and Neighborhood Investment Corporation. 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. Garner is a City of Muskegon resident and is married to Tonette Brown Garner, who works for Muskegon Community College, and has a daughter named Shalyn.
Pamela Poort, Director, Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
Pamela has been the Director of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) since 1989, counseling business owners in marketing their products and services to federal, state, local and international markets. Ms. Poort has extensive experience in government contracting procedures and policies, government regulations, bid preparation, and pre- and post-award administration.
Pamela attended Grand Valley State University, from which she received a B.B.A. majoring in Marketing with a minor in Management. She completed the International Marketing Program from the Thunderbird Management Center, American Graduate School of International Management, and has received her Associates and Master’s Certificate from the George Washington School of Business. Her studies related to government contracting are ongoing through the Defense Acquisition University and Federal Publications.
Pamela is a board member of the PTACs of Michigan, Inc., and is Chair of the Internal Policies Committees. Poort is also a member of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC), sitting on the Board of the By-Laws Committee. She is active with several Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Organizations. The PTAC provides government contracting assistance to all business types in a 13-county service area that includes: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, and Ottawa.
Shelia Polacco, Senior Procurement Counselor, Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
Shelia Polacco has been with the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) since 1998 and has nineteen years of previous government contracting assistance with a large defense contractor. Shelia provides technical support and counseling to businesses, handling requests with strict confidentiality. She performs initial counseling sessions and identifies and locates government bid opportunities. She engages in one-on-one counseling to address client issues such as applications and registrations, marketing strategies, bid preparation assistance, and subcontracting opportunities.
Shelia assists area businesses in contracting with federal, state and local governments. Shelia has received her Associates Certificate in Government Contracting from the George Washington School of Business and is continuing her education through the Defense Acquisition University. She is a member of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) and the PTACs of Michigan, Inc.
Sheila Kreason, Counselor, Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
Sheila relocated to the Muskegon Area First Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) in ecember 2014, from her previous PTAC office in Region 3. She has more than 20-years of business management and consulting experience which includes: commercial project and contract management, commercial development, applied alternative & renewable energy technologies, and agri-business; with emphasis in feasibility analysis, financial pro forma development, and data driven strategic planning; spanning public and private sectors. She provides technical support to businesses to in government contracting procedures, policies, regulations, training opportunities, registrations and certifications, data analysis, marketing and communications, teaming and joint ventures, bid preparation, and pre- and post-award administration.
Sheila received her Certificate in Government Contracting from the George Washington University School of Business in Washing, D.C. and Bachelors in Business Management from Northwood University in Midland. She is currently preparing for the CFCM certification; and with additional coursework from the Defense Acquisition University. Sheila is life-time commissioned Ambassador for iChange Nations, member of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC), the National Contract Management Association, National Defense Industry Association, and the PTACs of Michigan.
Jonathan Seyferth, Executive Director, Downtown Muskegon Now
Jonathan, a Muskegon native, joined Muskegon Area First (MAF) in October 2011 as a Business Development Manager and became the Executive Director for Downtown Muskegon Now in October 2013.
In addition to his business development experience with MAF, he brings nearly eight years of state and federal legislative experience to Downtown Muskegon Now, including five years as the Muskegon District Representative for Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra. In that role Jonathan managed casework for more than a half dozen federal agencies and departments, participated in local coalition building and represented Congressman Hoekstra at meetings and events throughout Michigan’s second congressional district.
His community involvement includes having served as a volunteer at Mercy Hospital and past membership in the Muskegon Jaycees. He is a recipient of the Greater Muskegon Jaycees’ Distinguished Service Award, Outstanding Young Man of the year 2007.
Jonathan is twice graduated from Central Michigan University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Master of Science in Administration.