Elizabeth Parkinson, Donald E. Snider Named to Lead Marketing and Urban Economic Development Efforts

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hirings signal sharper focus on entrepreneurship, urban revitalization

Michigan Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Michael A. Finney today announced Elizabeth Parkinson, former vice president, marketing and communications for Ann Arbor SPARK, MEDC senior vice president, marketing and communications, and Donald E. Snider, former president and CEO, Walden Foods in Ann Arbor, MEDC senior vice president, urban economic development. 

“I have asked two talented and richly experienced economic development professionals to join me in setting a new course for the state’s economic development efforts,” Finney said. “Both Elizabeth and Donald are held in high regard by their colleagues and peers, and I know they will be a great addition to our team.” 

At SPARK since November of 2005, Parkinson developed and implemented the Ann Arbor SPARK marketing strategy and plan implementing the Ann Arbor USA brand. During her tenure, SPARK grew to national recognition with aggressive public relations outreach, targeted advertising and the development and use of digital and social media tools. Under her direction, SPARK undertook the design and development of a range of online and collateral communication tools and supported over 150 annual educational, training and networking events. She also created and implemented the MichAgain talent attraction and retention initiative. 

Prior to joining Ann Arbor SPARK, from 1992-2002, she was employed by Edelman Public Relations in Chicago and served as managing director of the Creative Solutions group developing, coordinating and executing creative campaigns for multi-national clients including: Microsoft, Kraft, KFC, Pizza Hut, FTD, Case IH, Allstate, , Abbott, , Pfizer, Fuji Film, Mexico Ministry of Tourism, Illinois Board of Tourism, Bacardi, Underwriters Laboratories and Whirlpool. Parkinson holds a B.A. degree in Marketing and Accounting from Alma College. 

Snider’s career spans over 20 years with extensive experience in public and private administration roles. As president and CEO of Walden Foods, he owned and operated two Papa John’s franchises in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti with 40 full and part-time employees serving the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University communities. From 1995-2009, Snider was president and CEO of Paper-Plas Converting, Inc., a tier one automotive supplier in Detroit and Milwaukee, WI. Past positions include: accounts manager for Randolph-General Medical Inc., Livonia; chief operations officer for New Center Hospital, Detroit; owner and operator of two Kentucky Fried Chicken stores in Illinois; and financial developer for the General Motor Institute for American Business, Detroit. 

Snider has been recognized with several awards including: Michigan Minority Business Development Council Supplier of the Year in 2003, 2002 and 2000; and has served on numerous boards including: Davenport University Foundation Board, Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program and as a member of the Michigan Building Authority board under appointment by Governor Engler. He currently serves on the Henry Ford Health System and Chicago Federal Reserve Advisory boards. Snider is author of Beyond the Bling, a book about taking real steps to financial success. He holds a Masters of Public Administration degree from Central Michigan University. 

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.