About

Staff

Phil Power

Center for Michigan Founder and Chairman Phil Power was the owner of HomeTown Communications Network, Inc., a group of 64 community newspapers in Michigan and the Upper Midwest that together won more state and national awards for excellence than any other group in the country. He sold his newspapers in 2005 and founded The Center in 2006. Power graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan in 1960, where he was editorial director of the student newspaper, the Michigan Daily. He was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University in 1962-64. The former U-M Regent helped found the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and served as Vice Chairman of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. He welcomes your comments at ppower@thecenterformichigan.net.

John Bebow

John Bebow is president and CEO of the Center for Michigan and Bridge Magazine. Published most weekdays at Bridgemi.com, Bridge is Michigan's leading nonprofit publisher of in-depth news and analysis about state politics, public policy, education, the state economy, the environment, and other topics of statewide interest. Bridge attracts more than one million readers each year and has earned more than 100 state and national journalism awards, including three straight "Newspaper of the Year" awards from the Michigan Press Association. Bebow worked previously as an investigative reporter for The Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Ann Arbor News, and Traverse City Record-Eagle. He covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq for the Detroit News and Gannett newspapers and served as editor-in-chief of MLive. His family resides in Dixboro. He holds a bachelor's degree with honors in English from Western Michigan University and a MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. John can be reached at jbebow@thecenterformichigan.net.

David Zeman

David Zeman is senior editor at Bridge. Previously, he was director of content and communication at the nonprofit Education Trust-Midwest. Zeman worked for  two decades at the Detroit Free Press as an investigative reporter and editor. As editor, his reporters won some of the nation’s highest honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, the George Polk Award, the Worth Bingham Prize and the National Headliner Public Service Award. Before returning to his hometown of Detroit, Zeman was a reporter at The Miami Herald and The (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer. He also spent two years as an attorney at a commercial litigation law firm in Miami. Zeman holds a law degree from the University of Miami, a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Beverly Hills with his wife and two children. You can reach David via email at dzeman@bridgemi.com, or call him at 248-210-8476.

Ron French

Senior Writer Ron French joined Bridge in 2011 after having won more than 40 national and state journalism awards since he joined the Detroit News in 1995. French has a long track record of uncovering emerging issues and changing the public policy debate through his work. In 2006, he foretold the coming crisis in the auto industry in a special report detailing how worker health-care costs threatened to bankrupt General Motors. In 2007, French uncovered Michigan’s educator pension and health-care costs that are now at the center of policy debate in Lansing. He is also the author of “Driven Abroad,” a book chronicling the movement of Michigan jobs overseas. You can reach Ron via email at rfrench@bridgemi.com, or call him at 517-214-3636.

Chastity Pratt

Chastity Pratt covers Michigan’s cities and urban affairs for Bridge. She joined the Bridge team from the The Detroit Free Press after more than a decade of providing authoritative coverage of Detroit Public Schools. She has broken many of the biggest stories regarding education in the state’s largest city over the past decade. Pratt’s work also has appeared in USA Today, Essence Magazine and the Investigative Reporters & Editors Journal. Before the Free Press, the native Detroiter was a reporter at Newsday in Long Island, NY, and The Oregonian newspaper in Portland. She started her career as an intern at The New York Times. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from the University of Michigan. You can reach Chastity via email at cpratt@bridgemi.com, or call her at 313-310-7867.

Lindsay VanHulle

Lindsay VanHulle is a Lansing-based Capitol reporter covering state government and politics. She covered the intersection of business and public policy in a joint venture for Bridge and Crain’s Detroit Business until December 2017. Prior to joining Bridge in 2015, she was a reporter at the Lansing State Journal and Traverse City Record-Eagle. Her work also has appeared in the Detroit Free Press and USA Today. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University and is president of the Mid-Michigan Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. You can reach Lindsay via email at lvanhulle@bridgemi.com, or call her at 517-657-3401.

Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson joins us from the Detroit News as Bridge’s computer-assisted reporting specialist. Mike performed a similar role at the News, where his work showed, for instance, that just under half of all Detroit property owners paid their annual tax bills. He was also part of a team at The Blade of Toledo that won national honors, including the National Headliner and Gerald Loeb awards, for exposing widespread political corruption in a scandal that came to be known as Coingate. The stories led to political reform in Ohio state government. You can reach Mike via email at mwilkinson@bridgemi.com or call him at 313-815-7068.

Joel Kurth

Managing Editor Joel Kurth has spent more than two decades in journalism in Michigan. He worked 17 years as an editor and reporter at The Detroit News, the last five of which he served as editor of investigations and projects. He’s overseen projects that prompted a reassessment of property taxes in Detroit, changed laws about tax foreclosure sales, prompted reforms at the Detroit Medical Center and led numerous investigations into municipal corruption. Kurth also worked at The Saginaw News and in the Upper Pensinsula and has won more than 30 national and state journalism awards, including being co-winner of The Michigan Press Association’s “Journalist of the Year” award in 2016. You can reach Joel via email at jkurth@bridgemi.com, or call him at 586-306-4708.

Alexandra Schmidt

Alexandra Schmidt is the Public Engagement Director at the Center for Michigan and Public Engagement Reporter at Bridge Magazine. In both roles, she focuses on discerning how state policy impacts residents' daily lives and amplifying those experiences to achieve stronger public discourse. She holds a bachelor’s degree with high honors and distinction in Urban Studies from the University of Michigan. Before joining us in 2017, she worked with HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the Big 10 Network, TBS, and Comedy Central. You can reach her at aschmidt@thecenterformichigan.net or 616-901-5764.

Jim Malewitz

Jim Malewitz reports on the environment for Bridge. Based in Lansing, but with plans to scour both peninsulas, he is looking for stories about how public policy, climate change and other phenomena affect the state’s trove of natural resources – all while leaders tout the “Pure Michigan” brand. Jim joined Bridge in November 2017, returning to his home state after a lengthy absence. He spent four years at the Texas Tribune, where he was an investigative reporter and extensively covered energy and environmental issues. He reported on an oil boom and bust, deadly oil refineries, cross-state border squabbles, invasive zebra mussels and gaping sinkholes. His work there also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, POLITICO Magazine and news outlets across the country. Before moving to Texas, Jim covered energy and the environment for Stateline, a nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C. He majored in political science at Grinnell College in Iowa and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. There, he helped launch the nonprofit Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, where he currently serves on the board of directors. You can reach Jim at jmalewitz@bridgemi.com or call him at 517-657-3577.

Bill Emkow

Bill Emkow is audience growth strategist for Bridge and The Center for Michigan. Emkow has worked for two decades in digital media, previously at WXYZ-TV as digital director, the Detroit Free Press as senior content strategist, and numerous roles at MLive.com -- from editor-in-chief, to state news director, to sports director. Emkow has helped broaden the digital reach at every stop in his journalism career, whether it be website or social media. He helped MLive.com become the state’s most-visited news site, according to comScore. After moving to the Detroit Free Press in 2016, it took only 10 months for the Freep to pass MLive as the No. 1 site for the first time since 2008. He was most recently at WXYZ-TV Detroit, where he helped lead the organization to become the No. 1 Facebook site in Michigan for engagement. You can reach Bill via email at bemkow@bridgemi.com or call him at 734-926-4282

Riley Beggin

Riley Beggin is Bridge’s Capitol watchdog reporter. She lives in Lansing, where she covers Michigan politics, including legislative, gubernatorial and other state-wide elections. Riley will be reporting stories that aim to shed light on state governance and hold public officials accountable to those they serve. She joined Bridge in January 2018 after working as a digital producer for KPCC, Los Angeles’ NPR member station. Before that, she was a fellow at ABC News’ Washington Bureau and an intern with NPR’s investigative unit. Riley majored in history and international relations at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She also holds a master’s degree in investigative journalism from the University of Missouri. You can reach Riley at rbeggin@bridgemi.com or call her at 517-657-3580.

Amber DeLind

Amber DeLind is membership director at Bridge. Previously, DeLind led the public engagement team at the Center for Michigan, worked as a grant programs consultant for the Michigan Nonprofit Association and completed two years of national service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA and VISTA Leader for Michigan Campus Compact. She earned a B.A. in psychology and women, gender, and social justice from Michigan State University and a master of public administration degree from Grand Valley State University. DeLind is a graduate of the Michigan Political Leadership Program’s 2016 class. She lives in Farmington with her husband and daughter. You can reach Amber at 734-926-4285 or membership@bridgemi.com.  

AJ Jones

A.J. Jones serves as operations and human resources director for Bridge Magazine and The Center for Michigan. Previously, he worked for a start-up toy company, a tourism bureau, a homeless shelter and an adventure travel company. He holds a degree in English from Emerson College in Boston, and lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and two children. He can be reached at ajones@thecenterformichigan.net.

Robin Erb

Robin Erb, who leads health coverage for Michigan Health Watch, believes it is our personal stories that keep us connected on common ground, whatever the break-neck fragmentation of a digital world. A long-time journalist, Robin previously spent six years at the Detroit Free Press chronicling the fight against - and sometimes the triumph over - our most horrific diseases. Her award-winning stories chronicled the battle over the Affordable Care Act, state expansion of Medicaid, cutting-edge research led by Michigan’s hospitals and universities, deadly mistakes and extraordinary care in Michigan’s nursing homes, and a nearly forgotten mix-up of chemicals in cattle feed in the 1970s and its lingering effects today. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and political science from Miami University and a master’s in organizational leadership from Lourdes University (Toledo, Oh). You can contact Robin at rerb@bridgemi.com or 734-725-1155.

Kathryn Dugal

Kathryn Dugal serves as the outreach coordinator for the Center for Michigan. Prior to joining the Center in March 2019, Kathryn worked as an operations & events coordinator at the American College of Surgeons in Chicago. Before that, she was a communications consultant and program & communications associate for Rotary Charities of Traverse City, a grant-making charity based in Traverse City, MI. Kathryn holds an MA in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University and a BA in Global & Area Studies from Michigan State University. You can reach Kathryn at 734-926-4284 or kdugal@thecenterformichigan.net.

Mission statement

Bridge Magazine’s philosophy was best set out nearly 200 years before its creation. In his “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote,“The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”

The Center for Michigan, which includes Bridge Magazine, was created to help Michigan citizens develop an agenda to move our state forward.

Bridge’s mission is to inform Michigan citizens through fact-based, nonpartisan journalism that identifies critical issues and helps citizens navigate the challenges of our civic life. Our goal at Bridge is simple: To better inform Michigan’s private citizens so as to encourage a vibrant state in both the private and public sectors.


The Center for Michigan

The Center for Michigan is a “think-and-do” tank founded by former newspaper publisher and University of Michigan Regent Phil Power in early 2006.  A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, The Center’s objective is to make Michigan a better place by by encouraging greater understanding and involvement in policy issues among the state’s citizens and making sure their voices are regularly heard.  We do this by regularly calling forth citizen views, amplifying those views and projecting them into the halls of power. The Center for Michigan's 990 form is available here.

The Center for Michigan is incorporated in Michigan as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation.  Officers include: Philip H. Power, Chairman; John Bebow, President and CEO; Kathleen K. Power, Vice President; Loyal A. Eldridge III, Secretary; Karla A. Campbell, Treasurer.  Directors include: Paul Hillegonds; Michael Jandernoa; Dr. Glenda D. Price; Douglas Rothwell; Dr. Marilyn Schlack; Paula Cunningham.

We are fortunate to have attracted a group of distinguished Michigan citizens to serve on our Steering Committee.  These include:

  • Richard T. Cole, Chair, Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing, Michigan State University
  • Paul Courant, former Provost; University of Michigan Librarian
  • Paul Dimond, Of Counsel, Miller Canfield
  • Elisabeth Gerber, Professor, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
  • Larry Good, Chairman, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
  • Steve Hamp, Chair, Michigan Education Excellence Foundation and the New Economy Initiative
  • Paul Hillegonds, Senior Vice President, DTE Energy; former President, Detroit Renaissance, and former Speaker, Michigan House of Representatives
  • Mike Jandernoa, managing partner, Bridge Street Capitol.
  • Tom Lewand, Partner, Bodman LLP
  • Anne Mervenne, President, Mervenne & Co.
  • William G. Milliken, Former Governor of Michigan
  • Bill Parfet, Chairman and CEO of MPI Research
  • Milt Rohwer, President Emeritus, The Frey Foundation.
  • Doug Ross, former State Senator and Director of the Michigan Department of Commerce.
  • Doug Rothwell, President, Business Leaders for Michigan
  • Craig Ruff, Senior Policy Fellow, Public Sector Consultants
  • John A. (“Joe”) Schwarz, Former member of Congress and former Michigan State Senator
  • Jan Urban-Lurain, President, Spectra Data and Research, Inc., and Senior Advisor, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
  • Cynthia Wilbanks, Vice President for Government Relations, University of Michigan

Mailing address

Ann Arbor office

4100 N Dixboro Road

Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Lansing office

600 W St Joseph St #200

Lansing, MI 48933

Detroit office

440 Burroughs St #162

Detroit, MI 48202