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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Staff

Leslie J. Allen
Leslie J. Allen
Deputy Editor

Leslie J. Allen joined Bridge Michigan as a deputy editor in February 2024. Leslie has spent decades in business journalism, including more than 15 years at Automotive News, where she led the mobility team, which covers emerging automotive technology, including electrified and autonomous transportation, and was editor-in-chief of AN’s Shift magazine. She was part of the team that launched Automotive News TV, eventually becoming ANTV's managing editor and executive producer. Most recently, Leslie was a senior editor for Business Insider. She’s also a former auto editor of the Detroit Free Press and former associate business editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. She and her husband live in Canton, Michigan. You can reach her at lallen@bridgemi.com

John Bebow
John Bebow
Executive Advisor

John Bebow served as the organization’s executive leader from its founding in 2006 until stepping down at the end of 2022. He worked previously as an investigative reporter for Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, The 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. 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@centerformichigan.org.

Amber DeLind
Amber DeLind
Membership & Engagement Director

Amber stewards relationships with readers for Bridge Michigan and with all individual investors in the work of the Center for Michigan. Previously, Amber led the public engagement team at the Center for Michigan, worked on college access and success grant programs for the Michigan Nonprofit Association and completed two years of national service as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Dearborn and in Lansing. Originally from St. Johns, Amber is a proud alum of Michigan State University (BA) and Grand Valley State University (MPA) and recently completed a nonprofit leadership fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School. A current resident of Farmington, Amber was named one of Oakland County's 40 under 40 in 2020. She resides with her husband, daughter, and dog Coney (AKA Truth Dog). You can reach her at adelind@bridgemi.com.

Bill Emkow
Bill Emkow
Growth Strategy Director

Audience acquisition, deepening engagement, loyalty metrics, revenue. Bill's role is to enhance and improve all levels of the marketing funnel. With over 25 years of digital media under his belt, Bill helped dramatically broaden the digital reach of every organization he's worked at in his career; including WXYZ-TV, the Detroit Free Press, and MLive.com. Bridge Michigan's triple-digit growth has been the focus of several case studies for organizations including Meta (Facebook), Google, and many others. Bill has a journalism degree from Michigan State University and is a former vice president for the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, three kids, and a tiny Yorkie dog named Mackinac. You can reach him at bemkow at bridgemi dot com.

Robin Erb
Robin Erb
Health Reporter

Robin leads health coverage for Michigan Health Watch. A long-time health writer, she documented the shock and grief of Michigan families in COVID’s wake, but also chronicled the triumph of research breakthroughs in the face of heartbreaking disease, the human spirit's will to survive, and the policy shifts that will shape Michigan for years to come. Robin previously spent six years covering health at the Detroit Free Press, documenting the battle over — and the eventual passage of — the Affordable Care Act and Michigan's Medicaid expansion. She studied communications and political science at Miami University and has a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Lourdes University (Toledo, Ohio). She and her husband raised two wonderful children — but failed miserably at training their beagle-Bassetts — in southeast Michigan. Contact Robin at rerb at bridgemi dot com.

Rebecca Fedewa
Rebecca Fedewa
Development and Communications Specialist

Rebecca pursues institutional fundraising and communication goals for all Center programs and activities. Previously, Rebecca served as the Executive Director of the Flint River Watershed Coalition (FWRC), working to protect, promote, and improve the Flint River and its watershed. Prior to her position with the FWRC, Rebecca worked as the Director of Grantwriting and Foundation Relations for the Ecology Center, and began her career in nonprofits with the C. S. Mott Foundation, supporting organizations working to conserve freshwater ecosystems. Born and raised in Lansing, Rebecca is a proud Spartan. She spent 14 years in Flint/Genesee County and now lives in Hartland with her husband and son.  You can reach her at rfedewa@centerformichigan.org.

Ron French
Ron French
Enterprise Reporter

Ron reports on a variety of subjects across the state. Ron came to Bridge in 2011 from The Detroit News, where he was a project reporter. Born and raised in Indiana, Ron graduated from Purdue University. He reported for newspapers across Indiana before moving to Michigan in 1995. Ron lives in Okemos, and like the true Michigander he’s become, he now has a family cabin Up North. You can reach him at rfrench@bridgemi.com or 517-214-3636.

Paula Gardner
Paula Gardner
Business Reporter

Paula directs the business reporting on Bridge, writing much of it and setting the strategy for how statewide business coverage fits into Bridge’s nonpartisan policy-driven editorial mix. Paula came to Bridge in 2020 after several years at MLive.com, where she covered the state on both business and environmental teams. Prior to that, she was editor of the Ann Arbor News and news director of online startup AnnArbor,com, and also focused on business news as an editor and reporter at Michigan Business Review. Born and raised in metro Detroit, Paula moved to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan, and has lived in the city for 20 years with her husband, who grew up in their neighborhood. Paula also regularly visits East Lansing and Grand Rapids to visit her college-aged children. She can be reached at pgardner@bridgemi.com

Jackquelyn Garrett
Jackquelyn Garrett
Fund Development Associate

Jackquelyn manages data systems and supports fundraising efforts for the Center. Previously, Jackquelyn has served as a Program Manager at Michigan Community Resources where she convened Metro Detroit nonprofits and provided capacity-building services related to fundraising and program design and implementation. Prior to working at Michigan Community Resources, she led college access initiatives at the Detroit Regional Chamber and served as a staff member for a member of the Detroit City Council. A native Detroiter, Jackquelyn is a passionate advocate for equitable opportunity expansion for Michiganians. Jackquelyn is a proud graduate of Wayne State University where she majored in Public Affairs. She can be found biking and kayaking in Michigan’s bountiful state parks. You can reach her at jgarrett@centerformichigan.org.

Lauren Gibbons
Lauren Gibbons
Capitol Reporter

Lauren covers state politics and policy for Bridge Michigan. Prior to joining Bridge's Capitol team, she worked at MLive, where she led coverage of the state Legislature and the redistricting process, and before that covered the state Senate for MIRS News. She has covered the ins and outs of Michigan politics for nearly a decade and has won awards both for her political coverage and her work documenting the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. Lauren grew up in the Lansing area and graduated from Michigan State University, majoring in journalism and history. She lives in Ferndale, and her party tricks include Irish dancing and telling friends what political districts they live in without looking. Reach her at lgibbons@bridgemi.com or on Twitter @LaurenMGibbons

Jordyn Hermani
Jordyn Hermani
Capitol Reporter

Jordyn covers state policy and politics for Bridge Michigan. Prior to joining the Capitol crew, she wrote for MLive as its statewide politics and culture reporter and with Gongwer Michigan as its state House reporter. She lives in Lansing with her husband and two cats. When not writing, you can catch her watching hockey or horror movies — though, usually not at the same time. Get in touch with her at jhermani@bridgemi.com or on Twitter @JordynHermani.

 Arielle Hines-Glerum
Arielle Hines-Glerum
Digital Production Specialist

Arielle maintains both Bridge Michigan and Bridge Detroit’s websites, social media platforms and newsletters. Previously, she was a digital content producer for WOOD TV8 in Grand Rapids. She reported for the Petoskey News-Review and Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin. She serves on the selection committee for CMU's Lem Tucker Scholarship, given to students interested in promoting diversity in media. Arielle was one of the recipients of that award in 2012. Arielle grew up in Westland. She also spent time in Emmet and Charlevoix counties. Arielle is a proud Central Michigan University graduate. She now lives in Grand Rapids with her husband.

Kelly House
Kelly House
Environment Reporter

Kelly House covers Michigan environmental issues for Bridge. She joined the Bridge staff in March 2020. Previously, Kelly reported for the Oregonian, where her coverage of the environment and other topics garnered national honors and sparked state efforts to better protect Oregon’s natural resources. She has a master’s degree in environmental law from Lewis & Clark Law School and a bachelor’s in journalism from Michigan State University. She is from Harrison and lives in Lansing. You can reach her at khouse@bridgemi.com or on Twitter at @Kelly_M_House.

Janelle D. James
Janelle D. James
Breaking News Reporter

Janelle D. James covers breaking news at Bridge Michigan. She joined the staff in January 2023. Previously, she worked as a Capital News Correspondent at Michigan State University where she covered state and local policy issues. She also worked as a breaking news intern at the Detroit Free Press. She has a bachelors degree in journalism and political science from Michigan State University. She is from Detroit. You can reach her at jjames@bridgemi.com and on Twitter at Janelle___j. 

AJ Jones
AJ Jones
Technology and Production Director

A.J.  manages production, web platforms and IT for Bridge Michigan and BridgeDetroit. Previously, he held positions in communications for Hexabits Toys, the Ypsilanti Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and Ozone House Youth & Family Services. A.J. served on the board of directors for the Humane Society of Huron Valley for six years. A.J. grew up in Troy, attended college in Boston, and lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and three children. You can reach him at ajones@centerformichigan.org.

Joel Kurth
Joel Kurth
Executive Editor, impact and enterprise

As Executive Editor of impact and enterprise, Joel oversees enterprise and investigative coverage as well as collaborations, impact and editorial strategy. He joined Bridge in 2017 after 17 years as an editor and investigative reporter at The Detroit News. He has worked in Michigan media for 30 years, including stints in Saginaw and the Upper Peninsula, winning more than 50 state and national awards. He lives in West Bloomfield with his wife, two children and dog, Red. You can reach him at jkurth@bridgemi.com.

Asha Lewis
Asha Lewis
Digital Marketing Associate

Asha is the Digital Marketing Associate, bringing Bridge Michigan's content to new audiences and strengthening loyalty with existing audiences. She has previously worked for the USA Today Network and was a part of Bridge Michigan's 2020 summer intern program. She studied Sociology with an emphasis on law, justice, and social change as well as Spanish at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Along with her studies, she spent four years working for The Michigan Daily as a photographer and later as the Managing Editor of Audience Engagement. 

Katy Locker
Katy Locker
Chief Executive Officer

For more than a decade, Katy led philanthropic efforts in Detroit on behalf of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Hudson-Webber Foundation. An attorney, she holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School. Katy has served the boards of Gleaners Community Food Bank, Detroit Future City, the Diversity Pledge Institute, Downtown Detroit Partnership, Detroit Artists Market, and Citizen Detroit. In 2016, Crain’s Detroit Business named Locker one of the state’s 100 most influential women. Born in and a current resident of Detroit, Katy has also spent time in Midland, West Branch, Ferndale, Oscoda and Holly, Michigan. Lake Huron is her preferred Great Lake.

Isabel Lohman
Isabel Lohman
Education Reporter

Isabel reports on early childhood, K-12 and higher education for Bridge Michigan. She loves visiting schools and analyzing how policies made in Lansing affect students and educators. Previously, she was the children’s issues reporter for the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee. There, she reported on the state's third-largest public school district's COVID-19 response and how a community copes after losing teenagers to gun violence. Isabel grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and has also lived in Missouri, Tennessee and Belgium. Isabel moved to Ann Arbor in January 2022 where she experienced her first Michigan winter. She has a warm winter hat with a snap-on puff ball.

Jonathan Oosting
Jonathan Oosting
Deputy Editor

Jonathan is a deputy editor and politics reporter for Bridge Michigan. He helps plan and execute in-depth reporting and campaign coverage. Jonathan was named 2021 Journalist of the Year by the Michigan Press Association. He covered the state Capitol for The Detroit News and MLive before joining Bridge in September of 2019. He's from Grand Rapids, lives in Lansing and loves spending time Up North.

Diana Roginson
Diana Roginson
Chief Operating Officer

As our COO, Diana drives the effectiveness of the Center for Michigan’s leadership, management, human resources, systems and processes to maximize the overall impact of the Center and its public service. For the past ten years, Diana worked as COO and Co-Founder of Rebel Nell, a social enterprise with a mission to provide employment opportunities to women with barriers to employment. Through her tenure at Rebel Nell she focused on organizational strategy and team leadership - growing the business from conception to a nationally recognized brand. Additionally, Diana brings non-profit experience having served as Co-Founder and Board Chair of Teach Empower Achieve 501c3, a workforce development organization based in Detroit. In 2016, she was recognized as an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Diana is an alumni of Wayne State University. She resides in Detroit with her husband, daughter, and two pups.

Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson
Data Reporter

Mike has been a reporter for Bridge Michigan since 2013 and focuses on data-assisted reporting, often finding stories by analyzing maps and data sets and has created Bridge's dashboards on COVID-19, the state's  economy and Michigan's elections. He held similar positions at The Detroit News and The Blade of Toledo. A native of Michigan, Mike grew up in Macomb County, graduated from the University of Michigan and started his reporting career in New Baltimore before his career took him to Illinois, Tennessee and Ohio. You can reach him at mwilkinson@bridgemi.com

Lisa Yanick Litwiller
Lisa Yanick Litwiller
Executive Editor, innovation and daily news

As executive editor of innovation and daily news, Lisa leads the politics and breaking news reporters. She brings decades of audience centered journalism experience to Bridge Michigan. Most recently the  director of audience for the Center for Public Integrity, she held the same position previously at Hearst’s community media group as well as the company’s Connecticut group. An award winning community journalist, Lisa has been photojournalist, a community engagement editor, a writer, an investigative reporter and editor, a radio personality and a journalism instructor at her Alma Mater, Central Michigan University. A metro Detroit native, she has lived in Mt. Pleasant for almost three decades.