Business Support

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One-on-One Business Development Support

SPARK has a dedicated Business Development team to assist businesses expanding and relocating in the Ann Arbor region. To identify optimal locations for business relocation, SPARK examines all critical location factors, such as labor availability and talent, environmental conditions, economic incentives, space availability and occupancy costs. SPARK assists with the development and implementation of a location strategy that meets the unique requirements of companies in targeted industries.

Looking to expand or relocate? 

Contact Our Business Development Team

Phil Santer
Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff

Phil Santer is the Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff for Ann Arbor SPARK. Most recently, Phil was the Vice President of Business Development. In this position, Phil was responsible for business retention, attraction, and expansion. Phil has several years of economic development experience as a practitioner and at the public policy level. Prior to joining Ann Arbor SPARK, Phil held various roles at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, including as an associate for capital access programs and as a manager of state-level incentives.

Jennifer Olmstead
Senior Business Development Manager

Jennifer has over 15 years of experience in economic development, land use, nonprofit project management with a successful track record working with high-level public, private and non-profit officials.  Jennifer joined the staff of Ann Arbor SPARK in October 2014 and serves as the Senior Business Development Manager.  A Michigan native, Jennifer recently moved back to Michigan after working in economic development in St. Louis, Missouri.



Marcia Gebarowski
Director for Business Development, Livingston County
(248) 767-3657

Marcia Gebarowski is the director for business development, Livingston County, for Ann Arbor SPARK.  In this position, Marcia is responsible for the overall business development including retention and attraction initiatives in Livingston County.  Marcia has several years of economic development experience as a practitioner and at the public sector level. Prior to joining Ann Arbor SPARK, Marcia was a senior business development project manager at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, where she negotiated state-level incentives for numerous business expansion and attraction projects in Michigan.

Marcia is a graduate of Michigan State University with a B.S. in resource development and environmental sciences and attended Wayne State University for her Masters in urban planning studies. Marcia is also an Economic Development Financial Professional certified by the National Development Council.


Alex West
Director, Research and Business Information
Alex West Director of Research and Business Information Ann Arbor

As Director of Research, Alex uses the power of data to tell a compelling story about the Ann Arbor region to support SPARK’s business attraction and retention efforts. Prior to joining SPARK, Alex held various roles in international economic development, most recently for UK Trade & Investment (the economic development arm of the UK government), consulting for US/UK businesses in the cyber security and B2B software sectors. She is a California native and has lived and worked in Italy and the UK.
Alex holds a BA from UC Berkeley and received her MA in International Trade Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.


Julia Upfal
Business Development Manager for Livingston County

Julia Upfal joined Ann Arbor SPARK in Fall of 2016 as Business Development Manager for Livingston County. Julia’s background in economic development and planning helps her to build relationships and provide support to businesses throughout Livingston County.

Julia’s previous work experience includes research and local government. Most recently, she served as Business Development Specialist for the City of Green Bay’s Department of Community and Economic Development. Julia is an alumni of Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.

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