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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
Vice President of Business Development
Phil Santer is currently the Vice President of Business Development for Ann Arbor SPARK. Most recently, Phil was the Senior Business Development Manager for the Livingston office. 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.
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.
Lead Business Development Manager, Livingston County
Anna joined Ann Arbor SPARK in January of 2015 and works to help businesses succeed in Livingston County and Washtenaw County. Anna’s expertise centers around building strong relationships between organizations. She has experience as a legislative aide, as a fundraiser, and as a member of the marketing team at a consulting firm. Anna serves on the leadership teams for several community organizations, including the Board of the Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw, the Steering Committee for the Professional Women’s Club of Michigan, and the Board of Friends in Deed of Washtenaw County.
Anna is an alumna of the University of Michigan – Go Blue!
Director, Research and Business Information
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.
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.