Demographics Business Relocation

Economic Development

The Alliance for Economic Success (AES) is an economic development organization servicing Manistee, Benzie and Wexford Counties and the surrounding areas.  It defines economic development as improving the economic well-being and quality of life of businesses and employees in the community.

As a full-service economic development organization, AES works collaboratively with all businesses, governments, and community organizations.  Assistance is available for all business sectors (industry, service, small and medium businesses, agriculture, etc.), municipalities and community organizations to support and promote activities that drive economic growth while balancing and preserving the quality of life. 

AES provides expansion and site location services. As well as small business planning services, diagnostic assessments, economic recommendations for small to medium sized businesses, access to local, state, and federal incentives and assistance, liaison service to government offices, and provides neutral third-party convener and facilitation services to help develop organizational and leadership capacities and positive relationships.

AES provides services and programs through "contract for service" funds. Organizations who share like goals and visions contract with AES for services.


2018 Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Kelly Smith, Chair

Eric Gustad, Vice Chair

Karyn Thorr & Courtney Gillison, Secretary (Shared Seat)

Burton Parks, Treasurer


Board Members

Mark Bergstrom

Roger Griner

Scott Ward

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, (One seat)

Larry Romanelli

Tom St. Dennis

Manistee Manufacturers Council, (One seat)

Jim Reithel

Steve Paine

David Slivka



Alliance for Economic Success
395 Third Street
Manistee, MI 49660

P: (231) 723-4325
F: (231) 723-3717

Executive Director
Lisa L. Leedy

Tamara Buswinka
John Iacoangeli


Small Business Development Center

Great Start Collaborative
Mike Acosta   

Seth Hopkins

-Coordinator for Manistee County

 Erin Pontiac

-Parent Liaison

Launch Manistee
Mary Ann Behm
   -Program Director

Manistee County Community Foundation
Laura Heinzelman
  -Executive Director