Michigan Association of Fire Fighters

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced several changes in leadership for various State Departments. The governor also announced promotions for staff in the executive office.

The governor has selected Dan Eichinger as acting director of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE); Michelle Lange as director of the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB); Adam Hollier as director of the Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA); Brian Hanna as executive director of the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA); Brad Wieferich as acting director of the Department of Transportation (MDOT); Kathy Angerer as acting director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD); and Shannon Lott as acting director of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Below are the bios of those appointed: 

Dan Eichinger, Acting Director of EGLE

Dan Eichinger will serve as the acting director of EGLE. Dan is currently the director at the Department of Natural Resources, where he has served since 2019. Before entering the administration, Dan was the executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, where he helped re-establish MUCC as a driving force for conserving Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage. Eichinger earned a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Science in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University. He also obtained a Master of Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

Under Liesl Clark's leadership, EGLE played a lead role in the state's response to historic floods and high waterlevels; effectively managed record-breaking, bipartisan investments in water infrastructure; established the state’s first drinking water standards for PFAS; guided the City of Flint in establishing a backup water supply; and supported the City of Benton Harbor as it replaced its lead service lines in less than one year. Clark also helped develop and launch the MI Healthy Climate Plan to create jobs, lower energy costs, and advance equity while putting Michigan on the path to carbon-neutrality.

Adam Hollier, Director of MVAA

Adam Hollier will lead the MVAA as the new director. He is currently serving his second term in the Michigan Senate. Representing the 2nd Senate district, Hollier serves Wayne County including Detroit, the Grosse Pointes, Hamtramck, Harper Woods and Highland Park. Hollier served as a volunteer firefighter before enlisting in the U.S. Army and graduating with distinction from officer candidate school, where he earned the commission of 2nd Lieutenant. He currently serves as a captain paratrooper and team leader in the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion Airborne. Hollier was named to Michigan Chronicle’s 40 under 40 in 2013 and Crain’s 20 in their 20s in 2015. Hollier earned a bachelor’s in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University where he played safety on the varsity football team and was a decathlete. He received a master’s in urban planning from the University of Michigan.

Under Director Zaneta Adams’ guidance, the MVAA has vastly expanded its outreach and service to Michigan veterans. The department has delivered a record-setting $10.9 million in state-appropriated grants in this year for veteran support, and another $1.8 million in grants from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a public-private partnership. They’ve expanded the veterans 24/7 call center (1-800-MICH-VET), which connects Michigan veterans with the benefits and resources they earned for their service. The call center increased from 13,312 in FY19 to 28,444 in FY22 – a 114% increase. The department also dramatically increased partnerships with employers and educational institutions across Michigan to improve veteran support.

Michelle Lange, Director of DTMB

Michelle Lange will serve as director of DTMB. Michelle has held key leadership positions within DTMB in recent years, including chief deputy director, director of executive direction and operations, chief of staff to the director, and as the department legislative liaison. Lange has worked under both Republican and Democratic governors, serving for Governor Whitmer under the chief operating officer and for Governor Rick Snyder as deputy director of Legislative Affairs. She also served as a judge on the Michigan Tax Tribunal and spent 12 years as a staff member in the Michigan Senate. Lange has both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctor from Michigan State University.

Over the last few years, DTMB has adapted to historic challenges, including shifting a majority of the state’s workforce to remote work. They also saved taxpayer dollars by implementing energy reduction goals set forth in Gov. Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan. They successfully reduced state facility energy usage by 59 percent and broke ground on the state’s first every solar array project. DTMB was also recognized as one of the best in the nation for government technology and purchasing operations, taking home the top honor awarded by the National Association of State Procurement Officials and receiving an “A” grade in the Center for Digital Government’s Digital States Survey.

Brian Hanna, Executive Director of CRA

Brian Hanna will move from acting executive director to executive director at CRA. Hanna spent five years with the CRA as the manager of field operations, inspections, and investigations. He has a law enforcement and military background, having previously worked as a criminal intelligence manager and analyst with Michigan State Police and as a Deputy Sheriff for Kalamazoo County. He also served as a Captain in the United States Army Reserve with a combat deployment to Afghanistan from 2010-2011. Hanna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Western Michigan University and an associate degree in law enforcement from Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

The Cannabis Regulatory Agency quickly established Michigan as one of the top cannabis markets in the country by efficiently and effectively implementing the medical marijuana licensing statute passed by the state legislature in 2016 and the adult-use marijuana licensing ballot proposal passed by the voters in 2018. With streamlined licensing and regulation in place, Michigan’s cannabis industry has experienced rapid growth with 3,100 licenses issued, over 28,000 well-paying jobs created, and over $500 million in tax revenue generated over the past three years.

Brad Wieferich, Acting Director of MDOT

Brad Wieferich will assume the role of acting director of MDOT. He is currently the chief operations officer of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), overseeing MDOT's seven regions, the Bureau of Development, the Bureau of Field Services, and the Bureau of Bridges and Structures. Prior to his appointment in May 2022, Wieferich was the Director of MDOT's Bureau of Development (2015-2022), the Engineer of Design from (2009-2015), and held positions in the Bay, University, and Southwest regions (1995-2009). Wieferich has played a vital role in the advancement of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, the governor’s Rebuilding Michigan Program, and the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. A registered professional engineer, Wieferich earned a Bachelor of Science from the College of Engineering at Michigan State University.

Under Director Paul Ajegba’s leadership, Michigan fixed 16,000 lane miles of road and 1,200 bridges while supporting 89,000 jobs, all without raising taxes by a dime. This included key economic corridors under Governor Whitmer’s $3.5 billion Rebuilding Michigan Plan, record investments across four state budgets, and the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan supplemental package. The director broke countless barriers over his 30-year-plus career at MDOT and ensured that roads across Michigan were being fixed the right way with the right mix and material, so families could get where they needed to go safely. His legacy also includes establishing significant programs to provide opportunities for minorities and the disadvantaged, including his work to establish MDOT’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program (TDRP) in 2013, with approximately 300 students participating to date. He was also among the first CEOs of a state DOT to sign the national Equity in Infrastructure pledge. Director Ajegba is planning to retire from MDOT at the end of the year.

Kathy Angerer, Acting Director of MDARD

Kathy Angerer was selected as acting director to lead MDARD where she is currently the deputy director. Angerer has served the people of the state of Michigan and southeast Michigan in several roles throughout her career. She was a State Representative from 2005-2010 in the area covering portions of Downriver; Executive Director of Government Affairs at AT&T Michigan from 2011-2012; and most recently, served as the City Manager for Hamtramck. Additionally, she has served as Hamtramck’s Director of Community & Economic Development as well as their Community and Governmental Affairs Director. She attended Monroe County Community College and is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University.

A proud Yooper, Gary McDowell has led MDARD for all four years of the Whitmer Administration. During his tenure as director of MDARD, McDowell has been a pivotal component to grow and expand the state’s food and agriculture economy. From helping to bring a $470 million state-of-the-art cheese and whey plant in St. Johns, bringing 260 new jobs, to helping secure $25 million for water quality efforts in the Western Lake Erie Basin and navigating the state through multiple animal and plant health disease emergencies. Director McDowell is planning to retire at the end of the year. 

Shannon Lott, Acting Director of DNR

Shannon Lott will serve as acting director at DNR, where she has worked for over 25 years, most recently as natural resources deputy. Before that, Lott served as assistant chief of the Forest Resources Division and held a variety of jobs in the department’s Wildlife Division. Lott has worked with a broad range of conservation groups and legislators, as well as the Michigan Natural Resource Commission, to guide policies and programs related to outdoor recreation and natural resource management in the state. She has led DNR teams on critical issues such as renewable energy, climate change mitigation and the use of mass timber in construction. Lott co-leads for the state a unique forest bioeconomy partnership with the country of Finland. Lott has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Grand Valley State University and a M.S. in Forestry from Michigan State University. In her spare time, she enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and traveling with her family.

In the last four years, the DNR has made a transformational investment in public lands and sustainable natural resource management to support Michigan’s outdoor recreation economy. This includes $450 million in funding to address a backlog of infrastructure needs in state and local parks, another $30 million to rebuild state fish hatcheries, a first-in-the-nation effort to leverage carbon storage capacity on state forest land and innovate programs to site solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations at DNR facilities around the state.

Executive Office Staff

In addition to selecting new leadership at state departments, Gov. Whitmer announced staff changes on her executive team. Senior Advisor Shaquila Myers will be chief of staff to Speaker-elect Joe Tate. Deputy Chief of Staff Melanie Brown has taken a position as executive ombudsman and senior partnerships advisor at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Chief Legal Counsel Nick Bagley is returning to his position as a law professor at the University of Michigan. Maria Martinez will assume the role of acting chief legal counsel, while maintaining her duties as chief compliance officer.

Shaquila Myers

Shaquila Myers will lead Speaker-elect Joe Tate’s office as chief of staff. While in the executive office, she served as senior advisor to the governor and chief of staff to Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. Shaquila played a pivotal role in the passage of the bipartisan economic development package last year that helped Michigan land a $7 billion investment from GM, creating 4,000 jobs. She has also spearheaded criminal justice reform efforts, the Jail and Pre-Trial Taskforce, and the Thriving Cities Tour, among other projects. Previously, Shaquila was legislative director for Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich and a policy analyst for the Michigan Senate. She received a Master of Public Administration and her undergraduate degree from Oakland University.

Melanie Brown

Melanie Brown will join the MEDC in a new role as executive ombudsman and senior partnerships advisor. In this role, she will lead the administration’s efforts to help Michigan business succeed, grow and employ a strong Michigan workforce as the primary liaison between state government and the business and employer community. Melanie currently serves as deputy chief of staff for Governor Whitmer, managing the appointments, community affairs, and constituent services divisions within the executive office. She previously served as director of community affairs for the executive office and has held multiple senior roles across the Granholm and Snyder administrations.

Nick Bagley

Nick Bagley, currently chief legal counsel to the governor, will be rejoining the University of Michigan as a law professor with a specialty in health care and administrative law. During his time in the executive office, Nick helped craft Gov. Whitmer’s approach to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, charted the legal strategy to preserve reproductive freedom following the fall of Roe v. Wade, and oversaw the selection process for Kyra Harris Bolden, who will become Michigan’s first Black woman on the state Supreme Court. Nick received his J.D. from New York University and his undergraduate degree from Yale. 

Maria Martinez

Maria Martinez will lead the governor's legal team as acting chief legal counsel in addition to her current role as chief compliance officer. She previously served as deputy legal counsel. Maria joined the executive office in December 2020 and brings experience as a former in-house counsel for a Michigan business and working as an attorney at Bodman PLC, a Detroit-based law firm. Maria received both her J.D. and undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.

For more details, please click here for the Governor's office press release.