alicia C. bradford

Board Member, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

Director, Wayne County Parks

Alicia Bradford was appointed Wayne County Parks Director in September 2016. Bradford oversees policy establishment and implementation, advocacy for parks and recreation, capital improvements, programming, budget development and the administration of the Parks Division.

She previously served as Director of the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department from September 2008 through May 2016 where she retired after 27 years serving the City.  Prior to being appointed as Director, she served as the Deputy Director in 2008 and has been in public service for over 27 years. In this capacity, Bradford directed 215 professional employees in the areas of customer service, programming, employee development and budgeting process.  She has also served as General Manager-Operations and Belle Isle Park Manager during her career with the City of Detroit. 

Her areas of expertise include budgeting and performance management, public/private partnerships, organizational/employee development, human resources, capital development and programming.

Alicia is a respected professional in her field and community.  She is actively involved on both the local and national recreation professional level.  Alicia currently serves as the National Recreation and Parks Association Ethnic Minority Society President.

Alicia Bradford earned a bachelor's degree in political science and public administration from Wayne State University and is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science National Honor Society. She is currently enrolled at Central Michigan University pursuing her graduate degree in Public Administration.





Board Member, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
Community Volunteer 

After a successful career with the telephone company (Michigan Bell/Ameritech/SBC) spanning 35 years, Mary Fleming retired in 2000 after 35 years of service. During the last 20 years of her career she served as Director of Urban & External Affairs. Shortly after retirement, Ms. Fleming started a consulting company, Mary J. Fleming & Associates, LLC, an events planning and management firm, which keeps her quite busy working on behalf of a host of clients.

She stays active in the Detroit community and serves on several boards, including the executive board of the 13th Congressional District and the Detroit Police Foundation Board.

Ms. Fleming is a longtime downtown resident who enjoys a panoramic view of the Detroit River, while proudly and joyfully monitoring with great anticipation, the ongoing transformation of the riverfront.




cynthia ford

Board Member, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
Community Volunteer

Ford serves on numerous community organization boards.  Current affiliations include:  Children's Hospital of Michigan Foundation as Vice Chair, Legacy Detroit Medical Center Board of Directors, Detroit Zoological Society Board of Directors, Belle Isle Conservancy Board of Directors, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy Board of Dirctors, The McGregor Fund Trustee, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International Board of Directors, Member of the Michigan Chapter of the International Women's Forum, Partner of Cornerstone Schools and Forgotten Harvest Board of Directors.  

Her past affiliations include Planned Parenthood League of Detroit, Detroit Public Schools Volunteer Reading Corporation, Greening of Detroit and University Liggett School Board of Trustees (currently Honorary Trustee).

Her recognition includes:  Outstanding Philanthropist, National Society of Fundraising Executives/ Greater Detroit Chapter (1996); Inductee, CATCH Hall of Fame (1998); Goodfellow of the Year Award, The Goodfellows (1999); The Pathfinders in Medicine Award, Wayne State University School of Medicine (2002); Humanitarian Honoree, the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion (2010) and the Jim Tyree Chairman's Choice Award, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (2013). 

Ford has B.A. from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.



George w. Jackson Jr. 

Board Member, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
President & CEO, GWJ Group LLC. 

GWJ Group, LLC is a real estate development and consulting company that was founded in 2014 by George W. Jackson Jr., former President and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). George successfully led the DEGC; the lead economic development agency for the City of Detroit for over 12 years.  During his tenure, approximately $10 Billion was invested and 39,000 jobs were created within Detroit's city limits.

George W. Jackson, Jr. became President & CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) in February 2002. The DEGC is a private, nonprofit corporation devoted exclusively to supporting Detroit’s economic development projects and initiatives by providing technical, financial, negotiation, and development assistance to the City and the private sector business community.  The DEGC also serves as the professional and administrative staff for the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC), Tax Increment Finance Authority, and Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA).  DEGC has also played a major role in development of the Detroit Riverfront. 

Under Mr. Jackson’s leadership, DEGC was the lead organization for implementation of permanent revitalization improvements throughout the city of Detroit.  The Lower Woodward Improvement Program began as preparation for Super Bowl XL, held in Detroit on February 5, 2006, but opened the door to major improvements along Detroit’s Riverfront and Central Business District.  Mr. Jackson’s team at the DEGC also attracted major headquarters to Detroit, such as Quicken Loans, Shinola, Campbell Ewald, GalaxE Solutions, Detroit Manufacturing Systems and Meridian Health all while assisting other large anchor institutions like Blue Cross, Detroit Medical Center, and General Motors to expand their Detroit presence. Mr. Jackson served as Chief Negotiator on almost every major development deal in Detroit during his tenure, including the Cobo Hall Convention Center, the Event Center (new home of the  Detroit Red Wings Hockey Team), the opening of the first Whole Foods and two Meijer Super Stores in the city.  

Mr. Jackson also assumed the responsibilities of Chief Development Officer for the City of Detroit from 2006 to 2010. This position included the responsibility of overall coordination of City economic development activity, including the Detroit Planning and Development Department, the Detroit Building Authority, and the Civic Center Department.

Mr. Jackson is also the past Chairman and served as a board member of the NextEnergy Corporation, an organization committed to making Michigan a world leader in alternative energy by advancing the use of alternative energy through groundbreaking research, design, manufacturing, education, commercialization and the marketing of alternative technologies. 

Mr. Jackson has played an influential role in economic development programs in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan as well as State of Michigan, projects, initiatives, and organizations.  Prior to his position at DEGC, Mr. Jackson was Director of Customer Marketing for DTE Energy, where he worked for 27 years.  Areas reporting to the Director of Customer Marketing included Economic Development, Strategic Marketing Processes, Product Development, Program Management, Customer Research, and Information and Ethnic Marketing.  Under Mr. Jackson’s leadership, the DTE Energy Economic Development Department gained national recognition and was a recipient of the Site Selection Magazine Utility Economic Development Award. 

Additional experience includes Personnel and Human Resources with the United States Navy, adjunct faculty at Lawrence Technological University School of Management, and professional level positions at Detroit Edison in the Human Resources, Organizational Planning and Development and Power Generation organizations. 

George W. Jackson, Jr. is a native Detroiter, and a graduate of Detroit Cooley High School, Oakland University (B.S. Human Resource Development) and Central Michigan University (M.A. Management – Business Management).  



evelyn johnston

Board Member, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

River East Alliance

Johnston represents the Riverfront East Alliance, (REAL). She has been a resident of the Lafayette/Elmwood Park downtown community for more than 30 years. She became actively involved because of common issues facing residents and became a member of Federation 213, an organization that encouraged cooperatives to come together on issues such as taxes, insurance, water and sewage costs and interior and exterior upkeep.  Johnston became a member of the Citizen District Council.  She was an educator by profession, teaching in the Detroit Public Schools, then retiring. 


General Counsel

Lawrence D. McLaughlin recently retired as a partner in Honigman LLP where he served as the Chairman of the Real Estate Department for 20 years.  He also served as General Counsel to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy from its formation through 2018.  Mr. McLaughlin’s practice included all spects of real estate development with emphasis on real estate finance, retail development, urban redevelopment, public-private partnerships, construction law, government incentives and inducements, complex transactions, joint ventures and distressed debt. 

Mr. McLaughlin was rated a “Star Performer” by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, has been listed in Best Lawyers in America continuously since 1991, was named as a 2011 “Leader in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, and was named in the top ten lawyers in Michigan in Michigan Super Lawyers 2006 and 2007. 

He is a fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, served on its Board of Governors, the Program Committee and as Chairman of the Member Selection Committee; a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers Program Planning Committee and served as Chair of the U.S. Law Conference Program Committee; a member of the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Detroit; and past Chairman of the Real Property Law Section of the Michigan State Bar. 


Faye Alexander Nelson

Board Member, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

Fellow, University of Michigan 

Faye Nelson serves as a Fellow at the University of Michigan.   She currently teaches a class which examines development of the Detroit Riverfront by exploring development of public and private partnerships, politics and ethics through the Sojourner Truth Fellowship under Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.  The program focuses on key urban and regional planning initiatives and on strengthening the diversity initiatives of the college.   

Faye also advises on Deloitte's Board-Ready Women Program in Detroit, helping prepare women for corporate governance. 

Faye Nelson previously served as vice president, Public Affairs and president of the DTE Energy Foundation for DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide.  DTE Energy’s operating units include an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. The company’s portfolio also includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, midstream services and energy trading.   

Nelson led the public affairs group for DTE Energy and the DTE Energy Foundation.  In this role, she was responsible for civic and community related initiatives and investments throughout the DTE service area, including the coordination of volunteer efforts by DTE employees.  Nelson was also charged with leading all activities of the DTE Energy Foundation, a separate philanthropic organization funded by DTE Energy.     

She formerly served as president and CEO of the non-profit Detroit RiverFront Conservancy,  the organization charged with developing the public space on the Detroit riverfront.  Prior to joining the Conservancy, Nelson served as vice president, Governmental Affairs for Wayne State University, where she led the development of the Wayne State University Research and Technology Park, now known as “Tech Town”. 

Nelson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Mercy College of Detroit and a law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law. She has four daughters and is married to Albert Taylor Nelson, Jr., of counsel to Giarmarco, Mullins and Horton, PC.

She served on the board of directors for Compuware Corporation, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Henry Ford Health System and Health Network Board, Midtown Detroit, Inc.,  and the Parade Company. She is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Wolverine Bar Association, Life Member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, Michigan Women’s Forum, Leadership Detroit, Detroit Athletic Club and the Economic Club of Detroit. 

Nelson is the recipient of numerous awards including the The Damon J. Keith 24th Annual Soul and Spirit Humanitarian Award, “the Grio’s” 100 African American History Makers presented by NBC News, the Milliken Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Environmental Council, and was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of Metro Detroit’s Most Influential Women.



rev. v. lonnie peek, jr.

Board Member, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
President & CEO, eBusiness Strategies, LLC

Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. is the President/ Chief Executive Officer of eBusiness Strategies, a Detroit-based project management consulting company. He is Senior Consultant to the Chancellor of Wayne County Community College and has served as the Director for Religious Studies at WCCCD. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and is also the Chair of their Public Relations Committee.
In addition to serving on the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy Board of Directors, he also serves on the Board of Directors of New Detroit, Inc, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Board of Visitors School of Social Work, WSU. He has served as a political analyst on Channel 7 WXYZ and Fox-2 WJBK and writes a weekly column for the Michigan Chronicle. He has also been involved in hosting various radio programs for more than 30 years in the Detroit area.

Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. is an ordained minister and serves as Assistant Pastor at Greater Christ Baptist Church in Detroit. He holds a Bachelor of Science from West Virginia State College, a Master of Social Work from Wayne State University and Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Ashland Theological Seminary. He was the founder and first President of the Association of Black Students at Wayne State University, served as Department Chair, Black Studies at Wayne County Community College, Associate Professor, School of Social Work at Wayne State University and Executive Assistant for Urban Affairs to Governor James Blanchard.



rodney a. stokes

Board Member, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

Special Advisor for City Placemaking, Governor's Office - State of Michigan

Director, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment

Rodney Stokes brings a great depth and breadth of experience in natural resources, outdoor recreation, policy development, and civic engagement, anchored on the bedrock of public service. As he stated in a recent Department of Natural Resources and Environment employee publication, "I consider myself a public servant. I wake up every day and tell myself that if I can do just one thing, every day, for someone who doesn't have the chance or ability to pay me back, then it will be a pretty good day."

Stokes' service in state government began in 1977 and subsequently included a series of positions in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). His contributions were across a broad mix of the department's core missions, including leadership positions in the Recreation Division, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund program, Grants Administration, Real Estate Division, and then as chief of the Parks and Recreation Division (1997-2002).
Stokes' tenure as a state leader was matched by his performance as interim director and deputy director of the Detroit Recreation Department (2002-2003) and director of the Gainesville, Florida Recreation and Parks Department (2003-2004).

He rejoined the DNR as legislative liaison in 2004, served as chief of staff, acting chief of Law Enforcement Division, named as Lake Erie regional director and most recently chief, Office of Science and Policy in 2010.
His practical experience builds upon a strong academic foundation, including a Bachelor of Arts from Tennessee State University (Recreation Administration) and Master of Science from Michigan State University (Parks and Recreation Resources). Additionally, he served for more than 15 years on the Curriculum Advisory Committee for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University, as well leadership positions on the Recreation and Park Association boards for both state and national levels.

Stokes is committed to community service, including stints on the East Lansing School Board (2001-2003), East Lansing Planning Commission (1995-2001), as well as serving on the board of directors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and as chair of the Deacon Board at Paradise Missionary Baptist Church. He has been tapped for the East Lansing Parks and Recreation Committee, Eastern Land Resource Council and the Michigan State Exposition and Fairgrounds.

He and his wife Linda are residents of East Lansing. They are the proud parents of Rhonda, Saya, and Keenan and grandparents of Kendal and Sloane.