Alliance for Economic Success (AES) is an economic development organization servicing Manistee, Benzie, and Wexford Counties and the surrounding areas.

We define economic development as improving the economic well-being and quality of life of businesses, employees, and citizens inside the community.

  • Staff

    Lisa Leedy, Executive Director


    lisa leedy aes

    Lisa was hired as Executive Director in October 2017 to lead AES into our 10th year of progress. Lisa had been a small business owner for 15 years, previously served as an elected Village President and as appointed positions on sewer authority, chamber of commerce, DDA, rural task force board, broadband board, library board, library co-op board and currently serves at part-time Deputy Supervisor in a township.  Lisa has managed broadband, sewer, road, and building construction projects and has significant experience in community development.





    Christina Karnisz, Office Manager


    Having grown up just outside of Grand Rapids, MI. Christina moved to Manistee in 2012. Her professional background consists heavily in office management, outside sales, and bookkeeping experience in the construction and energy industries. Currently, she is pursing a Bachelors of Business, Major in Accounting, through Baker College Online. Additionally, she aspires to continue providing tax preparation services locally through H&R Block in Parkdale on a part-time, seasonal basis. In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors and spending as much time as possible with her husband and their curious young son.

  • Board

    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

  • Collaboration

    AES provides site location services, small business planning, diagnostic assessments, economic recommendations, access to local, state, and federal incentives and assistance, liaison service to government offices, and provides neutral third-party convener and facilitation services.

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

Ready to start collaborating?

Work With Us

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