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If you need to contact someone directly, please consult our team of experts below.

Association Team

The West Michigan Shoreline Food Processing Association was officially launched on October 30, 2017 with an initial team of expert consultants led by Marty Gerencer, Principal of Morse Marketing Connections and an expert in the food processing industry. Other consultants include experts in food processing education, site consulting, economic development, and international business development. The team of experts include:

Marty Gerencer

Executive Director

Marty is Principal of Morse Marketing Connections, LLC (MMC), a Norton Shores based marketing and business consulting firm. Prior to the launch of MMC, Marty spent over 20 years with Gerber Products Company and worked with cross-functional teams to implement collaborative approaches to business practices. Most recently she has led the development of the Muskegon Food Hub.

Email: marty.gerencer@gmail.com

Gene Ford

Senior Consultant

Gene Ford recently retired from Nestle where he was Chairman/President of Nestle Nutrition R&D Centers Inc and Site Head, Fremont, Michigan.  His roles during his tenure included Nestle Development Center Head & Category Lead, Product Technology Center Head and Vice President of Global Technology Management for Meals and Drinks.   He joined Nestle in 2008 after two years with Ocean Spray Cranberries, where he held the position of Director of Product Development.  From 1984 to 2006 Mr. Ford was with Campbell Soup Company in various positions including Director of Process and Packaging Development, Director of Logistics, Operations Director and Director of Product Development.  Mr. Ford holds a BS and MS degree from Michigan State University in Agricultural Engineering and a MOT degree from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School and SEAS.  After many years of moving, he, his wife and two children have enjoyed creating deep roots here in Western Michigan. Beyond his work for WMFPA, including supporting the design of the FARM, he is actively involved in the community and education.  He serves on the Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, TrueNorth Community Services, Grand Rapids Symphony and Michigan State University Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering Industrial Advisory boards.  He is the Food Processing Industry Representative for Michigan State University’s Institute of Agricultural Technology and is enjoying teaching as an adjunct professor for Muskegon Community College.

Clarence Rudat

Senior Consultant-Education

Clarence is the Program Coordinator for the Michigan State University (MSU) Institute of Agriculture Technology partnership in Muskegon, overseeing the agriculture associate degree program at Muskegon Community College and the MSU certificate programs in Agriculture Operations, Fruit and Vegetable Management, and Landscape Management. He was instrumental in launching the mobile food lab concept at MSU along with the being the lead developer of the Food Science and Processing Certificate program.    

Dennis Marvin

Senior Consultant, Programs and Communications

Dennis recently retired from Consumers Energy after a 34 year career in Community Engagement, Economic Development, Public Affairs, and Media Relations. Prior to his retirement, Dennis led the community transition process for the closure of the BC Cobb and JR Whiting facilities. He spent over 12 years involved in international business and economic development programs for Consumers Energy and CMS Energy in Asia with focus in Japan, Korea, and China, as well as, Northern Africa, Australia, and Argentina. Dennis is currently Principal of Community Engagement Services, LLC.

Email: dcmarvin@aol.com

The West Michigan Food Processing Initiative is supported by the Consumers Energy Foundation, Community Foundation for Muskegon County, and other regional stakeholders.

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