Ann Arbor SPARK Announces Skip Simms Interim President and CEO

Dec 13, 2010, 16:00 ET from Ann Arbor SPARK

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Ann Arbor SPARK, the region's driving force of innovation and economic growth, announced the appointment of Skip Simms as interim president and CEO. In his new role, Simms, who joined Ann Arbor SPARK in 2006, will oversee the organization's efforts to help businesses in the region grow.  


Simms assumes this role on behalf of the SPARK Executive Committee Transition Team, which is overseeing the leadership transition following the resignation of Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO Michael Finney.  Finney recently resigned to lead economic development efforts on behalf of the state of Michigan.

"Ann Arbor SPARK has achieved national recognition in the five years since its formation," said Stephen Forrest, Ann Arbor SPARK's chairman of the board. "The Board of Directors and Executive Committee are committed to continuing that momentum and the appointment of Skip as interim president and CEO ensures that SPARK will not miss a beat in its mission to support business and talent growth in the Ann Arbor region."

Simms previously served as Ann Arbor SPARK's vice president entrepreneur business development as well as manager of the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund and the Michigan Microloan Fund Program.

Simms has nearly 30 years experience in business, finance and investment management. Prior to joining Ann Arbor SPARK, Simms was the managing general partner at the Ralph Wilson Equity Fund, a $31 million fund-of-funds with investments in five venture capital funds and six side-by-side direct investments.  While with the Ralph Wilson Equity Fund, Simms reviewed all opportunities and performed due diligence on funds, including all Michigan based funds, and direct investments.  Following investments, he was engaged at board meetings and served on advisory committees.  

Simms was a charter member and is a current board member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association and serves on the board of directors for the New Enterprise Forum.

The SPARK Transition Team is conducting a national search for president and CEO and anticipates a permanent position announcement before April 1, 2011.


Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is the driving force in establishing the Ann Arbor region as a destination for business expansion, retention, and location by identifying and meeting the needs of business at every stage, from startups to large organizations.  Ann Arbor SPARK represents all communities in the Washtenaw County. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Michigan Works!/ETCS, Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, the Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit