BIZ Board of Directors


Tricia A. Keith, Executive Vice President, Chief of Staff and Corporate Secretary, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Tricia A. Keith is executive vice president, chief of staff and corporate secretary for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Keith is responsible for the administration and management of all things related to the BCBSM Board of Directors and selection councils. Keith’s current priority is supporting BCBSM’s Board of Directors through its transition of becoming a nonprofit mutual insurer and further demonstrating BCBSM’s commitment to core cities.

Vice Chair

George P. Barnes, Jr., Founder, Heritage Optical

Active in the Detroit community since 1975, George P. Barnes, Jr. is the founder of Heritage Optical Center, Inc. and Heritage Vision Plans, Inc. Heritage Optical Center, Inc. is Michigan’s first African-American-owned and operated full service optical dispensary and today comprises three Detroit retail locations. Heritage Vision Plans, Inc. (HVP) is a full-service vision benefit plan management company which manages and administers vision programs for a range of national public and private clients utilizing the HVP national provider network.


Mark M. King, Manager of Economic Development, DTE Energy

Mark M. King is the manager of economic development at DTE Energy where he has responsibility for business attraction and retention activities for DTE Electric – the nation’s tenth largest electric utility and DTE Gas – the nation’s fifth largest gas utility. While at DTE Energy, King has worked in Marketing and Sales, Customer Service, Thermal Energy, and on various business improvement projects.


Richard J. Hosey III, Hosey Development LLC

Richard J. Hosey III’s real estate experience entails development, consulting, financing and asset management of more than 80 projects totaling over $2.75 billion in development costs. Hosey Development is currently developing a 25-unit market rate multifamily loft development in Midtown Detroit in the former Tushiyah United Hebrew School and co-developing 1212 Griswold, 1145 Griswold and 1249 Griswold into 240 units of market rate loft apartments and 80,000 square feet of office and commercial space in Downtown Detroit.

Charles Beckham, Group Executive for Neighborhoods, City of Detroit

As Group Executive for Neighborhoods, Charles Beckham oversees the Detroit’s Buildings, Safety Engineering & Environmental Department and the Department of Neighborhoods. Having served at an executive level over five administrations over the last 40+ years, Beckham has also run his own management consulting firm, held numerous engineering management positions at General Motors Company and co-founded and served as Executive Director of the African American Association of Businesses & Contractors.

Debra Dansby, Chief Administrative Officer, Rock Ventures LLC

Debra Dansby is the chief administrative officer of Rock Ventures LLC, an umbrella entity formed to provide operational coordination, guidance, and integration to Dan Gilbert’s portfolio of companies and investments. Dansby supports Rock Venture’s efforts to spark development and revitalization in the City of Detroit. She is focused on strategic planning, placemaking, economic development tools and coordination with external economic development organizations. Most recently, Dansby played an integral role on the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force, which successfully developed a plan to efficiently eradicate blight in the city of Detroit.

David Di Rita, Principal, Roxbury Group

David Di Rita has 25 years experience as a transactional attorney and real estate professional. He is actively involved in the Roxbury Group’s real estate development projects as well as its advisory work with corporate, governmental and non-profit clients. Roxbury has advanced numerous development projects in greater Downtown Detroit, including the Auburn, the David Whitney Building, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Activity Center, and the Griswold.

J. Christopher Ferchill, Vice President of Development, Ferchill Group

As the President of Development for The Ferchill Group, J. Christopher Ferchill partnered with his father to complete the $180 million rehabilitation of the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit Hotel and Residences in 2008. As an owner of the hotel, Ferchill maintains direct involvement in hotel operations. In addition, Ferchill opens and operates Michael Symon’s Roast in the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, noted as one of the country’s best steak restaurants.

Linda D. Forte, Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, and Chief Diversity Officer, Comerica Bank


Linda D. Forte served as the senior vice president of Business Affairs and chief diversity officer for Comerica Bank. She was responsible for defining and driving business strategies that establish Comerica as a leader in diversity and work life practices and has achieved national recognition for the bank’s diversity efforts. Forte also was responsible for the Comerica Charitable Foundation, Corporate Contributions and Civic Affairs, overseeing corporate giving and community involvement programs.

Kenneth L. Harris, President and Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce

Born and raised in the City of Detroit, Kenneth L. Harris is a passionate pioneer in helping African-Americans and other minorities attain economic equality through entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. He currently serves as president and CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce and has worked to advance minority and black-owned businesses throughout Michigan. Harris serves on the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and as Midwest director for the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce.

Debra Homic Hoge, Global Director of Real Estate, General Motors Company

Debra Homic Hoge is the global director of real estate at GM and is responsible for the acquisition, disposition and redevelopment of corporate real estate throughout the world. GM’s portfolio consists of over 335 million square feet. She maintains a State of Michigan Brokers License, and has also received a Master of Corporate Real Estate (MCR) designation from CoreNet, a global real estate consortium where she now serves on the Global Board of Directors.

Dwight W. Phillips, Member and Shareholder, Phifer, Phillips & White, PC

A native Detroiter, Dwight W. Phillips is a practicing attorney and a shareholder in the law firm of Phifer, Phillips & White, P.C. The firm has been located in downtown Detroit since its inception in 1981. It is presently housed in the historic L.B. King Building at 1274 Library Street. Phillips is also the managing partner of Annis Historic Properties, P. C, which purchased and developed the L.B. King Building in 1986.

Phillip Pierce, Managing Member, Pierce, Monroe & Associates LLC

Phillip Pierce is the managing member of Pierce, Monroe & Associates, which provides financial, management and information technology consulting services. He has extensive experience in financial and information systems consulting beginning with his employment with Arthur Andersen & Company. In 1985 he joined Loren Monroe, former treasurer of the State of Michigan, to form Pierce, Monroe & Associates, LLC. Pierce is nationally known for his expertise as he has led strategic planning efforts for more than forty different organizations.