Board & Staff

Current Board

YDDA Board members serve for four year terms. The terms are staggered so that every year up to three positions will be available for designation.
( ) indicates year of term expiration.

  • Mark Teachout, Board Chair
    – Owner of Ollie Food and Spirit and Cream and Crumb (2018)
  • Jessica French, Vice Chair
    -Owner of Sidetrack  (2018)
  • Adam Gainsley, Treasurer
    – Arsenal Studios (2020)
  • Amanda Edmonds, Mayor of Ypsilanti
  • Andrew O’Neal
    -O’Neal Construction (2019)
  • Diana Wong
    -Sensei Change, Back Office Studios (2020)
  • Martha Cleary
    -Inn Keeper at the Parish House (2019)
  • Ben Harrington
    -Ann Arbor SPARK (2019)
  • Dieter Otto
    -Eastern Michigan University (2020)
  • Jelani McGadney
    -Legislative Aid to State Representative Yousef Rabhi (2018)



Joe Meyers is the Community Development Manager for the City of Ypsilanti and the Executive Director of the Ypsilanti DDA. Prior to that Joe worked for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in the Redevelopment Ready Community (RRC) Program and Antrim County as Associate Planner. Joe holds a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University in Urban Planning. When Joe’s not thinking about ways to improve the city, he’s thinking about how many cats and kittens he can stack on his lap at once.


Elize Jekabson is an Ypsilanti based artist and community organizer. She graduated with an Associates degree in Culinary Arts and Management, followed by a BFA from Eastern Michigan University with a concentration in Sculpture. Elize took on the role of Vice President of First Fridays Ypsilanti in 2013, and helped establish the organization. In 2017, she took the position of Program Director for the organization, and co-founded Ypsi Pride, and Festival of the Honey Bee. Elize also manages/co-owns Ypsi Alloy Studios, an artist studio that focuses on providing affordable work space for 3D artists.

If you are interested in becoming a YDDA Board member, please submit a letter of interest to Mayor Amanda Edmonds at 

To keep the YDDA moving towards achieving all of our long term goals, we also have two standing committees that meet each month. These committees are: Grants and Operations & Finance.  Each committee is made up of a combination of YDDA board members and community-at-large members. In addition to the two standing committees, the YDDA may periodically designate Ad Hoc or Subcommittees designed to address very specific projects as needed.

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