Kevin Ricco, Director
(616) 331-6901 • [email protected]
Kevin drives the vision of the Hub and is responsible for the overall management of the organization. His team-first attitude and extensive background in economic development give him the unique understanding of what it takes to help businesses and entrepreneurs thrive in Michigan. Prior to joining Grand Valley State University, Kevin served as Allegan County’s Director of County Development where he managed economic development, brownfield redevelopment, parks and recreation, and tourism. Kevin is a horticulturist at heart with a passion for business, holding a bachelor's degree in natural resource management from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University. A proud Muskegon native, Kevin sits on the Downtown Muskegon Now board of directors and is a member of Rotary. Outside of the Hub, you can find Kevin enjoying staycations with his family at the Lakeshore, conducting horticultural experiments in his yard, or raucously cheering on the Michigan Wolverines.
What is your vision for the Hub?
“My goal is to carry out the Hub's mission and empower our team to turn great ideas into successful business ventures. It’s much bigger than a single person’s vision for the Hub. It’s about impacting the region through our collective passion for entrepreneurship and innovation.”
Thomas Hopper, Associate Director for Business Development
(616) 331-6908 • [email protected]
Thomas serves as the Associate Director for Business Development at the Hub, helping businesses turn bright ideas into marketable products and services. With a background in product development and a Six Sigma Black Belt, Thomas whips business visions into shape, bridging the technical side of development with big-picture business goals. He has served as the co-inventor on several patents, brought successful new products to market, and developed new business processes that saved millions of dollars. Prior to joining the Hub, Thomas directed product development at Exide Technologies in Germany and has been in the renewable energy sector for the majority of his career. Thomas holds his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Alma College and a master’s degree in product development from the University of Detroit Mercy. Outside of the Hub, you can find Thomas spending time with his family in Michigan’s great outdoors or reading up on the latest science discoveries and current events.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs or startups?
“Focus on getting your product to market sooner rather than later. You generate income and deliver a better product only when customers are buying from you.”
Allison Dile, Business Incubator Manager
(616) 331-6916 • [email protected]
Allison serves as the business incubator manager at the Hub, helping entrepreneurs navigate the ocean of resources available to support their business goals. With a rich background in communication, public relations, and business development, Allison connects entrepreneurs to customized resources that help them develop or expand their market reach. In addition to supporting Hub clients, Allison also leads the event planning. Prior to joining the Hub, Allison worked in various member relations and communication roles that helped her understand the pulse of the business community. Some of her past positions include corporate communications at Shape Corporation, the member relations manager at the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, a project manager at Revel, and the marketing and communication manager at Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore. She holds a bachelor of arts in public relations from Central Michigan University. Outside of the Hub, you can find Allison volunteering, hiking with Koda, her rescue border collie, or renovating her new home.
What are your favorite things about Muskegon?
“I love hiking at Hoffmaster State Park, the local food and craft beer scene, and all the festivals. I think it’s safe to say that I will be a Muskegon lifer.”
Katie Walker, Administrative Assistant
(616) 331-6905 • [email protected]
As the administrative coordinator for the Muskegon Innovation Hub, Katie has a myriad of responsibilities, such as finance management, facility rental, event coordination, student employee supervision, and administrative support. As the newest member of the team, Katie is excited to improve upon current procedures and ensure all hub operations are well conceived and executed. Prior to joining the Hub, Katie worked in several different industries that garnered her skills in operations, business development, sales, and hospitality. Katie holds a bachelor of arts in social science from the University of Southern Florida. Outside of the Hub, you can find Katie on the water, raising ducks, or dabbling on instruments with her husband.
What is your favorite thing about working at the Hub?
“Honestly, I’m the biggest lover of people you could find! Meeting members and being part of the Muskegon Community is rewarding.”
Tom Hull, Maintenance and Operations
(616) 331-6900 • [email protected]
Tom manages maintenance and operations at the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Grand Rapids and Regional Centers. He is the go-to person for all things facility-related at the Hub. He coordinates the set-up and teardown process for all events and makes sure that the facility is in tip-top shape on a day-to-day basis. Before joining GVSU, Tom worked as a baker for 30 years. He also enjoys giving back to the community through his volunteer work at Muskegon Area People and a local cat shelter. Outside of work, you can find Tom playing music on the weekends with the Carl Webb Band or teaching electronics to guitar makers at the Galloup School of Lutherie in Big Rapids.
What are your favorite things about Muskegon?
“The Lakeshore is a great Muskegon asset. The weather is perfect in the summer — there is no reason to travel anywhere else.”