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Our Leadership


Todd Gustafson, President & Chief Executive Officer

Todd serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Kinexus, where he has been driving their repositioning into a nationally recognized community development organization since 2005.  His leadership has transformed Kinexus into a multi-million dollar statewide asset that integrates workforce, economic and community development into a family of organizations.  Their innovative solutions to some of the most pressing problems earned them recognition by such organizations as the NonProfit Times, MiBiz Magazine, and Crain’s Detroit Business.

"If you have the will, more things are possible than you realize."
- Alger Gustafson


Ian Gordon, Vice President of Workforce

Ian Gordon is the Vice President of Workforce for Michigan Works! where he leads a dynamic team of youth and adult focused programs designed to provide Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties with a highly skilled workforce.


Ian comes to us from the United States Navy, where he has served for the past decade as a Human Resources Officer. His passion for servant leadership is evident in his dedication to fostering a collaborative mindset within Michigan Works! by coaching, mentoring, and developing others according to core values taken from his time in service. Prior to joining the Navy, Ian was an active teacher in the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency.


Ian holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Western Michigan University, a Master’s degree in Leadership from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is also a Certified Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt and an Agile Scrum Professional. He is an active member of his community and his local church. He and his wife, Rita are passionate about helping those in their community by volunteering both time, food, and material needs to those in need.


In his spare time, Ian enjoys spending time with his wife and their black lab, Olive. Ian also has a passion for cars, reading, and has been an avid miniatures painter for the past 23 years. After a decade in the Navy, he and his wife now live 5 miles from where he entered the service in Stevensville, MI.

“Anger begets anger, joy is beset by sadness, but compassion always breeds grace”

- Unknown


Allie Knapp, Bridge Academy of SW Michigan School Leader

Allie Knapp serves as the School Leader of the Bridge Academy of Southwest Michigan, where she has been driving change in the education space for more than seven years and is directly responsible for the operations of the program. 

Allie joined the Kinexus Group team as a Youth Instructional Specialist in 2013 and moved to Manager of Education Services in 2016, where she oversaw both youth and adult education services. Knapp now oversees multiple programs, including the Bridge Academy and Michigan Works! Adult Education. In addition, Allie facilitates partnerships between the Bridge Academy and Berrien Springs Public Schools in order to deliver a collaborative approach to education. 

She is passionate about improving the lives of others through exceptional customer service, intense barrier removal, and truly serving each student as an individual. 

Knapp earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education for English and Communication from Western Michigan University. In addition, she holds a State of Michigan Provisional Teaching Certificate. In her free time, Allie enjoys spending time with her husband and young son, traveling, and hosting gatherings with friends. She was born and raised in Southwest Michigan and currently resides in St. Joseph, Michigan.

"The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere."

- Barack Obama


Derek Knuth, Director of Offender Services

Derek (Deke) Knuth is the Director of Offender Services for Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, where he oversees the Offender Success Program that increases public safety by reducing the regional, offender return-to-prison rate through an employment-focused plan of services and supervision.

Prior to being a member of the Kinexus Team, Derek worked at Timothy’s Fine Dine Restaurant in the summers while attending college. He has a background in corrections and early experience in Kinexus has given him over four years of direct service for reentry populations.

While playing four years of collegiate baseball, he received his Associates of Arts Degree at Lake Michigan College and then attended Concordia University Ann Arbor, where he obtained a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice.

Passionate about his hometown community, Derek returned to Saint Joseph, Michigan where he enjoys being around over 100 family members.

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."
-John Wooden


Chrissy Meek, Workforce Operations Manager

Chrissy Meek is the Workforce Operations Manager for the Berrien County office for Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren . Chrissy brings “Talent” to the operations of both people and processes at Michigan Works!. With a background in communications, she has led teams, small and large, through her roles in development and fundraising, as well as more than 20 years of volunteer efforts with the Red Cross. Her experience with organization, performance metrics, and behavior analysis sets the standards of best practices at the forefront of everything she accomplishes. She is well versed with children, youth, and adults, bringing her passion to the plate of equality and fairness.


As a previous radio host and published author of two books, multiple news articles and poems, her creativity to see the big picture expands her mindset of what the local economic impact could be with a team of cohesion and collaboration. Chrissy believes in the core beliefs of relationship building, effective communication, and quality outcomes.


In her spare time, Chrissy, enjoys singing, writing, swimming, a day at the shooting range, and time with family and friends. Chrissy likes antiquing on days that end in “Y” and loves a night of Red Wings Hockey. Lake life is her joy, residing on Paw Paw Lake in Watervliet, Michigan with her 4-legged friends: Rottweiler, Cahleesi, and Chihuahua, Csiah.

“It’s not the problem, it’s how you handle the problem.”

- Chrissy Meek


Karla Grady-Walker, Workforce Operations Manager

​Karla Grady-Walker is the Workforce Operations Manager for the Paw Paw and Cass offices for Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, where she oversees staff that are committed to inspiring positive economic change one person, one business, one community at a time.


Karla has been in the working in the Workforce sector for 16 years and has held variety of roles but her unwavering commitment to bringing out the best in everyone at Michigan Works! is the most important to her.


Karla was awarded the “Shining Star” Award by the Michigan Works! Association for her efforts to meet employment needs in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties in 2020.   Over the years, she has often gone above and beyond to provide exceptional service while creating meaningful connections and providing personalized support to ensures jobseekers are successful. Now, as a manager, she instills that same compassion for her team to share.


Karla enjoys being able to help impact the lives of others in the tri-county area where she calls home. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially a little 3 year old named Violet! Karla enjoys baking, cooking, traveling, trying new restaurants and exploring new places.

"When writing the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen."
- Harley Davidson

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