FRANCO TEAM

Daniel F. Ponder

Chairman

“Captain ‘o Captain”

As Franco’s chairman, Dan Ponder is responsible for the company’s stakeholder relations, strategic alliances and overall performance. He is often sought out for his extensive knowledge of board of director governance, c-suite communications, community relations and business operations.

Dan joined the Franco team in 1985 and is credited for building the company’s culture of caring – caring about each other, clients and the community at large. Franco’s culture has provided a sense of belonging and great purpose in his work life. He puts his whole heart into Franco’s core value of Opportunity, driving results and impact for clients and serving as a source of inspiration for everyone he works with.

Dan represents Franco across many community organizations, including:

  • The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division Advisory Board – Executive Committee, Chair – Program and Service Committee
  • The Salvation Army Southeast Michigan Adult Rehabilitation Center Advisory Council – Chairman of the Board, Executive Committee
  • Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors – Executive Committee, Chair – Finance and Audit Committee
  • Crime Stoppers of Michigan Board of Directors – Past Board Chair, Executive Committee, Chair – Annual Fundraiser
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors – Past Board Chair, PAC Board Member, Senior Advisor

Dan has been honored for his business and community leadership with many awards and recognitions, including the Community Leadership Award presented by Crime Stoppers of Michigan (2014); Corporate Hero Award presented by Michigan Youth Appreciation Foundation and Metro Youth Day (2015) and Michigan State University Executive MBA Alumni of the Decade Award (2015).

Prior to joining Franco, Dan was a member of Deloitte’s Private Company Advisory Service. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in accounting from Michigan State University and an Executive MBA from MSU’s Broad College of Business. He is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit X and a recent graduate of the U.S. Army War College National Security Seminar.

Fun fact about Dan: he has his pilot’s license. He secured this accomplishment at the young age of 17 and completed his first solo flight in a fixed wing Cessna airplane when he was only 16. Dan has worked in downtown Detroit his entire career. He has lived in Northville most of his life, and his life motto is: “When deciding, choose the road less traveled.”

FRANCO TEAM

Tina Kozak

CEO

“Chief Courage Officer”

As Franco’s CEO, Tina Kozak leads the company in its values, culture and strategic vision. She works with clients on strategic planning and crisis management, and oversees the company’s branding, marketing and business development initiatives. Driving change in a decades-old business is challenging, but Tina has made it her mission to honor Franco’s legacy while staying ahead of the relevance curve. Under her leadership, Franco has added services and talent to evolve the agency from traditional public relations to integrated communications.

Tina challenges clients to think differently about communications and seeks to influence their organizational performance, not just tell their stories. As one of metro Detroit’s most experienced crisis communications strategists, Tina has earned the trust and respect of her clients by working alongside them to prevent and manage a wide variety of reputation-impacting issues.

Tina has a passion for Detroit. The city’s perpetual resilience serves as a major source of inspiration for Tina and her work. You can often find Tina taking time to reflect and refresh on Belle Isle, alongside her husband, Mike, and their two daughters.

Tina starts every weekday with a 6:30 a.m. Accountability Lab where she sets her priorities, intentions and mindset for the day. As a professional storyteller, it is no surprise Tina loves learning about people and hearing their stories, making her Franco’s go-to resource for book, podcast and documentary recommendations.

Before joining Franco in 2007, Tina was the global communications manager at auto supplier Metaldyne Corp. (now part of American Axle) where she managed strategic communications plans across an international company with $2 billion in revenue and 7,500 employees in 14 countries.

Tina chairs the board of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Foundation. She’s also a member of the Life Remodeled Business Advisory Committee and serves as a business coach and mentor with Michigan Women Forward. She is an active member of PRSA Detroit, the Detroit Economic Club, Automotive Press Association and Inforum.

Tina holds a Bachelor of Arts with a dual major in public relations and Spanish from Wayne State University. She is also a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit XXXIII. In 2019, Tina was recognized as a Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40 honoree.

FRANCO TEAM

Tina Benvenuti Sullivan

President and Chief Operating Officer

“Quality Control Connoisseur & Self-Proclaimed Neat Freak”

As Franco’s president and chief operating officer, Tina Benvenuti Sullivan ensures operational excellence for employees, clients and the agency. She oversees Franco’s leadership team, direct talent development and support the firm’s scalability and expansion efforts. Tina manages agency operations, with a focus on expanding Franco’s capabilities and mentoring team members as they develop leadership skills. In addition to agency operations, Tina also serves as lead counsel for the agency’s B2B, automotive, manufacturing and technology clients, applying her vast experience in branding, communications and project management to guide Franco’s account teams and new business development.

A self-proclaimed neat freak, Tina can take any unorganized mess and turn it into a color coded, alphabetized masterpiece. Her undying passion for a well-designed space (both at home and in the office) was critical during her management of Franco’s own office redesign in 2017.

Prior to joining Franco, Tina worked in a variety of corporate and agency roles related to the automotive industry. She was a news desk and corporate communications manager at the former Chrysler Group LLC and the communications director for Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES). During her time as AYES’ communications director she was dedicated to preparing high school students for a career in automotive technology, leading community programming and developing marketing campaigns to generate consumer awareness. Additionally, she served as the managing director at Eview360, a local brand experience and design studio, guiding account teams in quality control and managing design timelines. Tina also spent nearly a decade at a boutique automotive public relations firm early in her career.

Tina is an active member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Automotive Public Relations Council (APRC). She currently serves as a board member for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Tina holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Michigan. She is also a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit XXXVI.

Tina resides in Troy with her husband, two daughters and beloved goldendoodle. The family often enjoys spending time at their cottage on Lake Huron.

FRANCO TEAM

Burt Jordan

Advisory Board

Burt Jordan serves on Franco’s Advisory Board and provides strategic counsel on business development, diversity and growth initiatives.

Burt is the president of Atlantic Coastal Acquisition Corporation, a newly organized $345 Million Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation (SPAC) focused on the next generation mobility. He retired from Ford Motor Company in 2020, most recently serving as a corporate officer and vice president of Global Purchasing Operations and Supply Chain Sustainability. Before that, he was vice president, Global Vehicle and Powertrain Purchasing and Supplier Diversity where he was responsible for all commodity-related purchasing and supplier sourcing around the world. During his tenure at Ford, he oversaw Supplier Diversity Development and Global Supply Risk Management and served in various global purchasing roles. He joined Ford in 1999 after stints with General Motors, Toyota and United Technologies.

Burt earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Alma College in Alma, Michigan. He was also appointed to the United States Air Force Academy. African Americans on Wheels magazine recognized Burt as one of the “70 Most Influential African American Men in the Automotive Industry.” He was also recognized in the book “Driven, A Tribute to African-American Achievement in the Automotive Industry.” His outstanding commitment to diversity was recognized by Automotive News, which named him an “All-Star for Minority Business.” In 2019, he was elected to the Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame and in 2020 he was named Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) of the Year by the National Minority Business Development Council (NMSDC).

Burt serves on the board of directors of Xos, Inc. and a number of civic and community organizations including FOCUS: Hope, Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, Rhonda Walker Foundation, CATCH and The National Multiple Sclerosis Michigan Chapter.

FRANCO TEAM

Nikki Little

Senior Vice President

“Life-Long Pursuer of Personal & Professional Growth”

As Franco’s senior VP, Nikki Little oversees strategic initiatives for clients and the agency, with a specific focus on integrating and aligning communications services for maximum results. Nikki also manages the integrated marketing efforts for the agency. Nikki’s career has come full circle – her first job out of college in January 2007 was at Franco, where she spent three years working her way up from an assistant account executive to a senior account executive.

Prior to re-joining Franco in September 2019, Nikki served as the director of communications at White Glove, where she managed all internal and external communications efforts for the company. Nikki also spent more than 7 years at Identity, starting as a social media specialist and eventually moving into the director of social media role.

Nikki thrives on purpose and impact. Loyalty, gratitude and well-being are her core values (she credits Brené Brown’s books with helping her identify those values). When Nikki commits to something, she pours her heart and soul into it and won’t give up until the job is not just done but done well. She’s a firm believer in the Marie Kondo mentality of putting effort and energy into what brings the most joy…while also being equipped to take on the inevitable curveballs that don’t fall within the joy category! That approach has led to a quote Nikki lives by: “Embrace the joyfear.”

Nikki holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in integrative public relations and Spanish from Central Michigan University. Fun fact: Nikki studied abroad for her final college semester in Valdivia, Chile where she had her first (and likely only!) experience climbing a volcano.

Outside of her work at Franco, Nikki is an Impact100 Oakland County board member, where she volunteers on the member communications committee and handles member email communication. Nikki also publishes The MichComms Report, a bi-weekly e-newsletter for Michigan communications professionals. She loves to read, work out and play tennis – and she may occasionally choose cleaning and organizing as a method of relaxation. But nothing fills her cup more than spending time with her husband, Mike, and her identical twin boys, Nolan and Evan.

FRANCO TEAM

Brent Snavely

Vice President, Media Relations

“Believer in communications, defender of journalism”

As Franco’s vice president of media relations, Brent Snavely leverages his decades of experience to provide media relations strategy and counsel to automotive and B2B clients, as well as providing media relations best practices to Franco’s team members.

Prior to transitioning into the PR industry, Brent spent 23 years as a journalist. He was a reporter for nine years at the Detroit Free Press, nine years at Crain’s Detroit Business and six years at newspapers in the Columbus, Ohio metro area.

At the Detroit Free Press, Brent covered the restructuring of Ford Motor Company while Alan Mulally was CEO and, later, the restructuring of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles while Sergio Marchionne was CEO. In 2011, Brent was part of a team of reporters who won a Gerald Loeb Award for coverage of the UAW’s groundbreaking contract talks with General Motors. He also served as a key member of the paper’s team of reporters that chronicled Detroit’s descent into and out of Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

In his most recent role at Lambert & Co., Brent led account teams for several automotive and crisis communications clients. Crisis clients included two multi-billion-dollar companies that faced long-term environmental issues.

Brent believes deeply in teamwork and is passionate about mentoring and teaching others. The philosophy that a small number of people can achieve great things when everyone embraces a clear vision has led to Brent’s biggest successes both in journalism and public relations.

Brent holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wittenberg University. He has lived in Detroit for 22 years and currently resides in West Village with his wife. When he’s not working, Brent loves cooking and being outdoors. He enjoys hiking, biking, running, kayaking and camping and can often be found at Belle Isle – especially on weekends.

FRANCO TEAM

John Bozick

Integrated Communications Specialist

Jack of All Trades

As an integrated communications specialist, John Bozick is responsible for providing media relations, social media, content writing and visual support, a combination of his greatest strengths. He works on a variety of Franco accounts ranging from automotive and B2B to nonprofit clients.  

John brings a host of experience in integrated communications. Prior to joining Franco, he worked for the Oakland Post at Oakland University, where he was Social Media Editor and Web Editor. He also worked as a Social Media Advisor for General Motors, editor for Detroitisit, as well as other freelance social media work for clients in Detroit.  

John’s most memorable and influential experience was traveling to Greece to report on and research the refugee crisis. He interviewed migrants, members of the Greek government and members of NGOs to craft stories. John describes this experience as humbling and something that truly shaped him personally and professionally. 

Closer to home, John is inspired by Detroit because the people who call Detroit home aren’t like people in other cities. While John has traveled a lot, the people of Detroit inspire him because they never stop moving forward. 

John holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in political science from Oakland University, as well as a certificate in digital media arts from Specs Howard School of Media Arts. 

FRANCO TEAM

Rachel Burnard

Integrated Communications Supervisor

“Dedicated Program Manager & Account Strategist With an Eye for Integration”

Rachel Burnard is an integrated communications supervisor specializing in strategic planning and program management. She is a dedicated strategist, focused on crafting and optimizing programs that bring together all elements of integrated communications to deliver the greatest return to her clients. Rachel’s loyalty, outgoing personality and drive make her a go-to collaborator for colleagues and clients alike.

Rachel is a champion for Franco’s people-powered, data-driven approach with a meticulous eye for program metrics and analysis. Whether it’s building relationships, sharing news, planning events that excite or introducing others to organizations with incredible missions, she plays a critical role in connecting her clients to those who drive their businesses forward.

Before joining Franco as an intern in 2016, Rachel took her college career by storm interning with Yazaki North America and the Capital Area Humane Society. She also served on the executive board of Michigan State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and its student-run public relations agency, Hubbell Connections.

Rachel currently resides in Northville with her boyfriend, where she can be seen sporting the latest athleisure gear while perfecting her workout routine or on the couch with her laptop and a cup of tea in hand. In her free time, she loves to share the latest fashion and beauty trends with her @RecommendedbyRach followers on Instagram.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a minor in public relations from Michigan State University.

FRANCO TEAM

Lori Cook

Office Manager

“Jill of All Trades & Franco’s Rock”

Lori Cook joined the Franco team more than a decade ago and immediately became the glue that holds everyone together. As the company’s office manager, Lori handles bookkeeping, human resources, IT and most importantly feeding the staff snacks! Beyond her typical role, Lori steps in as Franco’s mom, dispensing an abundance of advice and hugs.

Her calming influence and problem-solving skills keep the Franco ship moving. Not only because she was an important part of remodeling the office, but Lori is also the go-to resource for knowing where everything is off the top of her head.

Prior to joining Franco, Lori owned and operated a bookkeeping business for retail, service and nonprofit clients.

When she isn’t tending to her Franco family, Lori is spending time with her husband, Alan, three children (Michelle, Craig and Kyle) and grandson, Henry. Lori enjoys time up north at her cottage driving her Arctic Cat Wildcat UTV and snowmobile or relaxing with a craft beer.

FRANCO TEAM

Ashley DuPuy Mancuso

Associate Creative Director

“A lateral aesthetic thinker dedicated to intentional design”

As Franco’s associate creative director, Ashley DuPuy Mancuso oversees and manages design across the agency. While Ashley’s experience spans industries, including vast municipal, automotive, nonprofit and e-commerce experience, she’s dedicated to creating materials that strengthen and accurately depict each client’s unique characteristics, qualities and complexities.

Inspired by the Andy Warhol quote, “Art is what you can get away with,” Ashley is passionate about crafting memorable designs that standout in today’s increasingly saturated media landscape. Specializing in creating brand identities, graphic design and photography, Ashley’s work has supported numerous notable and award-winning projects, including an IABC Heritage Region Silver Quill Award in 2019 and a CCA North America Gold Award in 2020.

Prior to joining Franco in 2015, Ashley gained experience as the design coordinator at Porter One Design, creating successful branding and print materials and interned at AutoWeek Magazine and Hour Media where she finessed her editorial skillset. Additionally, she’s freelanced for firms both in and outside of Michigan, including serving as a contract designer for Knack Industrial Design Studio.

Outside of work, Ashley can be found enjoying the scenes and eats in Corktown, running through her Dearborn neighborhood (closing rings on her Apple Watch as she goes) and relaxing at home with her husband, Nicholas, dog, Beatrix, and three cats, Bear, Chicken and Goat.

Ashley holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from College of Creative Studies, with a concentration in photography and dual minor in graphic design and advertising. She is a member of AdCraft Detroit and volunteers with Motown Museum and supports the advocacy work of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.