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What is the APEX Accelerator?

The APEX Accelerators program, formerly known as Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP), under management of the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP), plays a critical role in the nation's efforts to identify and helps a wide range of businesses enter and participate in the government supply-chain. The program provides the education and training to ensure that all businesses become capable of participating in federal, state, and local government contracts.

Our Team

Cathy Fairbanks
Regional Director
Traverse City Office

An APEX Accelerator veteran of more than 11 years, Cathy is a Certified Federal Contract Manager, holding a Master Certificate in Contract Management from George Washington University, School of Business. She has served as the Vice-President and President of the Michigan Alliance of APEX Accelerators (previously known as the PTACs of Michigan).  Cathy received the 2018 Women In Defense (WID) - Michigan Chapter Horizon Industry Award for her work with the defense industry.  She earned a BBA in Business and Technology and an MS in Career and Technical Education. She has over 20 years of experience as a small business owner in agriculture, construction, and retail combined, as well as extensive experience in software development and education.

Mobile: 231.360.1331

LeAnne Kachmarsky 
Procurement Counselor
Marquette Office

LeAnne is a native of the Upper Peninsula, and a graduate of NMU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. She is passionate about assisting small businesses with government contracting, and promoting the local economy.  LeAnne’s experience ranges from managing her own property rentals and real estate business to acting as an operations manager for a small manufacturing firm, to many years of working for large corporate businesses, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. Immediately prior to working with PTAC, LeAnne worked for Upper Peninsula Michigan Works as a Business Services Consultant covering Marquette and Iron Counties.  She holds a current real estate license, is a Certified Veteran Evaluation Counselor, and has an Associate's Certificate in Contract Management from George Washington University.

Mobile: 906.373.7411

Chris Kangas 
Procurement Counselor
Marquette Office

Chris was born and raised in Marquette, Michigan and has spent the majority of his life in the Upper Peninsula. Working as a Director at ROOC/COOR ISD in Roscommon offering employment readiness services to individuals with disabilities and as a Talent Services Manager at Upper Peninsula Michigan Works covering the North Central UP region, he has over 6 years combined experience in workforce development working with various government funded programs and community partners. He has vast knowledge of policy and procedure, contract management, and tracking data and performance. In addition to his workforce development experience, he also holds a Michigan real estate license and is a member of the Lake Superior Leadership Academy Committee with Lake Superior Community Partnership and the South Shore Advisory Board through the South Shore Place Clubhouse. With a client-centric approach, Chris utilizes his experience to help businesses navigate and learn the complex process of government contracting from start to finish.

Mobile: 906.553.9170

Lenore Myers
Procurement Counselor
Traverse City Office

Lenore is a lifetime Michigan resident. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Davenport University and an associate’s degree in Business Management from Macomb Community College. She has strong ties to the defense contracting community, having over 30 years of government contracting experience. Before retiring from civil service, Lenore served as a Procurement Analyst, Contract Specialist, and Contracting officer at Army Contracting Command. She was awarded the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service for her work. Lenore decided to re-enter the workforce to become an APEX Accelerator Procurement Counselor.

Mobile: 231.632.3863

Josh Hart
Procurement Counselor
Traverse City Office

Josh was born and raised in the Grand Rapids area and is a lifetime Michigan resident. He earned dual Bachelor's in Science degrees in Economics and Political Science from Grand Valley State University. Prior to joining the Northwest Michigan APEX Accelerator, Josh worked as a market researcher for a government sales consulting firm. He has experience working with clients in a variety of industries including defense manufacturing, engineering, healthcare, information technology, cybersecurity, and more. 

Mobile: 231.409.3123

Sean Heline      
Departmental Coordinator
Traverse City Office

With more than 25 years of data management/reporting experience, Sean brings a wealth of knowledge to the APEX team and our clients. He has worked for employers across the U.S. in fields that include retail, advertising, mobile communications and manufacturing, and in size ranging from local businesses with fewer than 10 employees to Fortune 500 corporations. Sean holds a BS degree in Political Campaign Management and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Technologies; management experience – along with the latter degree – led to his serving as a volunteer small business advisor for several years, as well as launching a business of his own here in northern Michigan.

Mobile: 231.620.2211

The Northwest Michigan APEX Accelerator is funded in part by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The APEX Accelerator is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense.

Networks Northwest always proves to be a valued resource for our local government planning efforts. No organization does a better job of convening partners, promoting collaboration, and reporting on the data than does Networks Northwest
- Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner