Shannon Cunningham – President
Shannon serves as the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, a law firm located in downtown Grand Rapids. She is responsible for new business development, firm branding initiatives, fostering strategic relationships, public relations, and external communications. She also leads all aspects of marketing and business development functions to achieve firm growth, profit, and visibility goals. Shannon graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2007, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations and obtaining a minor in Spanish. In addition to her position at Smith Haughey, Shannon is a member of the American Marketing Association and the Legal Marketing Association and writes for both The Rapidian and the Eastown Community Association’s Eastown Access. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Humane Society of West Michigan and is a mentor through Kids Hope USA and Burton Elementary. Outside of work, Shannon can be found strolling or running through Eastown and its surrounding neighborhoods, working on her Eastown fixer-upper or enjoying local Grand Rapids brews and eats. Shannon joined the ECA board in 2013 and currently serves on the ECA’s Access Committee.
Heather Colletto – Vice President
Originally from Philadelphia, Heather and her husband rented in Heritage Hill for a few years before buying their first home in Eastown in 2012; baby Beatrice joined them a year later. From searching for the hottest pepper at the nearby Farmers’ Market to enjoying brunch on the patio at Terra, the Collettos enjoy living near some of Eastown’s finest. Grateful to live here, Heather wants to proactively contribute to the growth of the town she’s excited to raise a family in. Heather’s career has been exclusively in non-profit—as far away as Slovakia and Thailand—so her experience with boards has always been “behind the scenes.” With a background in women’s and children’s issues, she currently works as the Minister for Mission at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Grand Rapids. Heather can often be seen running for the #14 Rapid bus, a Morning Glory muffin from Common Ground in her hand. Heather joined the board in 2014 and serves on the ECA’s Access Committee
Jose Perez has been a business owner for the last five years, and he recently took over as the pastor of Uptown Church. He believes being a part of the ECA board will bring him closer to the heartbeat of the city where he can discover a greater understanding of the ways that Uptown Church can help the community. Since becoming a pastor at Uptown, he has helped in cleaning up local parking lots and has offered their parking lot to the ECA for several events. Jose hopes to increase Uptown Church’s level of involvement in the community and to help grow Eastown, itself. Jose was elected to the board in 2016.
Originally from Illinois, Katie has lived in Eastown since she and her husband purchased their fixer-upper on Bemis Street four years ago. Since then, they’ve tackled numerous renovation projects, added a little boy and baby girl to their family, and become deeply rooted in the Eastown community. Katie works as a designer for a local Landscape Architecture firm where she works on a wide range of projects including streetscapes, parks, and large-scale master plans. She has also been an active member of the ECA’s Greenspace Committee for the past three years, helping plan events such as the popular Dig Into Spring workshops each year. You can often find Katie working in her garden, chasing a busy toddler around the neighborhood, or frequenting the neighborhood’s local businesses and parks with her family.
Dan Wells has been a resident of Eastown since 2005. He moved here from New Mexico with his wife Lynee, and they have lived on Robinson Road since then. Professionally, Dan works to help redevelop Brownfield properties and create great urban places across the state, and has served on the Historic Preservation Commission and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. He is mainly concerned with enhancing Eastowns already great walkability, and improving amenities and safety for residents who wish to walk, ride bikes and bus.
David Jirousek – Secretary
As a community planner, David Jirousek discovered Eastown by drawing circles around business districts, parks, and amenities. To him, the convergence of those circles in Eastown seemed to have everything one could desire in a neighborhood. However, this analytic approach could not project the most valued resource — our community, something that continues to inspire him. David enjoys giving back to the community as a “go-to” volunteer and is deeply loyal to Eastown’s businesses and restaurants. Serving as a planner with Williams & Works in Grand Rapids, David works with citizens, boards, and elected officials on planning, zoning, and development related issues throughout the state. In his spare time, you may see him cruising around on a bike, running his dogs, tending to his gardens, or representing Eastown United on the Wilcox Park soccer field. David is proud to call Eastown home and has been a resident since 2013.
Matt Feyen – Treasurer
Matt Feyen is a longtime Eastown resident. He had the good fortune of growing up in Eastown—way back when Yesterdog and Wolfgang’s were about 1/4 of their current size, and both still allowed smoking! After going out of state for college and doing some international traveling, he returned to Eastown when he was in his mid 20’s and has been here ever since. He lived on the 400 block of Ethel for 8 years, then on Milton Street for about 10, and has now been living on Rosewood with his wife and 2 boys for the last 5 years. Matt is an Eastown landlord and has fixed-up a number of old homes in Eastown. He loves working and living local—his longest commute is about 6 blocks! Matt has B.A. degrees in Political Science, International Affairs, and Spanish. He likes running, sailing, camping, and just spending time with his family.
From the Western suburbs of Chicago to East Lansing to Grand Rapids, Drew Paloucek relocated to the Eastown area in the summer of 2014 after graduating from MSU’s College of Business. Since that time, she has fallen in love with the culture that surrounds the city of Grand Rapids, and has become passionate about helping the community grow. When she is not learning the ropes of the mortgage industry from her mother, you can find her practicing yoga at The Funky Buddha, attending a neighborhood event or taking a hike through the dunes. Drew has served as a volunteer through many local organizations, such as Local First, Feeding America, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, the Ronald McDonald House of West Michigan and many more! She is constantly finding ways to get involved and support the community, and is looking forward to making Grand Rapids her lifelong home!
Maria is a Recreation Therapy Coordinator focusing on improving the quality of life for her residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Maria is a 14 year employee of Spectrum Health who desires to improve daily and will take on additional challenges at any time. One of Maria’s passions is working with volunteers- people who want to make the world a better place. Diversity, acceptance and inclusion are important principles that she tries to abide by daily. Maria is a 5 year resident of Eastown and has learned many homeowner skills while improving their 100 year old home with her husband Jake. The character and charm of our neighborhood is something she appreciates fully. You can see Maria daily walking her daughter, Vivian to and from daycare. Maria and Jake thoroughly enjoy Eastown’s restaurants and events as often as possible. Maria is hoping to become a member of the ECA board to better her community with positivity and openness.
After a handful of years renting in Eastown, Marta decided to lay down roots officially with a home purchase in 2009. She was excited to move to a diverse neighborhood with a school right down the street (formerly Sigsbee Elementary), and parks and restaurants within walking distance. While Marta is impressed with so many developments and improvements in Eastown over these past 7 years, she is also concerned about how segregated our city as a whole remains and that Grand Rapids was recently ranked as the worst city economically for African Americans. She would like to develop ways we can address these issues alongside efforts to support the continued (and impressive!) improvement of our local schools, Congress and Campus Elementary. Together with her husband and daughter their family enjoys living alongside the best neighbors one could ask for on Logan street. Marta brings passion and a diverse background in social enterprise, innovative finance, community organizing and environmental policy to the ECA board.