GRAND RAPIDS – West Michigan business executive and Amway alumni J.D. Collins has been named state director of the Small Business Development Center, an SBA-backed one-stop-shop for business advice and training aimed at entrepreneurs and small business.

Collins began his new role December 17 leading the SBDC, a 90-person organization that serves more than 5,500 companies statewide. He Replaced Ed Garner, regional director of the West Michigan SBDC, who had been serving as interim state director. 

Previous state director Keith Brophy resigned in March to return to the private sector to pursue health tech.

“The MI-SBDC network has significant impact on the growth and sustainability of small businesses throughout Michigan,” said Diana Lawson, dean of the Seidman College of Business. “J.D.’s leadership and vision will enhance our focus on innovation and doing what is best for small businesses.” 

Collins has served in C-suite positions for a number of Michigan-based businesses in strategic leadership roles. 

“As a Michigander, it brings me a great sense of pride knowing that the SBDC’s work drives statewide economic impact and furthers our reputation as a preeminent place to start and grow a business,” said Collins. “I’m eager to serve the small business community and continue our innovative approach to assisting business owners and entrepreneurs.” 

Collins previously served as chief innovation officer at a leading heavy equipment technology startup in Grand Rapids, where he was a member of the executive team that negotiated a strategic alliance with Caterpillar. He also held global strategic leadership positions during his 10-year career at Amway Corporation.

Collins earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and management from Albion College and an MBA from Notre Dame.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest Michigan SBDC by calling (616) 331-7480 or visiting