Our Team

Dean F. Whittaker

Founder & President


Dean F. Whittaker is President/CEO of Whittaker Associates Inc., a data analytics company providing target marketing research and trend analysis to economic development, real estate, and corporate clients. They specialize in identifying business opportunities by predicting corporate behavior through the use of their propriety predictive analytic algorithm.

With 30 years of experience in economic development at the city, county, and state levels, Mr. Whittaker brings insight and perspective to regional economic development issues. He also provides an understanding of the trends impacting our possible, probable, and preferred futures.

Mr. Whittaker is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma and has taught there for 30 years regarding the application of information technology to Economic Development. He is a certified economic developer by the International Economic Development Association and holds a certificate in Innovation Methodology from the New North Center for Design in Business. His academic credentials are from Illinois State University and the University of Illinois.

He has served as the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Resources and Applied Research at Ball State University as well as the Director of the Economic Development Academy prior to founding Whittaker Associates, Inc.

Mr. Whittaker is a frequent blogger (author) and speaker on the trends impacting economic development and how communities can prepare for the future using innovation and design. He is also a founding partner of the Pro Learning Laboratory, a collaboration of firms dedicated to providing monthly webinars about important topics to economic developers.

Therese Thill


Therese Thill is a strategic community and economic development leader with a broad range of expertise at state, regional and local levels. Therese is a senior consultant with Whittaker Associates Inc engaged in conceptualizing, planning, and implementing economic development solutions. She has successfully created and lead multi-partner initiatives in business retention programs, national and international business attraction plans, site selection strategies, and international trade consulting.

Over the course of her 25-year career, Therese has lead business retention and business attraction projects that have generated over $2.8 billion in new total capital investment and more than 13,000 new direct jobs. She has developed and implemented regional strategies for international business attraction which realized a 35% increase in prospects. Therese has coordinated trade and investment missions to Europe and Asia including a gubernatorial trade mission to China.

In May of 2020, Therese earned the Economic Development Master Practitioner (MEDP) certification from the Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program, a Leadership Executive Education course created through a partnership of Clemson University, University of Southern Mississippi, Texas Christian University, and the University of New Mexico.

Therese was named as the 2018 recipient of the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) Medalist of the Year Award. The award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to economic development in the State of Michigan and have demonstrated commitment to the profession of economic development. Therese received her Master of Business Administration degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the University of Michigan, Dearborn.

In her free time, Therese enjoys traveling, gardening, and sailing her W.D. Schock Harbor 25 along the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan.

Sambridhi Shrestha

Research Manager


Sambridhi Shrestha completed her Bachelors in Business Administration from Ace Institute of Management under Pokhara University. Her responsibilities as Research Manager are to lead in the generation of data through analytic research and cross-check the work of the Research Associates. As for her experience, she worked as Product and Operations Manager in an online shopping company and also as a Marketing executive in a magazine company. She also worked as an intern in Himalayan Bank under legal and card department.

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