ERIE – The Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA) has announced that Jezree Friend has been promoted to vice president at the Association. In this role, Friend will be responsible for centralizing the MBA's Membership, Sales and Marketing efforts in line with its strategic objectives as well as maintaining oversight of Government Affairs. As vice president, he will help streamline MBA operations, improve efficiency and, ultimately, deliver greater value to MBA members throughout the tri-state region.
"This decision was made with the utmost consideration for the future direction of the MBA and our strategic goals," said MBA President and CEO Lori Joint. "We have full confidence in his ability to lead us forward in this new capacity."
Most recently, Friend served as assistant vice president of External Relations, leading initiatives to build the MBA’s brand and foster relationships with members, legislators and the media. He joined the MBA in 2018 as government relations representative in which he was responsible for developing legislative priorities and strategies; encouraging membership grassroots activities; and lobbying on behalf of a pro-growth, pro-business agenda.
Friend was recently named to Pennsylvania's "Forty under 40" list for most influential leaders by City & State. He teaches public policy and nonprofit leadership at Gannon University as an adjunct professor. He previously held several prominent political positions, to include campaign manager for 2018 Erie Republican mayoral candidate John Persinger, where he ran the strongest campaign the City of Erie has seen from an opposition candidate in decades garnering national media attention. He has worked for the Pennsylvania Senate as well as political leadership campaign roles across Pennsylvania. He earned his political science degree from Edinboro University and master's in public administration with a concentration in organization leadership from Gannon University. Friend is also a veteran of the U.S. Army where he served as a legal noncommissioned officer.