Samuel “Buzz” Thomas, III
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Trustee

June 4, 2012 through Present

A Public Affairs professional with nearly 20 years-experience, Thomas spent 14 years in the Michigan legislature, including serving as Democratic Floor Leader in the Senate and as Democratic Leader in the House. He took pride in presenting a well-balanced professional ideology. It translated into regulatory and other expertise in the areas of health care, energy and utility policy, education reform, business development incentives and arts and culture.

Thomas, 42, has equal experience and empathy for small and large business owners. Prior to his foray into politics, Thomas was Construction Manager for Parkside Building Company and Avis Tech Partners.

His varied background led him to more than two dozen leadership and other awards ranging from being named the Legislator of the Year in 2005 by the Michigan Association of Regions to earning the Peacemaker Award from Wayne State University. Thomas serves on the boards of the Karmanos Cancer Center of Detroit, Habitat for Humanity of Detroit, The Belle Isle Conservancy, New Urban Learning Schools of Detroit and the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. Buzz is the grandson of the Honorable Willis Ward portrayed in the documentary Black and Blue.

“Black and Blue” Film Screening and Discussion at Ford School of Public Policy
(remarks begin at 19:40 of video)

(L-R) On January 23, 2013 Foundation Trustee Buzz Thomas and Foundation Chairman Steve Ford participated in a panel discussion about the Black and Blue, documentary at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Here they are pictured with the original football from the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech football game. (Photo courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan)

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