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10.19.17 – SPOKES Notes

SPOKES Notes written by Shannon Kolarik

Thursday was a very informative meeting about the role that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation plays in our local community and throughout the State of Michigan.

John Zwarensteyn introduced our keynote speaker, Jeff Mason, sharing the beginning of his career with Travel Michigan to his role as CEO of the MEDC today. Jeff grew up in Southeast Grand Rapids, is an MSU graduate, has two daughters, and he and his wife just became grandparents for the first time.

Jeff shared with us how the MEDC has a range of economic tools that allow them to analyze and help sustain economical growth in the State of Michigan.

They have 3 goals as an organization that take precedence in the work that they do:

  1. Build vibrant communities.
  2. Track and grow local businesses.
  3. Help make Michigan a place people want to live, work, and play.

The MEDC works to have a positive impact on how businesses compete with one another. Michigan is leading the nation in manufacturing jobs. Since 2009, Automotive suppliers have invested $30 million into the auto industry. Electrical, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Engineers are some of the most desired positions in the state. Large scale manufacturing and mixed-use urban development combine to make Michigan’s economy a thriving one by today’s standards.

According to Forbes, West Michigan is the 5th fastest growing economy in the United States and ranks #10 for Quality of Life. Since 2009, Michigan has moved up 21 spots in Forbes list of best states for business.

The MEDC also partners with the PURE Michigan campaign to promote tourism dollars that contribute to Michigan’s overall economy and to encourage families and business to move to Michigan.

Michigan has a legacy of innovation to stand upon and with the help of organizations like the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, our state can continue to thrive. As Jeff Mason puts it, the future of our state is determined by our collective efforts and a focus on the common good.

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