Birgit Klohs develops region


Birgit Klohs. Photo by Johnny Quirin

Editor’s note: Each issue of the Influential Women enewsletter will feature profiles of the Business Journal’s reigning 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan. The profile first appeared in the event program.

Simply stated, few other women in West Michigan have done more to impact the long-term economic growth of the region than Birgit Klohs.

Economic development

As president and CEO of regional economic development organization The Right Place since 1987, Klohs is responsible for marketing greater Grand Rapids to an international audience.

Through her knowledge of the region’s business community, assets and unique strengths, she has been instrumental in the retention, expansion and attraction of businesses to West Michigan. The Right Place has spurred more than $2.5 billion in capital investment and encouraged the creation of more than 37,000 jobs under her leadership.

A native of Germany who speaks three languages, Klohs has led numerous trade missions and private gubernatorial business trips to Europe, the Far East and Israel as the state’s leading international economic development specialist.

Regional collaboration

Most recently, she worked to convene and lead a 13-county economic development collaborative never accomplished before in West Michigan’s history. She said her vision for this new collaborative potentially poises West Michigan to become a leading economic region in the Midwest.

In the community

Klohs is a frequent speaker on economic development at national and international conferences.

Active in many local and statewide activities, she currently serves on many boards and advisory councils: Macatawa Bank, ADAC Automotive, Kent County Aeronautics, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Van Andel Public Museum, Grand Action Executive Committee, Kent County/Grand Rapids Convention and Arena Authority, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and Michigan Israel Business Bridge.

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