Economic development leaders form statewide partnership

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Economic developers from across the state recently partnered to form Economic Development Leaders for Michigan to protect and advance economic development initiatives through legislative advocacy.

The group formed in June and announced last week that its priority is to drive long-term economic growth and keep Michigan competitive in terms of state and local incentives for business retention, expansion, attraction, startup creation and support for early-stage companies, especially as the industry struggles to rebound in the wake of COVID-19.

The 12-member coalition is led by CEOs with a combined 350 years of economic development experience. Representing 84% of Michigan’s population and 89% of the state gross domestic product, the CEOs and organizations include:

  • Paul Krutko, president and CEO, Ann Arbor Spark
  • Rob Cleveland, president and CEO, Cornerstone Alliance
  • Kevin Johnson, president and CEO, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
  • Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO, Detroit Regional Partnership
  • Marty Fittante, CEO, InvestUP
  • Amy Clickner, CEO, Lake Superior Community Partnership
  • Jennifer Owens, president, Lakeshore Advantage
  • Bob Trezise, president and CEO, Lansing Economic Area Partnership
  • James McBryde, president and CEO, Middle Michigan Economic Corporation
  • JoAnn Crary, president, Saginaw Future
  • Ron Kitchens, senior partner and CEO, Southwest Michigan First
  • Birgit Klohs, president and CEO, The Right Place

“Our state economy faces unprecedented challenges and uncertainty in the aftermath of a global pandemic. As we chart a path forward, 12 of the state’s leading economic development organizations are collaborating to strengthen critical economic development initiatives and make our voices heard,” the group said in a joint statement.

“In order to secure Michigan’s economic future and protect the gains of the past decade, we must seize opportunities for growth and remain committed to our statewide economic development strategy. Economic Development Leaders for Michigan will accelerate Michigan’s economy and keep Michigan on the map during this critical time.”

Along with others, Economic Development Leaders for Michigan (EDLM) members recently partnered with the Michigan Legislature and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to administer $100 million in restart grants to help small businesses keep their doors open and their employees on payroll. As Michigan moves from a short-term restart strategy to a long-term economic outlook, EDLM said it is committed to retaining and growing businesses across Michigan’s wide variety of geographies and fostering a resilient economic environment.

EDLM said it stands ready to advance solutions as Michigan navigates new challenges and opportunities. More information about EDLM is at edlm.org.

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