Exec wins international leadership award


Birgit Klohs. Photo by Johnny Quirin

The head of a local economic development nonprofit has been honored by a global industry organization.

Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place in Grand Rapids, was awarded the Jeffrey A. Finkle Organizational Leadership Award by the International Economic Development Council, or IEDC. 

The award, named after IEDC president and CEO Jeff Finkle, honors “an individual who has grown and led world-class economic development organizations with integrity, tenacity and philanthropic spirit, resulting in significant and impactful long-term economic growth.”

Klohs was presented with the award at a recognition dinner this fall during the IEDC Annual Conference in Cleveland.


In her nearly 30-year tenure at The Right Place, Klohs has overseen the nonprofit’s facilitation of more than 44,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in capital investment in West Michigan.

In addition to her work in the region, Klohs leads The Right Place’s international business strategy, traveling on annual trade missions to Europe, Asia and the Middle East and acting as a voice for the region.

“I love my job and the region I serve,” Klohs said. “The success that our organization has realized is a direct result of the positive collaborations among many in the region. It is an honor to lead The Right Place and contribute to our region’s economic growth.”


With more than 4,700 members, the IEDC said is the largest economic development membership organization in the world.

In its 90 years of existence, the IEDC has strived to promote leadership and excellence in economic development across the world.

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