2021 Newsmaker: Randy Thelen

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Randy Thelen. Courtesy The Right Place

Randy Thelen

President, CEO

The Right Place

The Right Place made up for lost time toward its strategic plan goals in 2021, along with a flurry of business assists and expanded offerings.

As the West Michigan economic development agency wound down the second year of its strategic plan, which encompasses 2020-22, the organization was on track to exceed all its goals after underperforming on its metrics in 2020 due to pandemic challenges.

In 2021, the organization’s work resulted in 1,541 new and retained jobs, $184 million in new and retained payroll, and $286 million in new capital investment.

Since the start of the plan in 2020, the organization’s work resulted in 2,494 new and retained jobs against a three-year goal of 3,400 (74% completed), $127 million in new and retained payroll against a three-year goal of $184 million (69% completed), and $397 million in new capital investment against a three-year goal of $500 million (79% completed).

The Right Place facilitated the multimillion-dollar expansions underway by MCPc, Autocam Medical, L3Harris, BAMF Health, Speedrack, Gen3 Defense & Aerospace, and Blackmer, among others.

“We’re ahead of plan because of the great performance of the team and frankly, the great performance of our regional economy over the past year,” said Randy Thelen, president and CEO.

In 2021, The Right Place also launched a diverse business directory, assembled a technology taskforce to strategically grow Grand Rapids as a tech cluster, expanded the number of West Michigan counties it serves, and partnered with others and worked on its own to increase Industry 4.0 readiness among the region’s manufacturers.

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