The Right Place expands county work with new appointments

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A local economic development agency hired new directors to lead its efforts in participating counties.

Grand Rapids-based The Right Place said Wednesday, May 11, it hired three executive directors to lead its economic development efforts in Mecosta, Mason and Oceana counties.

The organization in late 2022 debuted a new model of regional economic development partnerships wherein participating counties across West Michigan drive long-term growth opportunities with the support of The Right Place.

As part of that effort, The Right Place recently hired the following executive directors:

  • Kelly Wawsczyk is Mecosta County Development Corporation’s new executive director. Wawsczyk is knowledgeable about community development and has volunteered on many committees, including serving as chair of the leadership team on the White Cloud Revitalization Committee and holding a seat on the Newaygo County Economic Development Advisory Committee.
  • Ron Maynard is executive director for the Oceana County Economic Alliance. Maynard has worked in and around Oceana County for the past 25-plus years, mainly in the automotive and office furniture industries in roles ranging from supervision to HR to plant management.
  • Kristi Lucas-Zimmerman is economic development director for the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce. She spent nearly 30 years in education and has been working for the United Way of Mason County as a resource coach.

Additionally, to support the growing team, The Right Place promoted Julie Burrell to regional partner lead, a hat she will wear in addition to serving as economic development director for Newaygo County’s Economic Development Partnership. Burrell will lead the team, providing mentorship and guidance with the strategies and initiatives specific to the partner counties.

“As our regional footprint grows, I am excited to put my experience to work leading our amazing team,” Burrell said. “Each director brings a unique skillset to their county, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish through The Right Place’s new partnership model.”

The Right Place now serves a total of eight West Michigan counties, including Kent. The seven partner county leads are as follows:

  • Ionia County Economic Alliance: Ryan Wilson, executive director
  • Lake County Economic Alliance: Jodi Nichols, executive director
  • Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce (Mason County): Zimmerman, economic development director
  • Mecosta County Development Corporation: Wawsczyk, executive director
  • Montcalm Economic Alliance: Olivia Blomstrom, executive director
  • Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership: Burrell, economic development director
  • Oceana County Economic Alliance: Maynard, executive director

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