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MEDA Membership Newsletter
November 18th, 2019
Part 3 of "Winning the War Against Economic Development" Article Series


So what’s the relevance of this number? It’s the amount of the Michigan general fund that is spent on core economic development services – and that’s with the benefit of rounding up. On the surface, $150 million sounds like a lot of money to spend on something most people don’t even understand.

To put that in perspective, however, this past Halloween, Americans spent $390 million on scary greeting cards. Spending on candy, costumes, and decorations was another $8.5 billion. It is estimated that the residents of Michigan spent $860 million on their pets.

Yet it seems that every time there is a state budget crunch in any state, economic development is one of the first items on the chopping block. Unfortunately, the numbers just don’t add up. You cannot balance the public budget by cutting 1.4% of the total.

And think what that 1.4% buys. Economic development provides the money for transportation. It provides the money for health care. It provides the money for public safety. Pull out that leg and the stool collapses. Spending on economic development is sort of like what makes prescription drugs work. Read the label sometime and you will find that the “active ingredients” are only a small percentage of the medicine. Economic development is certainly that “active ingredient” when it comes to state appropriations. And there are few better salves for improving standards of living and quality of place than a focused economic development program.

That’s why educating the public about what economic development really is remains essential. Economic developers can’t just sit in their offices and think that they still get credit for their last projects. Yesterday’s headlines are just that – yesterday’s. The good news from the last project announcement is quickly replaced with other news, weather, celebrity shenanigans, sports statistics, and other aspects of daily life.

Thus, it’s incumbent upon the economic development profession to constantly tell our story to elected officials and the public. Transparency is to be embraced, not shunned. By sticking to a few core messages about how investments in economic development lead to everything else that the people want, eventually, that message will sink in.

And maybe then, people will start to look at economic development as the golden goose leading to future prosperity and not what is to be served up at the next holiday dinner.


At our recent Spring Toolbox, we heard from Chris Lloyd, a site selector from McGuireWoods Consulting based in Richmond, Virginia, about the increasing politicization of economic development and how we, as economic development professionals, can overcome these trends. Titled “Winning the War Against Economic Development,” Chris provided a provocative, and humorous, view of the profession and how this tug of war for the hearts and minds of the people we serve can be won. Following up on that presentation, we asked Chris to share with us overcoming issues some practical strategies about how to better educate your community about the importance of economic development.

MEDA and Economic Development News
Top Headlines
MEDA Welcomes the Following New Members
New Members

Kathryn Beemer, Student, Grand Valley State University

Christopher Girdwood, Executive Director, Detroit Region Aerotropolis

Jason Smith, DDA Executive Director, City of Eaton Rapids
Legislative Update
New/Recently Updated Legislation

HB 4816 of 2019
Economic development; other; regional event center financing act; provide for. Creates new act.
Last Action: 11/5/2019 Analysis File Added

HB 5199 of 2019
Economic development; other; center for microenterprise development; create. Amends 1984 PA 270 (MCL 125.2001 - 125.2094) by adding ch. 7A.
Last Action: 11/7/2019 bill electronically reproduced 11/07/2019

HB 5201 of 2019
Economic development; other; assistance for employee ownership in business; provide for. Amends secs. 2, 3, 4 & 5 of 1985 PA 152 (MCL 450.732 et seq.).
Last Action: 11/7/2019 bill electronically reproduced 11/07/2019

HB 5254 of 2019
Michigan business tax; credits; amount of MEGA credits that may be created each fiscal year; limit. Amends sec. 500 of 2007 PA 36 (MCL 208.1500) & repeals 2007 PA 36 (MCL 208.1101 - 208.1601).
Last Action: 11/20/2019 bill electronically reproduced 11/20/2019

SB 0306 of 2019
Economic development; other; definition of assessable property in the principal shopping district act; revise. Amends secs. 1 & 10 of 1961 PA 120 (MCL 125.981 & 125.990).
Last Action: 11/12/2019 Analysis File Added

SB 0493 of 2019
Economic development; other; commercial rehabilitation certificates; extend sunset. Amends sec. 16 of 2005 PA 210 (MCL 207.856).
Last Action: 11/12/2019 Analysis File Added

SB 0494 of 2019
Economic development; commercial redevelopment; commercial redevelopment exemptions; extend sunset. Amends sec. 18 of 1978 PA 255 (MCL 207.668).
Last Action: 11/12/2019 Analysis File Added

Quick Links
Help A Fellow MEDA Member
Developing New Business Retention/Expansion/Attraction Programs, Seeking Advice

Our community is considering 1) enacting a points-based system to evaluate business retention/expansion and attraction projects, including the amount of incentives (i.e. tax abatements, tax increment financing, grants) and support services (i.e. in-kind services like business planning assistance) a project would receive, and 2) creating a targeted business attraction program for our downtown and commercial corridors. We’d like to hear from you if you’ve had experience creating/implementing/managing either types of program (including your take on the good, the bad, and the ugly of them).

Your willingness to share your insights and any written policies/materials is greatly appreciated!

How to Respond to this Confidential Request
Send your response, or willingness to provide advice, to Cassandra, who will forward emails to the requestor. The requestor will contact you. You can also let Cassandra know if you would like copies of the responses.
MEDA Committee Meetings
Upcoming Meetings

November 18th - 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Conference Call

December 3rd - 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Conference Call

December 10th - 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Conference Call

December 18th - 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Warner, Norcross + Judd Offices, Southfield

Committee Participation FYIs
  • All in-person meetings have a call-in option.
  • If you join a committee, we'll send a calendar notice with everything you need.
  • You can request minutes from previous meetings to get caught up.
  • You are welcome to sit in on meetings to see if a committee is right for you.
If you are interested in serving on a committee, contact Cassandra at
MEDA Events Calendar - Our 2020 Calendar is Complete - Save the Dates!
2019 Events

Open for Registration - There's Still Time to Register!
November 21st
The Fall Economic Development Toolbox
Crowne Plaza Lansing West, Lansing

2020 Events

Open for Registration
January 27th – 31st
NDC's The Art of Deal Structuring (ED300)
Radisson Hotel, Lansing

March 18th
Capitol Day
Lansing Center, Lansing

Open for Registration
April 2nd - 3rd
IEDC Technology-Led Economic Development
Hyatt Place, Lansing

April 23rd
Emerging Leaders Spring Training - webpage coming soon!
MML Offices, Lansing

August 18th - 21st
Annual Meeting - webpage coming soon!
Grand Traverse Resort, Traverse City

September 15th - 17th
Michigan's Economic Development Basic Course - webpage coming soon!
Hyatt Place, Lansing

Other Events

May 13th - 15th
Mid-America Economic Development Council Best Practices Conference
Holiday Inn Conference Center, Flint

Promote Your Event With MEDA

Your event could go here. If you would like to partner with MEDA to promote your event, email
Economic Development Position Openings
1. Executive Director - Delta County Economic Development Alliance

  • To lead the promotion of economic development in Delta County through the attraction, retention, and expansion of business and industry.                          


  • Highly effective written and oral communication skills.
  • Highly effective interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to establish credibility and be decisive, able to recognize and support the EDA’s mission and priorities. 
  • Ability to establish and maintain professional and effective working relationships with the business and industry, and public sector communities keeping internal and external customer service as a guiding factor.
  • Thorough knowledge of Delta County, State and other resources to support economic development.
  • Full understanding of customer service philosophy.
  • Ability to see the big picture and transform vision into reality.
  • Ability to work in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Displays high level of analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • High energy-day/night worker.
  • Private sector perspective; management maturity.
  • Demonstrated active community involvement.


  • Establishes professional relationships with business and industry throughout the county.
  • Routinely sets appointments and confers with local business/industry management and training personnel to gain knowledge of retention and expansion requirements.
  • Confers with Job Force Board’s Business Solutions Team to research public and private resources to identify and share intelligence for specific employer start-up, attraction, retention, expansion, recruitment, training, workforce, and other needs.
  • Assumes leadership and facilitation role for the community in business retention and expansion plans, including facilities, financing, incentives and workforce.
  • Identify new business and potential industry opportunities through site visits in order to identify opportunities for facilitation of resources and other community connections in order to grow businesses of all types and sizes. 
  • Actively engage in entrepreneurial activities of all kinds and directly interface and make referrals to Mi-SBTDC and other entrepreneurial resources. 
  • Serve as a single point of contact for economic development, start-up, attraction, retention and expansion.
  • Routinely meets with business focused community organizations to build relationships and identify additional business support mechanisms.
  • Attend business and economic development events and training.
  • Promote and foster the development of a skilled workforce, encourage and support workforce training options, loans, grants and business assistance programs.
  • Participate in general planning sessions and committees related to economic development activities in the region.
  • Maintain a relationship and participation with Michigan Works! Bay College, Delta Schoolcraft ISD, State workforce and economic development departments and other agencies throughout the region.
  • Publish regular and special economic material such as business articles, community profiles, surveys, demographic data, incentive programs and more.
  • Be visible in the community through speaking engagements, newspaper, and communicator columns, press releases social functions and more.


  1. Number, substance and outcomes of connections with area businesses and prospects.
  2. Maintenance of Delta County inventory of assets and resources.
  3. Marketing, promotion and public relations activities.
  4. Professional development, training and workforce development activities.
  5. Leadership activities for community and economic development.
  6. Demonstrating return on investment for community stakeholders. 
  7. Referrals and cross-referrals to partner entities.
  8. Upcoming meetings and events. 
  9. Positive feedback received. 


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Accounting or related field
  • 1-3 years experience with management-related responsibilities
  • Experience in Rural Economic Development is preferred
  • Understanding of Delta County’s Business Community
  • Ability to work 40+ hours/week sometimes requiring evening/weekend activities                              


The Delta County Economic Development Alliance (EDA) is the region’s long-standing economic development organization, structured as a non-profit 501(c)3, Private/Public Partnership.


Interested individuals should submit Cover Letter, Resume and References by emailing to or dropping off in person at the Delta County Commerce Center, 1001 N Lincoln Rd. Escanaba, MI 49829.

2. Director of Economic Development, Traverse Connect

Traverse Connect is a regional economic development organization charged with creating and implementing a clear and comprehensive economic development strategy for the Grand Traverse region. Traverse Connect drives economic development efforts, oversees business development initiatives and works with partner organizations across the region on significant community initiatives.

Traverse Connect is currently seeking a Director of Economic Development. This position will manage the implementation of Traverse Connect’s strategic plan. This will include creating a regional economic development strategy and implement a business retention visit program. This position will also oversee the talent and business attraction efforts of the organization. They will be involved in the most significant strategic and financial factors affecting the company.

Applicants must submit a resume and cover letter by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, November 22, 2019.

The salary range for this position is $65,000 to $85,000 depending on experience and skillset.  Traverse Connect offers competitive benefits that include a 401K plan, health, and dental insurance and paid time off for personal use in addition to major holidays.
Cover letters and resumes should be sent by email to All correspondence will be considered confidential.


TITLE: Director of Economic Development

FLSA STATUS: Full-time, Non-exempt Salary

  • Work with partner organizations to create a regional economic development strategy
  • Develop & implement a retention visit program in conjunction with state and regional economic development partners
  • Identify and meet with targeted companies to assist in problem-solving and facilitate the creation of business growth opportunities
  • Initiate and manage business retention, expansion, and attraction projects
  • Determine feasibility and eligibility for state and local incentives
  • Serve as liaison to state and local units of government in the Grand Traverse Region
  • Manage development projects through various stages of development
  • Maintain project status and activities in CRM database
  • Work with Marketing staff to develop business attraction and talent attraction marketing
  • Aid in the development of economic development scorecard and digital dashboard
  • Build beneficial business development relationships
  • Develop and maintain an inventory of available buildings and sites in the region for economic development purposes
  • Work across the public and private sector to outline and develop industry-cluster strategy
  • Connect entrepreneurial groups with resources for expansion and workforce growth
  • Aggregate and relay policy and development needs of businesses to Government Relations staff
  • Support & partner on community development projects; housing, transportation, childcare, etc.
  • Partner with Venture North Funding & Development on a joint referral program


Professional Experience
  • Undergraduate degree  
  • 5+ years of related experience and demonstrated leadership ability
  • Self-starter, self-motivator, self-accountability
  • Proven ability to work within budgets
  • A motivator and advocate with genuine interest and passion for the growth of businesses and the local community
  • Demonstrated strong relationship building skills
  • Outstanding written and verbal communications skills, with strong storytelling ability

Physical Demands
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear. This position is very active and is frequently required to stand, walk, use hands to finger, handle or feel, and reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and move items up to 20 pounds.

Other Duties
Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

  • Competitive salary
  • 401K Retirement
  • Group health and dental insurance
  • Aflac supplemental insurance
  • Life and AD&D insurance
  • PTO
  • Employee Assistance Program

Please send a cover letter and resume to by November 22, 2019.
MEDA, P.O. Box 15096, Lansing, MI 48901-5096