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MEDA Membership Newsletter
October 7th, 2019
Part 2 of "Winning the War Against Economic Development" Article Series

Trust but Verify

For those of us who are children of the Cold War, you will recall this famous refrain from President Reagan when negotiating the nuclear arms reduction treaties with the Soviet Union. In fact, verification of each sides’ efforts to destroy nuclear weapons – missiles, silos, launch vehicles – was key to getting the parties to reach these historic agreements.

Unfortunately, because economic development professionals are eternal optimists, we often trust, but sometimes fail to verify.

A recent New York Times headline out of New Jersey brings this home. “How One Address Led to a $100 Million Tax Credit Scheme” reviewed state and local incentives applications and found that 12 companies over a series of years all professed to be seriously considering leaving New Jersey for the exact same office building in New York, about 30 minutes north of Manhattan. After each “consideration,” the state offered millions in tax incentives and other benefits for these companies to stay in New Jersey. Coincidence – perhaps. But no one ever sought to verify these claims. No calls were made to the property owner to determine whether companies had toured the facility. No plans were ever drawn up to reconfigure offices to suit a company’s needs. In fact, in the Times article, the property leasing agent confessed that “We were often aware that the tenant has no intention at all of relocating…”

So, when people attack economic development, and particularly incentives, sometimes, we need to look in the mirror at the cause. We have met the enemy, and sometimes, it is us.

Due diligence is absolutely vital to preserving the trust that citizens have placed in us to help grow the economy. Does this mean hiring a private investigator to check out every company is necessary? Certainly not. But it does mean having in place certain policies to independently verify claims and requests from companies is important. Do a Google search on the company and its executives. Ask for financial records. Make a few phone calls to industry allies to see if they have heard about potential interest in a specific location. Ask the company for more details about its site search activities.

In the end, you may still come to the same conclusions and be willing to partner with the company. But at least you have a verified trail of inquiries to protect yourself and your community.

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

Gina Jackson, Student, Michigan State University

John McGraw, Director of Development, River Caddis Development

MEDA Members on the Move

Giles Tucker, Economic Development Supervisor, City of Madison Heights
Networking and Knowledge Exchange - Register Now
MEDA is excited to announce that our Fall 2019 Networking and Knowledge Exchange has been scheduled. Please join us at Harmony Hall in Grand Rapids on November 13th. Come alone or bring a colleague that you feel would benefit from networking with the economic development community. 

Visit for more information and to register!
Legislative Alert
On Wednesday, September 4th, Senator Ken Horn introduced Senate Bill 492, which would eliminate the December 31, 2019 sunset of the Good Jobs for Michigan Program and lift the $200 million cap in total incentives that can be awarded. 

We encourage our members to reach out to their legislators and advocate for the passage of this bill. You can find contact info for your State Senators and State Representatives on our website. Additionally, you can find the contact information for the Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee at this website
Legislative Update
New/Recently Updated Legislation

HB 4189 of 2019HB 4190 of 2019, HB 4191 of 2019
House Bills 4189, 4190, and 4191 would amend the Michigan Business Tax Act, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority Act, and the Income Tax Act, respectively, to make changes to the authorization of business tax credits and to allow eligible business entities to transfer certain tax credits to other business entities as authorized by the Michigan Strategic Fund.
Last Action: 10/2/2019 presented to the Governor 09/27/2019 04:47 PM

HB 4816 of 2019
This bill would create the Regional Event Center Financing Act, which would outline the duties of the state in regards to collection and disbursement of assessments on owners of transient facilities to support tourism and convention marketing and promotion programs. 
Last Action: 10/3/2019 referred to Committee on Ways and Means

SB 0455 of 2019
The bill would amend the General Property Tax Act to specify that, for taxes and assessments levied after December 31, 2016, eligible data center property located at the site of a renaissance zone that was approved in 2016 by the Michigan Strategic Fund with a minimum investment of $100 million would be exempt from certain assessments and taxes. 
Last Action: 9/24/2019 referred to Committee on Commerce and Tourism

MEDA Committee Meetings
Upcoming Meetings

October 29th - 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Annual Meeting Committee
Conference Call

October 30th - 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Emerging Leaders Committee
Conference Call

November 1st - 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Advocacy Committee
Warner Norcross + Judd LLP Offices, Southfield

November 12th - 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Education Committee
Conference Call

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 or 517-241-0011.
MEDA Events Calendar
2019 Events

Open for Registration
October 21st – 25th
Radisson Hotel, Lansing

Open for Registration
November 13th
Harmony Hall, Grand Rapids

Open for Registration
November 21st
Crowne Plaza Lansing West, Lansing

2020 Events

Open for Registration
January 27th – 31st
Radisson Hotel, Lansing

Other Events

Your event could go here. See below.

Partner with MEDA to Promote Your Event
If you would like to promote your event with MEDA, contact
Economic Development Position Openings
1. Community and Economic Development Administrator - City of East Lansing

AVAILABLE POSITION                      
Community and Economic Development Administrator

PAY RATE                               
$65,666 to a maximum of $91,946

WORK SCHEDULE                  
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. plus evening meetings


JOB SUMMARY                      

The City of East Lansing Department of Planning, Building, and Development, is seeking an individual to manage the City’s community and economic development activities. The primary areas of responsibility include downtown development and revitalization; brownfield redevelopment; business retention and attraction; Community Development Block Grant program; and economic development incentives. The individual will be responsible for operational aspects of the Community and Economic Development division, including but not limited to, formulating policies and procedures, managing staff, developing and monitoring budgets, project management, and financial analysis. The position serves as the staff liaison to the Downtown Development Authority and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, as well as provides support to City Council. When necessary, the position assists with efforts related to long-term planning and related matters.


Must possess a Bachelor’s degree in real estate, urban planning, public policy, or a related field; Master’s degree preferred; five years or more of increasingly responsible experience, including the supervision of staff. Possession of a valid Michigan driver's license.

The ideal candidate will possess strong interpersonal and communication skills, including excellent writing and presentation skills. Additionally, the candidate will have a strong working knowledge of appropriate state and federal regulations, including tax increment financing and real estate financial analysis.

Application materials can be downloaded at The materials are in PDF form and may be filled out electronically, saved, and e-mailed as an attachment to Human Resources. Or, the application may be printed out, completed and mailed. Please include a cover letter, resume, copies of transcripts and three names of professional references.

Return completed applications to:

East Lansing City Hall

Human Resources Department

410 Abbot Road, East Lansing, MI 48823


Friday, November 1, 2019, 5:00 P.M.

2. Business Development Manager - The Right Place, Inc.

We are looking for an ambitious and energetic Business Development Manager who will serve as an advocate for businesses. This individual will represent The Right Place to businesses located in Kent County and prospective ones interested in moving to West Michigan. You will provide resources, services, and support to attract, grow, and retain businesses within the region.

As a Business Development Manager, you will:
  • Meet with companies – understanding their business and addressing interests, issues, and needs
  • Serve as a business liaison – providing companies with site selection information and access to municipal resources
  • Establish relationships with commercial and industrial realtors and brokers
  • Maintain key client information and prepare reports on business retention, expansion, and attraction
  • Identify and attend conferences and trade shows that align with the organization’s target industries and business expansion strategies
  • Participate in professional associations related to economic development and assume leadership roles in advocacy groups
  • Represent the organization at community functions, community boards, seminars, and forums
To excel in this role, you should:
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Business Management, or Marketing (master’s preferred)
  • Have at least 3 years of solid experience in business development or economic development
  • Have strong communication and interpersonal skills and effective presentation and public speaking skills
  • Be proficient in Microsoft Office applications and CRM software (Salesforce a plus)
  • Think and work strategically – seeing the bigger picture and carrying out necessary planning to implement operational changes
  • Be confident and proactive – flourishing with minimal guidance and handling uncertainty without requiring specific direction
  • Possess a high degree of credibility, initiative, and an outgoing and helpful personality
What we offer:
  • Opportunity to make a positive impact on the economic health of West Michigan
  • Opportunity to collaborate with the best and brightest business minds
MEDA, P.O. Box 15096, Lansing, MI 48901-5096