On May 25th, 1960, MEDA was established by a group of 15 men at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing, MI, in order to have a "discussion of the merits of having an independent organization of men who devote the majority of their time to industrial development." The meeting, "concluded with the agreement that an informal organization was advisable for the present."
As written in the 1989-1990 Annual Report, "MIDA's roots can be traced to an Industrial Development Advisory Committee to the Michigan Department of Economic Development, a small agency which later became a component of the Commerce Department. This committee included industrial agents employed by five railroads, four public utilities and three communities. The Michigan State Chamber was starting and also wanted an advisory committee made up of the same individuals.
Motivation for a separate association in 1960 was a desire for independence from both government control and chamber influence. Since then, the pendulum has swung back and forth like the clapper of the Liberty Bell, with some resounding pronouncements and a few cracked notes.
Chairman of the advisory committee was Horace Brewer, MIDA's founder, an Industrial Agent working for Consumers Power Company. His colleagues had mentioned the need for an informal professional association. He found an opportunity to discuss it with his boss while returning in the company limousine from a plant dedication. The Vice President offered enthusiastic support for the idea and suggested that Brewer invite the developers to a company camp at Tippy Dam for an organizational meeting. This is the origin of the apocryphal story that MIDA was conceived in the back seat of a limousine and born at Tippy Dam.
Click here to view our 50th Anniversary Historical Magazine.
We also created a video of photos that we collected. Click here to view our 50 Years of MEDA - Thanks for the Memories video.
Horace Brewer, Robert Byers, James Coates, Robert Gage, Jack Kavanaugh, William McClelland, George Moffett, Robert Nicholson, John O'Neill, Gustav Peterson, Gerald Smith, Clifford Webb, Don Weeks, Carl Wilkins and Wilbur Young.
Michigan Professional Industrial Development Association (MPIDA) Michigan Industrial Developers Association (MIDA)
For the first meeting of the association, the group was referred to as the "Professional Industrial Development Men."
- Click here for the minutes of the first meeting (from May 25, 1960).
- Click here for an "Economic Echoes" news article from 1961.
- Click here for a 1961 news article titled "Industry Aid Holds Perils."
- Click here for the early financing of MEDA.
- Click here for an article from 1962 entitled: "State Economic Picture Weighed."
- Click here for MEDA's role in early legislation.
- Click here for an article titled "Municipal Borrowing for Industrial Development."
- Click here for the Legislative Committee report on Economic Growth from 1962.
- Click here for the First Draft of Industrial Development Revenue Bonds from 1963.
- Click here for 1963 Proposal for Sales Tax Refund.
- Click here for the 1963 Governor's Tax Reform Program.
- Click here for a September 1964 announcement - State Approved $60,000 for Advertising.
- Click here for November 1964 MEDA (MPIDA) Minutes Changing Membership Requirements.
- Click here for August 1966 minutes with a tough stance on attendance at meetings.
- Click here for changes in communication over the years - August 1966.
- Click here for a 1967 Invitation to the World Trade Program.
- Click here for the 1967 Governors Tax Revenue and Reform.
- Click here for the First MIDA-Sponsored Legislation in 1987.
Six of MEDA's first sixteen Presidents were railroad industrial agents. According to the 1989 - 1990 Annual Report, "The term "industrial agent" was a railroad job title and became the civil service designation for a professional in the field. Railroads were among the first industrial developers in America, employing special agents to sell industrial and commercial sites along their routes. The land had been granted to the rail companies as a development incentive to construct the system."
The first Membership Directory was printed in 1973. In order to print the directory, each member had to order 33 copies at a price of $30. Today the Membership Directory is available online (updated each time a member is added) and a printable PDF copy available online and updated quarterly.
Past Award Winners
Click here to view past winners of the MEDA Medalist of the Year, Mike Conboy Professional Development and Robert Siehart Award for Enthusiasm for the Economic Development Profession.