Your Partner in Growing Your Community

Annual Meeting Sponsor Spotlight

Corporate Sponsors

Consumers Energy

Consumers EnergyConsumers Energy partners with local, regional, and state organizations to promote economic development. As Michigan’s largest energy provider, the company delivers natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties. Their Clean Energy Plan is a roadmap to eliminating coal, achieving net-zero carbon emissions, meeting 90 percent of the state’s energy needs with clean resources by 2040. Contact Consumers Energy's Economic Development Team.

For Small Businesses: Powerful Business Intelligence from Consumers Energy - Taking care of customers and providing service after the sale – especially in challenging times – embody Consumers Energy’s purpose of world-class performance delivering hometown service. Michigan’s largest energy provider is committed to helping all businesses, nonprofits and communities prosper – in energy and beyond – now more than ever. Consumers Energy now offers a new, free online small business insights tool to any Michigan small business to help SizeUp their competition, improve marketing and customer acquisition results, obtain comparisons to local competitors and gain insight on employee pay and benefits. Take your business to the next level with new insights on customers, competitors, and suppliers. Get started. Whether it's saving money, staying up-to-date, or growing your customer base, Consumers Energy has tailored solutions for all businesses. Check out resources to save money, stay informed and grow your business. Meanwhile, the company’s nation-leading clean energy transformation calls for zero-methane emissions from its natural gas delivery system by 2030, and Consumers Energy plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, end coal use, and dramatically increase clean energy resources by 2040 in its electric business. Learn more at

Consumers Energy: It's Time - Clean Energy GoalClick here to watch the video. Loving Michigan means more than providing power. It means giving Michigan the power to be its best by leading the way in protecting the environment.

DTE Energy

DTE Logo SmallDTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric company serving 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan and a natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE portfolio includes energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects; renewable natural gas; natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage; and energy marketing and trading. As an environmental leader, DTE utility operations will reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions by more than 80 percent by 2040 to produce cleaner energy while keeping it safe, reliable, and affordable. DTE Electric and Gas aspires to achieve net zero carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. DTE is committed to serving with its energy through volunteerism, education and employment initiatives, philanthropy and economic progress. Information about DTE is available at and Contact DTE's Economic Development Team.

DTE Energy spends $2.2 billion with Michigan businesses in 2020 - DTE Energy today announced it invested $2.2 billion with Michigan businesses in 2020, creating and sustaining more than 10,400 jobs across the state and exceeding its annual commitment by $200 million. DTE has invested $13.7 billion with Michigan-based vendors since 2010, creating and sustaining 44,000 Michigan jobs. The company invests nearly five times more with local businesses than it did a decade ago. “Doing business in the communities we serve helps Michigan companies grow and puts more people to work in the process,” said DTE Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer Tony Tomczak. “We have an unwavering commitment to improve the state’s economy. This is even more important during the pandemic; it drove us to deepen our support in 2020.” During the initial pandemic response period earlier this year, the company spent $16 million on personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. The vast majority of those funds – 92 percent – went to local businesses. Click here for more ...

Michigan Spirit - Click here to watch the video. DTE is investing in the state, creating thousands of good jobs while providing more clean, reliable and safe energy. Because we’re all Michiganders.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

MEDC 2020 ResizedThe Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with more than 100 economic development partners, markets Michigan as the place to do business, assists businesses in their growth strategies, and fosters the growth of vibrant communities across the state. Contact an MEDC Representative

Michigan Enabling Resilience - When Murray Kessler became CEO and president of Perrigo Company plc in late 2018, there was no question that he was going to overhaul a company whose growth had stalled. But there was no guarantee Kessler would try to reinvigorate the maker of self-care products in Michigan, despite the fact that the operation had been located in the state for more than 130 years. Why he chose to build Perrigo’s new North American corporate headquarters in Grand Rapids instead of Chicago or other places is a vibrant illustration of how the state is winning as companies, the country and American citizens continue to relaunch the economy in the wake of the pandemic. “I was reluctant,” says Kessler, who had been a successful business leader on both coasts and was living in semiretirement in Florida. “I had never been to Michigan. But I ended up falling in love with the state and the people. We could have built the headquarters anywhere, but our team concluded we had everything we needed in terms of talent, diversity, and the business climate right here. “And MEDC [Michigan Economic Development Corporation] was the right organization to work with us. In fact, they’re helping us find people of like minds in exploring the possibility of building a ‘Silicon Valley’ of self-care in Grand Rapids.” Governor Gretchen Whitmer and MEDC put together a strategic plan in 2019 aimed at building a more resilient economy. The five-year plan leverages Michigan’s culture of innovation, extensive R&D facilities, manufacturing expertise, and high-tech talent. Click here to here for more ...

The MEDC Supports Small Business - Click here to watch the video. Michigan's small businesses play a vital role in attracting talent to live and work in our small towns and big cities alike, offering both an exciting workplace atmosphere and contributing to a high quality of life after hours. They are the economic drivers of our local communities, offering charismatic shops and hidden gems for tourists that make Pure Michigan an irresistible destination for people of all ages. And our small businesses help instill a sense of hometown pride for residents spanning generations, bonding people of all backgrounds and beliefs together through a sense of shared community. Michigan small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. At the MEDC, we know how important small businesses are. We provide support to Michigan's entrepreneurs and small businesses through grants, loans, services, and more.

Gold Sponsors

AKT Peerless Environmental Services

AKT Peerless 2020 LogoAKT Peerless Environmental Services has environmental consultants and redevelopment experts who are proud to help build sustainable communities. Their services – environmental, sustainability, economic development incentives, and construction loan consulting – are tailored to the needs of each of our clients. Contact Samantha Seimer, Vice President, Economic Development Services, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., PH: 248-615-1333 to connect with AKT.

AKT Peerless was founded over 30 years ago by environmental professionals committed to providing a broad range of high-quality environmental consulting, management, and engineering services with the conviction that cost management, quality work product, responsiveness, and project finality are the primary concerns of our clients. As one of Michigan’s leading environmental firms with resources at the federal, state, and local level, AKT Peerless’ client base includes over 90 state and local governmental agencies, 50 financial institutions, thousands of private entities, and several non-profit organizations. AKT Peerless has economic development consultants, redevelopment experts and environmental professionals who are proud to help build sustainable communities. Our services include environmental, sustainability, economic development incentives, and construction loan consulting, tailored to the specific needs of each of our clients. We understand the intricacies and challenges of managing complex developments and have developed in-house solutions and tools to track projects and ensure successful project implementation. We offer a comprehensive package of economic development, brownfield redevelopment, and administrative services that include consulting on redevelopment concept plans, collaborating with various private and public project partners, preparing and reviewing Brownfield Plans and Act 381 Work Plans, tracking and managing approved brownfield plans, reviewing brownfield eligible cost invoices, and satisfying reporting requirements of state agencies.

Environmental and Redevelopment Incentive Solutions - AKT Peerless provides environmental and economic development services to identify, resolve and source financial incentives to address challenging sites. The first step with any redevelopment project is understanding the historical uses of the property to determine if there are environmental concerns. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) will evaluate previous uses and existing conditions of the property to determine next steps. The results of the Phase I may recommend a Phase II to evaluate the materiality of the environmental issue. Based on the intended use of the building, our consultants may also recommend an Asbestos & Hazardous Material survey to determine the condition of building materials. If the results of the Phase II ESA reveal contamination exists at concentrations above residential-use criteria, the property is considered a “facility,” as defined in Michigan’s Part 201 Rules. AKT Peerless may recommend a potential owner or operator of a “facility” complete a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA), which affords that entity an exemption from liability for existing contamination at the property. These pre-development assessment activities are crucial for establishing baseline conditions of a site and identifying the building (if applicable) and site environmental challenges. AKT Peerless utilizes this information to assist with redevelopment planning to minimize environmental risk and evaluate financial gaps posed by these conditions. AKT Peerless’ economic development team then goes to work sourcing applicable redevelopment incentives and capital to fill funding gaps. This effort requires an in-depth knowledge of the local, state and federal programs to ensure economic development incentives are applicable to the project and can be reasonably secured. AKT Peerless has worked with over 90 state and local government agencies, 50 financial institutions and thousands of private entities to utilize brownfield tax increment financing, grant and loans, tax abatements, historic tax credits and gap financing to bring projects to fruition. These successful projects have yielded over $5.5 billion of investment, created over 16,000 jobs and redeveloped over 2,500 acres in Michigan communities. Further, these projects have preserved historic structures, created affordable housing, increased public infrastructure and open space, removed blight and remediated environmental contamination. In 2020, Samantha Seimer joined the AKT Peerless team as Vice President of Economic Development Services. Sam has been involved with MEDA since she was a master's student at Wayne State University and now serves as Vice President of the MEDA Board of Directors. She came to AKT with over seven years of local government experience working to promote transformation communities while supporting environmental and development goals and objectives of the municipality. Sam leads the economic development team and works with developers, businesses and government entities to return underutilized properties back to productive use by leveraging available incentives tools to develop sustainable and resilient communities. For over 30 years, AKT Peerless has enjoyed working shoulder to shoulder with MEDA’s members, advancing the environmental and brownfield redevelopment components of economic development as your partners for success. We are grateful for the deep and trusting relationships that have led to building so many successful developments together. We are here to help you and your community advance your redevelopment initiatives. We stand ready to help you create “A better environment for your business.” 

Meet AKT Peerless - Click here to watch the video. Meet AKT's MEDA member leaders, Brian Eggers and Samantha Seimer, MEDA Board Vice President, and see some of AKT's work.

AmwayAmway Logo Croppped

Amway is the world’s largest direct selling company.  They manufacture and distribute nutrition, beauty, personal care, and home products—which are sold in 100 countries and territories exclusively through Amway Independent Business Owners (IBOs). Contact Amway.

Bedrock DetroitBedrock Clipped

Bedrock is a full-service commercial real estate firm based in downtown Detroit specializing in the strategic development of urban cores. With a portfolio of more than 100 properties totaling over 18 million square feet, Bedrock is the largest real estate partner in downtown Detroit and also has a strong presence in Cleveland.

Bedrock's Expertise - Bedrock’s experienced real estate experts provide a full range of services, with in-house teams for each area of expertise, including Leasing, Acquisition, Finance, Construction, Architecture, Historic Rehab, and Property Management. Our tenants include leading technology companies and startups, world-renowned restaurants and national retailers, as well as Detroit locals who love the city as much as we do. Whether you represent a business seeking to lease office space in Detroit, or a retailer looking for the right location for a new store or restaurant, our leasing agents can assist you. Bedrock also leases mixed-income residential properties to individuals and acquires and renovates properties for new development. To view the impressive portfolio of their office, retail, and residential properties, click here. To learn more about their services, click here. Contact Bedrock Detroit.

Detroit. Move here. Move the world. - Click here to watch the video. With space to grow, collaborate, and thrive, Detroit is a city unlike any other. Meet the Detroit you don’t know.

Indiana Michigan Power

Indiana Michigan Power 2021 v2Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) serves approximately 597,000 customers in Indiana and Michigan. Its headquarters is in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with external affairs offices in Indianapolis, and Lansing, Mich. From storm restoration to the construction of new facilities, I&M employees are committed to preserving public safety. Contact Indiana Michigan Power's Economic Development Team.

Meadowbrooke and Yore - Here’s a great opportunity: Meadowbrook and Yore Industrial Sites in Benton Harbor (Berrien County), Michigan feature two 100+ acre sites certified as ready for development. Located between Chicago and Detroit, a great location for warehouse, distribution, manufacturing, or food processing. VIDEO LINK courtesy of Indiana Michigan Power and American Electric Power (1 minute 40 seconds). You can get a printable version of the site details here: MEADOWBROOK and YORE

American Electric Power also believes Southwest Michigan is a great place to live and do business – click here for a few highlights from our point of view about the Great Lakes State.

Middle Michigan Development Corporation

MMDC Logo RGBMMDC’s staff of economic development professionals focus on creating vibrant, sustainable, and unique communities. Our economic development services and programs are designed to attract and retain talent in Clare and Isabella Counties. Today’s job seekers are looking for careers that balance economic security with lifestyle, seeking more than just employment when deciding where to live. MMDC works closely with our local municipalities, the State of Michigan, and various federal agencies to promote transformative community development projects that stimulate economic growth. Our counties exemplify rural Michigan, and we see that as a strength. MMDC promotes strategies and services that foster strong rural communities. Learn more about us at

Fostering a Vibrant Future for Middle Michigan - In 2020, MMDC, like many of our regional economic development partners, distributed funds and administered programs that assisted our local businesses through the challenges of COVID-19. Additionally, MMDC leveraged local funds from The Dow Corporation, TCF Bank and the Clare Community Foundation to extend assistance even further. To administer these programs equitably and quickly, MMDC created new internal infrastructures and pivoted many of our core services to focus on getting funds to struggling businesses. These measures ensured that every business in Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, and Midland counties had the opportunity for funding and assistance. Most companies that received funding are open today and continue to rebound from the challenges they faced in an unprecedented year. 

Specific recovery efforts by MMDC include:

  • 169 small businesses received relief funds totaling nearly $250,000
  • 22 small businesses received between $2,000-$2,500 each through Match on Main COVID-19 Response funds
  • 842 small businesses received CARES Act dollars through the Michigan Small Business Restart Program. Total financial award to local business was $3,325,000
  • 183 small businesses received between $10,000-$20,000 each through the Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program in 2021 

Our communities are actively engaging in strategies to return from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever. MMDC’s strategic focuses for the future aim to equip local businesses with the tools and talent they require. To that end, our strategic pillars continue to be:

  • Support businesses with growth and retention strategies
  • Attract new businesses to our communities
  • Promote community development to ensure local vibrancy that attracts talent to Middle Michigan

MMDC’s 2020 Annual Report is an excellent resource for learning more.

Progressive AE

Progressive AE Color LogoProgressive AE is a full-service architecture and engineering firm that has been in business for 59 years. Between their Grand Rapids, MI, and Charlotte, NC, offices they have 230 skilled professionals and licensure to work in all 48 contiguous United States. They work nationally in a variety of markets including civic, healthcare, housing, industrial, learning, retail, senior living, sports, workplace, and worship spaces. Progressive AE’s workforce is a unique blend of creative people who think strategically, and strategic people who work creatively. The firm is guided by Performance-Based Design, a fundamental and forward-thinking philosophy. Through Performance-Based Design, they commit to optimizing performance for clients and validating results post-occupancy. For additional information about Progressive AE, please visit our website: Contact Progressive AE.

Progressive AE is a full-service architecture and engineering firm with more than 50 years of experience and national reach. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Charlotte, North Carolina, the Urban Planning Practice of the firm is one of our fastest-growing. We help our clients anticipate the future, establish priorities for investment, and determine where and how to grow. The plans and programs we develop assists communities, developers, institutions, campuses, and more realize their short- and long-term goals, allow for both planned and organic growth, and respond to inevitable change. We know how to get projects implemented. The unique background of our project team assures that your vision will transform into ribbon cuttings.

No matter the project, we always begin by understanding you, your residents, businesses, and visitors, and the aspirations and drivers of your community. Having a firm understanding of where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow will help guide our design decisions and recommendations. Design is a process; it takes understanding, vision, and realistic recommendations. We’re here to lend our guidance and expertise to your project. Our experience includes projects for different clients and communities across the country including these project types:

  • Master Plans
  • Strategic Plans
  • Zoning Ordinances
  • Grants
  • Development Approvals
  • Transportation Planning
  • Traffic Studies
  • Streetscape and Downtown Plans

Lunch Sponsor


MiBiz LogoMiBiz is the top source for business news in West, Southwest, and Central Michigan. They reach more than 100,000 business readers each month with a bi-weekly print edition, web coverage, e-newsletters, and social media updates. MiBiz’s unique regional perspective has earned it a “Must Read” reputation with C-suite executives, business owners, professional advisers, policymakers, and influencers throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Subscribe today at Contact MiBiz.

Awards Reception Sponsor

Fourth Economy

4E green verticalFourth Economy is a national community and economic development consulting firm that focuses on fostering action to create great communities, impactful organizations, and strong economies. Their vision is a world where people are empowered to be co-creators of a sustainable economy and community. Their purpose is to ensure that the economy serves the people. Contact Fourth Economy.

Four Skills for Civic Leadership: "What a long strange trip it’s been." - Jerry Garcia: Jerry wasn’t around to experience these past months, and I doubt any of us want to live the same experience that we’ve had. So, I’ve been reflecting on growing from this journey and its relation to my personal and professional life ahead. As I look for the silver lining of the pandemic experience, I am drawn to thinking about the values in the leaders that we have engaged with or seen in action across the country. Many of us have been the canaries in the economic development mine - warning that the ‘growth’ that many communities were experiencing is not sustainable, creating poverty jobs and ignoring the quality of a place. The global pandemic has added fuel to those issues for everyone to understand better. The weaknesses that the pandemic has exposed and the reactions of some leaders should concern us all. The world needs more civic leaders and fewer personalities. If this recent period has been a test case for dealing with the increasing impacts of climate change, or other global crises, we are in serious trouble. There will always be differing ideas about tackling an issue, and healthy discourse will provide better actions. But we have a system that rushes to embrace contrarian soundbites no matter how ill-informed and dangerous they are. Our culture embraces shock value over actual impacts. And that’s that catch: the long-term impact that learns and delivers beyond the crisis or political cycle and can sustain a community is not always easy. This is where civic leadership is more asset than virtue and where it matters the most. The challenge we live with is that civic leadership is messy when people want it to be simple. Civic leadership is not born in 140 characters or through anonymous posts. Civic leadership is created in meeting rooms, in coffee shops and craft breweries, and these days on video calls. I hope that 2021 becomes the year we realize that we all need to communicate a lot more to understand where we want to be as neighbors and be honest about what we need to fix for resilient communities. In recent months, we have been working with many communities recovering from the impact COVID-19 had and has on their economy, social services, health, and shared resources. These challenges are surmountable but complex and, at times, frustrating because we now feel like we’re ten steps behind where we started before the pandemic. At the same time, we see a path forward as we support the actions our civic leader friends are trying to accomplish like the first of its kind, Ramsey County’s Economic Competitiveness and Inclusion Plan, the York County Economic Action Plan that has been guiding community recovery and resilience investments and Pulse Reports for a coalition of community leaders in Pittsburgh.

Here are the four key skills that we have observed in the best community leaders during this past year and beyond:

Show Empathy - Simply put, empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Civic leaders need to have the ability to understand the feelings and experiences of an incredible diversity of stakeholders. They need to exercise empathy at times when their personal lives and organizational dynamics may be under unprecedented stress. Civic leaders who practice empathy create pathways to respond to immediate community needs while driving community-focused, long-term economic recovery.

Assess, Act, Repeat - There is no such thing as the status quo or a community that is exactly as it was in the old days; instead, communities are constantly heading in new directions. Thriving leaders swiftly assemble the data needed to understand what that direction is. Often, data and fact-finding will provide a view that is not expected and, at times, painful to deal with, but it is critical to communicate what is not working to build strategies for improvement. And finally, assessing those strategies along the way will create an opportunity for continuous improvement.

Be Realistic - It’s tempting to sugarcoat issues to maintain community confidence when you’re hesitant to present impact scenarios that could sprint out into worst-case scenarios. Successful leaders are balancing a sense of realism with articulating a clear response to the worst case. They recognize that a health-driven economic crisis at the scale we have seen is unprecedented, and the experiences from past recessions will not repeat. They take a ‘brace for impact’ approach and are developing plans to respond as with bold and inspirational solutions.

Convene Good People - There is strength in numbers as we face this crisis head-on. It is essential to convene stakeholders to work together in recovery and to ensure that new and diverse voices are represented so that the recovery solutions are working towards more equitable development. This crisis impacts all of our systems -  health, education, childcare, business, economic development, food, transportation, arts and entertainment, and beyond. Understanding interconnection and capacity across all systems is the only way to ensure a balanced recovery.

Let me know what you think are skills needed by civic leaders by sending a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Opening Reception Sponsor

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP

WNJ 2020At Warner Norcross + Judd, they’re more than their Best Lawyers in America designations, Martindale-Hubbell rankings, and Chambers USA acknowledgments. As one of the largest and most successful law firms in Michigan, they can handle your business and legal matters, whether simple or complex, from start to finish. The firm provides client-focused, proactive legal and business counsel to clients of all sizes – from startups to Fortune 500 companies to closely-held businesses and high net worth individuals. With more than 230 attorneys working in 14 industry groups and 26 specialized practice areas, Warner can meet the legal needs of clients operating throughout North America and around the world.  

Client service and teamwork are the founding principles of Warner Norcross + Judd. With over 230 attorneys and 14 industry and 26 specialized practice areas, Warner meets the needs of clients operating throughout Michigan, the U.S. and around the world. Delivering superior legal services in a highly responsive manner is how Warner builds better partnerships with their clients.

Warner’s Economic Incentives Practice Group - Warner’s Economic Incentives Practice Group is one of the firm’s 26 specialized practice areas and continues to be a driver in economic growth in Michigan and beyond. In the last 15 years, Warner has secured more than $1 billion in incentives for parts suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, real estate developers and other clients, resulting in tens of thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in investment. With more than 50 types of federal and state incentive programs, Warner can help select the best options for your project. The firm’s economic incentives attorneys have written substantial sections of the laws and regulations that govern economic development incentives in Michigan. They know the people and processes that move projects across the finish line. In this day and age ─ with the current construction cost environment ─ acting swiftly from start to finish can have an enormous impact on the entire cost of the project. Warner’s experienced attorneys are committed to moving quickly to eliminate as much downtime as possible – so the overall cost of the project remains within the original budget or as close to it as possible.

Warner routinely works with over 50 types of incentives. Some of the most popular incentives include: 

  • Brownfield TIF Funding
  • Community Revitalization Program
  • Business Development Program
  • Industrial Facilities Tax Abatement (Public Act 198)
  • Neighborhood Enterprise Zone (NEZ)
  • Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA)
  • Local TIF Districts
  • New Markets Tax Credits
  • Federal Historic Tax Credits
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • MDEQ Grants and Loans
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC)

Warner uses a variety and a combination of the above tax credits to help numerous clients realize their development dreams. Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects where Warner made an impact:

  • Venue Tower: $32.7 Million Entertainment and Apartment/Condominium Project
    Warner helped secure a Brownfield Michigan Business Tax Credit totaling $4.52 million and tax increment financing through the City of Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority Development Support Program totaling approximately $1.75 for the project. Warner established the joint venture and helped facilitate the land acquisition and drafting and negotiation of myriad agreements, including development agreements, condominium documents, and agreements with neighbors and the City of Grand Rapids.
  • Downtown Market, Grand Rapids, MI: $30 Million Design, Construction and Real Estate Project for Retail, Restaurant and Agriculture
    Warner helped secure a $5.2 million Brownfield Michigan Business Tax Credit, a $3 million community revitalization loan from the Michigan Strategic Fund, Brownfield Tax Increment Financing of $3.5 million, Downtown Development Authority Tax Increment Financing and other grants and loans from the Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. EPA for environmental cleanup. They structured the design and demolition construction contracts for the project and prepared and negotiated the documentation necessary to establish the public private partnerships of the Downtown Market. Additionally, Warner created documents for ground leases, market hall vendor leases, retail tenant leases, restaurant leases, office users and myriad other tenancies, and parking on-site and off-site.
  • Lormax Stern Development, Detroit, MI: $33 Million Meijer Grocery and Retail Project
    Warner secured a $3.3 million Brownfield Michigan Business Tax (MBT) credit and $6.5 million in Brownfield Tax Increment Financing (TIF) incentives in a relatively short period of time. Warner’s team credits its relationship with Detroit officials, state officials and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) for their success.
  • Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Ann Arbor, MI: $6.7 Million Expansion Project

Warner helped control long-term and short-term costs throughout the project by securing a $1.18 million Michigan Business Tax credit, $817,265 in Brownfield Tax Increment Financing Incentives, and a $407,000 grant from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. No project is too large or too small – and they meet you where you are and where you plan to grow. Every project is unique, and the depth and breadth of experience positions Warner as the law firm best suited to deliver the incentives that work for you and within your timeline and budget.

Contact: Jared Belka, Partner, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, 150 Ottawa Ave NW, Suite 1500, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, PH: 616-752-2447, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view

Breakfast/Coffee + Two Breakouts

URCMichigan's University Research Corridor

Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC) is one of the nation’s top academic research clusters and the leading engine for innovation in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. An alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University, the URC is focused on increasing economic prosperity and connecting Michigan to the world. Contact URC.

Breakfast/Coffee Sponsors

MC PlanningandEconomicDevelopmentMacomb County Planning and Economic Development

The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development supports an environment where businesses prosper and people thrive.  Its activities and programs are focused on stimulating the local economy through business retention, expansion and attraction while improving the overall quality of life for residents.  The department specializes in providing services to businesses at all stages of development with a concentration on the high-growth industries of aerospace, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, defense and homeland security.  For more information, call 586-469-5285 or visit:

Silver Sponsors

Employee Ownership Expansion Network

Emloyee Ownership ExpansionThe Employee Ownership Expansion Network is a national nonprofit focused on significantly expanding employee ownership across the United States by establishing and supporting a network of independent nonprofit State Centers for Employee Ownership. We see employee ownership as a critical tool in reducing poverty, increasing community wealth, and creating a more vibrant, participatory economy. Contact Roy J. Messing, Director of State Center Operations, PH: 440-567-1060, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who established the first center in Michigan.

The Wave of Potential Job Losses in Michigan that Doesn't Have to Happen - Millions of jobs were lost in the past eighteen months as businesses and consumers across the United States and the world were unprepared to deal with the COVID 19 virus. Thousands of jobs were lost in Michigan and many of those sources of income will never return. There is another potential crisis that could result in thousands of companies and jobs being lost in Michigan. The pending crisis has often been referred to as the “Silver Tsunami.”

Baby boomers are marching towards retirement. Most of the ones who own businesses don’t have a plan for the ownership exit from their companies. National studies show that between 75 and 80% of these owners don’t have a business succession or exit plan The absence of a real plan is likely a “plan for failure”. It should be no surprise that approximately 75% of businesses listed for sale don’t sell as many aren’t ready for sale.

Why Businesses Don't Sell and Why Some Never Sell

What might the impact of the Silver Tsunami be in Michigan? The Michigan Center for Employee Ownership (“MICEO”), a recently formed nonprofit, commissioned a study of privately held businesses owned by individuals who are 55 years of age or older. The study completed by Project Equity, a nonprofit employment research firm, indicates that over 80,000 companies are owned by baby boomers and Gen Xers, employing ~ one million workers in the state. These companies produce annual revenues of $204 billion and payrolls of over $40 billion. Given that the majority of these businesses haven’t been prepared for the next owner(s), tens of thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of jobs in Michigan could be lost in the next ten years. How will the local communities survive if these businesses and jobs are shuttered permanently? Economic developers have historically focused on attracting new businesses to their local communities. Given the pending transition of so many privately held businesses, economic development professionals need to ramp up their emphasis on retaining businesses and jobs in their communities. The best way to retain businesses locally in a private sale transaction is to sell to an insider (family, partner, managers, or employees), someone who has a stake in keeping the business local Exit Strategies for Business Owners: Internal Sales - Suncrest Advisors. There are common challenges in selling the business to family members (no longer involved), partners (often retiring in a similar timeframe), and managers (they don’t have enough money to buy the business, and investors with access to funding are more likely to sell their interest to an outside buyer should the company struggle. One exit option that is very well known is a sale to all or many employees. Employees are very interested in keeping their jobs and remaining locally based. There are many examples of successful sales or “transitions” to employee-owned companies. As a Michigan-based nonprofit, the MICEO serves as an independent source of resources available to economic development agencies and professionals to help inform local businesses of their “insider exit options” (especially a sale to the employees) as part of a retention strategy. Please visit the Michigan Center for Employee Ownership booth at the 2021 MEDA Annual Conference for more information.

Envirologic Technologies, Inc.

Envirologic 2021For 30 years, Envirologic has served as a full-service environmental consulting firm dedicated to assisting clients in solving complex development, redevelopment, and cleanup challenges. Based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Envirologic’s services include brownfield redevelopment, environmental investigation and remediation, compliance, environmental due diligence, and more, focusing on the needs of our clients and the communities they work. Please contact Jeff Hawkins, CEO, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 269-342-1100 if you would like to learn more about how their team can support your project.

Brownfield Redevelopment in the COVID-19 Era - Michigan’s brownfield toolbox is a powerful resource that economic developers have come to rely on. Brownfield tax increment financing, being one of the most used tools, continues to help close financial gaps on redevelopment projects. Brownfield sites — which can be contaminated, blighted, functionally obsolete or a historic resource — typically need the added financial support to offset brownfield conditions. These conditions include but are not limited to, site contamination, lead and asbestos abatement, demolition, due care obligations, site preparation, and infrastructure improvements. Although deal flow regarding new projects may be affected in the near future due to the pandemic and the resulting recovering economy, the use of tax increment financing through a Brownfield Plan remains a powerful, locally controlled incentive that can encourage redevelopment projects in your community. Tax increment financing through a Brownfield Plan is unique in that it relies solely on the investment and performance of the individual project. Unlike other “TIF Districts,” it doesn’t pull tax revenues from other properties within the district, which may be sorely needed due to a reduction in tax revenues as a result of the pandemic. If the project fails to perform (i.e., the project is delayed or there is a limited investment with no improved taxable value), the community/Brownfield Plan has no obligation to reimburse the developer for their eligible brownfield costs unless the project produces the tax revenue.​​​​​​​

Grand Rapids Community College

GRCCGrand Rapids Community College (GRCC) was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college – and is focused on making a college education accessible and affordable. GRCC provides relevant educational opportunities that are responsive to the needs of the community and inspires students to meet economic, social, and environmental challenges to become active participants in shaping the world of the future. Contact GRCC.

Greater Muskegon Economic Development

Greater Muskegon Economic Development RGB Horizontal HighGreater Muskegon Economic Development (GMED) is a countywide economic development corporation focused on leveraging public and private investment to accelerate business growth and the creation of high-quality employment opportunities in Muskegon County. Contact GMED.

New Food Processing Business, Muskegon, MI - Greater Muskegon Economic Development (GMED) and the West Michigan Food Processing Association are pleased to announce that the construction of a new food processing business incubator is complete and ready for tenants. The 8,000 square foot facility, named “FARM” (Food, Agriculture, Research, Manufacturing Center), is located on the campus of Muskegon Community College and provides flexible manufacturing space for commercial-grade fruit and vegetable processing. FARM was designed specifically for Stage 2 food processing businesses that are ready to scale beyond a home kitchen or shared kitchen incubator, but not ready to operate in their own food production facility. The facility complies with all U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration requirements and includes features such as refrigeration/freezers, energy-efficient waste and water handling, and loading docks. Tenants are expected to furnish their own processing equipment and to eventually grow and move into their own facility. FARM is also suitable for large food processors that need space for pilot/R&D programs or overflow production, as well as food technology companies interested in testing new processing equipment. “People may be surprised to learn there are more than 6,000 farmers and 200 food processors in the West Michigan region, and several are top 10 fruit/vegetable producers in the nation,” said Marty Gerencer, Executive Director of the West Michigan Food Processing Association. “Our experience and research have helped us identify the benefits of incorporating the food processing sector into our region’s economic development strategy.” FARM also has the potential to introduce new Industry 4.0 practices and technologies to the area’s food sector, and future educational programs will introduce food processing as a STEM-related, livable wage career to college and high school students. “GMED was happy to help secure funding for FARM, manage construction, oversee start-up, and put programming in place,” commented GMED President/CEO Jim Edmonson. “FARM affords us the ability to increase the number of food-related businesses and grow our STEM-skilled workforce.” Tenants will also have access to Michigan State University Product Center resources and the expertise of FARM staff. 10FARM’s first tenant, fermented tea producer Lively Up Kombucha, will start production at FARM this spring. Kombucha founder Zack Smith said FARM is exactly what his company needs to grow to the next level. “As soon as I walked into FARM, I knew it was our next home. This facility and the support we’ll receive here will allow us to expand beyond our current Michigan distribution network. I don’t know if the next phase in our business would be possible if we had to do it all on our own. Moving into FARM gives us a lot of confidence, not only because of what the building offers in terms of our production capacity but because of the expertise of the people we’ll be able to interact with on a regular basis.”In addition, FARM is equipped to accommodate the MSU Mobile Food Processing Lab, which offers hands-on experiences to community college students throughout


ITC FortisITC Holdings Corp. is the largest independent electricity transmission company in the U.S. – owner, and operator of high-voltage power transmission systems in seven states, with an eighth in development. ITC’s investments in power transmission infrastructure lower electricity costs, improve service reliability and safety, and increase economic activity and tax revenues for customers, stakeholders, and communities. Contact Nora Balgoyen, EDFP, Area Manager, PH: 269-792-7228, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Connecting Business to Energy Infrastructure - Electric infrastructure plays a vital role in economic development. That’s one of the reasons ITC invests in a modern, robust power transmission grid. As a result of our sustained investments, ITC’s transmission systems routinely perform in the top tier of utilities nationally for service reliability. Our energy-intensive customers connected to ITC at transmission-level voltage expect nothing less. ITC is different from other utilities in that we focus only on transmission, and we are not an energy market participant. This is how we support economic development:

Connecting Customers to the Power Grid -  ITC’s sole focus on transmission allows us to facilitate the reliable and efficient delivery of electricity to our wholesale customers – regardless of the generation source.

  • Providing reliable wholesale electric service
  • Ensuring system capacity for the demands of tomorrow
  • Enabling electric customers and generators access to competitive wholesale markets

Providing a Critical Link to Tailored Power Solutions - Our ongoing assessment of electric transmission needs for the grid is driven by the requirements of energy-intensive customers – ITC has no direct electricity market participation.

  • Transmission infrastructure investment
  • Premier electric reliability
  • Focus on power quality
  • Knowledge of available system capacity

Facilitating Strong State and Local Economies - ITC connects these customers at transmission-level voltage:

  • Investor-owned, vertically integrated electric utilities
  • Commercial/large load connectors and site selectors
  • Municipal utilities
  • Co-ops
  • Independent power producers or non-utility generators
  • Developers and subscribers of contracted, merchant transmission lines

Click here to learn more about how ITC is serving customers across Michigan.


McKennaMcKenna is known for meeting the needs of municipal leaders with advanced concepts in community master plans, transportation planning, urban design, zoning, redevelopment, and public participation (NCI and IAP2 certified). They also provide on-site zoning and building department administration and inspection services to many Michigan cities, villages, and townships. McKenna’s 30 professionals work in downtown offices in Northville, Detroit, and Kalamazoo. Contact Mckenna.

McKenna Long-Range Planning - Serving Michigan Communities
Ready to update the Master Plan? Got a TIF district about to expire? Trying to figure out what to do with that aging retail corridor? Looking to put in a Form-Based Code (or just make your Zoning Ordinance more efficient and business-friendly?) McKenna can help! When day-to-day economic development activities crowd out your time to work on the long-term vision, McKenna planners are ready to back you up. We combine the capacity of a large firm (Michigan’s largest planning staff!), with the personal touch of a dedicated planner based in one of four conveniently located offices – Northville, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo. For the last 40+ years, we’ve functioned as an extension of the in-house staff in cities, villages, and townships across Michigan, creating innovative and implementation-focused plans and easy-to-use custom ordinances for communities large and small. We’re ready to take on any planning challenge. Our experience includes:

  • Master Plans
  • Sub-Area Plans
  • TIF Plans
  • Parks and Recreation Plans
  • Zoning Ordinance Updates/Re-Writes
  • Form-Based Code
  • Non-Motorized Transportation Planning
  • Placemaking and Branding
  • Economic Development and Redevelopment

Engaged in MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities Program? Or even just thinking about it? We can help! We’ve been part of RRC since it was a small local program for inner-ring suburbs, and we’re well versed in the State’s recommendations and requirements. We can help you sort through the actions you need to take to achieve certification – and then help you execute them. Check out some examples of our work at our website: 

Contact us at 248-596-0920 and ask for:
John Jackson, AICP (Northville), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Paul Urbiel, AICP (Detroit), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chris Khorey, AICP (Grand Rapids), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Paul Lippens, AICP (Kalamazoo), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Oakland County Economic DevelopmentOakland County 2021 Logo

Oakland County Economic Development - or Advantage Oakland - is a one-stop-shop for business, community, and workforce development in Oakland County, Michigan. They assist with grants, loans, tax-exempt bonds, foreign investment, planning, entrepreneurship, historic preservation, and many other programs needed to create a healthy business community in this premier county! Contact Oakland County Economic Development.

Economic Recovery and Resilience - The COVID-19 global pandemic created many unprecedented challenges for our residents, businesses, communities, Oakland County and the state of Michigan. ​​​​​​​Some of the things we did to help employers navigate the crisis included:

  • Strategically allocated approximately $90 Million in small business grants
  • Assembled and distributed 15,000 PPE kits that included masks, sanitizer, thermometer, decals for social distancing, and health protocol information
  • $2 million in much-needed restaurant relief grants for equipment such as igloos, greenhouses, propane tanks, outdoor heaters, and cleaning supplies
  • Our six Oakland County Michigan Works! service centers fielded 728,000 calls from people needing assistance with unemployment

Hard work and partnerships with each of our communities enabled us to successfully deploy emergency funds, products, and services to our businesses. If you would like to learn more about our recovery efforts, we invite you to view our COVID-19 storyboard at: As we emerge from the pandemic, we are focused on our new Economic Development Strategic Plan, which is guided by four pillars:

  • Business Vitality & Diversification
  • Community Development & Planning
  • Talent Development & Attraction
  • Small Business Strength

Through partnerships with organizations throughout the state, we look forward to providing a wealth of economic development resources to current and future Oakland County businesses and residents.

PM EnvironmentalPM Environmental

PM Environmental is an environmental risk expert focused on business-minded solutions. They have over 29 years of experience in consulting and managing a wide variety of environmental, engineering, industrial hygiene, and development projects. Contact Jessica DeBone, National Manager, Brownfield and Economic Incentives, PH: 616-328-5297, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Environmental Due Diligence: A Key Component to Site Readiness - If you have been involved in any sort of commercial real estate transaction, you have probably heard the words ‘Environmental’ and ‘Due Diligence’ mentioned. Environmental Due Diligence defines the process of assessing a property for risk of environmental contamination and determining if mitigation or remediation may be needed. It typically includes a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), which documents the current and historical use of a property, and a Phase II ESA, which identifies the presence or likely presence of contamination in, on, or at the property associated with historical and/or current operations. Owners and operators of contaminated property are required to take these actions to ensure that unacceptable exposures are eliminated, contamination is not exacerbated, proper notifications are made, and compliance with ongoing land-use restrictions is met. Additional due diligence considerations can also include Property Condition Assessments, which identify specific building and property deficiencies that require immediate attention, short-term repair, and/or deferred maintenance repair. If renovation, reuse, or demolition of an existing building is also being contemplated, a current or future landowner will consider completion of a Hazardous Materials Survey prior to purchase to identify the presence of lead paint, asbestos, or other materials classified as universal waste that will need to be managed and handled in accordance with state and federal regulations. All of these assessments and surveys bring clarity to the true investment necessary to operate and potentially develop a property. Pursuing and maintaining an inventory of properties you are positioning for investment and redevelopment can be aided by these studies as an integral component of a site development marketing package. The results of these studies can drive the type of reuse, development costs, and an understanding if additional funding assistance may be necessary to support your targeted redevelopment goals. Timing is a critical component of real estate. Preparedness with these factors ahead of courting prospective developers will arm you with the knowledge you need to be a strong collaborative municipal partner. Moreover, there are programs to help – various funding programs meant specifically for brownfield redevelopment are available to assist local units of government. PM Environmental has successfully worked with private developers, local governments, various state agencies, and the U.S. EPA, to apply for and secure assessment and clean up funding as well as predevelopment assistance in reviewing and packaging incentive programs that can help even the most challenging projects across the finish line. PM understands that it takes a flexible, creative, and innovative approach to brownfield redevelopment to ensure project success and maximum return. With this approach, PM has succeeded in many public/private partnership redevelopment projects, some of which may not have been feasible without an outside-the-box approach. 

Rockford Construction

Rockford Develop Build Manage Logo GreenFor more than 30 years, Rockford has been serving the commercial, multi-unit, educational, industrial, healthcare, and retail markets throughout Michigan. From small-scale renovation work to large, new construction efforts, we tailor our approach since each project is as unique as the community it serves. And as a company offering construction management, development, and property management services, we bring a holistic perspective as owners, builders, and operators, rooted in safety and a commitment to craftsmanship. Licensed in 45 states and ranked by Engineering News-Record as one of the top 200 contractors in the nation, Rockford has also been recognized as the 2020 Excellence in Safety Award winner from the ABC West Michigan Chapter and a 2020 National AGC Safety Award Winner. In all that we do, we strive to be business thought leaders, provide built-in value, deliver beautiful outcomes, and create places with soul. These are our cornerstones and the foundation for our work. Contact Rockford Construction.

With a slew of activity and innovation taking place, it’s no surprise that Michigan State University (MSU) chose the Medical Mile as home base for their College of Human Medicine at the Secchia Center. That decision kickstarted the real estate development efforts that have led to the genesis of the Grand Rapids Innovation Park (GRIP). GRIP is a healthcare innovation hub that encompasses the Grand Rapids Research Center, Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building (DMMIB), and 430 Monroe Avenue, which will become home to Perrigo Company plc’s new North American Corporate Headquarters after construction is completed in 2022. Recognizing the complexity of the work needed to deliver GRIP to the City of Grand Rapids, Rockford Construction helped form Health Innovation Partners (HIP), a real estate development joint venture (JV) between Rockford Construction/Rockford Development, Walsh Construction/Walsh Investors, Murphy Real Estate Services, Harrison Street and MSU. Collectively, the group selected a public-private partnership (P3) approach to develop the project. P3s allow public institutions, like universities, to team up with private industry partners who are well equipped to handle the significant capital outlay and allocation of risk associated with large-scale projects like GRIP. They also allow work to be completed with enhanced speed and efficiency. Without the P3, MSU may have had to engage in other efforts to finance the work, such as a long-term fundraiser. But through the expertise of HIP and Rockford, the development kicked off successfully and has been moving forward ever since. Beyond engaging the partners in a P3 approach to delivery, Rockford and the collective team also brought significant technical knowledge and experience to the development portion of the work. The development group successfully navigated the complex design needed to situate all three buildings within GRIP to maximize visibility. Additionally, the team was able to balance complementary architecture; appropriate floor plans; site infrastructure; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; and more to establish a plan for the associated buildings and facilities that won’t just attract world-class tenants, but also will provide more than $300 million in economic impact to Kent County each year.

Rudolph Libbe Group

Rudolph Libbe Whole LogoThe Rudolph Libbe Group is a one-stop provider of construction and facility services that range from site selection and construction to energy solutions and ongoing facility management. The full-service contractor, comprised of Rudolph Libbe Inc., GEM Inc., GEM Energy, Lehman Daman, and Rudolph Libbe Properties, is focused on ensuring that its customers succeed. The Rudolph Libbe Group is headquartered in Toledo with offices in Cleveland, Columbus, and Lima, Ohio; and the Detroit, Michigan area. Contact Ben Eisel, General Manager, Rudolph Libbe Group, 734-455-0600 or 734-455-3131.

Rudolph Libbe Group, Southeast Michigan office – We are coming through this together -  2021 is vastly different from 2020, with a huge resurrection in the SE Michigan market and an exceptional surge in business activity for our clients. Throughout the pandemic, we supported many clients through their COVID-19 protocols, office modifications, and screening equipment setup and management. Now, our region is thriving again. Our chemical sector clients are receiving orders at new levels and utilizing our turnkey services to maintain plant operations. The energy sector has been roaring and we have supported a number of clients through control room and conference room renovations. A number of customers are rearranging their campuses and integrating new energy solutions. We also are supporting a huge wave in the auto sector. The large automotive companies and their Tier 2s, from steel manufacturers to sub-assembly providers, are expanding rapidly. This rapid growth phase is restricted only slightly by the supply of materials and manpower. We see this trend as the limiting factor going forward through 2021 into 2022. Our company does have the capacity for additional work with a strong network of supporting companies that use pre-purchases and large-scale buying power. When plans change or emergencies arise, long-term partnerships and turnkey solutions become more important than ever. Facility maintenance is key to keep buildings fine-tuned for productivity, energy efficiency, comfort, and reduction in operating costs. It’s essential to keep planning for the future. When it’s time to grow – with new construction, renovations, new equipment, or processes – knowing all the design and construction options is fundamental. Discretionary property and real estate services can help you source land and facilities with a keen eye towards state, municipal, and workforce-based incentives. And, for every project, safety needs to be a core value for everyone on-site, especially in these challenging and stressful times. For more information about Rudolph Libbe Group and our Southeast Michigan office, please visit

Spectrum Health

Spectrum HealthSpectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage, comprising 31,000+ team members, 14 hospitals (including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital), a robust network of care facilities, teams of nationally recognized doctors and providers, and the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, currently serving over 1 million members across the state of Michigan. People are at the heart of everything we do. Locally governed and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are focused on our mission: to improve health, inspire hope and save lives. Spectrum Health has a legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy, and transparency. Through experience, innovation and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness. Contact Spectrum Health.

Bronze Sponsors


AbonmarcheAbonmarche began shaping communities 41 years ago in Southwest Michigan, by providing clients with exceptional surveying, civil engineering, and marina development services. As our services, client base, and geographical service area expanded, Abonmarche continued to grow, opening additional offices to better meet our clients’ needs and carry on our tradition of client service. Today, we work across nine offices on some of the most transformative projects in Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana - in engineering, architecture, land surveying, site development, coastal & waterfront, planning, asset management & GIS, financing assistance, and landscape architecture. Through our wide array of professional services, we provide superior customer value while improving communities for a variety of private- and public-sector clients. This often includes project visioning, program development, and funding strategies including grant and loan applications in coordination with state funding agencies. Contact Abonmarche.

Butzel Long

Butzel LongFounded in 1854, Butzel Long has played a prominent role in the development and growth of several major industries. Business leaders have turned to us for innovative, highly effective legal counsel for over 165 years. They have a long and successful history of developing new capabilities and deepening their expertise for our clients' benefit. They strive to be on the cutting edge of technology, manufacturing, e-commerce, biotechnology, intellectual property, and cross-border operations and transactions.

Detroit Regional PartnershipDRP

The Detroit Regional Partnership is a regional economic development nonprofit serving Southeast Michigan’s 11-county region. Founded in 2019 by a group of business and philanthropic CEOs, the organization is laser-focused on marketing the region to out-of-state and international companies to attract investments and jobs. Contact DRC.

Downtown GR CroppedDowntown Grand Rapids, Inc.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) is the organization responsible for city building and place-management in the urban core of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Established in 2013, DGRI serves as the singular management entity for the combined operations of the Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Improvement District, and the Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority. Contact Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.

Farbman Group

Farbman Tagline color comboWith 45 years as a full-service commercial real estate company, Farbman Group provides Midwest expertise and a global reach to its clients in all facets of the industry including Landlord Rep, Tenant Rep, property management, construction, investment sales, and much more. Contact Farbman.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentMDARD 2020

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is comprised of six divisions that use a customer-driven, solution-oriented approach to cultivate and expand new economic opportunities for the food and agricultural sector; safeguard the public’s food supply; inspect and enforce sound animal health practices; control and eradicate plant pests and diseases threatening the $104.7 billion food and agriculture system; preserve the environment by which the farming community makes their living and feeds consumers, and protect consumers by enforcing laws relating to weights and measures. Contact MDARD's Agriculture Development Divison Team.

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

MSU CHM HSig ColorMichigan State University College of Human Medicine is committed to educating exemplary physicians and scholars, discovering and disseminating new knowledge, and providing service at home and abroad. We enhance our communities by providing outstanding primary and specialty care, promoting the dignity and inclusion of all people, and responding to the needs of the medically underserved. Contact Jerry O. Kooiman, MPA, Assistant Dean and Chief External Relations Officer, PH: 616-234-2604, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Saginaw Future, Inc.

Saginaw FutureSaginaw Future Inc. (SFI) is in the business of energizing new investment and job growth in Saginaw County, MI, US. Saginaw Future assists companies to secure or identify funding sources, incentive packaging, provides site location services, pursues government contracts, connects with export assistance job training, and other resources. SFI also serves as an advocate for business investment projects, connects with resources to address workforce needs, and serves as a community liaison, through our service contracts with local and state government partners. SFI also promotes efforts to attract and develop talent. SFI staff members have over 175 years of combined economic development experience. Contact Saginaw Future, Inc.


SME LogoFor more than 50 years, SME provided professional engineering services at over 100,000 project sites. We have grown to a staff of 300 team members in 14 offices that provide consulting services throughout the Midwest. For more than 25 years, the Engineering News Record (ENR) has ranked SME among the top 500 design firms in the United States. Developing new sites or redeveloping existing brownfield sites; constructing new buildings, roads and bridges; and acquiring, rehabilitating or managing existing facilities or infrastructure is never easy. Challenges abound. Risks are inherent. Budgets and schedules are tight. The tougher the challenge, the more SME can help. Contact SME.

The Right Place, Inc.

2021 The Right Place Inc. Logo TransparentThe Right Place, Inc., is a regional nonprofit founded in 1985 and supported through investments from the private and public sectors. The Right Place drives current and long-term economic prosperity in Greater Grand Rapids through the development and implementation of comprehensive strategies to retain, expand, and attract businesses. This includes connecting area businesses to national and international resources, identifying emerging growth opportunities, strengthening the competitiveness of area firms, and marketing the region globally. Contact The Right Place, Inc.

Conference Bag Sponsor

Granger Construction

GRANGERLOGOFINALTAGOne of Michigan’s Premier commercial builders, Granger Construction is a 3rd generation, family-owned company with offices in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Novi, and Columbus, OH. Granger utilizes a variety of construction delivery models in the following key markets: Commercial, Industrial, Healthcare, Public Sector/Justice, Higher Education, and K-12 Schools. Granger has a total bonding capacity of $1 Billion and has one of the best safety records in the construction industry with a .60 EMR. Additionally, Granger has over 91% repeat customers due to their emphasis on “Improving the Customer Experience”. Visit today to learn more.

Giveaway Sponsors

Site Selection Magazine

Site Selection LogoThe award-winning Site Selection magazine, published by Conway Data, Inc., since 1954, is the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council. The magazine delivers expansion planning information to over 44,000 readers including corporate executives, site selection consultants, and real estate professionals. 

Friends of MEDA Sponsors

Agracel, Inc.

Agracel LogoAgracel is the premier provider of development services to Agurb® communities, facilitating and retaining manufacturing and hi-tech jobs. Agracel's core focus is industrial development in rural America. Acquisitions represent a large percentage of Agracel’s core business.

Antero Group

Antero GroupAntero Group is a holistic civil engineering, urban planning, and strategic consulting firm with offices in Chicago, South Bend, Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Benton Harbor. They leverage interdisciplinary teams, creative thinking, and collaborative processes to design innovative and effective solutions. Their team believes that authentic, long-term partnerships are the best way to deliver projects that create lasting value.

Array of Engineers

Array of EngineersArray of Engineers specializes in automated software and hardware testing and automation of analysis processes to greatly accelerate verification time on both model-based and traditional environments, ensure consistency in results, and provide assurance of operation. AoE prides ourselves in our task automation capabilities and embedded software/hardware development. Our success is based on our engineers working as a unified team, producing creative and efficient solutions, continually learning and utilizing cutting edge technologies, and applying them to our projects.

Battle Creek Unlimited, Inc.

BCU logoBattle Creek Unlimited (BCU) for nearly 50 years has helped people and businesses find ways to create economic opportunity in Southwest Michigan. BCU, a private, nonprofit corporation, serves as the business and economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek. Their services are centered around our mission, by assisting new and growing companies or those looking to relocate to find the resources they need to build their business. This includes site selection, redevelopment assistance, workforce research, access to financing, and other incentives or resources to help them make the most of their investments in Battle Creek.

Clark CommunicationsClark Communications

Clark Communications is a Grand Rapids public relations firm that has proudly served The Right Place, Inc. for ten years. They specialize in assisting companies and organizations with media relations, community relations, and social media strategy and execution. They have 25 years of experience working in West Michigan and have assisted dozens of clients that work in the economic development and commercial real estate space.

Colliers International Valuation and Advisory Services

ColliersReal estate valuations play a pivotal role in today’s business climate. An accurate and well-supported opinion of property value can mean the difference between reaching a critical goal-securing a loan, closing a sale, reporting to investors, choosing the best asset-or failing to achieve it altogether. CIVAS’s reports are designed to deliver insight into a property’s fundamentals, its competition, and the overall market dynamics affecting value. A solid valuation report can be a strategic asset for investors, lenders, and owners, provided that it addresses both a property’s unique characteristics and the most current market conditions.

Cornerstone AllianceCornerstone Alliance

Cornerstone Alliance is a non-profit, investor-governed economic development organization primarily focused on increasing employment opportunities, private sector capital investments, and the local tax base in Michigan’s Great Southwest with specialized business services offered in economically distressed areas.

Grand Valley State Unversity

GVSUGrand Valley State University (GVSU) has been named one of America's 100 best college buys for the 25th year in a row. With about 24,000 students, representing 75 countries, their reach is vast. They had an $849 million in total estimated impact of faculty, staff, and students in Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon counties during 2016-2017.

Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!

GLBMW LogoGreat Lakes Bay Michigan Works! is more than a spare pair of hands to post jobs and sort resumes. They are the pulse of the job market! They directly impact the success and growth of employers throughout Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, and Saginaw counties and assure that the labor force in each of these counties meets employer needs.

GreenStone Farm Credit Services

greenstone logo ieGreenStone Farm Credit Services is one of America’s largest rural lenders. Headquartered in East Lansing, Michigan, GreenStone is the country's seventh-largest association in the Farm Credit System. GreenStone owns and manages $11 billion in assets and serves over 27,000 members with 36 branches throughout Michigan and northeast Wisconsin.

InvestUPInvestUP Official logo 245w

InvestUP is the lead regional economic organization for the Upper Peninsula. Our mission is to drive prosperity across the Upper Peninsula. Core Values: Proactive, collaboration, leveraging, relationships, thought leadership, and most important to us – results.

Lakeshore Advantage

Lakeshore AdvantageFounded in 2003 by business and community leaders, Lakeshore Advantage is a non-profit economic development organization that connects businesses to the resources they need to grow in Allegan and Ottawa Counties. They accomplish this by working to maintain a robust primary business base at all stages of development, tackling economic challenges and opportunities, and looking forward to ensure long-term economic health.

Michigan Gas UtilitiesMGv 4color wtag

MGU delivers natural gas to about 181,000 customers in southern and western Michigan. They had their start in pre-Civil War days when gas was manufactured from coal and used to light streets, homes, and businesses. Since that time, they have grown and changed along with the communities they serve. Their employees are dedicated to delivering natural gas safely and reliably. They look for ways to reduce costs for our customers. And they help our local communities grow even more.

Michigan STEM Forward

STEMForward600 1Ann Arbor SPARK and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) are launching Michigan STEM Forward, a statewide program that matches students attending Michigan colleges and universities with internship opportunities at the state’s leading innovative companies. Companies do not have to be in a specific industry, but all internships must be STEM-focused. Michigan STEM Forward provides students meaningful career experience and promotes job retention in the state, while providing financial support to companies who hire these interns. Who is eligible: 1) Students attending a Michigan college or university pursuing a STEM-related profession. 2) Companies based in Michigan that can be verified by their local economic development organization and/ or MEDC SmartZone.

Norfolk Southern

Norfolk SouthernNorfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 19,300 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern is a major transporter of industrial products, including agriculture, forest, and consumer products, chemicals, and metals, and construction materials. In addition, the railroad operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a principal carrier of coal, automobiles, and automotive parts.

Northern Lakes Economic Alliance

NLEAThe Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA), established in 1984, is a public/private non-profit organization serving Antrim, Charlevoix, and Cheboygan Counties in Northern Michigan. The NLEA works directly with local units of government on infrastructure projects, facilitates local company growth and expansion, and assists many local companies on a wide range of issues that help retain existing jobs and create new jobs.


PerrigoPerrigo Company plc is a leading provider of Quality, Affordable Self-Care Products and over-the-counter (OTC) health and wellness solutions that enhance individual well-being by empowering consumers to proactively prevent or treat conditions that can be self-managed. Led by its consumer self-care strategy, Perrigo is the largest store brand OTC player in the U.S. in the categories in which it competes through more than 9,000 SKUs under customer ‘own brand’ labels. Additionally, Perrigo is a Top 10 OTC company by revenue in Europe, where it markets more than 200 branded OTC products throughout 28 countries.

Pioneer Construction

Pioneer ConstructionPioneer Construction builds exceptional facilities that perform for our clients, on time, and in budget. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Pioneer provides commercial construction solutions throughout the continental United States. As a true builder, employing over two hundred talented craft and trade professionals, they offer extensive self-performance abilities that enable them to provide unsurpassed budget, schedule, and quality control. With expertise in a variety of delivery methods, they customize their approach based on the specifics of each project and the goals of our clients. Their commitment to sustainable design and construction, technology, safety, inclusion, and community involvement set us apart in our industry.


Racer Trust LogoRACER Trust's mission is to clean up and position former GM locations for redevelopment and beneficial reuse. They are responsible for conducting safe, effective environmental cleanups at approximately 60 locations. RACER is one of the largest holders of industrial property in the United States, and when it was formed was the largest environmental response and remediation trust in U.S. history.

Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership

SEDPLogoThe mission of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership is to improve Shiawassee County’s economy through business attraction, retention, and expansion. They cultivate a business-friendly environment in Shiawassee County and provide our clients with access to resources, tools, and knowledge to empower decisions that will lead to their success.

West Michigan Works!

West Michigan Works ColorWest Michigan Works! is part of the statewide Michigan Works! system, serving the employers and job seekers of Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties. In partnership with employers, educators, economic developers, and community organizations, they work to create a qualified workforce that meets their region’s current and future talent needs and fuels our shared economic future.

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Contact Cassandra at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a list of available packages.

Corporate Sponsors

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Contact Us

Michigan Economic
Developers Association
P.O. Box 15096
Lansing, MI 48901-5096
PH: 517-241-0011

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