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Your Partner in Growing Your Community

The Fall Economic Development Toolbox

19 FT Postcard Cover OnlyThis yearly event will be held on Thursday, November 21, 2019, at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West Hotel in Lansing, Michigan.

This event has sessions on a variety of components for economic development success: new tools and programs, updates to existing tools and programs, best practices, marketing, unique ideas, skill-building, and leadership.

Both state and local professionals join together to take a fresh look at the components comprehensively, from both an informational and implementation aspect. Breakout sessions are held throughout the program so that attendees can choose the programs that are the most important to their area of responsibility.

In order to develop the best conference, a volunteer committee of MEDA members meets regularly to plan The Fall Economic Development Toolbox and other MEDA membership programs. Click here to learn more about the Education Committee.

Thank You Sponsor

Localintel Left Logo For White BackgroundThank you Localintel for sponsoring this event.

You can join Localintel as a sponsor. See Membership Program Sponsorship on our Sponsor MEDA page.


The Fall Economic Development Toolbox agenda is full of content and ideas to help your community move forward in the areas of entrepreneurship, talent, and housing. In addition, you will learn about all of the great things that come along with participation in the new Michigan Build Ready Sites Program, gain valuable tips on preparing to work with the media, and cap the day off with a presentation that brings home the value of dedicated partnership in order to obtain a large project that will have a positive impact Michigan for years to come.

8:30 a.m. Registration Opens

9:00 a.m. A Limitless Perspective on Business Growth for Your Community
The thought of turning an idea into a successful business can be overwhelming, but it is possible with the right partners that see beyond limitations. Skypoint Ventures is that partner, and their formula is no secret. They see potential and then provide strategic counsel, access to experts, and access to infrastructure. Your community could do this, too, and you will learn what it takes! Be inspired by a mobility hardware company that has come to fruition because of Skypoint.
David Ollila, President and Chief Innovation Officer, Skypoint Ventures
Peter Deppe, Founder and CEO, Kuhmute

9:45 a.m. Networking Break

10:00 a.m. Concurrent Sessions 1

>> Michigan Build Ready Sites Program; More Than a Grant
The Michigan Build Ready Sites Program – formerly the Michigan Site Readiness Program – is not just a grant program available to assist improving communities’ industrial properties. Training and technical assistance in a variety of areas – preparing for site visits, best practices for responding to RFP’s, training on how to use the State’s real estate database, and more – is also included. This program will build your skills in site preparation and presentation; a big benefit to your community.
Nicole Whitehead, EDFP, Business Operations Director, Michigan Economic Development Corporation             

>> Optimizing Employer Internship Training
Internships are important for a region's talent attraction and retention strategy, and there are a lot of colleges and universities that are primed to provide interns, but your companies might not know how to access them, know the best practices, or see the positive impact to their bottom line. The West Michigan Internship Initiative set out to make this information available via employer internship training sessions. Hear an overview of how employers are trained as well as the information provided to help them see the full benefits of a healthy internship program.
Cindy Brown, Vice President, Talent Initiatives, The Right Place, Inc.

>> Are You Ready for Your Close Up?
Working with the media can be rewarding and challenging. Even in this time of social media and “citizen journalism,” they’re still a valuable resource for helping tell the success stories of economic development as well as educating a variety of constituents about the who, what, why and how of a community’s growth opportunities. Technology may have changed the way we have to address media relations, but building relationships is still key. This workshop will help participants understand what the media needs, the different ways media is defined nowadays, how they can better identify content that will be appealing, and most importantly, how to be ready when a reporter calls (or emails, tweets or messages).
Carrie Rathbun, APR, President, Rathbun Public Relations

10:45 a.m. Networking Break

11:00 a.m. Concurrent Sessions 2

>> Using Data and Technology to Achieve New Best Practices for Location Decisions
Join this interactive discussion about an intelligence and technology framework for economic development location decisions. Participants will specifically learn about spatial and time-series datasets that can be integrated for location-based decision making; trends, indicators and contextual information - such as scoring mechanisms for identifying the best locations for specific investment types - that provide actionable analytic insight; and communication strategies and technologies that decision-makers can use to understand key insights for action and translate those impacts to key stakeholders. Working examples from Jackson, MI, will be included so you can learn from your peers how this information can benefit your organization’s goals.
Patrick Burch, City Manager, City of Jackson
Nigel Griswald, Co-Founder and CEO, Dynamo Metrics
Jennifer Morris, Director of Neighborhood and Economic Operations, City of Jackson                

UPDATE! The Small Company Innovation Program program that was previously advertised has been canceled as of 11/12/19 because funding for the program was recently canceled. Steven Wilson will share other programs offered by the Economic Growth Institute.
>> Economic Growth Institute Small Business Programs

This new session will include the Defense Cybersecurity Assurance Program (DCAP) and the Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (GLTAAC) Program.
Steven B. Wilson, Senior Research Program Officer, University of Michigan; Associate Director, Economic Growth Institute

>> Mastering the Master Plan
Livingston County adopted a master plan in 2018 that incorporates best practices from around the country. This session will focus on how they used the best practices to determine their own policies as well as how Livingston County made their master plan into a tool that each community can use. Presenters will share chapters of the plan including economic development, housing, and parks/trails.
Scott Barb, AICP, PEM, Principal Planner, Livingston County Planning Department
Kathleen Kline-Hudson, AICP, PEM, Director, Livingston County Planning Department

11:45 p.m. Lunch and Membership Meeting

12:45 p.m. Prepare Your Community to Meet Today’s Housing Needs
Housing is the talk of the town as communities across the country at struggling to find affordable housing for their constituents and workforce. While we would like to rush development to bring people in now, there are careful steps that must be taken to prepare your community for development before the shovel can go in the ground. These three skilled developers will share their experiences and tips on navigating through the waves to get to the point that development can begin.
Marsha Madle, President, Madle Consulting Services, LLC
CJ Felton, Director of Real Estate Development, Community Housing Network, Inc.
Eric Hanna, President and CEO, Michigan Community Capital
Nathan Keup, Vice President of Development, Ginesko Development Company

1:45 p.m. Networking Break

2:00 p.m. MEDC’s Updated Strategic Plan
MEDC is evolving its mission, vision, guiding principles, and Strategic Focus Areas, as well as its focus on regional impact industries, to create long-term economic opportunities in all corners of Michigan. These changes will position MEDC at the forefront of best practices for high-impact economic development organizations. MEDC’s top leader will present its updated strategic plan, which aims to position Michigan at the leading edge of economic development in the nation.
Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

2:45 p.m. Networking Break

2:50 p.m. Collaboration; It’s A Big Deal
A headline in late 2018 asked, “What will a $555 million dairy processing plant do for St. Johns?” A year later, we are seeing not only what the Glanbia plant means for St. Johns, but for the whole state of Michigan. This story of collaboration on a local, regional, and state level offers many strategic lessons for economic developers; not only what was done, but the far-reaching potential once it’s finished.
Karl Dehn, Senior Strategic Advisor, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Keith Lambert, Vice President of Business Attraction, Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP)
John Murphy, Vice-Chairman and Non-Executive Director, Glanbia

3:50 p.m. Adjourn


Early Registration: MEDA Members $110/Non-Members $180

If you joined in the last 12 months, you might still have an unused New Member Coupon! Ask This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Regular Registration (starts at midnight one week before the program): MEDA Members $125/Non-Members $195

Ask This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. how you can attend this program for free by joining MEDA!


There are a limited number of King rooms available for $135++/night. For a guarantee of that rate, reserve before October 25th. To reserve, call 877-322-5544 or visit www.crowneplaza.com/lansingwest and use code LOP.

Recertification Credits

This program has been approved for (1) continuing education credit for Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification from the National Development Council (NDC). Use the form on this page to claim your credit.

This event is recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as a professional development event that counts toward the recertification of Certified Economic Developers (CEcD).



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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