Your Partner in Growing Your Community

The Spring Economic Development Toolbox

19 ST Postcard Cover OnlyThis yearly event will be held on Thursday, May 23, 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 Spring Economic Development Toolbox and other MEDA membership programs. Click here to learn more about the Education Committee.

Thank You Sponsors

C2AE   Miller Canfield

MEDA would like to thank C2AE and Miller Canfield for sponsoring this event.



You Can Still Sponsor this Program

If you would like to have a booth, attend, and be able to address the audience at this conference, see this page under "Membership Program Sponsorship" for more details.


8:00 a.m. Registration Opens

8:30 a.m. Winning the War Against Economic Development
Remember the good old days when economic development was apolitical? Unfortunately, that’s often not the case anymore. How should professional economic developers navigate the political cross-currents that impact economic development? This session explores why economic development has become increasingly politicized and how to rise above the politics and better position your community for long-term success.
Christopher Lloyd, Senior Vice President and Director, Infrastructure and Economic Development, McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC

9:15 a.m. Networking Break

9:25 a.m. What’s Driving the Automotive Industry in 2019?
There is no doubt that the auto industry has made headlines recently, and there is a lot of information to sort out, even for those who work with the industry and its suppliers. This presentation will include a synopsis of the current state of the automotive industry, including sales, production, investment, and trade information as well as contain a forecast of vehicle sales and production trends.
Bernard Swiecki, Director of the Automotive Communities Partnership, Center for Automotive Research

9:55 a.m. Short Break

10:00 a.m. MDEQ/EGLE Update
With a new director, and a different administration, there have been a lot of questions about the direction of the State of Michigan’s entity for protecting our environment while partnering with economic development, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), which is transitioning to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in late April. Get the word right from the top.
Andy Drahiem, Chief of Staff, Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

10:20 a.m. Short Break

10:25 a.m. Lame Duck Legislation; What it Means for Economic Developers
The end of the last legislative session in Michigan led to many changes in environmental law. How will these changes impact your day-to-day? An expert will walk us through what these changes mean for us.
Steven Chester, Attorney, Miller Canfield

10:45 a.m. Networking Break

11:00 a.m. Concurrent Sessions 1

>> Market to Growing Industries Using “Time and Money” Projections
When a company plans a new location, or the expansion an existing location, time and money likely to be the overarching theme or their concerns. The Development Ready Reference Guide is designed to allow community economic development professionals and municipal leaders to prepare high-level cost and schedule projections. Find out how economic development leaders are using the cost estimates/opinions and design/construction schedule they develop by using this Guide to market to specific industries eliminating the last unknown of “how much will it cost to build and how long will it take,” bringing more interest from companies to their communities.
Cash Cook, DDA Director, Village of Kalkaska
Erik Cronk, PLA, LEED, AP, Landscape Architect, C2AE
Bill Kimble, PE, President and Government Leader, C2AE

>> How We Achieved Crowdfunding Goals for Our Projects
The MEDC created the Public Spaces, Community Places program to improve Michigan communities. Through Patronicity, many communities have applied and received matching grant funds from the MEDC to fund a variety of projects of a variety of sizes and costs. Hear from participants how their communities achieved their crowdfunding goals.
Katharine Czarnecki, EDFP, Senior Vice President, Community Development, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Jon Hardman, Director, Factory Two
Angela Stanford-Butler, DDA Director, Village of Spring Lake
Barb Whitney, Executive Director, Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center

>> Succession is Happening – Are Your Organizations Ready?
When businesses do not have a succession plan in place, they are inclined to difficulty in the succession process, which can lead to problems that will impact your community. Join this session to laugh, learn, and leave with practical knowledge to ensure organizations in your community transition successfully into the future.
Jim Bitterle, Managing Partner, EDSI Consulting, EDSI Inc.

11:45 a.m. Lunch and Membership Meeting

1:00 p.m. Ready Your Sites for Business With the Michigan Site Readiness Program
A collaborative effort to collect data on, and improve available sites within Michigan, is underway. The MEDC worked with site consultants to review “best in class” site readiness efforts around the country and has organized a program to provide assistance to communities to grow their portfolio of available sites. Find out early in the game how you can work with MEDC’s Site Readiness Team and your CDC representative to make your sites “shovel ready” for business.
Valerie Hoag, Senior Advisor, Business Development, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

1:30 p.m. Short Break

1:35 p.m. Preparing Michigan for Economic Prosperity
Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently appointed Doug Ross as Senior Advisor for Michigan Prosperity. In this role, Doug will utilize his years of work in economics and education to prepare Michigan for the next generation of economic growth. Hear his thoughts on where Michigan needs to move in the future to attract businesses.
Doug Ross, Senior Advisor for Michigan Prosperity

2:05 p.m. Networking Break

2:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 2

>> Assistance for Companies Impacted by Imports
The Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Assistance Center is a federally funded, nonprofit organization that provides business assistance to manufactures that have been directly hurt by imports. Find out about how the program could assist small companies in your community. 
Scott Phillips, Senior Project Manager, Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Assistance Center
Carmen Wells Quigg, Project Manager, Economic Growth Institute

>> Understanding the Recodified Tax Increment Financing Act
Public Act 57 repealed and recodified TIF, which included new and more detailed reporting. Learn from an expert what you need to know about this update, and what will change in your workplace.  
Travis Bukovcik, Michigan Department of Treasury

>> It’s Not Scary - It’s Local Investing
Investing in your own backyard seems like a no-brainer to most, but knowing if it's right for you is another story. Join this workshop and dive into the nuances of community investments.
Angela Barbash, Principal, Revalue

3:00 p.m. Networking Break

3:10 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 3

>> Bank of Labor; Keeping Union Workers on the Job
Aside from being a full-service bank that provides loans, lines of credit, etc., the Bank of Labor actively provides unique financing packages that put union workers to work. Working with contractors and businesses throughout the state that hire union workers, they aid in creative strategies that help put the puzzle pieces together so companies can focus on business activity.
Joe Schoonover, First Vice President, Bank of Labor
Heather Waksmundzki, Business Development Officer-Great Lakes Region, Bank of Labor

>> Creating “Smart Cities”
The University of Michigan’s Urban Collaboratory partners with communities to solve on-the-ground challenges with smart city technologies. These technologies are implemented at pilot-scale in cities across Michigan and beyond. Though cities are diverse, they have found seven themes that appear in all communities alike. Hear about the work that is being done and some of the unique, technology-based solutions that are resolving these common problems.
Charles C. Wolf, MBA, P.E. Managing Director-Urban Collaboratory, University of Michigan College of Engineering

3:55 p.m. Adjournment


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

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

*If you joined MEDA in the last 12 months, you may have an unused New Member Coupon that would cover the entire cost of this event. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If registration is submitted after the Regular Registration date and you use your coupon, you will only be charged the $15 fee.


There are a limited number of King rooms available for $135++/night. For a guarantee of that rate, reserve before April 26th. To reserve, call 877-322-5544 or visit and use code ECO. 

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

consumers-energy DTE Logo Small

Website Sponsor


Contact Us

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

Join Our Mailing List

Powered by Robly