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Your Partner in Growing Your Community

2019 Annual Meeting Agenda

19 AM Brochure CoverTuesday, August 13th

6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Early Arrivals Reception at the Landmark Inn
This year, the Early Arrivals Reception will be held during an MEDC-hosted Familiarization (FAM) Tour, and the MEDC is happy to bring the site consultants that will be on the tour to you. We would love to see you there so you can have the opportunity to introduce yourself and tell them about your community. Join MEDA’s Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, and Staff for this light-hearted networking reception in a 90-year-old, newly-revamped boutique hotel that you just have to see to believe.

Wednesday, August 14th

11:00 a.m. Golf Meetup at the Marquette Golf Club – Heritage Course
If you are looking for a truly enjoyable golf experience on a course that is surrounded by unforgettable scenery, as well as a chance to have a great time with your economic development partners, this meetup is for you.

To sign up or to ask questions, contact Lois Ellis, 906-360-4653 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This is an 18-hole scramble with 4-person teams. You can register a team or Lois can place you on a team. The cost to play is $47/person and includes a shared cart.

12:15 – 3:15 p.m. PotlatchDeltic Lumber Mill Tour
Even the most basic of our natural resources, trees, need the best of talent and logistics to be produced and distributed to meet customer demand. PotlatchDeltic not only uses technology in manufacturing, but also works to sustain the valuable timberlands that are under their care in seven states. During the Gwinn Lumber Mill tour, you will learn about their history, their talent, and see their highly technical scanning, sorting, and sawing processes.

12:20 – 3:45 p.m. Tilden Mine Tour
Visit the only operating iron ore mine in the Upper Peninsula. Learn about the historical process of extracting these natural resources, which are shipped on the Great Lakes, turned into steel, and put into Ford trucks; all done right in Michigan! Hear the history, view the plant, and overlook the open pit mine for a truly unique experience.

2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Registration at the Holiday Inn
Conference registration is not only for checking in, it’s for picking up your materials, paying if you have not, asking any questions that you have, and networking with fellow attendees as they arrive.

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Opening Reception at the Ore Dock Brewing Company
Located in the heart of downtown Marquette is the Ore Dock Brewing Company, a “Superior Sourced” craft beer maker, whose building still displays Marquette’s historical architecture. In addition, the location serves as a community meeting space and gives artists a chance to share their work. Connect with old friends, make new ones, and get excited about the conference at our Opening Reception.

Thursday, August 15th

8:00 a.m. Registration Opens

8:30 a.m. Michigan is Still Going UP!
Michigan has made great progress since the Great Recession, but we are not done! Hear from the new Governor what steps are being made to ensure Michigan’s continued success.
The Honorable Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan (invited)

8:50 a.m. Networking Break

9:00 a.m. Authenticity is Key
In a constantly changing and updating world, it is often hard to find items that are authentic. An exception to this rule is found right in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. When the supplier of the beloved Stormy Kromer hats was to cease production, Bob Jacquart stepped in to keep up the tradition and has continued its success to this day.
Bob Jacquart, CEO, Jacquart Fabric Products – Home of Stormy Kromer

9:35 a.m. Short Break

9:40 a.m. Proposal 1 Passed, Now What?
At least year’s Annual Meeting, a panel was brought together to discuss the legalization of recreational marijuana use and how it could possibly impact your community. This year, answers will be less about possibility and more about reality as we begin to see changes taking place. Experts will help you navigate the laws for your communities and answer the question: “Well, it happened, so what now?”
Andrew Brisbo, Director, Bureau of Marijuana Regulation, Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Laura Reilly, Attorney, Kendricks, Bordeau, Keefe, Seavoy & Larsen, P.C.
Jennifer Rigterink, Legislative Associate, Michigan Municipal League

10:40 a.m. Networking Break

10:50 a.m. Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) and Economic Development
P3s – or Public-Private Partnerships – focus on collaboration between one (or more) governmental entity and the private sector to finance, build, and operate projects that are typically thought of as “governmental functions,” such as public transportation networks, municipal buildings and infrastructure. Learn from examples how, as an economic developer, you can help navigate the P3 process with creative tools that balance the risk between the governmental and private parties, but get the job done.
Kurt Brauer, Attorney/Partner, Warner, Norcross + Judd LLP

11:25 a.m. Short Break

11:30 a.m. New-Age Mining
Michigan’s newest mine, which has thus far has had a great impact on our state, is leading the way in environmental sustainability and transparency in the mining industry. Implementing progressive approaches to transparency has helped the company build relationships with the community by holding themselves accountable for the environmental impact of their work.
Representative, Eagle Mine

12:05 p.m. Lunch and Membership Meeting

1:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 1

>> Combatting the Skilled Trades Deficit
We’ve heard it more times than we can count; there are not enough people to fill our skilled trades jobs. Leaders at Moran Iron Works decided to take matters into their own hands by creating the Industrial Arts Institute, which allows for a fast process in training individuals for skilled trades careers. Learn how this initiative has paid off for the company and its workers.
Mark Dombroski, Executive Director, Industrial Arts Institute

>> The Future of Line 5
The Line 5 Utility Corridor has played a large role in Michigan’s economy for over 60 years. What is coming next for this ingrained infrastructure of our state?
Emma Cook, Senior Community Engagement Analyst, Enbridge, Inc.

>> Growing the Local Food Economy
Farm-to-table dining, as well as the ever-growing presence of locally-focused and Michigan-made stores and products, has a positive impact on our state’s economy. Taste the Local Difference is a marketing company that uses customized approaches to help companies across the state increase sales of their locally-produced foods and beverages. They not only help food companies with marketing, but also educate the public about the benefits of local food while connecting farmers and specialty producers with new markets and consumers.
Alex Palzewicz, UP Local Food Coordinator, Taste the Local Difference

2:00 p.m. Networking Break

2:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 2

>> Weathering the Tariff Changes
Tariffs are having an impact on industries in various ways. See how two different industries are navigating their way through the tariff changes and learn the best ways to either capitalize on or combat the impact on your companies.
Patrick M. Bloom, Director of Government Relations, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
Glenn Stevens, Executive Director, MICHauto; Vice President, Automotive and Mobility Initiatives, Detroit Regional Chamber

>> Attracting the Housing Investment Your Community Needs
The scenario of holding back on a project that could bring several jobs to a community because there simply aren’t enough places for the workers to live is not unreal for some economic developers. However, economic developers are, by nature, solution-finders. Gain insight that will help you develop solutions for your community from those who have tackled the issues from different perspectives.
Bob Filka, CEO, Home Builders Association of Michigan
Erich Podjaske, Zoning/Economic Development Director, City of Grayling
LR Swadley, Community Developer, Swadley Development LLC

2:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Walking Tour of Downtown Marquette
Take your education outside and learn about the intriguing history of Downtown Marquette! Join the DDA Director for an informational and historic tour of Marquette’s vibrant downtown, including renovations, staple businesses, and new projects that add to this already boosting atmosphere.
This is a free tour in which you self-transport to a designated location to start the tour at 2:45.

3:00 p.m. Networking Break

3:10 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 3

>> Innovative Tools and Ideas for Talent Development
Get the rundown on a workforce insight tool from Emsi that is great for finding talent to fill empty positions. Sometimes talent wants to join the workforce by starting their own business. Invent@NMU builds talented entrepreneurs by teaching them how to move their ideas forward by paying close attention to every detail. While not all ideas make it to market, skills are built that participants can take with them for a lifetime.
Jennifer Hackman, Account Executive, Emsi
Ray Johnson, CEO, Innovate Marquette SmartZone; Executive Director, Invent@NMU

>> Meeting the Need for High-Speed
Internet speed is increasingly becoming not only desired but necessary. Hear from the company that helped Wisconsin with their recent broadband initiative about how they are helping to bring the same success to our state.
Cory Heigl, Vice President and General Manager, Packerland Broadband, CCI Systems Inc.

4:00 p.m. Adjourn for Free Time

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Awards Reception at the History Museum
This night is for recognizing economic developers that have a rich history of contribution to the profession and a proven track record of success. The awards presented include MEDA Medalist of the Year, Mike Conboy Professional Development, Robert Sieghart, and President's Award. See this page for details on how to nominate a deserving individual.

Friday, August 16th

8:30 a.m. Registration Opens

9:00 a.m. Bigger Than it Locks
The Soo Locks, a National Historic Landmark, serves an important purpose to Michigan’s economy. With updates in the works, hear about how the locks impact not just Sault Ste. Marie or even Michigan alone, but the entire country and beyond.
Joanne M. Gray, Chief, Construction and Technical Support, Soo Area Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Kevin Sprague, Area Engineer, Soo Area Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

9:40 a.m. Networking Break

9:50 a.m. Michigan Mobility 2045 and the Future of Our Supply Chain
Michigan’s infrastructure may have been one of the hottest topics during the 2018 election, but for those that work daily in logistics and supply chain businesses – including rail, freight, tech transportation, and others – it is on their mind every day. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is working with their partners, and collecting input from the public, to address the issues by developing a long-range transportation plan, Michigan Mobility 2045. What was learned during the information gather process? How will projects be prioritized? How will supply chain issues be addressed?
Moderator: Kurt Brauer, Attorney/Partner, Partner, Warner, Norcross + Judd LLP
Panelists: Tim Hoeffner, Director, Office of Rail, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)
Pasi Lautala, Ph.D., PE, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, Michigan Technological University
Bradley Sharlow, Supervisor, Urban Travel Analysis Unit, MDOT

10:50 a.m. Networking Break

11:00 a.m. MEDC Town Hall
This is your time to ask questions of MEDC’s leadership, as well as share your thoughts on current and future state programs.
Representative, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

12:00 p.m. Adjournment

Economic Development Methods and Strategies Book

This book is a great tool in better understanding economic development methods and strategies. Organizations can use this as a guide for training new employees on current methods and strategies, or for new board member orientations. Educational instructors teaching urban development can incorporate this book into their lectures and provide an in depth look into economic development. This book is also a useful guide for individuals whose primary job is not economic development, but have some economic development responsibilities.

Economic Developer Executives can use this book as a desk reference in their office. The book includes a CD interactive that allows you to view the content of the book through your computer. The CD interactive design allows you to pull information out of the CD for presentation handouts and reports. Click on the links below to browse the first chapter of the book, download the brochure or download the order form.

2019 Annual Meeting, "We're Going UP!"

19 AM Brochure Cover












MEDA's biggest education and networking event of the year is its Annual Meeting. This three-day conference includes educational sessions covering the most important economic development topics and issues of the time as well as several networking opportunities.

This conference will be held Tuesday, August 13 - Friday, August 16, 2019, at the Holiday Inn in Marquette, MI.

UPward and Onward

Michigan’s economy has been on a continual upward swing over the last decade. To follow the lead “We’re Going UP!” – literally – to historic and charming Marquette for our 2019 Annual Meeting. Not only is Marquette a great place to visit, but it has been a hub for economic growth, making it a great learning example for Michigan’s economic development community.

During that learning, attendees will find that Marquette and other economic facets of the Upper Peninsula are not unlike those in the lower half of the state. Companies are constantly seeking skilled talent, needing places to house workers for company expansions, needing a strong supply chain to move products, and good infrastructure to support the supply chain.

Join us in August, not only to be captivated by the beauty and have a great time, but to come together and learn ways to keep the entire state going UP!

Agenda, Activities, and Speakers



Meet the Speakers

Location, Hotel Reservations, and Travel Plans

Location and Hotel Reservations

Make Your Travel Plans

Thank You Sponsors

Thank You 2019 Sponsors

You Can Still Sponsor This Event

See our Sponsor MEDA page for the Annual Meeting sponsorship packages.

NOTE: We currently have no booth space left and are looking for solutions. The Breakfast/Coffee, Lunch, Awards Reception, Opening Reception, and Conference Bag packages are no longer available.

Thank You Committee

Annual Meeting Committee


MEDA is proud to accept nominations for awards that honor hard-working economic developers. Award nominations can be submitted at any time, but to be considered for the 2019 Annual Meeting, the form must be submitted to MEDA by June 21st.

  • MEDA Medalist of the Year
  • Mike Conboy Professional Development Award
  • Robert Sieghart Award for Enthusiasm for the Economic Development Profession

To learn about the qualifications, access the nomination forms, and view past winners, click here.


Early Registration (Now - July 29): MEDA Members $305/Non-Members $415

Regular Registration (July 30 - August 6): MEDA Members $320/Non-Members $430

Optional Fee-Based Activities
Tours: $15/tour/person

Guest (spouse, children, etc.) Fees
Early Arrivals Reception: $35/person
Opening Reception: $50/person
Awards Reception: $50/person
Tours: $15/tour/person
***The Early Arrivals Reception, Opening Reception, and Awards Reception are included for registered attendees.

Certification Qualifications

This program qualifies for continuing education credits 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).


Michigan's Economic Development Basic Course

19 Basic Course Postcard Cover OnlyThe 2019 Economic Development Basic Course is scheduled for Wednesday, September 11th - Friday, September 13th.

MEDA has partnered with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) to offer the Economic Development Basic Course. This course is a comprehensive educational opportunity with a focus on the critical areas of economic development. For those seeking national certification, the Economic Development Basic Course is the first requirement in the process towards becoming a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD). This course qualifies as a professional development training requirement needed to sit for the CEcD examination. CEcD certification through the IEDC is a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment, and a commitment to personal and professional growth.

The course is accredited by the International Economic Development Council. For more information, click here, or call 202-942-9466. The International Economic Development Council is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to helping economic developers do their job more effectively and raising the profile of the profession.


Agenda: Click here for a schedule of sessions.

Costs: MEDA Members $625/Non-Members $850*
*If not a member, ask Cassandra at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. how you can save by joining MEDA and applying your new member coupon.

Location: Radisson Hotel, 111 N. Grand Ave., Lansing, MI 48933

Accommodations: Contact the Radisson Hotel at 800-333-3333 by August 20, 2019, to reserve rooms for $140++/night. You can also use the code MEDA99 at www.radisson.com/lansingmi to reserve your stay.

Scholarships: Scholarships are available for MEDA members to attend the Economic Development Basic Course each year. Scholarship applications must be submitted by August 1, 2019.

Registration Deadline: August 30, 2019

Payment Policy: Payment must be received in order to attend.

Attendance Policy: Only those attendees who attend all classes will receive a certificate of completion. If an attendee misses more than 10 percent of class time, credit for the course cannot be awarded. No excuses for absence other than illness, family, or other emergencies can be considered. The course director has discretion over specific issues.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be received in writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 24 hours prior to the event in order to receive a refund. Attendees who do not attend or cancel will be charged the full registration fee.

These Dates Don't Work for You? See Professional Development at www.iedconline.com for a list of upcoming Basic Courses in the U.S.

Required Sessions

17 ED Course Group Photo 1The following ten sessions are held at the Economic Development Basic Course each year. These sessions are two hours each per requirement of the the IEDC.

Business Retention and Expansion
Business retention and expansion is critical in today’s economy. The objectives of this session will include how to organize a business retention and expansion program. We will cover how to provide examples of programs and activities that foster the growth of existing business, to recommend strategies helpful in implementing a successful program, and identify valuable local resources.

Community/Neighborhood Development
This session will provide an understanding of the steps in the community development process, and the challenges of community development in economic development practice.

Economic Development Ethics
Incorporating ethics into professional standards is critical to the ongoing growth of the economic development profession. Ethical standards ensure accountability, transparency and integrity. Learn what your economic development organization should include in its ethics policies and practices.

Economic Development Finance
This session will focus on several key elements, including: the blending of sources, capital availability, sources of long-term financing, returns to the lender, and leveraging. Once we have a better understanding of the structure, we will then look at the two sectors in financing: public and private.

Managing an Economic Development Organization
This session will cover the issues specific to economic development organizations such as; working with leaders, developing a vision for the organization and community, delegation of available resources to the right programs and the development of the most appropriate programs for that organization and community.

As an economic developer, it is important that you have a basic knowledge of the marketing process and its benefits. This session will focus on the marketing process, geographic and economic considerations, suspects vs. prospects, and advertising & promotion. Also addressed will be market research and targeting.

Germaine HanlonReal Estate Development and Reuse
In this session, participants will be introduced to the land development process, with an emphasis on the role that the economic developer plays. Participants will learn about the various tools that are available at the local level, including tax increment financing, bonds, land assembly and eminent domain, in addition to the many federal programs available.

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development
This session will provide an overview of the role of small business in the U.S. economy, creation of jobs, a brief profile of the small business creation process, and an introduction to the new and emerging areas of small business creation.

Strategic Planning
Strategic planning for a community or organization envisions its future and develops necessary procedures and actions to achieve that future. This session will focus on the background understanding of strategic planning and its process, how to design & organize the process, develop strategies, and formulate action plans.

Workforce Development
Workforce development is quickly becoming the #1 focus for economic development organizations. A skilled and educated workforce is crucial in today’s economy. This interactive session will focus on the need for the creation of workforce development programs that address both community and business needs.

Bonus Sessions

Developing a Healthy Relationship with Your Legislators
Support from legislators is important for an economic development organization and you can take part in honing a mutually-beneficial relationship with them. Learn best practices for introducing yourself, continuing to engage as needed, being a resource, and the importance of including legislative staff, from a former legislator.

The Influence of the Global Economy on Economic Development
You’ve heard of the ‘global economy’, but what is it? This session will address the global economy, what it is, how it influences business and how economic developers need to adapt to assist business with the challenges of the global economy.

MEDA Emerging Leaders Spring Training

Emerging Leaders for WebsiteThis yearly event will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the Michigan Municipal League's Lansing Offices.

This special half-day is created by emerging leaders in economic development for their peers. Sessions will let you to better understand core areas of economic development down to the terminology used by the well-versed.

In order to develop the best conference, a volunteer committee of MEDA members meets regularly to plan this event and other programs and services for emerging leaders in economic development. Click here to learn more about the Emerging Leaders Committee.

Thank You Sponsors

Antero Group 


8:30 a.m. Registration Opens

9:00 a.m. Connecting with Elected Officials
Connecting with elected officials can be a major driver for your career and a benefit to your community. Learning their perspective early can help you develop best practices that fit your style and are mutually beneficial. Get tips on how to work with your various elected officials to get the job done.
Senator Ken Horn, 32nd District

9:40 a.m. Networking Break

9:50 a.m. Manners Still Matter: Etiquette Training
We were all familiar with “mind your manners” as children, but we learn as adults that simple acts and gestures can have an impact on how potentially strong connections might gauge our capabilities during networking events or professional dinners. Get plenty of advice on how to interact and build relationships as well as how to retain those relationships after dessert.
Cindy Brown, Vice President, Talent Development, The Right Place, Inc.

10:30 a.m. Networking Break

10:40 a.m. Learning the Developer’s Lingo
As an economic developer, you’re going to work with real estate developers and it’s going to seem like they speak a completely different langue at first. Knowing what they mean can enhance a conversation and move a project along.
Paul Hoge, Senior Vice President, Principal, Signature Associates
Doug Manix, President, Kirco/Manix Construction

11:20 a.m. Networking Break

11:30 a.m. Massaging Your Message; Quickly!
You have a well-deserved opportunity to present to your organization’s leadership team. Knowing it will take hours to prepare, how do you best use that time for a clear and high-impact message that is strong enough to fill a full appointment and still rock a reduced timeslot? Learn more on this approach and how to increase success by relating these opportunities to your organization’s business and brand strategies.
Sarah Stanley, CEO, Hoyden Creative

12:10 p.m. Networking Lunch

12:40 p.m. Communicating with the Public
Getting the stakeholders in our communities on board with our projects is essential, but it doesn’t always come easy, even when the project seems like a win/win. How do you communicate value to them? How do you deal with the naysayers? While there is not a “cure all” for this struggle, there are some tips and tricks that can help you to overcome these barriers in your work.
Kara Sokol, Director of Communications, City of Ferndale
Jordan Twardy, Community and Economic Development Director, City of Ferndale

1:20 p.m. Adjourn


Early Registration: MEDA Members $55/Non-Members $65

Regular Registration (starts at midnight one week before the program): MEDA Members $70/Non-Members $80

If you joined MEDA in the last 12 months, you may still have an unused New Member Coupon that would cover the cost of this entire training. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to check!

Recertification Credits

This event 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.


**Please note that while the content of this program is geared toward emerging leaders, anyone that feels a need for this training can attend.

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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