Your Partner in Growing Your Community

2020 Annual Meeting Onsite Conference Agendameda final

For Your Safety

MEDA is paying close attention to recommended safety guidelines to keep you safe from the spread of the coronavirus during this conference. Attendees will be informed prior, as well as when checking-in, to the conference as to what guidelines they will need to follow.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions


Sunday, October 18th

6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Early Arrivals Reception
Join MEDA’s Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, and staff for this light-hearted networking reception.

Monday, October 19th

2:00 to 5:30 p.m. Conference Registration at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
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.

3:30 to 6:00 p.m. Concurrent Tours

For both tours, you will need to check in at registration to have your temperature taken and complete a health assessment form.

Grand Traverse Commons Tour
Experience one of the most unique redevelopments in Northern Michigan! The Northern Michigan Asylum was beautiful when it was constructed in the 1880’s and is now a thriving economic center with places to work, shop, dine, live, and explore as the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
TOUR NOTICE: This tour is $25 for registrants and guests. You will need to register in advance so we can watch numbers for social-distancing purposes. You will also need to drive to the tour starting point, which will be provided closer to the event. Bring a mask!

Downtown Traverse City Walking Tour
Traverse City is a cultural epicenter in Northern Michigan. There is a diverse offering of places to eat, shop, and see magnificent views. Whether you have been there or not, there are always new things to see! This tour will take you to the heart of Downtown, learn about new developments, and get some ideas for things to do while you are here.
TOUR NOTICE: This tour is free for registrants and guests, but you will need to register in advance so we can watch numbers for social-distancing purposes. You will also need to drive to the tour starting point, which will be provided closer to the event. Bring a mask!

6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Opening Reception
Connect with old friends, make new ones, and get excited about the conference at our Opening Reception.

Tuesday, October 20th

8:00 a.m. Registration Opens

8:15 a.m. Opening Remarks

8:30 a.m. Housing as Economic Development
All recent research points to quality, affordable workforce housing at crisis need in Michigan, across all regional and local markets. Economic developers can take action in addressing the shortage by making housing a part of their strategy. How can practitioners join the challenge long-term to assure that affordable housing is available when an employer or site selector comes calling?
Moderator: James Tischler, Development Director, Michigan Land Bank Authority
Panelists: Dave Allen, Principal, InnovaLab, LLC
Jill Ferrari, Managing Partner, Renovare Development
Sarah Lucas, Executive Director, Housing North

9:30 a.m. Short Break

9:35 a.m. When Your Community Drives Strong Community Development
The Front Street Irregulars are an informal group of business, government, foundation, and financial leaders from the Traverse City community that meet to address issues in their community. In a few years since inception, they have supported the development of a technology incubator, passed bonds for a local school district, championed a high-speed fiber network, and most importantly, have learned a lot about each other’s needs.
Moderator: Warren M. Call, President and CEO, Traverse Connect
Panelists: Casey Cowell, Principal, Boomerang Catapult LLC
Katie Horvath, CEO, Naveego
Fernando Meza, CEO, Oneupweb

10:35 a.m. Networking Break

10:50 a.m. Your Role in a Healthy Venture Capital Ecosystem
Venture and angel investors are a strong part of what drives job creation and economic growth in our state. In your seat as an economic developer, you can be a link between businesses and the right investor by knowing how investors become part of the deal, common language, what investors look for, what a good referral entails, etc. A panel of venture leaders will share with you how you can support a healthy investment ecosystem so you’re ready the next time a client business or local entrepreneur has an idea worth sharing!
Moderator: Ara Topouzian, Executive Director, Michigan Venture Capital Association
Panelists: Paul D’Amato, Managing Director, Grand Angels
Adrian Fortino, Managing Director, Mercury Fund
Fredrick Molnar, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Tom Shehab, M.D., Managing Partner, Arboretum Ventures

11:50 a.m. Short Break

11:55 a.m. 2020 Vision for Talent
Finding and keeping the right talent has been a challenge for companies for quite some time. Until the pandemic hit in 2020, the economy was booming, but the struggle continued. These business leaders will share the challenges that they foresee as well as their plans and ideas for countering these challenges.
Moderator: Nick Posavetz, Senior Market Research Analyst, Bedrock Detroit
Panelists: Gretchen Overbeek, Vice President of Human Resources, Hagerty
Sue Peters, Vice President of Human Resources, Munson Healthcare 

Bob Sutherland, President, Cherry Republic

12:50 p.m. Lunch and Awards Presentation
The awards presented include MEDA Medalist of the Year, Mike Conboy Professional Development, President’s, Emerging Star, and Robert Sieghart Award.

1:35 p.m. Business Collaborative Efforts to Meet Talent Needs
A healthy and smart business knows that being in a region with other healthy and smart businesses can be a key component of success. In order to maintain a good balance, a talented workforce is vital. That is why some businesses invest resources in their community or the entire region’s talent needs in collaboration with others that understand the importance.
Kevin Stotts, President, Talent 2025

2:35 p.m. Short Break - If attending the Mobile Session at 3:30, you will need to leave to get to the starting point of the tour at this time.

2:40 p.m. Partnering With Statewide Entities to Meet Workforce Needs
Learn from best practices how you can work with statewide entities like the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Works! Association to improve the talent landscape. Perhaps you just need a refresher on their newest programs and services. Join this session to build your partnership network!
Stephanie Beckhorn, Director, Office of Employment and Training, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity
Luann Dunsford, Chief Executive Director, Michigan Works! Association

3:40 p.m. Adjourn for Free Time or Mobile Session

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mobile Session: Creating Human Scale Places
This is a mobile session designed for people to experience firsthand the differences in walkable urban areas vs. areas that could be converted from auto-based development to human-centered design. We will visit (and walk through!) three locations in Traverse City; one that exemplifies walkability, one that is designed for auto commerce, and one that has the potential to be converted from auto to human scale.
Christopher Khorey, AICP, Senior Principal Planner and West Michigan Manager, MCKENNA
Russ Soyring, Planning Director, City of Traverse City
TOUR NOTICE: This tour is free for registrants and guests, but you will need to register in advance so we can watch numbers for social-distancing purposes. You will also need to drive to the tour starting point, which will be provided closer to the event. Bring a mask!

6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Networking Reception
After a day full of education and tours, it's time to visit with your fellow attendees to get caught up and talk about what you learned during the day. As the Traverse City area is well known for its unique, locally sourced food and drink options, we will have a variety of local products that you can try.

Wednesday, October 21st

7:30 a.m. Registration Opens

8:00 a.m. Private Company Strategies for Meeting Workforce Needs
When a company establishes a new location and has to hire hundreds of workers, the strategy can lead to efficiency or delay the profit development process. Take notes on strategies that these companies implemented to find the right workers in today’s market that you could share with businesses in your community.
Kathryn Studley, HR Business Partner, Glanbia
Representative, Arauco

9:00 a.m. Networking Break

9:15 a.m. The Influence of Diversity and Inclusion in Economic Development
As economic developers look for opportunities to make their communities stand out from the crowd and attract businesses and people, it is important to consider the role of diversity and inclusion. What opportunities are there, what strategies are available, and how do communities overcome challenges to having an inclusive economy?
Moderator: Anne Partington, Director of Entrepreneurial Services and SPARK Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead, Ann Arbor SPARK
Panelists: Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist
Kevin Johnson
, President and CEO, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Tifini McClyde, Associate Vice President Human Resources, Interlochen Center for the Arts
Khalfani Stephens, CEcD, EDFP, Economic Development Director, City of Flint

10:15 a.m. Short Break

10:20 a.m. Benchmarking for EDO Funding
When funding diversification is needed, sometimes the answer doesn’t just knock at your door; you have to go really far out to find it. Warren Call researched funding models from around the country to find what is best for the Grand Traverse region. He would like to share what he learned with you and how he took that information to find solutions for his EDO.
Warren M. Call, President and CEO, Traverse Connect

11:20 a.m. Economic Development During and After a Crisis
In 2020, the pandemic, as well as strong national attention on racial dynamics, has brought about several challenges around the state and nation. Major flooding in central Michigan has created additional challenges in our state. With those, the role of economic developers has quickly and in unexpected ways. Economic development leaders will share their experience as well as how they are thinking about their EDO’s role in the future.
Moderator: Britany Affolter-Caine, PhD, Executive Director, Michigan's University Research Corridor
Panelists: Birgit Klohs, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Right Place, Inc.
Matt McCauley, Chief Executive Officer, Networks Northwest
Tony Stamas, President and CEO, Midland Business Alliance

12:30 p.m. Adjourn

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

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