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Your Partner in Growing Your Community

Meet Michigan's Economic Developers

Smedley RonMeet Ron Smedley Federal Brownfield Program Specialist, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

How long have you worked in economic development?

21 years. Two years in Indiana for the Indiana Community Action Association and 19 years with the DEQ.

Tell us a little bit about your work history.

I have been assisting community economic development and planning agencies and private developers with identifying brownfield incentives for investigation and remediation at contaminated sites for 19 years, starting as an Analyst in the DEQ’s Storage Tank Division. My specialization is in assisting local brownfield redevelopment authorities implement tax increment financing plans, managing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfield grants. My background is in environmental planning, water and wastewater infrastructure development, real estate marketing and finance, and natural resource management. I have been a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) for eight years.

Tell us about your biggest accomplishments in the field.

Started a redevelopment program in the DEQ’s Storage Tank Division. Managed several millions in U.S. EPA funding to help clean up contaminated properties. Helped redevelop a property into new housing in Kalamazoo with Habitat for Humanity. Worked with community officials all over Michigan to help them achieve their redevelopment goals. Uptown at Bay City is one big project for which I managed a grant and loan. Managing grants to assess and cleanup dozens of former gas stations all around the state.

Give us a snapshot of your workweek.

Writing technical documents and reports (almost every day). Reviewing contractor invoices, scopes of work, and technical reports and work plans from environmental consultants. Talking to clients about current and proposed redevelopment projects. Conducting research about environmental conditions at properties. Coordinating with other DEQ staff to ensure comprehensive responses to customers.

What did you study in college?

I attended Eckerd College, studying social sciences, and graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and specialization in Urban Planning. I have a Master of Public Administration degree from Indiana University-Bloomington specializing in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Planning.

If you could turn back time to your college years, what skills and studies would you have focused on to improve your ability to practice economic development?

More urban development courses and business courses. Possibly a bit more in the biologic sciences.

How has MEDA helped in your economic development career?

Without it, I would probably be doing something else entirely. Being able to build connections, both personal and professional with some of the most interesting and intelligent people I know is one of the best things about MEDA. From an education standpoint, there is no equal to the training that MEDA provides to its members. 

Meet Michigan's Economic Developers

Vicky RadMeet Vicky Rad, Director, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development

How long have you worked in economic development?

Over 10 years. My start in economic development was working for the Macomb Regional Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) in 2008. My role was helping companies diversify into the defense industry during the turmoil of the automotive recession.

Tell us a little bit about your work history.

I am a believer that you fall into economic development and then you fall in love with it. I started my professional career out of high school as an IT recruiter, which led to my degree in computer information systems. I worked for the auto industry coding assembly line software, which gave me my first view at the world of automation. I made the leap from automotive to defense during the first signs of the recession. It was painful to see our economy and the livelihood of our community reliant on one major industry. This was a turning point for me, and I joined the public sector with a mission to help businesses grow and flourish. I worked at the PTAC for almost four years and then joined the Detroit Regional Chamber under a grant-funded program called Connection Point, now a widely successful program at the state called Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC). In 2013, I accepted a role in business attraction working for Macomb County and have been able to expand into leadership responsibilities as the deputy director and now the director.

Tell us about your biggest accomplishments in the field.

Every day we are moving the needle. Our most recent accomplishment was a job fair we hosted in partnership with the Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works. In 2018, a major automotive employer rolled out a “right-sizing” strategy and laid off many individuals in the professional service sector. We heard the call from other employers in our county that wanted access to the engineers, designers, and IT professionals. We had over 30 employers and 270 job seekers at the event. Our businesses are different today than 10 years ago. With our help, they have diversified their industry portfolios in automotive, defense, aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Give us a snapshot of your workweek.

I call it spinning plates. There is no typical week, which is why I love what I do. It is being highly adaptable. A typical week includes meeting with partners, forging relationships with businesses, talking with developers and land owners, many conversations with the state, and supporting our 27 local municipalities and communities. I am fortunate to have a team of 25 experienced professionals who are breaking the mold in what is traditional planning and economic development and making a difference in who Macomb County is for those who live, work and play here.

What did you study in college?

Bachelors of Computer Information Systems and a Master of Science in Administration with a concentration in leadership.

If you could turn back time to your college years, what skills and studies would you have focused on to improve your ability to practice economic development?

I feel that my college years all served as a stepping stone to the strategy I bring to planning and economic development. We are a technology-driven economy. The jobs in Macomb County are changing and evolving with the advancements in robotics, automation and IT. The workforce has to adapt to this ‘new collar’ skill set by blending traditional manufacturing with professional services.  We are building a technology cluster in advanced mobility and cybersecurity that did not exist before. Our approach is long term, called Fueling the Talent Pipeline, and it is integrating business within the K-12 schools and programming. Our businesses want to have access to our future workforce and we are making that happen.

How has MEDA helped in your economic development career?

MEDA has helped my career in so many facets. The training, networking, and access to other economic development professionals are a few of the benefits of membership. We have to be creative on how we package and deliver deals and I have learned so much from other leaders in economic development. On a personal note, I really enjoy attending the MEDA events because I can drop the imaginary boundaries and regions that divide us and become one unified voice for the state. MEDA makes an impact and I am proud to be a part of this organization.

Meet Michigan's Economic Developers

MEDA's members are a diverse group of individuals, located throughout the state of Michigan, that use various tools to stimulate economic growth while maximizing the best interests of the entire community.

They come from educational and employment backgrounds as well as have plenty of ideas and strategies for creating opportunities in Michigan.

We are excited to introduce you to some of them. 

Vicky RadMeet Vicky Rad

Vicky was recently promoted to Director of The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Meet Vicky

 

Smedley RonMeet Ron Smedley

Ron has worked for Michigan's Departement of Environmental Quality for 19 years.

Meet Ron

May is MEDA Membership Month

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Overview

May is always an exciting month for the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA). It's our birthday on the 25th (We'll be 59 this year!), it's the month we launch our Annual Meeting each year, the month that we hold our Spring Economic Development Toolbox each year, and it also coincides with International Economic Development Week from our parters at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

This year, MEDA will take the opportunity to support International Economic Development Week while sharing the great work of Michigan's economic development community, and putting a face to the practice by profiling our members, throughout the entire month.

Please join us in support of economic development as a whole, and in support of Michigan's economic development community.

Visit this page or watch our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles for regular posts to share, from the resources below, that will spread the word about our great profession. If you have additional questions supporting the campaign, about MEDA, or about being a member of MEDA, contact Cassandra Jorae at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Why Economic Development

Economic developers are often tasked with answering the question of exactly what it is that they do. The answer is not always simple because they use a variety of methods to meet their goals.

MEDA, IEDC, and The Right Place, Inc., have information on the purpose and definitions of economic development.

Michigan's Economic Developers

MEDA's members are a diverse group of individuals, located throughout the state of Michigan, that use various tools to stimulate economic growth while maximizing the best interests of the entire community. They come from educational and employment backgrounds as well as have plenty of ideas and strategies for creating opportunities in Michigan.

We are excited to introduce you to some great ones.

MEDA Members in the News

MEDA's members are in communities across Michigan making a difference each day.

We are pleased to share a collection of news articles hightlighting the work of MEDA's members in Michigan.

MEDA Members in the News

MEDA Members in the NewsMEDA's members are in communities across Michigan making a difference each day.

Below are a collection of articles that we feature in our weekly newsletter to showcase the work of the economic development community in Michigan.

4/22/19

InvestUP CEO Shares Vision for Economic Development

State Representative Ben Frederick Discusses Economic Development With Justin Horvath, President, Michigan Economic Developers Association (YouTube Video)

4/15/19

The Great Transformation: From Analog to Digital, Detroit Regional Partnership Leads New Business

Vicky Rad Appointed New County Director of Planning and Economic Development

MEDC Joins LEAP and Insurance Industry Leaders to Announce a New Statewide Economic Development Initiative

4/8/19

2018 Top Livingston County Successes

Giant Gains: Port Huron Becoming Strong Destination for Young Grads, Talent

4/1/19

Osprey Technologies Receives Business Distinction

Kinexus Group Announces Van Buren County’s First Economic Development Organization, Market Van Buren

3/25/19

Hoyden Creative Principals Certified as Brand Strategists

3/18/19 

Plus One Program Recognizes Marquette County Businesses

3/11/19

Downtowns Find They Have a Cool Factor

Historic Building in Benton Harbor Expected to be Redeveloped

Troy Chamber President to Leave for Position at Michigan Venture Capital Association

3/4/19 

Alliance Says Bay County Plays an Important Role in Regional Growth

Cornerstone Alliance Recruits Developer for Major Project in Downtown BH

Detroit Economic Growth Corp. Bolsters Team With Promotion, New Hire

2/26/19

Laying the Foundation for Growth, Falcon Industries Opens New Headquarters

2/18/19

Macomb County Tops Country for Manufacturing Job GrowthSpotlight: Success Stories from the Underground Incubator

2/11/19

How Three Metro Detroit Communities Are Turning Commercial Districts into New Downtowns

2/4/19

Ready for Redevelopment: Meridian Township Receives Community Certification

1/21/19

Hotels are Booming in Southeast Oakland County

Opportunity Zones

1/16/19

Economic Development Arm Detroit Regional Partnership Launches

1/7/19

Kinexus Provides Further Details on $1.9M Going Pro Talent Fund Grants in SWM

|MiBiz Crystal Ball 2019: What's Inside

1/2/19

Michigan Works! Southeast Receives $2.3+ Million to Help Area Businesses

12/26/18

ZEISS to Build New State-of-the-Art Facility in the Detroit Metro Area

12/17/18

Global Engineering Company Investing $1.7 Million, Creating Jobs in Farmington Hills

12/11/18

Stephanie Carroll Re-Elected for a Three-Year Term on MEDA Board of Directors

12/10/18

Kimberly Marrone Elected for a Second Three-Year Term on MEDA Board of Directors

12/10/18

Park District Clears Major Hurdle, Receives State Tax Credit

12/7/18

Justin Horvath Elected to Three-Year Term on MEDA Board of Directors, Starting in 2019

11/19/18

Negaunee Set to Move Forward With Economic Development Plan

11/12/18

Get Enthusiastic About Business Holiday Parties With Tips from MEDA's 2017 "Robert Sieghart Award for Enthusiasm for the Economic Development Profession" Winner, Doug Brown - Then Register for MEDA's Holiday Party "New Energy for the New Year"

11/5/18

LEAP Receives Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council

10/29/18

Strategic Plan Still Sitting on the Shelf?

10/22/18

Benton Township Board Paves the Way for $6M Investment, 30+ Jobs at Gast Mfg.

10/15/18

Battle Creek Unlimited Gets $150K Grant to Draw in Drone Makers, Missile Defense Project

10/8/18

LEAP’s PROTO Accelerator Launches InsurTech Platform

MMDC Gets $100,000 Grant to Help Local Companies Gain Work with Defense Industry

10/2/18

Ypsi's East Cross Street Named One of America's "Great Places"

9/24/18

Battle Creek City Commission Approves $7.9 Million Tax Abatements for Heritage Tower

9/18/18

James McBryde Accepts Term on MEDA Board of Directors

9/4/18

The Secret to Marshall’s Downtown Success? A Steady Past and An Aggressive Present.

Michigan Certified Development Corporation Promotes Eric Kehler

Local Leaders React to the $555M Dairy Operation Planned in St. Johns

8/6/18

Spence Brothers Makes Crain's List of 50 Fastest Growing Companies in 2018

7/30/18

Paw Paw School Board Seats New Member

7/23/18

Deb Stuart Wins MML's Community Builder Award - Hear Her Interview in Limelight Podcast

7/16/18

Right Place Signs Partnership with Oceana County

7/9/18

Meet Tyler Rossmaesler

Northwood University Recognizes Annette Rummel in Distinguished Women Awards

7/2/18

Spotify USA Inc. to Open a Regional Office in Birmingham

6/25/18

Hatchcast by MSU Hatch on Apple Podcast

6/18/18

City to Experiment with Pop-Up Maker Spaces

6/11/18

Marisue Moreau Appointed to the Governor's Talent Investment Board

5/29/18

Jessica DeBone Wins Developing Leaders PRISM Award

4/30/18

Farmland Turning Into Industrial Park to Grow Economic Opportunities for Jackson County

4/16/18

Kinexus is Best Non-Profit to Work for in 2018

2/12/18

The Right Place, Inc., Wins Prestigious Accreditation

1/29/18

Clickner Appointed Chair of the IEDC Performance Oversight and Monitoring Committee

1/23/18

Cindy Brown features in Grand Rapids Business Journal Influential Women Interview

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Contact Us

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

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