Michigan Economic Developers Association - 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
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.

This tour is limited to 32 attendees. Attendees must wear flat bottom shoes, full-length pants, all accessories must be tucked in, and hair up or tucked in.

12:20 – 3:45 p.m. Tilden Mine Tour
There is a waiting list for the Tilden Mine Tour. Contact Cassandra at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so be added to the list.

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.

This tour is limited to 32 attendees. Cleveland-Cliffs requires that all participants adhere to a strict dress code. Closed toe, flat soled shoes must be worn. No high heels or sandals are permitted. Long pant to the top of shoes must be worn. No dresses, skirts, shorts, or capris are permitted. Shirts or blouses with sleeves must be worn. The shoulders must be covered. Anyone not appropriately dressed will not be permitted to take the guided tour of the mine.

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

8:15 a.m. Registration Opens - Light Breakfast and Coffee Available 

8:40 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 

9:00 a.m. Networking Break

9:20 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

9:55 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?”
Moderator: Amy Clickner, CEcD, CFRM, Chief Executive Officer, Lake Superior Community Partnership
Panelists: 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

11:00 a.m. Networking Break

11:15 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
Michael Jolliffe, Principal, Client Development and Strategy – North America, GHD

11:55 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.
Matt Johnson, External Affiars Manager, Eagle Mine

12:30 p.m. Lunch and Membership Meeting

1:30 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

2:15 p.m. Networking Break

2:30 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

2:30 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.

3:15 p.m. Short Break

3:20 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, Astrea

4:05 p.m. Adjourn for Free Time

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Awards Reception at the History Center
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 - Light Breakfast and Coffee Available 

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

9:55 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

11:00 a.m. Networking Break

11:10 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.
Sarah Rainero, Regional Director, Community Development, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
Christine Roeder, Senior Vice President, Growth & Development, Business Development, MEDC

12:10 p.m. Adjournment

Corporate Sponsors

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

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