Michigan Economic Developers Association

Your Partner in Growing Your Community

The Fall Economic Development Toolbox

Fall Toolbox Cover PhotoThis yearly event will be held on Thursday, November 30, 2017, 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 Fall Economic Development Toolbox and other MEDA membership programs. Click here to learn more about the Education Committee.


Localintel Left Logo For White BackgroundThank you to Localintel to sponsoring this conference.


8:30 a.m. Registration Opens

9:00 a.m. What to Do When Your Community Goes to Pot
Not thinking that a marijuana-based business would come to their community has been a challenge for many in Michigan. Preparation is vital. Know the laws on licensing, zoning, the legal structure of the businesses, and what you can do if your community does not want these businesses.
Moderator: Jennifer Rigterink, Legislative Associate, Michigan Municipal League
Panelists: Judy Allen, Director of Legislative Affairs, Michigan Townships Association
Shelly Edgerton, Director, Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Clyde Robinson, City Attorney, City of Kalamazoo

9:45 a.m. Networking Break

10:00 a.m. Concurrent Sessions 1

>> Commercial Rehabilitation Act Best Practices
Hear from communities that have used the Commercial Rehabilitation Act to redevelop vacant properties and old buildings so they are a benefit to the community once again. What sparked their ideas? What were some specific challenges? What did they learn during the process?
Scott Adkins, City Manager, City of Roseville
Brandon Jonas, Community & Economic Development Administrator, City of Roseville
Tim Klunder, City Manager, City of Zeeland

>> Grants and Loans from USDA Rural Development
This session will focus on three important segments of USDA Rural Development’s many offerings for rural small businesses: Business & Industry Loan Guarantees, Rural Business Development Grants, and the Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program.
Valarie Handy, State Community Development Specialist and State Broadband Coordinator, USDA Rural Development
Chris Maxwell, Community Programs Director, USDA Rural Development

11:00 a.m. Networking Break

11:15 a.m. Concurrent Sessions 2

>> Latest on MEDC Programs for Job Creation and Community Development
After solid collaboration by many in the economic development community over the last year, Michigan received two new incentive programs for redevelopment, business development, and job growth: Transformational Brownfields and Good Jobs for Michigan. Hear the latest that you need to know about these programs, as well as the existing Community Revitalization Program, and have the opportunity for discussion.
Joshua Hundt, Chief Business Development Officer, MEDC
Lori Mullins, Manager, CRP/Brownfield/Smartzone, MEDC
Sarah Rainero, Regional Director, Community Development and Marketing, MEDC

>> The World is Changing. So is Economic Development: How Technology is Being Harnessed by Economic Developers to Drive Local Business Growth
The current economic development playbook tells you to put a community profile online with demographics, available real estate, and other content typically required by site selectors. This approach is fine for a handful of site selectors, but not the 29 million small businesses who generate over 75% of new jobs in North America. Get a glimpse into the future of economic development from award-winning technology startup company Localintel. Learn why insights into local opportunities matter more to businesses than data, and how innovative municipalities of all sizes are using next-generation technology to drive local businesses growth.
Dave Parsell, Co-founder and CEO, Localintel

12:15 p.m. Lunch, Membership Meeting, and Guest Speaker

12:35 p.m. Remaking Economic Development: The Markets and Civics of Continuous Growth and Prosperity
Amy Liu, a VP at Brookings and Director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, has worked closely with federal, regional, and local leaders across the United States to design and implement economic strategies to expand economic growth and opportunity. In her presentation, Liu will describe the limitations of traditional economic development strategies and the macro-level forces – including technological change, globalization, urbanization, and demographic change – that are reshaping our communities and their economies. She’ll outline a set of principles that define a more expansive vision of economic development that responds to the demands of the changing economy and reflects the emerging innovations in the field of economic development.
Amy Liu, Vice President and Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution, and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy

1:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 2

>> Filling Our Workforce Needs
With the major expansion of Clemens Food Group’s Michigan operations came the very rapid search for, and training of, hundreds of workers in a non-urban area. Working with the local transportation authority and affordable housing were included in this challenge. Hear what worked and what didn’t. 
Hillary Eley, Partner, 2nd Story Marketing, and Consultant, Clemens Food Group
Lisa Miller, President, MMK Consulting, and Economic Developer for Branch County

>> Rating and Preparing Business Sites
Wouldn’t it be great to have a list of pre-rated sites ready to go when a potential business or site selectors call? It is possible! Learn how to rates sites using over 100 criteria. Also get insight on site preparedness; what works, what doesn’t, as well as how you can reach out to the owners of sites that aren’t prepared for business and encourage the necessary work.
Courtney Dunbar, CEcD, EDFP, AICP, Industrial Program Leader, Olsson Associates
Justin Horvath, CEcD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership

2:30 p.m. Short Break

2:35 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 3

>> Small Business, Big Threat
This program was developed by the MEDC, SBDC and the SBA to help businesses identify, assess, and react to cybersecurity threats. With new requirements being released for taking on government contracts, there are even more reasons to be concerned. Economic developers are increasingly being asked about security during retention visits and it is important to be prepared.
Zara Smith, Strategic Programs Manager, Michigan Small Business Development Center, Grand Valley State University

>> Michigan Main Street Approach
Learn about the Main Street Approach to downtown revitalization and economic development. Two communities will share the success that they have had with the Main Street program as well as what they would not be able to do without it! Learn how you can participate in the Michigan Main Street program and how communities are using Main Street as an economic development engine. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions of a Main Street program director.

Josh Adams, Executive Director, Owosso Main Street
Cathleen Edgerly, Executive Director, Howell Main Street, Inc.
Laura Krizov, Manager, Michigan Main Street, Community Development and Marketing, MEDC
Leigh Young, AICP, Organization Specialist, Michigan Main Street, Community Development, MEDC

3:35 p.m. Adjourn


Early Registration: MEDA Members $100/Non-Members $170

Regular Registration (starts at midnight one week before program): MEDA Members $115/Non-Members $185


There are a limited number of King rooms available for $129++/night. For a guarantee of that rate, reserve before November 3rd. To reserve, call 877-322-5544 or visit www.crowneplaza.com/lansingwest and use code MD1. 

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 program has been approved for qualification for Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) recertification credits from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).


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Contact Us

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