The Leading Voice for Economic Developers in Michigan

The Spring Economic Development Toolbox

17 Spring Toolbox Postcard for RoblyThis yearly event will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West Hotel.

The event looks at key economic development tools comprehensively from both an informational and implementation aspect. Several breakout sessions are held throughout the program so that attendees can choose the programs that are the most important to their area of responsibility. Both state and local professionals join together to take a fresh look at both current and new programs used by economic and community development professionals.

In order to develop the best conference, a volunteer committee of MEDA members meets regularly to plan The Spring Economic Development Toolbox and other MEDA membership programs. Click here to learn more about the Education Committee.

Thank You Sponsors

PM Environmental 

Thank you ISM, Inc., and PM Environmental for sponsoring this event!


8:00 a.m. Registration Opens

8:30 a.m. How to Strive and Thrive in Difficult Times
If there is one constant we can count on, it is change. And while change is essential to growth, most of us love to stay in our “uncomfortable comfort zones.” Life is continually forcing us outside of safe spaces and into the great unknown. Scott Westerman shares a lifetime of research into now high performance human beings can learn to embrace change and leverage the timeless tools that can turn stress into success.
Scott Westerman, Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations/Executive Director, Michigan State University Alumni Association

9:15 a.m. Networking Break

9:30 a.m. Understanding the Implications of Federal Foreign Policy Changes
In a “perception is reality” world, it’s hard to sort out what is real and what is rumor, especially when there are so many topics circulating the mainstream. What will the actual issues on the table mean for trade in a state with so much manufacturing? How will the changes impact our relationships with foreign companies and other countries? Will the dynamic of foreign talent in Michigan shift? The impact on college admissions? These and other issues will be discussed.
Moderator: Laura Deierlein, President, SPROUTwide LLC
Panelists: Faris Alami, Founder & CEO, ISM, Inc.
Dr. Patricia Croom, Director of International Admissions, Recruitment and Student Success, Michigan State University
Karen Phillippi, Deputy Director, Michigan Office for New Americans

10:15 a.m. Networking Break

10:30 a.m. Concurrent Sessions 1

>> Opportunity for All: Strategies for Inclusive Economic Development
Though the U.S. economy has been growing since the Great Recession ended, many people have not experienced the fruits of that growth. In communities across the country, some residents are thriving while others experience declining household incomes, low labor force participation and increasingly concentrated poverty, trends that often have been in place for years. The issue of how to expand economic opportunity for all is one of increasing concern to economic developers. Not only does it impact their ability to grow their regional economies, but they also have an important role to play in potential solutions. This paper explores the issue of economic opportunity from an economic development perspective by presenting evidence of the problem, examining why it matters, and offering common themes and promising practices from nine case studies.
Michael A. Finney, President and CEO, Community Ventures Resources, Inc.

>> Streamlining the Development Process: Applying One Stop Ready Principals in Local Communities
One Stop Ready (OSR) is Oakland County’s community-focused economic development program built upon self-evaluation, information sharing and outstanding customer service. The program’s mission is to provide local communities with the resources, tools and trainings necessary to capitalize on community strengths, refine economic development processes and implement local vision. This session will provide an overview of the program components including the OSR Academy, continuing educational opportunities, and review of best practices through the Benchmark Self-Evaluation Tool. Community-specific application and implementation of program recommendations will be highlighted.
Ryan A. Dividock, Senior Planner – GIS, Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs
Kristen Kapelanski, Senior Planner, Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs
Susie Stec, Economic Development Coordinator, City of Clawson

11:30 a.m. Lunch and Membership Meeting

12:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 2

>> Educational Attainment as an Economic Driver for States, Regions and Communities
A research paper that started as a co-learning project through Michigan State University Center for Regional Economic Innovation and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce is still making an impact. Learn about the many ways that this program is being implemented and how it has impacted regions. Larry will also touch on the Connecting Credentials National Campaign and explain why economic developers should pay close attention to credentials.
Larry Good, Chair, Co-Founder and Senior Fellow, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

>> What We Learned During the Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) Process Roundtable Discussion
The paperwork. The evaluation process. Understanding the requirements. Building capacity … If there is anything stopping you from pursuing the RRC certification your community, you will want to consider this session. The hour is designed to hear from a community that is certified and one Rising Tide community that is in the midst of the process as well as have the opportunity to talk to one of the program managers.
Natalie Dean, Assistant City Manager/Director of Community Services, City of Marshall
Michelle Parkkonen, Manager, Redevelopment Ready Communities, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Erich Podjaske, Economic Development Specialist & Zoning Administrator, City of Grayling

1:30 p.m. Networking Break

1:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 3

>> Early Stage Funding for Local Business to Expand the Ecosystem and Create High-Paying Jobs
The Northern Michigan Angels, an angel investment group based in Traverse City with investments in early stage companies statewide, has gained some attention recently for the growth of their portfolio company investments and the diversity of industries that are represented in the portfolio. In an effort to grow the economic ecosystem and create future higher paying jobs in Michigan and primarily Northern Michigan, they have invested in diverse industries in the region and also pursued investments in local traded sector businesses. Traded sector businesses are businesses that produce goods and services that are consumed outside of the region bringing financial resources back into the region. In addition to providing capital to grow a business, they partner with key organizations in the area that support entrepreneurs and early stage businesses, such as helping to launch a technology based incubator and a community of experts that will serve as volunteer mentors. Freshen up your knowledge of angel and venture capital funding while learning about the challenges and opportunities can came from this structure.
Deanna Cannon, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Northern Michigan Angels

>> Growing Local Economies Through Local Food Enterprise
Maybe you shop at a farmers market or raise chickens in your backyard, but you’re curious: can local food systems really translate to tangible economic development for communities? In this discussion, we’ll explore opportunities to capitalize on a growing good food movement in Michigan. Join us to learn about the concept of food innovation districts, for inspiration from successful food hub models, and to plug into statewide networks supporting local food businesses & organizations.
Noel Bielaczyc, Specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
Laura Goddeeris, Specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

>> Michigan Talent Programs
Michigan’s Talent Team has been working hard to develop the talent programs needed to take our state’s workforce to the next level. Learn about what is in the pipeline for our future.
Valerie Hoag, Senior Vice President, Michigan Talent Team, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

2:45 p.m. Short Break                                                                                                                                   

2:50 p.m. Concurrent Sessions 4

>> PACE Financing in Practice
A growing number of companies in Michigan are using the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program to help save money on projects and the economic development community is helping them through the process. Learn how a company can finance a project from energy savings while getting feedback from two MEDA members on the challenges and procedures involved in the process.
Glenn Lapin, Economic Development Specialist, City of Troy
Andy Levin, Managing Partner, Levin Energy Partners, LLC and President, Lean & Green Michigan™
Ed Reed, Economic Development Coordinator, Delta Township

>> Strategies for Business Succession Planning
This panel will cover several aspects of transitioning a business to new owners, whether it be to the employees, family members or other entrepreneurs.
Moderator: Tom Donaldson, Regional Director, Michigan Small Business Development Center
Panelists: Michael Friedman, Operations and Project Oversight, C2BE
Joani Gill, Principal, Exits, LLC
Tom Ruis, Vice President, Commercial Banking Group, Fifth Third Bank

>> Funding for Medical Sector Companies
Quantum Medical Concepts is a partnership of the Michigan State Medical Society and Common Wealth Enterprises. Through this partnership Quantum provides early-stage investment funding to Michigan companies in the medical sector. Learn about their unique business model and proven start-up management process.
Thomas Stewart, Portfolio & Community Relations, Quantum Medical Concepts

3:50 p.m. Adjournment


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

Members of our co-sponsoring organization, International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC): $100

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

Recertification Credits

This program qualifies for (1) continuing education credit for Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification from the National Development Council (NDC).

This event is recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as a professional development event that counts toward recertification for Certified Economic Developers (CEcD).


Corporate Sponsors

dte-energy michigan-economic-development-corp

Web Sponsors


Contact Us

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