Join us on November 2 at the HPAC for the 2022 Barry County Economic Success Summit! The Focus: Future Summit will feature Quentin Messer, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, as keynote speaker. We will also hear about current and future trends from Consumers Energy, the Michigan MiHi Office, The Right Place Inc., the Michigan Office of Rural Development, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and others that still need to be confirmed.
Our own President, Jennifer Heinzman, will facilitate a panel discussion that will highlight what the future of housing, manufacturing, technology, energy, broadband, and infrastructure in the State looks like.
Jim Robey, Principal, Robey Analytics (formerly of the Upjohn Institute), will then provide a deep-dive into local, regional, and state-wide economic trends with his Economic Trends Forecast.
The Barry County Economic Success "Focus: Future" Summit is proudly brought to you by the Barry County Chamber & Economic Development Alliance. Special thanks to our Signature Sponsor, Consumers Energy; our Controller Sponsors Greenridge Realty, Highpoint Community Bank, and Spectrum Health Pennock; and, our Assessor Sponsors Commercial Bank, Edward Jones-Andrew Cove, Gun Lake Casino, and Lake Trust Credit Union.
About Our Speakers:
Quentin Messer, President & CEO, MEDC: As the MEDC Chair and President, and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund, Quentin is charged with implementing and executing MEDC's core mission of business development and attraction, community development, providing access to capital and enhancing Michigan's image and brand with a focus on building a strong & equitable economy for all Michiganders. His responsibilities include managing the administration of all programs, funds, personnel, contracts, and administrative functions of MEDC. He serves in the Cabinet for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and is on the boards of the American Center for Mobility, Michigan Israel Business Accelerator, International Economic Development Council (IEDC), and OK University's Economic Development Institute (OU EDI), and is a member of the Michigan Council on Climate Solutions. He was named by the Financial Times as a member of the 2021 Agenda Diversity 100, Crain's Detroit Business, 50 Names to Know in Government (2021), Biz New Orleans Businessperson of the Year (2019), by Consultants Connect as one of North America's Top 50 Economic Developers (2020, 2019), and by Ebony Magazine for its Ebony Power 100 as a Power Player (2018). Immediately prior to joining the MEDC, Quentin was President & CEO at the New Orleans Business Alliance which, under his leadership, became one of fewer than 80 accredited economic development organizations worldwide (AEDO). Quentin also previously served as the Assistant Secretary for Louisiana Economic Development (LED), Louisiana's department of economic development. Quentin is an alumnus of the Boston Consulting Group and O'Melveny & Myers LLP and a degree recipient from Princeton and Columbia Universities.
Jennifer Wangler, Vice-President of Technology, The Right Place, Inc.: Jennifer Wangler is the Vice-President of Technology at The Right Place. She provides retention and expansion assistance to Right Place clients in Kent County and site location assistance to national and international IT and Tech companies. She also serves as the Director for the Technology Council of West Michigan.
Eric Frederick, Chief Connectivity Officer, Michigan High-Speed Internet Office: Eric Frederick serves as the State of Michigan's first Chief Connectivity Officer. In this role, Mr. Frederick leads the Michigan High-Speed Internet office (MiHi) with the goals of achieving universal broadband access and creating a more digitally equitable state. Mr. Frederick is a state and community broadband policy planning expert and a sough-after speaker on broadband and technology issues with experience working with local-to-international stakeholders to improve the access, adoption, and use of broadband. Mr. Frederick's long-term and comprehensive approach to technology-related community development provides wide-ranging insights, education, and solutions to create digitally inclusive and equitable communities. Over the last decade, Eric has served as the Executive Director and Vice President of Broadband Planning for Connected Nation Michigan where he advised several state agencies and was a steadfast advocate and resource for expanding broadband in Michigan. During this time, Eric advised the Michigan 21st Century Infrastructure Commission, was the principal author of the 2018 Michigan Broadband Roadmap (and its 2021 update), created the Connecting Michigan Taskforce, and developed and administered the Connecting Michigan Communities grant program.
Sarah Lucas, Director, Michigan Office of Rural Development: Sarah Lucas, AICP, has worked in community and economic development in small communities and rural areas in Michigan for over 20 years, leading a variety of cross-sector initiatives and planning efforts that have resulted in long-lasting coalitions, local and state policy change, and enhanced regional capacity for growth and investment. Currently, she serves as the Director of Michigan's newly-formed Office of Rural Development in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Previously, she served as the CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership, Marquette County's primary economic development organization. Sarah has also served as the founding Executive Director of Housing North, a regional organization devoted to policy and communications solutions to housing needs in Northwest Lower Michigan; as the Community Development Director for Networks Northwest, a 10-county regional planning agency in Northwest Lower Michigan, and as a pandemic economic development planner with the Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region (WUPPDR), working with stakeholders to develop a regional economic development plan for "building back stronger" in the region's post-pandemic recovery. Sarah has worked with a number of regional and statewide boards in membership and leadership roles, including the Community & Economic Development Association of MI, the Economic Development Leaders of MI, and the MI Association of Planning. She holds an undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Michigan University and a Masters degree in Public Administration from Northern Michigan University.
Dr. David Allen, Chief Market Analyst, Michigan State Housing Development Authority: Dr. David Allen has been the Chief Market Analyst at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for the past 16 years, and the manager of the Authority's Office of Market Research for the last 5 years. He wrote Michigan's Statewide Housing Needs Assessment in 2019, and worked on the state's first statewide housing plan published earlier this year. He researches a number of housing issues for the Authority and other parts of State government.
Brian Rich is senior vice president and chief customer officer of CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy. He was named to this position in 2019. Rich is responsible for the company’s overall customer experience and satisfaction, and for customer programs such as energy efficiency, renewables and economic development. He also oversees customer operations, digital and IT and security.
Rich last served as senior vice president of customer experience, technology and chief information officer (CIO). He was responsible for the company’s technology strategy, security and IT operations. Rich joined CMS Energy as CIO in 2014 to advance the company’s strategic goals with resilient integrated information technologies.
Rich is an energy industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience, including more than 14 years at Accenture and four years as a vice president at San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
Rich holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from The George Washington University, and completed an executive management program in cyber security policy at Harvard College in 2015.
Jim Robey, PH.D: Jim Robey is Principal of Robey Analytics, LLC, a professional consulting firm specializing in economic development, workforce development, and site selection services. Jim is an applied economist, economic developer, and site selector with more than 30 years' experience. He has worked with corporate, nonprofit, and economic & workforce development organizations in problem solving, strategy, and policy decisions making from the local to national levels. His expertise includes industry studies, applied occupational analysis, economic impact analysis, economic impact modeling, economic & workforce development research & analysis, and site selection assistance. Prior experience includes positions in directing regional research initiatives, economic development, and site selection at both nonprofit and for-profit entities. Jim earned his PhD in Urban Studies, with an emphasis on Economic Development, and his masters degree in Public Administration from Cleveland State University's Levin College of Urban Affairs.