Posted in News on August 14, 2017

 –The Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) announced that their annual meeting in Holland this week from August 16-18 has drawn the largest amount of sponsorship support and will be the most well-attended meeting in the organization’s 57-year history. The meeting will take place at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center, with breakouts, meetups and tours being hosted throughout the region. Holland was considered for the first time ever by the MEDA annual meeting committee due to the recently expanded hotel capacity in downtown Holland. More than 170 economic development professionals are registered to attend.
“Holland is the ideal setting to showcase forward-thinking economic development practices that work. The West Michigan lakeshore region is a shining example of how economic development success can be achieved by all sizes of communities,” said John Avery, MEDA’s executive director. “This is apparent from our turnout, and doesn’t happen without an ideal setting and the hard work of our committee and this year’s chair, Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage President.”

The MEDA 2017 annual meeting is the organization’s biggest education and networking event of the year. Opening the conference is a session “Fierce Competitors Join Forces to Develop Talent Pipeline,” featuring Franco Bianchi, president and CEO of Haworth, Inc. and Brian C. Walker, president and CEO of Herman Miller, Inc., sharing about their collaboration efforts to ensure talented workers for the future.
“Ensuring great jobs and opportunities for this generation and generations to come, one of the reasons economic development is important, is achieved in this region by this exact type of leadership and collaboration between businesses, schools and community and support organizations,” said Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage, “A standing ovation goes out to our world-class employers and businesses opening their doors this week as exceptional examples of achieving economic success and a vibrant community for living, working, playing and learning.”
At one of his first public speaking engagements as the new Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO, Jeff Mason will be the keynote speaker on Friday, presenting “The State’s Role in Moving Michigan Forward.” Breakout sessions and roundtable discussions about talent, crisis management, autonomous vehicles, life sciences and agribusiness are among other topics that will be covered in the three-day annual meeting. 
“As the best place to start a small business in the country according to Wallet Hub and Inc., we are honored to be hosts of inspiration as our guests enjoy the Pure Michigan ambiance of our vibrant downtown and other key destinations,” said City of Holland Mayor Nancy DeBoer, who also served on the MEDA annual meeting planning committee.
Tours at the Holland Energy Park, Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute and Saugatuck Brewing Company will highlight internationally recognized best practices in a public utility’s role supporting business and the community, chemical manufacturing and the craft brewing process. Other local businesses that will host MEDA events this week include Boatwerks, Big E’s, Butch’s, CityFlats Hotel, Curragh Irish Pub, Hops @ 84 East, Mizu Sushi and New Holland Brewery.