Economic developers from across the state recently partnered to form Economic Development Leaders for Michigan (EDLM) to protect and advance economic development initiatives through direct legislative advocacy as the state forges ahead in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The priority of the Economic Development Leaders for Michigan is to drive long-term economic growth and keep Michigan competitive in terms of state and local incentives for business retention, expansion, attraction, startup creation, and support for early stage companies.


The 12-member coalition is led by CEOs with over 350 years of economic development experience. Representing 84% of Michigan’s population and 89% of the state gross domestic product (GDP), the CEOs and organizations include:  Paul Krutko, President & CEO, Ann Arbor Spark; Rob Cleveland, President & CEO, Cornerstone Alliance; Kevin Johnson, President & CEO, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation; Maureen Donohue Krauss, President & CEO, Detroit Regional Partnership; Marty Fittante, CEO, InvestUP; Amy Clickner, CEO, Lake Superior Community Partnership; Jennifer Owens, President, Lakeshore Advantage; Bob Trezise, President & CEO, Lansing Economic Area Partnership; James McBryde, President & CEO, Middle Michigan Economic Corporation; JoAnn Crary, President, Saginaw Future; Ron Kitchens, Senior Partner & CEO, Southwest Michigan First; and Birgit Klohs, President & CEO The Right Place, Inc.


The group jointly issued the following statement: Our state economy faces unprecedented challenges and uncertainty in the aftermath of a global pandemic. As we chart a path forward, 12 of the state’s leading economic development organizations are collaborating to strengthen critical economic development initiatives and make our voices heard. In order to secure Michigan’s economic future and protect the gains of the past decade, we must seize opportunities for growth and remain committed to our statewide economic development strategy. Economic Development Leaders for Michigan will accelerate Michigan’s economy and keep Michigan on the map during this critical time.


Along with others, EDLM members recently partnered with the Michigan legislature and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to administer $100 million in restart grants to help small businesses keep their doors open and their employees on payroll. As Michigan moves from a short-term restart strategy to a long-term economic outlook, EDLM is committed to retaining and growing businesses across Michigan’s wide variety of geographies and fostering a resilient economic environment.


Formed in June 2020, EDLM stands ready to advance solutions as Michigan navigates new challenges and opportunities. To learn more about EDLM visit www.edlm.org