Marquette hosts annual Michigan economic conference

What's happening: The Michigan Economic Developers Association is holding its annual conference from Sunday, August 13 through Wednesday, August 16 in Marquette. The annual meeting is the organization's biggest education and networking event of the year.  The conference includes educational sessions covering economic development topics and other issues as well as networking opportunities. 

Where: The Northern Center at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. About 180 people are expected to attend, the association's biggest conference in recent years. Locations for the annual conference are rotated around the state; the last conference was held in Detroit. Marquette hosted the conference in 2019 as well. 

Agenda: The focus is on Michigan's ability to build on opportunities to attract residents and visitors because of climate migration and work-from-home policies. To help attract people, Michigan needs a good supply of housing in urban and rural areas, a plethora of recreational activities, talent-building opportunities, and a ripe entrepreneurial environment, according to the organizers.

Government and business officials, consultants, and academicians from across the state will share what they feel Michigan needs to attract and retain companies. For example, Dr. Derek Van Berker, an assistant professor in Geospatial Data Sciences, Landscape Architecture, Conservation and Restoration, at the University of Michigan, will talk about "Creating a Welcoming Climate Migration Haven."

Speakers: Among them are: Joe Thiel, CEO of Innovate Marquette; Marty Fittante, CEO of Invest UP; David Rowe, CEO of MTEC SmartZone; Anne Giroux, deputy director and administrator for Marquette County, Land Bank Authority of Marquette; Sarah Lucas, director of the Michigan Office of Rural Development; Melissa Milton-Pung, policy research lab manager, Michigan Municipal League; Brad Garmon, senior strategic advisor and executive director of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, MEDC; Amy Berglund, director of business initiatives, InvestUP; David Nyberg, executive director of business engagement and economic development, Northern Michigan University; and Thomas Coates, director of development for Great Lakes Boat Building School. 

What is MEDA: Founded in 1960, the association works to advance economic development in Michigan and to help increase the effectiveness of individual members in the economic development profession. The association’s goal is to provide a variety of services and programs that will enhance ability and skills in economic development.
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