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The Right Place

Photo of Birgit Klohs

Birgit Klohs

President & CEO

616-771-0324 klohsb@rightplace.org

Birgit Klohs is President & CEO of The Right Place, Inc., a position she has held since 1987. The Right Place, Inc. is the regional economic development organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Under her 30+ year leadership, The Right Place has created over 44,000 new and retained jobs and spurred over $4.7 billion in new investment. She is a leading economic development strategist, collaborating with local, State and national organizations on critical issues related to economic development.   

A native of Germany, and leading authority in international business and economic development, Klohs also leads the Right Place’s international business development strategy.  She conducts numerous foreign direct investment missions to Europe, Asia and the Middle East each year, both independently and in collaboration with the State of Michigan and the Governor’s office.  She is a frequent speaker on national and international economic development issues, having addressed audiences in France, England, Germany, Sweden, China, Australia and Israel.

She is involved in many local and state-wide boards because she is a strong believer that a community’s quality of life is as important as its quality of commerce. In 2014 she was appointed by Governor Snyder to serve on the International Crossing Authority.  A joint authority between the State of Michigan and the Country of Canada for the construction of the North American International Trade Crossing (Gordie Howe Bridge).

Klohs’ economic development career began as an industrial consultant with the Berrien County Economic Development Corporation of Berrien County, Michigan. She later served with the Michigan Department of Commerce and then Grand Valley State University, where she was Assistant Director of the Office of Economic Development.  Prior to her position with GVSU, she was affiliated with Prince Corporation.

She is a graduate of Western Michigan University, as well as a graduate of the Economic Development Institute; and completed the economic development finance program through the National Development Council.  She also attended Harvard executive management programs.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including

            Peter C. Cook Excellence in Business Award from Davenport University

            Jeffrey A Finkle Award for Organizational Excellence – IEDC

            Crain’s 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan

            The Life Time Achievement Award for Best Managed Non-Profit

            Western Michigan University – Distinguished Alumni Award

            50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan

            The Athena Award – Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

            Leadership Grand Rapids Distinguished Community Trustee

            Junior Achievement West Michigan Hall of Fame

            Newsmaker of the Year

Most recently she was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

She is married to her husband Greg Northrup and they reside in Grand Rapids with their cats Max and Moritz. She enjoys gourmet cooking, gardening, historical reading and traveling. 

Professional and Volunteer Activities


International Crossing Authority                                               

Grand Action Executive Committee

Gerald R. Ford Airport Authority Board                                      

Kent County/Grand Rapids Convention Arena Authority       

Macatawa Bank Board of Directors                                          

ADAC Automotive Board of Directors                                        

Grand Rapids Area Chamber Board of Directors                                                               

Past Board Memberships

Spectrum Health Systems

Local Development Finance Authority (SmartZone), Past Chair

Western Michigan University Board of Trustees, Past Chair

Michigan Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors

Grand Rapids Symphony Board of Directors

Economic Club of Grand Rapids – Past Chair

Van Andel Public Museum

Heart of West Michigan United Way – Past Campaign Chair

Opera Grand Rapids


Economic Club of Grand Rapids                                               

Grand Rapids Rotary

International Economic Development Council                            

CoreNet Global

Michigan Economic Developers Association

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