About Us

Our Team

Leadership & Management


Randy Thelen

President & CEO

As President & CEO of The Right Place, Randy leads economic development strategy through collaboration with local, State, and national organizations and stakeholders. His role is central to the organization’s core work of business retention, expansion, and attraction within the community, while aligning with The Right Place’s mission of driving sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity for all in the Greater Grand Rapids Region.

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Twayne Howard

Chief Operating Officer/Assistant Treasurer

Twayne directs all activities related to accounting, finance, human resources, information technology, infrastructure, operations, contracts, and third party consultants. He also leads events and operations staff as well as the Leadership Team and professional staff.

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Brad Comment

Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

As Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Brad is responsible for The Right Place's strategic projects and initiatives, business intelligence, fundraising and public policy. He engages with various partner organizations to lead projects that closely align with The Right Place's 2020-2022 Strategic Plan.

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TaRita Johnson

TaRita D. Johnson

Senior Vice President, Talent & Diversity

TaRita is the Senior Vice President of Talent and Diversity at The Right Place Inc. She works to collaborate with workforce development organizations, employers, and investors to lead strategies to ensure West Michigan attracts, develops, and retains diverse talent.

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Tim Mroz

Senior Vice President, Community Development

As Senior Vice President of Community Development for The Right Place, Tim is responsible for leading The Right Place’s place-based strategy and work. His focus areas include community development pillars such as smart growth planning, infrastructure & transportation, community leadership & engagement, placemaking, transformational site redevelopment and more.

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Andria Romkema

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Andria leads the strategic marketing, communications, and advertising initiatives for The Right Place to promote West Michigan’s business capabilities across the country and the globe.

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Cindy Brown

Vice President, Talent Initiatives

Cindy provides strategic direction and overall leadership to the talent initiatives and collaborations at The Right Place.

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Brent Case

Vice President, Business Attraction

Brent works to recruit new business investment and jobs to the region. He also assists West Michigan companies during the decision-making portion of the expansion process to outline the benefits of growing locally as opposed to out-of-state.

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Jane Tierney


Jane provides accurate and timely financial information to The Right Place’s leadership team while ensuring effective internal controls and financial safeguards.

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Terry Hossink

Vice President, Manufacturing Services

Terry is responsible for leading The Center-West team's work with small to medium size manufacturers in West Michigan, helping them assess their opportunities for continuous improvement and growth.

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Travis Alden

Senior Director, Community Development

As Senior Director of Community Development, is focused on transformational place-based development projects and initiatives throughout the West Michigan region.

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Jackie Beering

Staff Accountant

Jackie provides accounting support as well as oversight of all project tracking, collections and records management. She is responsible for processing accounts payable and accounts receivable transactions. Jackie also manages grant reporting for The Center-West, and is responsible for investor billing and record maintenance.

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Olivia Blomstrom

Executive Director, Montcalm Economic Alliance

As the Executive Director of the Montcalm Economic Alliance, Olivia meets with businesses and municipalities throughout Montcalm County to learn about their business, if they are experiencing any pinch points, or what their future visions are. She also provides companies with a gateway to resources for expansion, retention, and attraction of old and new businesses.

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Rene Booker

Program Manager, The Center-West

René Booker is program manager for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West (The Center-West), providing support for events, marketing, and internal continuous improvement efforts. She also supports The Right Place/The Center-West Manufacturers and Supply Chain Management Councils.

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Julie Burrell

Business Development Manager - Newaygo County

Julie serves as Newaygo County’s Business Development Manager. In this role, she provides business support services to companies in Newaygo County.

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Karwyn Bursma

Executive Assistant, Community Development, Business Development, & Marketing

Karwyn serves as the Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice Presidents of Community Development, Business Development, and Marketing. She provides administrative support, as well as project management and content creation for marketing initiatives.

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Jillian Elliott

Events and Investor Relations Manager

Jillian leads the planning and management of events for The Right Place and The Center-West. She also serves as a key contact for The Right Place investors.

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Donna Ford

Donna Ford

Assistant to the President and CEO

As Assistant to the Executive Office, Donna supports both the President & CEO and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of The Right Place, Inc. She also provides administrative support for The Right Place Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Finance Committee.

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Rachel Gray

Executive Director, Hello West Michigan

As the Executive Director for Hello West Michigan, Rachel leads the organization’s strategy, operations, and membership. She helps educate employers and prospective candidates about the region.

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Eric Heys

Marketing Coordinator

Eric provides graphic and layout support for all printed communication needs of The Right Place, and he works with local printers to see production through to the final printed materials.

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Eric Icard

Senior Director of Business Development

Eric provides retention and expansion assistance to Right Place clients. He provides site location assistance to national and international life sciences firms. He also serves as the facilitator for the MiDevice group.

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Rosemary Kolderman

Assistant to the Executive Office

Rosemary is Assistant to the Executive Office at The Right Place. In her role, she provides executive assistance to the President & CEO and the Chief Operating Officer of The Right Place. Also provides administrative support for the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and Finance Committee.

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Jessica Kuster

Program Manager, Hello West Michigan

Jessica serves as the Program Manager for Hello West Michigan, where she oversees the internship and candidate connection programs, marketing and communication needs, and facilitates member orientation and training programs.

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Olivia Lanctot

Business Development Coordinator

Olivia Lanctot is a Business Development Coordinator at The Right Place. She provides retention and expansion services to companies in Kent County.

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Steven Lopez

Steven Lopez

Business Development Specialist, The Center-West

Steven Lopez is a Business Development Specialist for The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West (The Center-West), primarily serving small and mid-size manufacturers located in Kent County. In his role, Steven works with manufacturers to provide benchmarking and assessment services, helping them to better understand their current state and potential improvement paths.

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Rafael Martinez

Business Intelligence & Research Manager

Rafael works as a Business Intelligence & Research Manager for The Right Place. In this role, he provides business intelligence and economic research for the organization, and to investors and other stakeholders.

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Jodi Nichols

Business Development Coordinator - Lake & Oceana

Jodi serves as Business Development Coordinator for Lake and Oceana Counties. In this role, she provides business support services to prospective and existing companies. She works to improve the overall economic state of Lake and Oceana Counties through business retention, expansion, and attraction.

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Jennifer Wangler

Senior Business Development Manager

Jennifer 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.

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John Wiegand

John Wiegand

Business Intelligence & Research Manager

As Business Research & Intelligence Manager for The Right Place, John provides business intelligence and economic research for the organization, investors and other stakeholders.

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Ryan Wilson

Executive Director, Ionia County Economic Alliance

Ryan provides leadership in the development and implementation of economic development initiatives focused on People, Place, and Prosperity and in alignment with both local needs and regional strategies.

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Amy Winkler

Client Coordinator, The Center-West

Amy Winkler is the Client Coordinator for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West Regional Office at The Right Place, Inc. Amy coordinates customer consulting and training projects, user groups and workshops, and monitors these activities’ compliance with contractual reporting requirements.


Ben Wood

Business Development Specialist, The Center-West

Ben is responsible for working with small to medium sized manufacturers in West Michigan, focusing on Mason, Lake, Osceola, Oceana, Newaygo, Mecosta, Muskegon, Montcalm, Ionia, and Northern Kent Counties. He helps them assess their opportunities for continuous improvement and growth.

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