November 22nd, 2021

The Right Place now serves 8 counties, with Mason and Mecosta signing first time agreements

The Right Place has announced it will debut a new and improved model of regional economic development partnerships in 2022 for participating counties across West Michigan. The new format is expected to amplify economic development efforts across the region by empowering full-time county executive directors to drive long-term growth opportunities with the support of The Right Place.

West MichiganGreater Grand RapidsIonia CountyLake CountyMontcalm CountyNewaygo CountyOceana County

After several months of listening, planning, and examining best practices, The Right Place, Inc. announces it will debut a new and improved model of regional economic development partnerships in 2022 for participating counties across West Michigan. The new format is expected to amplify economic development efforts across the region by empowering full-time county executive directors to drive long-term growth opportunities with the support of The Right Place.

In developing this new model, The Right Place held in-depth discussions with county leaders to identify improvements. National consulting firm EY was also engaged to assess the partnerships, evaluate other successful regional models, and provide recommendations. The result is a new model that brings the expertise of an Executive Director to each county, which will increase the economic development capacity and outcomes for the communities. Notably, several counties will be elevating their positions from part-time to full-time, allowing for deeper engagement with the local business community.

This new partnership model has attracted two new counties, Mason and Mecosta, to The Right Place, creating a regionwide coverage area of eight total counties. The Right Place serves Kent County, and now has partner agreements with Ionia, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, and Oceana.

“We’re pleased to offer a more sustainable and robust new model to our partners that will boost economic outcomes in each county and the region as a whole,” said Randy Thelen, President and CEO of The Right Place. “Regionalism is a cornerstone of our people, place, and prosperity strategy, and I’m confident our innovative new approach will increase the entire region’s competitive advantage.”

“Lake County has definitely benefitted from the close relationship with The Right Place for the last three years, with multiple development initiatives coming to fruition,” says Tobi Lake, Lake County Administrator and member of the Lake County Economic Development Alliance Board of Directors. “Moving forward, we’ll only see more results from the partnership under this new model. This kind of alignment between regional expertise and local insight is crucial for economic progress in our community.”

“We’re thrilled to be moving forward with this new partnership with The Right Place,” says Brandy Miller, President & CEO of the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce. “The backing and firepower of The Right Place coupled with our local leadership, insight and passion for the community, is a very exciting reboot to our economic development efforts in Mason County. We can’t wait to get started.”

“Mecosta County Development has been investing in this type of work for years, but we’re very excited with this new partnership direction with The Right Place,” says Michele Graham, Chair of the Mecosta County Development Board of Directors and Supervisor/Assessor for Mecosta Township. “The alignment with The Right Place’s regional economic development strategy should bring great dividends to our community. We’ve already seen how this partnership will amplify our local efforts.”

“The ICEA’s relationship with The Right Place has helped catalyze some great development projects here over the last decade,” Says Susan Hatto, Board Chair of the Ionia County Economic Alliance and Dean for Industrial Education & Workforce Training at Montcalm Community College. “We’ve worked hard at our organization’s sustainability over the last year. With this new partnership model we’re able to roll-out a full-time scope of work in Ionia County for the first time in three years - it’s very exciting!”

“The MEA has seen some significant successes over the years, and the relationship with The Right Place is a big piece of that,” said Dave Seppala, Board Chairperson, Montcalm Economic Alliance and West Regional President at Isabella Bank. “With this new and improved partnership in place, we’re in a great position to catapult into 2022 with a more robust, sustainable and comprehensive economic development effort than we’ve ever had in Montcalm County.”

“The partnership with The Right Place has been impactful in Newaygo County since day one, but it’s really hit a new level in the last three years,” says Ryan Coffey Hoag, Chair of the Newaygo County Economic Development Committee and MSU Extension Educator for Land Use, Government & Community Vitality. “This new partnership model will ensure a long-term, sustainable future for proactive economic development efforts in Newaygo County. Building a community’s resiliency and prosperity is a marathon and not a sprint, and this enhanced partnership will even better align the passion and insight of our local leadership and the deep strengths of The Right Place regionally.”