In brief

New leadership driving state’s economic development strategy

LANSING – Called a “natural choice” to assume the top post at the state’s chief economic development organization, Jeff Mason was approved today by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation executive committee as the organization’s new CEO. He assumed the position immediately upon approval.

Unanimous approval comes two weeks after Gov. Rick Snyder recommended Mason to oversee the MEDC, which is the state’s marketing and business attraction arm, performing due diligence on the administration of grants and other incentives approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board with the explicit goal of encouraging businesses to locate and expand in Michigan.

Mason, 58, replaces Steve Arwood, who assumed the top MEDC post in January 2015.

“Jeff has a breadth of experience and knowledge about the driving forces and innovation reshaping Michigan’s economy,” Snyder said. “He is a proven leader distinguished by an inclusive, collaborative approach. On many levels, Jeff is a natural choice as MEDC CEO because of his grasp of public-sector policies, private-sector realities and first-hand work with the state’s leading research institutions.”

Snyder also named Mason president and chairman of the Michigan Strategic Fund, effective immediately. The next MSF board meeting is July 25.

“Jeff has all the qualities you’d want in a President and CEO of the MEDC – integrity, a deep understanding of how economic development works and great leadership skills,” said MEDC Executive Committee Chair Doug Rothwell. “The Executive Committee has great confidence in this appointment.”

The Michigan economy has made a historic comeback from the depths of the Great Recession of 2007-09. Low unemployment (4.2 percent in May, which is one-tenth below U.S. rate), resurgence of the auto industry, emergence as a global leader in autonomous vehicle research and testing, along with the ongoing development of the state’s agribusiness and tourism industries are among the striking signs of a fundamentally sound, expanding state economy. – G.G.

Deadline to register to vote is July 17

LANSING – Michigan residents have until July 17 to register to vote in next month’s election, which will be the first to feature the state’s new election equipment.

Not all Michigan communities have elections Aug. 8, but many have issues on the ballot.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says in a statement that people in 63 communities will see new ballot counting machines, but voters will still be marking a paper ballot.

The communities in 11 counties will use new optical-scan voting systems.

Details: Visit elections or – G.G.

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