LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced three new leadership positions officials say will bolster its efforts to provide small businesses with more targeted, intentional support, while underscoring its commitment to supporting businesses and communities across every corner of the state. The three new positions will support the MEDC’s overall mission to create economic opportunity throughout every region of the state and for businesses of all sizes.
- Natalie Chmiko will serve as Senior Vice President, Small Business Solutions
- Amy Rencher will serve as Senior Vice President, Small Business Services
- Matt McCauley will serve as Senior Vice President, Regional Prosperity
“By welcoming Natalie, Amy and Matt into these roles, we continue our work to make sure that everyone can see themselves in Michigan’s economic success,” said Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO of the MEDC. “We remain committed to doing everything we can to make sure our impact is felt by rural, urban and suburban communities alike, because we know that economic development only matters because people matter. We are grateful that Natalie, Amy and Matt have elected to join our team and are prepared to take on the hard work ahead.”
As the MEDC’s current Vice President of Small Business Solutions, Natalie Chmiko brings with her a deep knowledge and familiarity of the MEDC, as she leads the International Trade and Pure Michigan Business Connect teams along with its newly created Small Business Services team. Over the past eight years at MEDC, she has supported the development of impactful economic development tools for small businesses statewide including championing organization’s signature Industry 4.0 initiative to help small and medium-sized manufacturers prepare to adopt advanced technologies and compete in an increasingly digitized marketplace. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business from Saginaw Valley State University and is accredited as a NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional. Natalie was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve as a board member for both the East & West Michigan District Export Councils and is the current Vice President of State International Development Organizations (SIDO).
Amy Rencher brings 15 years of leadership experience to the team spanning both for- and non-profit sectors, with exceptional strengths in program design and evaluation, project management, and process improvement initiatives. Over the past 7 years, Amy worked her way up through leadership roles at TechTown Detroit, most recently serving as Managing Director of Entrepreneurial Programs and Services, where she’s developed strategic partnerships and programming that drove more than $70 million in impact for more than 3,000 entrepreneurs. Amy received her Master of Business Administration from Michigan State University and has been recognized for her work in developing data-driven, innovative and inclusive small business programming by thought leaders like ICIC, the New Economy Initiative and The Eckblad Group.
Matt McCauley is passionate about the unique needs and assets of each region of the state, appreciating the rich diversity that defines Michigan while guiding a comprehensive planning and partnership approach to help Michigan build a championship economy. In his current role as CEO of Networks Northwest, Matt has a proven track record in leading a team to adopt a strength-based approach to drive growth throughout Northwest Michigan. Considered a proven leader in his field, Matt has a rich background in advocacy on behalf of rural and diverse communities across Michigan, having provided testimony on the U.S. Farm Bill around sustainable development practices, and as a previous German Marshall Fund Urban and Regional Policy Fellow. Matt received his degrees in business and public administration from Grand Valley University. Matt will begin this role effective August 22, 2022.
The MEDC remains focused on its mission of achieving long-term economic prosperity for Michiganders by investing in communities, enabling the growth of good jobs and promoting Michigan’s strong image worldwide. Expanding Team Michigan through these new roles helps accelerate the growing momentum that Michigan’s economy is experiencing.
MEDC’s efforts remain guided by its strategic plan, notably around its focus on being regionally relevant to every community throughout the state. The MEDC also recently realigned its strategic plan to be more responsive to the needs of small and microenterprises by including a new, sixth strategic focus area for MEDC around “Supporting Small Businesses.” Altogether, these changes reflect the MEDC’s focus on helping existing small and microbusinesses grow and thrive and improving economic prosperity for all through small business ownership. “We are thrilled to congratulate Natalie, Amy and Matt on their new roles as we enter a year where support for small businesses and companies in every corner of our state will remain vital as ever, with SSBCI 2.0 funding being approved from the federal government and a continued focus on economic recovery following the pandemic,” said Jen Nelson, Chief Operating and Customer Experience Officer. “With Natalie, Amy and Matt at the helm of our small business and regional prosperity teams, we will continue setting the stage for Michigan’s economic growth for generations to come.”