A national search to find a new leader for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation took its executive committee all the way to New Orleans, but it also landed them the person they felt was best for the job.
The MEDC’s executive committee today named Quentin L. Messer, Jr. as the MEDC’s new CEO.
The announcement comes following a national search led by the organization’s Executive Committee that included a needs analysis for the role and input from stakeholders statewide on key attributes the position required for success.
“We work hard every day to bring good jobs to Michigan and support strong communities across our state through the critical work of the MEDC. Quentin brings a wealth of experience to this role and a clear passion for ensuring the benefits of economic development extend to everyone,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “These attributes will serve Michigan well as we continue to foster economic opportunity statewide and get people back to work. We are excited to welcome Quentin to Michigan to join the MEDC team and get to work for our people, communities and businesses.”
As CEO, Messer is charged with implementing and executing MEDC’s core mission of business development and attraction, community development, providing access to capital and enhancing Michigan’s image and brand. His responsibilities will include administering all programs, funds, personnel, contracts and all other administrative functions of MEDC.
“Throughout this national search process, we have remained committed to selecting a leader with the right experience and skills to carry out the ongoing and exceptional work by the MEDC to build a strong and vibrant economic recovery that helps our state’s businesses retain, grow and create more good-paying jobs for Michigan’s working families,” said Awenate Cobbina, Chair of the MEDC Executive Committee. “(Messer) is immensely qualified to step into this role and brings tremendous energy, insight and experience to help sustain and increase our momentum around economic development in Michigan.”
Messer comes to the MEDC from the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) where he has served as President and CEO since 2015. He led efforts around business attraction, small business growth, talent development, branding and market responsive, equitable economic growth while also cultivating robust partner relationships and leading efforts to secure significant private sector investment.
Under Messer’s leadership, NOLABA became one of fewer than 90 economic development organizations globally to earn accreditation from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
“America is at its best when Michigan is at its best, and I’m thrilled to join the proven MEDC team, the Governor, the legislature and economic development stakeholders across this great state in driving an economy that creates upward mobility and opportunity for the broadest possible group of Michiganders,” Messer said. “Economic development is about connecting people to good jobs, connecting businesses to great people and financial capital, and supporting vibrant communities, and I look forward to doing this vital work at MEDC.”
Prior to his role at NOLABA, Messer served as the assistant secretary at Louisiana Economic Development, the lead agency for economic development for the state of Louisiana. In that role he was designated President of the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation, helping to provide financial assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses in partnership with the private sector and federal agencies including the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Messer brings to his new role private-sector experience at The Boston Consulting Group and O’Melveny & Myers LLP, as well as work at a variety of start-up ventures, including as a principal at Foster Chamberlain, LLC – a start-up venture accelerator and corporate venturing consultancy.
Messer also served on the Louisiana Economic Recovery Taskforce in support of the Louisiana State Legislature’s COVID-19 relief efforts and was a member of the Reopening Task Force for New Orleans Public Schools. He has been named in Consultants Connect North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers (2020, 2019) and was named Biz New Orleans CEO of the Year (2020) and Businessperson of the Year (2019).
An IEDC certified economic developer, Messer received a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and his Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration from Columbia University’s Law and Business Schools, respectively, and serves on board of directors of the International Economic Development Council, where he serves on the board’s Committee for Public Conduct and also is the incoming Co-Chair, Racism in Economic Development Committee.