GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In late 2021, The Right Place announced the debut of a new and improved model of regional economic development partnerships 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.
As part of these efforts The Right Place has recently hired executive directors to lead economic development efforts in the counties:
Kelly Wawsczyk has been hired as Mecosta County Development Corporation’s Executive Director. Kelly has a vast knowledge of community development and has volunteered on many committees including serving as the Chair of the Leadership team on the White Cloud Revitalization Committee and holding a seat on the Newaygo County Economic Development Advisory Committee.
Ron Maynard has been hired as Executive Director for Oceana County Economic Alliance. Ron has worked in and around Oceana County for the past 25+ years, mainly in the automotive and office furniture industries, in many roles ranging from supervision to HR to plant management.
Kristi Lucas-Zimmerman has been hired as Economic Development Director for the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce. She spent nearly thirty years in education and has been working for the United Way of Mason County as a resource coach. She has a passion for building relationships and helping the people of Mason County.
In order to support this growing team, Julie Burrell has been promoted to Regional Partner Lead, in addition to her role as the Economic Development Director for Newaygo County’s Economic Development Partnership. In her added responsibilities, Julie will lead the team, providing mentorship and guidance with the strategies and initiatives specific to the partner counties.
“As our regional footprint grows, I am excited to put my experience to work leading our amazing team,” said Julie Burrell, Regional Partner Lead and Economic Development Director of Newaygo County’s Economic Development Partnership. “Each director brings a unique skillset to their county, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish through The Right Place’s new partnership model.”
Under the new partnership model, The Right Place now serves a total of 8 counties in the West Michigan region.
Partner county leads are as follows:
- Ionia County Economic Alliance: Ryan Wilson, Executive Director
- Lake County Economic Alliance: Jodi Nichols, Executive Director
- Ludingtton & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce (Mason County): Kristi Lucas-Zimmerman, Economic Development Director
- Mecosta County Development Corporation: Kelly Wawsczyk, Executive Director
- Montcalm Economic Alliance: Olivia Blomstrom, Executive Director
- Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership: Julie Burrell, Economic Development Director
- Oceana County Economic Alliance: Ron Maynard, Executive Director