© 2020 by The Right Place, Inc. | Contact us at info@rightplace.org or 616.771.0325

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TO OUR INVESTORS AND PARTNERS

As 2019 comes to a close, so does The Right Place’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan. It has been a record-breaking three years. When we embarked on this plan we set aggressive goals: $500 million in capital investment, $150 million new and retained payroll, and 4,200 new and retained jobs. Our team has exceeded these goals and reached $832.5 million in new capital investment, $309.9 million new and retained payroll, and 5,198 new and retained jobs.


The numbers alone do not tell the full story, or the depth and breadth of our work in the region. Throughout the pages of this annual report, we have highlighted the people behind the numbers, as well as many of the untold stories of our work that you may not have read about in the headlines. These stories illustrate why economic development matters and the impact our work has on the people of our region.

We are proud of the results our team has achieved and the numbers are impressive. The region is leading the state in population growth and we have one of the fastest growing economies in the nation. However, we will not rest on our laurels. We have already begun executing on our new 2020-2022 Strategic Plan, which will guide both The Right Place and the Greater Grand Rapids regional economy forward. We will continue to build upon our foundational economic development strengths, while also pursuing new ventures to create a more equitable, productive, and resilient regional economy.

As we look to the new decade and beyond, The Right Place will continue to be the leading catalyst for economic vitality in our region. This work would not be possible without our investors and partners, and we deeply appreciate your continued support.

Sincerely,

Sean P. Welsh

Chair, The Right Place, Inc. 

Regional President, Western MI

PNC Bank

Birgit M. Klohs

President & CEO,

The Right Place, Inc. 

 

2017-19

STRATEGIC PLAN

Every success starts with a strategy.

 

In January of 2017, The Right Place announced our 2017–2019 Strategic Plan. This three-year plan was developed with our board of directors, team members, and community partners, along with support from our strategic partners at PwC.

 

Job creation and retention is one of the most significant indicators of economic growth for any region. As residents gain access to more quality employment opportunities, it produces a ripple effect that touches every corner of the community.

 

In April 2019, The Right Place assisted Feyen Zylstra with a $5.3 million expansion near its existing headquarters in the City of Walker, bringing 100 new, high-tech jobs to the community.

 

The expansion allowed for the renovation of a 20,000 square foot building to house the company’s industrial tech employees, including automation engineers, software developers, coders and programmers.

 

In October, Feyen Zylstra hosted a grand opening celebration for its new Industrial Tech Center in Walker

Ramell Collins,

Software Engineering

Feyen Zylstra

Feyen Zylstra

City of Walker, Michigan

Ramell Collins joined the Feyen Zylstra team after the company expanded in 2019

 

When a company decides to expand in the Greater Grand Rapids Region, the capital investment infused into our economy as a result creates long-term benefits for both businesses and residents alike.

 

Top ten global insurance broker, Acrisure, made a splash in the economic future of our region when it announced a $33 million capital investment and the creation of 400 jobs at its new headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids. The company will lease a 105,000 square foot building at the recently completed Studio Park development, where all current and future regional employees will be housed.

 

Grand Rapids competed against Chicago to win this project, and Acrisure’s expansion was made possible through collaborative efforts from The Right Place, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.

Rendering of the Acrisure headquarters,

City of Grand Rapids, Michigan

 

The domino effect of increasing new and retained payroll within our region is a large part of why many companies have chosen to invest in The Right Place. This increased payroll feeds directly into the successful business environment we’ve cultivated here in the Greater Grand Rapids Region.

 

Michigan Software Labs, an Ada-based custom software development agency, recently made the decision to expand its operations in the region versus competing locations in other states. The 27 additional high-skilled software developer positions are a win for our region’s rapidly growing IT industry

Lisa Le

Software Developer

Michigan Software Labs 

 

Every economic development project completed, whether it’s a business expansion, attraction, or retention, adds significant value to the Greater Grand Rapids Region and the future of our economy.

 

The Allegiant Air expansion that took place at Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) was a project with multifaceted impact. Allegiant’s new base at GRR resulted in the creation of 66 jobs and a capital investment of $42 million.

 

In addition, the expanded routes increased the region’s accessibility for both business and leisure travelers.

 

GRR’s continued growth makes its commercial air service a key regional asset with extensive economic impact.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Grand Rapids, Michigan

 

Every economic development project completed, whether it’s a business expansion, attraction, or retention, adds significant value to the Greater Grand Rapids Region and the future of our economy.

 

The Allegiant Air expansion that took place at Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) was a project with multifaceted impact. Allegiant’s new base at GRR resulted in the creation of 66 jobs and a capital investment of $42 million.

 

In addition, the expanded routes increased the region’s accessibility for both business and leisure travelers.

 

GRR’s continued growth makes its commercial air service a key regional asset with extensive economic impact.

Seabrook Plastics

Norton Shores, Michigan

 

With more than 500 companies served by our organization on an annual basis, we strive to ensure local businesses have the tools and resources they need to be successful. Oftentimes, that includes connecting them with our strategic partners at The Center-West or Hello West Michigan.

 

Milacron DME was one of the companies served this year that took advantage of the strong partnerships at The Right Place. Having worked in the past with the team on an expansion project, Milacron DME reached out to us about their need to improve process flow, customer satisfaction, and organizational communication.

 

We introduced them to the experts The Center-West to assist with these needs. The team at The Center-West coordinated multiple lean training sessions, resulting in significant improvements for Milacron DME in employee retention, on-time delivery, and efficiency.

 

Assisting local companies forms the foundation of our work as the region’s leading economic development organization. We provide more than 1,500 value-added assists to companies each year, and these can be anything from making key supplier introductions to performing customized business research.

 

Peterson Farms, a fruit processing company and the largest employer in Oceana County, was one of the many companies we assisted this year. We worked to support Peterson Farms with a wide range of services, including providing resources to aid in the development and expansion of their childcare, apprenticeship, housing, and transportation initiatives. The Right Place also provided guidance to the Peterson Farms management team through a presentation on the best practices for attracting, retaining, and developing talent in rural communities.

 

These wraparound support services provided by The Right Place team assist Peterson Farms as they create innovative solutions to their rural workforce challenges and allow this family-owned company to keep doing one of the things they do best: providing quality job opportunities in the area.

Peterson Farms

Shelby, Michigan

 

Every economic development project completed, whether it’s a business expansion, attraction, or retention, adds significant value to the Greater Grand Rapids Region and the future of our economy.

 

The Allegiant Air expansion that took place at Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) was a project with multifaceted impact. Allegiant’s new base at GRR resulted in the creation of 66 jobs and a capital investment of $42 million.

 

In addition, the expanded routes increased the region’s accessibility for both business and leisure travelers.

 

GRR’s continued growth makes its commercial air service a key regional asset with extensive economic impact.

Nanda Fowler

Manager of Clinical Informatics

Metro Health 

ReThink West Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan

 

Our team hosted or supported more than 40 events throughout 2019. Countless hours are spent annually planning events that deliver thoughtful, valuable content to our investors and other members of the community.

 

Three times a year we host our Investor Breakfasts, which feature exclusive presentations on topics impacting the region’s economy. Our June breakfast featured a panel discussion centered around the importance of supplier diversity, providing insight on how and when companies can diversify not only their supply chain, but their business operations as a whole.

 

Each of the panelists tackled the topic of diversity in different capacities within their organizations, bringing unique perspectives to the morning’s discussion. Ultimately, investing in diversity and inclusion was positioned as not only the right thing to be doing, but also as one of the only ways our community will remain competitive and drive growth in the years to come.

Investor Breakfast

Grand Rapids, Michigan