top of page


Arrow Down

Letter from the CEO & Chair 

2022 was an exceptional year for The Right Place, and in turn our region, as we worked towards our vision of becoming a leading growth metro in the Midwest. We far surpassed the goals set within our three-year strategic plan for jobs, payroll, and capital investment. The team met with nearly 600 companies to deliver customized business assistance and supported $195M in new capital investment and the creation of 1,143 jobs in our region.


While exceeding our metrics, The Right Place also launched several new initiatives to increase prosperity and accelerate our regional economy. Notably, we collaborated with over 250 regional stakeholders to develop a 10 year-tech strategy. This strategy is designed to grow our region into a top tech hub in the Midwest with 20,000 new tech sector jobs in the next ten years. As part of this strategy, we launched the region’s first annual Tech Week event, which attracted 3,500+ attendees.


As we pursue these aggressive goals, we know achieving them will take an intentional effort to create communities where people want to build their lives. Given the importance of place in economic growth, we’ve doubled down on our placemaking efforts and secured $3.9M in grant funding for nine projects. Once completed, these projects will spur $10 million in investment across the region. We also hosted 140 people for Developer Day, a brand new event designed to give an inside look at emerging and transformative development-ready sites throughout growing communities in Kent County.


In addition to strengthening the region’s sense of place, our team also focused on the people who call our region home. Our goal is to create a community where everyone can reach their highest potential, and this year we built towards this vision via the launch of our Talent Pathways Program, which awarded $265,000 to 16 local manufacturing and tech companies. These grant dollars went to help their team members upskill and earn industry credentials. The team also began hosting a new workshop series, Talent Learning Labs, which provide actionable tactics to address the talent issues currently facing our region’s businesses.


These are just a few of the highlights from an outstanding year. The results detailed in this report would not be possible without your support, and we are grateful for your continued partnership and collaboration. As we close this chapter, our team is looking forward to continuing the momentum we’ve built into 2023 and beyond.

Tina Freese Decker

2022 Chair, The Right Place, Inc. 

President & CEO

Corewell Health

Randy Thelen

President & CEO

The Right Place, Inc. 

2022 Results


New Capital Investment


New and

Retained Jobs


New and Retained Payroll


Jobseeker and Talent Assists


Average Wages



Talent Learning Labs

The Talent team at The Right Place hosted two sold-out Talent Learning Labs, which are hands-on workshops to give companies actionable strategies for recruiting diverse talent. In 2023, they will be hosting several more on various topics that aim to support local HR teams. 

Talent Equipment Grants

We awarded $272,040 in grant awards to seven local training partners. These funds went to helping partners with talent enhancement, increasing talent productivity, and more. 

Rapid Roots

Hello West Michigan launched Rapid Roots, a program designed for newly transplanted executives to build ties to the community. The guided cohort explored history, culture and the people of West Michigan. 

Intern Connect

This year's intern connect attracted nearly 400 interns from over 50 local companies. Throughout the summer Hello West Michigan hosted four virtual connection events designed for interns to grow their networks..

ReThink West MI

The Right Place and Hello West Michigan hosted our 11th annual ReThink West Michigan event. This casual networking event attracts hundreds of candidates who are interested in moving back to West Michigan. 

Talent Pathways Program

We were awarded $265,000 in funding to distribute to 13 advanced manufacturing and tech companies. These funds are designed to help lower-wage employees earn career building industry certificates and training. 


Developer Day

Our Community Development Team launched its first ever Developer Day, a half-day event that brought together more than 140 attendees. Of the attendees, 20% were from outside the region and three were national real estate developers. The group toured 15 sites across the area, including Grandville, Plainfield, Gaines Township, Wyoming, and the City of Grand Rapids.  

Placemaking Grant

We assisted in funding nine placemaking projects, totaling $10 million in investment across the region, by securing a $3.6 million grant through the Revitalization and Placemaking Program. This program is tied to the American Rescue Plan. 

Industrial Site Readiness

With an extremely low industrial vacancy in the region, our team embarked on identifying as many potential development sites as possible. We narrowed down those 130 sites to 10 Tier 1 and Tier 2 sites across eight counties that total more than 1,400 acres. 

Marketing the Riverfront 

We're collaborating with the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., and Grand Action 2.0 on marketing this transformational redevelopment opportunity to national development firms. In 2022, we hosted several visits and tours from developers. 



Tech Week Grand Rapids

The Right Place partnered with organizations across the community to host the inaugural Tech Week Grand Rapids. The multi-day event showcased Greater Grand Rapids' vibrant tech community and thriving innovation scene. With 12 community partners, 11 events and more than 3.500 attendees, the week was a tremendous success. 

Tech Strategy Launch

We launched a 10-year tech strategy to bring tech jobs up to 10% of regional employment. Early action items include the launch of Tech Week, the East Kentwood Innovation Center, Tech showcases, a cyber co-op program with Davenport University, and beginning scouting trips in Silicon Valley. 

HOLO Footwear

We assisted HOLO with moving their HQ from Portland OR to Grand Rapids, creating 61 jobs and generating $1.6M in capital investment.


Twisthink expanded into the MSU Innovation Park in downtown Grand Rapids. This move will create $2.2 million in capital investment and 37 new jobs. 

West Contract Manufacturing

West Contract Manufacturing will be expanding its current location in Walker. The Right Place assisted with the project, which will create 200 jobs and generate $38.7 million in new capital investment. 


Greece-based snack food manufacturer, SnackCraft, will build its first North American facility in Kentwood. This project will create 185 new jobs and $41.75M in new capital investment.

Tecnoform Expansion

Cascade Township will be the new location for the North American headquarters of Tecnoform USA, a subsidiary of an Italy-based family-owned manufacturer of upscale furnishings for recreational vehicles. The attraction project will result in 130 new jobs and $7.3M in new capital investment. 

Industry 4.0 Grants

We received $588,235 in funding to support Industry 4.0 preparedness and implementation  in our region's advanced manufacturers.

Strategic Plan Results


2022 marked the end of our 3-year strategic plan.
You can view our new 2023-2025 Strategic Plan here. 

GOAL: 3,400
New and Retained Jobs


RESULT: 3,687
GOAL: $184M
New and Retained Payroll


GOAL: $500M
New Capital Investment




The Right Place is staffed by a skilled team of economic development and business professionals.

View a list of our team here.

Staff Retreat Staff Photo.jpg




Tina Freese Decker*

President & CEO,

Corewell Health



Bill Pink, PhD*


Ferris State University



Steve Downing*

President & CEO,

Gentex Corporation

Stephen M. Abbott – JPMorgan Chase

Sara Armbruster – Steelcase, Inc.

Rick Baker – Grand Rapids Chamber

Norman J. Beauchamp Jr.*, MD MHS – Michigan State University

Matt Biersack, MD – Trinity Health

Luke Cherveny – PwC

Jeffrey L. Connolly – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Michael Davenport – Jireh Metal Products, Inc.

Ronald G. DeWaard – Varnum LLP

Jim Dillard – Perrigo Company plc

Katie Ferris – BDO

Krista Flynn – PNC Bank

Patrick Greene – Cascade Die Cast Group Inc.

Joi Harris – DTE Energy

Nick Hrnyak – Lacks Enterprises

Joshua Hulst – Michigan Software Labs

John Kennedy – Autocam Medical

Blake W. Krueger* – Wolverine Worldwide

Charles Lott – Wells Fargo

Dr. Philomena Mantella* – Grand Valley State University

Michael P. McGee – Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone PLC 

Hank Meijer – Meijer, Inc.

Andi Owen – MillerKnoll

Milind Pant – Amway Corporation

Richard J. Pappas Ed.D – Davenport University

John C. Porterfield – Comerica Bank

Julie Rietberg – Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors

Garrick J. Rochow* – Consumers Energy Company

Tony Sarsam – SpartanNash

Darrel Schmalzel – City of Walker

Renee C. Tabben* – Bank of America

Jim Teets* – ADAC Automotive

Randy Thelen – The Right Place, Inc.

David Van Andel* – Van Andel Institute

Al Vanderberg – Kent County

Mike VanGessel – Rockford Construction

Mark Washington – City of Grand Rapids

Mark J. Wassink – Warner, Norcross & Judd LLP

Thomas G. Welch, Jr. – Fifth Third Bank

Sean P. Welsh* – PNC Bank

Bob Wolford – Miller Johnson

*Executive Committee Member



We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to our new and renewing investors of 2022.

Through your investment, we have been able to accomplish many things in the last year. With your unwavering support we are able to continue our work to create a sustainable and thriving economy for all in the Greater Grand Rapids region.


To view our investors, visit

bottom of page