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MEDC Looks Ahead To Keep ‘Team Michigan’ Competitive

June 14, 2022

Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) head Quentin Messer Jr. told MIRS more investments are necessary to keep Michigan competitive, and “there better be more coming if I want to keep my job.” 

In the wake of a $2 billion Ford investment that Messer called a “huge win for team Michigan” on the MIRS Monday podcast, the chief executive officer and president of the MEDC is already thinking about what’s next.

But he’s not saying much. 

When asked about specific companies the MEDC is in contact with, Messer likened his approach to a football play caller holding the call sheet over their mouth. 

He said the competition for investment is stiff, both across the 50 states and internationally. 

But “there are very few states that can compete with our quality of place,” Messer said. 

He referenced Michigan’s two peninsulas, access to 20% of the world’s freshwater, agricultural diversity, leading research universities and 17 Fortune 500 companies as factors that boost Michigan ahead of other surrounding Great Lakes states. 

Messer said he doesn’t speculate on where the state measures up to others. 

Instead, “I want to focus on what we can control,” he said. 

That includes the Legislature, which Messer said is making progress and having good conversations.

Again, he held specifics close to the chest, but cited the Ford investment as an example of “when Michiganders come together to solve problems in a bipartisan way.” 

Messer also said that Gov. Gretchen Whitmerhas requested an additional $500 million for the state’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve fund to promote future investments. 

In the meantime, he said small and local investment projects are near constant. 

“There are countless opportunities that get funded on a monthly basis from the Michigan Strategic Fund that don’t always get the press,” he said, “but they are significant projects in their local communities.” 

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