From The Ground Up: Feat. Michael Langley of Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership

Michael Langley is the founding CEO of GREATER MSP, the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership. GREATER MSP leads global promotion, regional strategy, and project management for economic growth and job creation in the Minneapolis Saint Paul region, with 3.5 million residents and a Gross Metropolitan Product of over $230 Billion. He brings years of experience to the role as a widely recognized  economic  development  strategist  who  has  also  led  successful  regional economic  development organizations in Florida and Pennsylvania.

Prior to becoming an economic development practitioner, Michael led a successful corporate career, spent primarily in the technology sector working in leadership positions for a number of Westinghouse/CBS  divisions, including  serving  as  President  and  CEO  of  Westinghouse  Audio  Intelligence Devices, Inc., a world leader in wireless surveillance technology.

Michael served as a Navy pilot with more than 5,000 hours of flight and crew time on surveillance and intelligence missions worldwide and as a technology analyst on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. Michael’s community service includes leadership on the Board of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropolitan State University Foundation Board of Trustees, the Super Bowl LII Host Committee Executive Board, the NAIOP Board of Directors, and the Board of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Mike earned a MS in information systems from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate in Humanities by American Intercontinental University for his work in community improvement.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Jim Staton of Indiana Economic Development Corporation

Jim Staton has been involved with Indiana’s business community for over 25 years. He is responsible for promoting the State of Indiana and its economic development incentive programs to companies looking to establish or expand their presence in the state.

Jim currently serves as Director of the Central Region for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), which focuses on thirty-three counties in central Indiana. In addition to developing and maintaining partnerships with businesses and community organizations, Staton collaborates with local economic development officials, consultants and utilities on economic development projects. He facilitates the delivery of IEDC services and programs, including business development and small business programs. Prior to leading the Central Region, Jim served as Director of IEDC’s Northwest Office and as Business Recruitment Director, North America. During his tenure with IEDC Staton has logged over 250 accepted deals that resulted in several thousand job commitments and well over $7 billion in capital investment.

Prior to his arrival at IEDC, Staton was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Jasper County Industrial Foundation in Rensselaer, Ind. During his time there, the organization developed five industrial parks, attracted 11 major employers and processed 20 expansion projects which resulted in over $300 million in new private investment and the creation of over 1,700 jobs. He served his then home town of DeMotte, Ind., where he held positions of Town Councilman, Street Commissioner, Police Commissioner and Plan Commission and BZA Member. Staton began his formal economic development career with the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission as an Economic Development Planner/Grants Specialist.

In addition to his responsibilities at IEDC, Staton has been active in a variety of community activities including sitting on the boards of several economic development organizations, including the Northwest Indiana Forum and the Regional Development Company. Additionally, Staton has served in a variety of community activities including; Junior Achievement, Rotary, local Chambers of Commerce, Jasper County Library Board, and several local sports leagues.

Staton, a native of Hartford City, Ind., earned dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Environmental Design and Urban Planning from Ball State University.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Charisse Bodisch of Austin Chamber of Commerce

Charisse Bodisch is a Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Charisse is an experienced Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) specializing in the recruitment and expansion of companies to the Greater Austin, Texas Region. Charisse has over 27 years of experience in economic development and is able to provide all economic development services including assistance with site selection and guidance with potential incentives through local and state entities.

Prior to assuming this role, Charisse was a Vice President with the Austin Chamber, executive director and chief executive officer of the Allen Economic Development Corporation and also held a position as the vice president of marketing for the McKinney Economic Development Corporation.

Charisse holds a Bachelor degree from Kilgore College.


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From The Ground Up: Feat. Becca Hardin of Bay County Economic Development Alliance

Becca Hardin is the President at the Bay County Economic Development Alliance(EDA). Becca joined the Bay EDA in October, of 2014, as Senior Vice President and was named Interim President in November when it was announced that then Executive Director, Neal Wade, had accepted an opportunity with the University of Alabama.

Becca moved to Bay County from Columbus, Georgia where she gained over 14 years of experience in economic development, with 13 of those years as Executive Vice President of the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Becca has a B.S. degree from Troy University with a double major in Broadcast Journalism and Public Relations.


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From The Ground Up: Feat. Chris Camacho of Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Chris Camacho is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council where he manages the organizations domestic and international strategies to build a more diverse economy in Metropolitan Phoenix.

Prior to becoming President, Chris was the executive Vice President of business development where he oversaw business development efforts with particular expertise in renewable energy, emerging technology, tax policy and international economic development. Chris managed the domestic and international strategies in attracting new industry to the market.

Chris has held leadership roles in several strategic councils within the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Chris also served as president of the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED) and has been named Economic Developer of the Year. He is involved in community non-profits including Chicanos Por La Casa, and sits on the boards for the Arizona Business Education Coalition, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Valley of the Sun United Way and the International Economic Development Council.

Chris received his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Southern Illinois University and his Masters in Public Administration, Public Policy, and Tax Analysis. Chris also obtained his Economic Development Certification from the University of Oklahoma.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Laura Brandt of Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation

Laura is the Director of Economic Development for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. Laura assists with prospects, research and business recruitment and retention.

Since joining the Metro Denver EDC, Laura has worked on a variety of office and industrial projects including Vestas, DaVita, Lockheed Martin, Fidelity, Ardent Mills and Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company. Prior to joining the Metro Denver EDC, Laura was an Economic Development Specialist for the City of Lakewood for six years. While at Lakewood, Laura coordinated the creation of two urban renewal districts and the relocation of more than 50 businesses that were displaced by the $750 million Belmar redevelopment. Laura brings more than 30 years’ experience in economic development, community organization, and marketing to the Metro Denver EDC.

Laura received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Holly Schroeder of Santa Clarita Economic Development Corporation

Holly Schroeder currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation (SCVEDC). Holly is responsible for overseeing all operations of the SCVEDC which provides an integrated approach to attracting, retaining and expanding a diversity of business and industry in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Prior to her current position, Holly was the Chief Executive Officer at Building Industry Association – Los Angeles/Ventura. Holly was responsible for all aspects of daily operations of the non-profit association in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Holly has been named as Santa Clarita Valley’s 51 Most Influential People for two years straight. Holly was also awarded the D. Gregg Brown Memorial President’s Award and the Executive Officer of the Year award by the Building Industry Association of Southern California. Holly has published articles in a wide variety of publications and is very active volunteering in her community.

Holly received her Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry and French from St. Olaf College and her Masters of Science in interdisciplinary studies: applied information management from the University of Oregon.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Steven Johnson of Missouri Partnership

Steven Johnson was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Missouri Partnership in April, 2015. Steve directs the Partnership’s marketing and business recruitment teams, working in close cooperation with the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Hawthorne Foundation.

Prior to working with the Missouri Partnership, Steven led regional economic development initiatives in communities throughout the Midwest and Southeast. Most recently, he joined the St. Louis Regional Chamber in 2004 where he served as the Executive Vice President of Economic Development and Market Strategies. Steven previously served in leadership positions with the Kansas City Area Development Council, as well as chambers of commerce in Mobile, Alabama, and Jefferson City, Missouri, his hometown.

Steven received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Harding University in Arkansas.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Chris Chung of Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

Christopher Chung joined the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) as chief executive officer. As a public-private partnership, the EDPNC performs a number of economic development functions on behalf of the State of North Carolina, including new business recruitment, existing business support, international trade and export assistance, small business start-up counseling, and tourism, sports, and film promotion. Chris has a staff of more than 60 professionals and an annual operating budget of $19 million and is focused on advancing the economic interests of North Carolina’s 100 counties and 10 million residents.

Prior to joining EDPNC, in 2007 Chris served the Missouri Partnership as the public-private, non-profit corporation’s first chief executive officer. In addition to leading the organization through its initial start-up phase, Chris directed the Partnership’s efforts to market Missouri for new business investment and recruit new corporate operations. During his tenure, the Missouri Partnership helped to recruit major facility investments by IBM, CertainTeed, Yanfeng Automotive Systems, Blue Buffalo Pet Foods, KWS Saat AG, and Aviation Technical Services. Chris also previously served as Manager of the State of Ohio’s Office of Business Development, managing an $80 million annual incentives budget and leading Ohio’s front-line sales force dedicated to attracting new business investment and job creation to the state. Prior to that, Chris held various positions in corporate site selection and special projects management, assisting companies considering Ohio for new facilities.

Chris was dubbed a “rising star” last year by Development Counsellors International, which named him among the industry’s “Top 40 Under 40.” In addition, Chris serves as a board of director for the International Economic Development Council and the North Carolina Economic Developers Association.

Chris holds a degree in economics and Japanese from The Ohio State University, where he also completed significant post-graduate course work towards a Master of Arts in public policy and Management from the OSU John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Jim Flanagan of DeSoto County Economic Development Council

Jim is currently the President and CEO of the Desoto County Economic Development Council where he focuses on their mission to facilitate, promote and provide effective, unified leadership for economic development and improved quality of life in DeSoto County.

Jim worked as a planning and landscape design consultant in Clarksdale, Mississippi, before becoming planning director and eventually executive director of North Delta Planning and Development District.

He became executive director of the DeSoto County Economic Development Council in 1988 and served in that capacity until 1994, when he accepted a new position as president of the Jackson, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce. In 1996 Flanagan returned to the DeSoto Council as president and CEO.

Jim has won numerous awards, including being selected as The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi’s Community Star man of the year award in 2011 for going above and beyond to bring opportunity to his community. In addition, he is responsible for the creation and management of DeSoto Leadership 2000 and the restructuring and administration of DeSoto County Foundation for Excellence in Education, which provides grants to teachers. He was also able to achieve the adoption of the DeSoto County Greenways Plan through the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors.

Jim earned his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and master’s degree in urban and regional planning from University of Mississippi.