Why Greater Grand Rapids

Why Greater Grand Rapids

Centrally located between Chicago and Detroit, Grand Rapids is Michigan's second-largest city and the urban center of a growing region home to more than 1.5 million people and counting.

Companies from around the world have chosen Greater Grand Rapids not only for its proximity to major markets and affordable commercial space, but also for its highly qualified workforce.

A combination of outstanding jobs, educational opportunities, health care, and affordable housing are just a few of the reasons why Greater Grand Rapids attracts young professionals from around the globe.

West Michigan Overview

Download our West Michigan Overview brochure to learn more about why the Greater Grand Rapids Region is the best place to live, work and play.

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Connect with our Business Development Team

Jakob Bigard

Jakob Bigard

Executive Director, Montcalm Economic Alliance

Jakob serves as Executive Director of the Montcalm Economic Alliance. In this role, he provides business support services to prospective and existing companies in Montcalm County. Jakob works to continually improve the overall economic state of the county through the lens of people, place, and prosperity.

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Curtis Burdette

Executive Director, Oceana County Economic Alliance

Curtis serves as the Economic Development Director for the Oceana County Economic Alliance. In this role, he provides business support services to companies in Oceana County.

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Julie Burrell

Senior Economic Development Director - Newaygo County

Julie serves as the Senior Economic Development Director for the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership. In this role, she provides business support services to companies in Newaygo County.

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Brent Case

Vice President, Business Development

Brent works to recruit new business investment and jobs to the region. He also assists West Michigan companies during the decision-making portion of the expansion process to outline the benefits of growing locally as opposed to out-of-state.

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Eric Icard

Senior Director of Business Development

Eric provides retention and expansion assistance to Right Place clients. He provides site location assistance to national and international life sciences firms. He also serves as the facilitator for the MiDevice group.


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Kristi Lucas Zimmerman

Kristi Lucas-Zimmerman

Economic Development Director, Chamber Alliance of Mason County

Kristi serves as the Economic Development Director of the Chamber Alliance of Mason County. In this role, she provides business support services to prospective and existing companies. She works to improve the overall economic state of Mason County through business retention, expansion, and attraction. Additionally, Kristi facilitates community development and is currently working on housing and trails initiatives for Mason County.

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Jodi Nichols

Executive Director, Lake County Economic Development Alliance

Jodi serves as the Executive Director of the Lake County Economic Development Alliance. In this role, she provides business support services to prospective and existing employers and leads critical community development initiatives to improve the overall state of the county and community’s quality of life.

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Tristan Reuben

Business Development Coordinator

Tristan is a Business Development Coordinator at The Right Place. He works with companies in Kent County on expansion and retention projects, while additionally providing site selection services to companies looking to come to West Michigan.

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Jennifer Wangler

Vice President, Technology | Director, Technology Council of West Michigan

Jennifer provides retention and expansion assistance to Right Place clients in Kent County and site location assistance to national and international IT and tech companies. She also serves as the Director for the Technology Council of West Michigan.

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Kelly Wawsczyk

Executive Director, Mecosta County Development Corporation

Kelly serves as the Executive Director for the Mecosta County Development Corporation. In this role, she leads the promotion of economic development in Mecosta County through the attraction, retention and expansion of business and industry.

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Ryan Wilson

Executive Director, Ionia County Economic Alliance

Ryan provides leadership in the development and implementation of economic development initiatives focused on People, Place, and Prosperity and in alignment with both local needs and regional strategies.

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Quality of Life in Greater Grand Rapids

Our community boasts a strong economy paired with low cost of living, making it an ideal place to start a career and raise a family,

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Regional Talent

Greater Grand Rapids is a thriving regional economy with access to a robust talent pipeline. The region is home to more than 20 colleges and universities, and its workforce is comprised of motivated, innovative and highly-skilled professionals.

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Business Advantage

Our business and community leaders have set in motion an unprecedented level of growth and investment, cementing our place as a world-class center for technology, advanced manufacturing, health sciences and medical devices, and food processing & agribusiness.

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