Greater Muskegon Economic Development appoints new CEO after 3-year reorganization

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The Muskegon County Economic Development Organization has named Marla Schneider as its new president and CEO following a three-year restructuring the organization undertook to attract new funders and revamp strategic planning. .

Schneider succeeds Jim Edmonson, who was hired in 2019 to help implement Greater Muskegon Economic Development(GMED) three-year transition plan. Schneider will take up his new role on June 1.

Marla Schneider
COURTESY PHOTO

“I am impressed not only by the area’s natural attractions, but also by the rigorous efforts to redevelop the downtown area into an active and modern destination,” Schneider said in a statement. “Muskegon County has an abundance of community assets that are critical to our ability to attract and retain talented workers. I am extremely excited to partner with leaders, stakeholders and residents to make Muskegon County an even more attractive place for economic development projects. »

The transition plan that Edmonson helped oversee included a late 2020 rebranding from Muskegon Area First to Greater Muskegon Economic Development as well as restructuring the board of directors to include more private sector members.

Edmonson said MiBiz in January that the organization has secured more than $1 million in fundraising over the past three years, which doubled the organization’s budget by approximately $500,000 before the restructuring.

GMED Chairman of the Board, Tom Zant, said the search committee was impressed with Schneider’s marketing skills and experience in community engagement.

Schneider spent a decade working as vice president of marketing and communications for Greater Fort Wayne Inc., the economic development organization for the Fort Wayne/Allen County area of ​​Indiana. She was also president of Three Rivers Distilling Co. in Fort Wayne.

“We could see right away that Marla has a vision to expand GMED’s visibility in the community,” Zant said in a statement. “This is an important step for us after focusing on reorganization for the past two years. We are also confident in his ability to develop a long-term strategic plan for the continued success and expansion of Muskegon County businesses.

Originally established in 1999, GMED recently launched a food processing incubator as well as a strategic community plan for Muskegon Heights to help launch the city’s downtown development authority.

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