Michigan economic development leader gets new contract

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — The Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s executive committee has approved a new four-year contract to have Quentin Messer Jr. continue leading the quasi-governmental organization tasked with attracting jobs and businesses to the state.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office announced Messer's deal in a press release on Tuesday. The MEDC's executive committee initially chose Messer for the position in 2021. He previously served as the leader of the New Orleans Business Alliance.

“Director Messer brings an incredible dedication to delivering impact and opportunity to people across Michigan through the economic development efforts of MEDC and Team Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “He’s used our powerful, bipartisan economic development tools to bring home over $13 billion in investment and secure nearly 13,000 jobs."

Quentin Messer Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is interviewed by Detroit News senior editor/business & columnist Daniel Howes during a Jan. 12 Detroit Economic Club meeting at the MotorCity Casino in Detroit.

The MEDC didn't immediately release the details of Messer's new contract Tuesday afternoon. But a four-year contract extension would keep Messer at the top of the MEDC for the remainder of Whitmer's second term in office. The state constitution limits governors to serving two, four-year terms.

Messer has played a key role in Michigan's attempt to secure new manufacturing investments as the automobile industry transitions to producing more electric vehicles.

In January 2022, the state won a $7 billion investment from General Motors for electric vehicle and battery production at four Michigan sites with plans to create 4,000 new jobs.

Messer and Whitmer worked with state lawmakers to launch a new incentive program called the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund (SOAR), which allows officials to offer direct financial aid to lure companies and improve sites for the projects.

The Michigan Strategic Fund's board awarded GM and its battery partner LG Energy Solution $666 million in cash incentives from the SOAR fund for their development in the state.

In June, Whitmer and other state leaders announced an agreement with Ford that would require the automaker to spend $2 billion on five of its Metro Detroit manufacturing facilities and create 3,200 jobs in exchange for $100.8 million in SOAR funds.

SOAR money also is expected to assist a $3.6 billion project by Gotion, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese electric vehicle battery company, near Big Rapids.

Messer said Tuesday the state had "made a lot of progress and we embrace the challenge of completing the remaining work."

“I am humbled by the opportunity to continue to serve Michigan in the best job and on the best team in economic development alongside my colleagues here at the MEDC,” Messer added.


Staff Writers Beth LeBlanc, Kalea Hall and Riley Beggin contributed.