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MCPED Director Vicky Rowinski on Economic Development Week 2024

When I was a little girl I wanted to buy up old houses and restore them to their original glory. Something in me saw past the old sunken porches, broken windows and tattered paint. I saw the potential of bringing these lost homes back to life. I wanted to not only restore them, but the sense of community that surrounded it. However, fixing the house was not addressing the root problem - what caused an entire community to abandon its neighborhood? 

Fast forward to today, and I realize much of this is answered in the field of economic development. 

The practice of economic development is oftentimes measured by business retention and attraction projects, capital investments and job creation. These are key metrics of economic growth but the strategic approach is much more finite and is based on human and social principles. It's about people.

In our circles, we focus on building relationships first -- the public and private partnerships will follow. It's about aligning with workforce development and academia, it's about leveraging non-profits and chambers of commerce, it's guiding developers through the red tape, it's supporting the business owners who are natural entrepreneurs and willing to take on risk. And it's about cultivating the talent to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. 

Ultimately, in our ecosystem, we all strive for economic prosperity -- the end game. In order to create the thriving community we envision, it is important we understand our history, the economic landscape as it currently exists and more importantly, the potential for our future. It takes alignment with many like-minded and spirited people to make this happen. 

As the director of planning and economic development, I am fortunate to lead a team of passionate individuals that drive our economic development engine here in Macomb County. Our community planning group focuses on master planning, future land use and understanding regulations. Our parks and natural resources group enhances our quality of life through conservation, preservation and recreation. Our mapping and data team guides us in our decision making strategy using spatial technology and storyboards. Our administration team maintains our checks and balances and is the first line of support. Our business development team are the boots on the ground, building relationships with our business community. And our marketing team helps promote all that we can offer to make Macomb County a great place to live, work, play and build a business. We all touch economic development differently but sync together on our overall mission.

This week is about recognizing those who lead and execute economic development strategies and also those that work behind the scenes. Creating community is intentional and it is hard work. Thank you to all who see the big vision and bring your heart to Macomb County everyday. You are the change agent and the difference maker.

Our communities do not falter but flourish because of people like you.

Vicky Rowinski is the director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.

Department:Macomb Business