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Client Profile - Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership

Updated: Jan 26

By RDG Senior Counsel Rob Radcliff

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”

-Henry Ford

This is the first in a series of client profiles of organizations with which RDG has had the pleasure to work with over the past 26 years. We will be highlighting key leaders in organizations of all shapes and sizes – Chambers, Economic Development Organizations, and other types of public-private partnerships.

RDG first worked with the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP) in 2003 when they launched their first outreach to attain private sector investment. At the time, SEDP was an operating division of the local Chamber of Commerce, subsequently spinning out to form an independent, free-standing EDC. RDG has managed five engagements with SEDP, enjoying a very productive relationship with the organization, its volunteer leadership and its initial and long-time Executive Director, Justin Horvath. As a life-long Ohio State Buckeye, it took me a while to warm up to this Michigan Wolverine but I am glad I did!

1. What was your first job?

I was very entrepreneurial in my teenage years, selling toys (action figures) on something new at the time called “The Internet”.

2. What was the last book you finished?

Good to Great – Jim Collins

3. What was the last movie you saw in theaters?

“The Way Back” with Ben Affleck – it has been a while due to the pandemic.

4. When you were a child, what did you want to be as an adult?

I’ve always been a “live in the moment” guy, and never really thought about a career when I was a child. This actually continued through college, as I believed the right opportunity would present itself when I was ready. It finally did with a graduate school internship at a startup economic development organization, and 20 years later I’m still here.

5. What was your favorite College class and why?

A values & ethics course when I was in a Master’s program of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. I knew my integrity was the most important thing to me in life, but it helped me understand how to use in my professional career.

6. If you could only pick one hobby that you enjoy, what would it be?

Going to Michigan football games in Ann Arbor – Go Blue!

7. What is your favorite thing to do on weekends?

In the fall, watching Michigan football, in the winter, watching Michigan basketball, in the spring and summer, golf at my country club.

8. What is your favorite place to vacation?

I don’t vacation nearly enough, but I really enjoy Washington DC & New York City.

9. Who is an important mentor and what is something they taught you?

Bruce Cook, who helped recruit me to attend the University of Michigan and has supported me during my entire economic development career. At age 93, he still comes into the office every day and is so passionate about helping our community succeed. So many lessons from him over the years, but he really shows why that once you find a job you love, you’ll never work another day, so don’t settle for anything less. I’ve been blessed to find that doing economic development.

10. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?

On the personal side, it has to be my parents because they are the two most important people in the world to me. If it is work-related, I always enjoy spending time with the RDG team!

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