DETROIT – A new organization dedicated to spurring job growth in Southeastern Michigan has been launched and has hired its first CEO. Barry Matherly will join the group, transitioning from his role as president and CEO of a similar initiative in Virginia, and will lead the effort to ensure that Southeast Michigan’s 11 counties are served by a well-funded, world-class business attraction initiative.
“The goal of this new organization is to develop a strategic and comprehensive strategy to market our region to out-of-state and international companies and build on the region’s momentum and recovery by attracting investment and jobs that will add vitality to our communities,” said Gerry Anderson, DTE Energy Chairman and CEO, and chair of the new economic development entity.
“Many regions formed dedicated, sophisticated organizations like this a decade ago; it’s time for us to develop major marketing muscle for our area. We’re excited about launching this work and are excited about the person we’ve chosen as its first CEO.”
The new group selected a CEO with a proven track record in economic development. Barry Matherly will join the nonprofit from Richmond, Virginia, where he was the President and CEO of the regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and the counties that surround it in Virginia. Matherly, who has an extensive career in regional economic development that includes positions in numerous regional economic development organizations, will begin work in January 2019.
“The economy of Southeastern Michigan is continuing to grow with many local success stories throughout the region,” Matherly said. “Creating a new regional organization to better market this success and drive increased growth is very exciting. I can’t wait to get started.”
“Barry comes to our region with an established track-record of driving international investments and recruitment of companies and jobs to Richmond,” said Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber and a member of the new entity’s board. “I look forward to working collaboratively with Barry to drive increased investments and jobs for the 11-county region we represent.”
Joining Anderson and Baruah on the board, which will be expanded over time to include broad private sector leadership, are the following public sector leaders:
- Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
- Wayne County Executive Warren Evans
- Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel
- Phil Bertolini, Oakland County Deputy Executive/CIO, advisory role
“Our economic growth as a region has been good, but this new organization can help us lead the nation in regional investment and job growth,” said Hackel.
Mayor Duggan agreed: “Regionally we have landed many exciting new businesses and jobs and this organization will drive even more investment and employment. In attracting new investments and jobs to the region, this is an important step forward.” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans added, “This new effort will put us in the business attraction game in a way we just haven’t been. Given all the assets we have to market around as a region, it’s going to be exciting to see what possibilities this new organization can help bring to reality.”