Successful projects lead to promotion for Julie Burrell.
Economic Development is more than a jobs program, it’s an investment in growing the community’s wealth and resources and enhancing the prosperity and quality of life for all residents.
Several years ago Newaygo County partnered with The Right Place to provide such activities in our area. The Grand Rapids based organization brought a successful track record of bringing sustainable economic growth to the West Michigan region.
In 2018 The Right Place hired Hesperia native Julie Burrell who assumed the role of Business Development Coordinator for our county focusing on business retention expansion and attraction. Since then Ms. Burrell has provided direction and leadership on many projects including expansions at HarbisonWalker in White Cloud and Gerber Products in Fremont. Her ability to develop collaborative partnerships helped with community development projects such as the expanded housing development in Newaygo.
The Right Place has recognized these efforts and promoted Julie to Business Development Manager.
We caught up with a busy Ms. Burrell to offer our congrats and pose a few questions
N3- How will your new role be different from your current activities?
Much of my day to day remains the same, my #1 focus is retaining, expanding and attracting new businesses to Newaygo County. However, there will be an added focus in regional collaboration with the rural counties The Right Place serves, especially focusing on entrepreneurship development.
N3- How has being from NC impacted your role at RP?
Being from Newaygo County gives great insight to the needs of the community, helps to establish relationships with business leaders and allows me to combine my passion for my own community with my professional career. I’m not just doing the job and going home to another region, I am able to live and breathe Newaygo County. Even though I do live on the Oceana County side of Hesperia, I shop, bank, volunteer & send my kids to school in Newaygo County.
N3- What are the challenges that lie ahead for NC?
As we recover from the pandemic, this is a great opportunity to focus on growth. During the past year, professionals in large cities are realizing they don’t have to deal with traffic every day to do their jobs. I think we’ll see more folks choosing to live in rural communities like ours, where they can walk outside to experience adventures every day, instead of just on vacations. Our biggest challenge in realizing all of this potential comes from a lack of infrastructure, specifically broadband. Working remotely is pretty difficult with a sub-par connection. Several local leaders are working on changing this, but it is a big undertaking. Another challenge is just getting ourselves out there. Companies look to expand every day, but they typically focus on population density, proximity to airports, highways, etc… Promoting our assets is a big part of my job, along with collaborating with my colleagues at The Right Place.
N3- What do you see as the economic strengths in the region?
As a region, we are home to global companies, we have diverse communities, and strong leadership. This all puts us in a great position to continue growing our existing businesses and attracting new ones. Collaboration is key to our continued success.
N3- Anything currently in the works?
I’m currently working a few open projects (all confidential for now!), planning the 2021 Newaygo County Economic Outlook event, and developing the 2021 entrepreneur programming for Newaygo County. Save the date for Pitch North 2021 – June 8!
N3- Anything to add?
Our work wouldn’t be possible without our investors – if you run across any of these Newaygo County investors, be sure to tell them “Thanks!”
• Bridgeton Township
• Bucher Hydraulics
• City of Fremont
• City of Grant
• City of White Cloud & DDA
• Compass Credit Union
• Consumers Energy
• County of Newaygo
• Croton Township
• David M. Byrne Attorney at Law
• DTE Energy
• Everett Township
• Fremont Area Community Foundation
• Garfield Township
• Gerber Federal Credit Union
• Gerber Life Insurance
• Goodwell Township
• H&S Companies
• Mighty Lube Systematic Lubrication
• Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency
• White Insurance Agency