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Networks Northwest CEO Asks Partners to Begin Planning for Economic Recovery After COVID-19

March 18, 2020


The economic and social disruption of this public health crisis is unprecedented.  I know each of us have been at a feverish pace to ensure the safety and security of our families, organizations, and community.  While proud of what we have accomplished as a region thus far, this is just the beginning. 

I have been looking at the most recent county-level employment and unemployment numbers and our unemployment rate has dramatically increased. This and other ripple effects of key policy decisions are now being felt in our businesses, communities, and in our homes. The economic challenges presented by these decisions will only increase and compound in the weeks and months to come. Our resiliency is being tested.

Therefore, I believe it is incumbent upon us to begin the process of preparing for our shared economic rebound. Everyone will play a part to be sure, but this message is directed to those organizations in the region that will likely play a forward role in how Northwest Michigan achieves its eventual recovery.  

Northwest Michigan has always found its strength in collaboration.  Now is no different, as I am asking each of you to consider the following: 

  1. Help author an open letter to our communities committing our time and resources to economic recovery,
  2. Commit staff leadership toward discussions around strategies and collaborative programming to best propel the region and its communities out of this temporary economic downturn, and
  3. Collaborate on the creation and dissemination of a region-wide, macro-level economic recovery and development framework. 

I know this request comes at a time when a great deal of uncertainty remains. Having known and worked with all of you, I also know your intrinsic desire to serve our communities- especially in times of need. Together we can put that to work, cooperating with purpose toward crafting an economic recovery framework worthy of the residents and businesses of Northwest Michigan. I can also foresee similar efforts being coordinated at a sub-regional/county/community level by local organizations. Economic recovery, like economic development, will be defined by the concerted efforts of organizations and communities to help create the conditions for business and talent expansion.

Thank you for your consideration to "sign on" and I look forward to working with you on this important first step.

-Matt McCauley
CEO, Networks Northwest

Networks Northwest always proves to be a valued resource for our local government planning efforts. No organization does a better job of convening partners, promoting collaboration, and reporting on the data than does Networks Northwest
- Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner