EDA University Center for
Regional Economic Innovation

REI Announces 2018 Project Awardees

Posted Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thank you to all who applied to be a part of this year’s REI projects! Over the last several months, we at REI have been hard at work searching for individuals who can further our goal of finding, cultivating, and disseminating innovative ideas that create new jobs, drive economic growth, and discover new development tools. We are excited to announce that we have found such individuals, and they will be leading the 2018 series of Co-Learning Plans, Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Projects, and Innovation Fellows Program!

Our Co-Learning Plan awardees are: John Austin of the Michigan Economic Center and Dayne Walling from Performance 21 will examine the implementation or lack of implementation of municipal Master Plans and Capital Improvement Plans in Michigan and the ways these tools could optimize public infrastructure systems. Meleena Herring and Joe Carr, will analyze the fashion industry and how communities could best capture and retain fashion related talent and skills, and in the process produce new companies and jobs. Tony Willis, will be studying the economic impact of startup accelerator programs in Michigan. Dong Zhao, will analyze the possible effects of a robust electric-vehicle charging infrastructure in the state of Michigan to provide valuable policy insight to the Michigan automobile industry.

Our Innovation Fellow awardees: Laleah Fernandez, who will be cultivating strategies to improve awareness, consensus building, and action related to current topics of policy importance for economic development in Network and Digital Media Strategies for Mobilization toward Policy Change, and Rita Fields, who will be analyzing the components and economic implications of Detroit’s underground economy in Exploring the Underground Economy in Detroit.

Our Student-Led Faculty-Guided Projects are the City of Durand Downtown Economic Development Enhancement Strategy and the Village of Sebewaing Sea Kayaking and Recreation Study, both led by students from MSU’s School of Planning Design and Construction. An Assessment of the Maker Economy in Detroit, will be led by a student team from Wayne State University and guided by Professor Robin Boyle; and finally a Big-Box Converted to Co-op feasibility study, led by a student team from Alma College and guided by Dr. Edward C. Lorenz.

We look forward to seeing our awardee’s work and being able to share it with you! Be sure to follow the REI site over the next several months to see the results!