Governor Announces Lansing Regional SmartZone Open for High-Tech Business

Contact: Mike Shore 517-335-4590

January 31, 2006

First Consortium Members Announced at Lansing Event

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today announced the final development agreement for the Lansing Regional SmartZone and announced the initial members of its governing consortium. MEDC President Jim Epolito joined Michigan State University President Lou Ann Simon and local officials today for the announcement.
“Bringing high-tech businesses, and the jobs they create, to Michigan is critical to strengthening our economy and staying competitive in a 21st century economy,” Granholm said.  “The Lansing Regional SmartZone will be a huge asset to Mid-Michigan and the entire state.”
The opening of the Lansing regional zone completes the network of 11 SmartZone technology clusters around Michigan.  The SmartZones were established to foster collaborations between industry and universities aimed at the commercialization of research. Since the inception of the SmartZones program in 2002, more than 315 businesses have located or expanded in the zones, resulting in more than 4,500 jobs and $600 million in private investment.
“The Lansing Regional SmartZone will be closely linked with MSU and help commercialize cutting-edge research to create high-tech investment and jobs in mid-Michigan,” MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito said. “Michigan’s network of SmartZones is playing a key role in our efforts to diversify the economy to meet the demands of the 21st century.”
Supported by the cities of Lansing and East Lansing in partnership with Ingham County, Lansing Community College, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, MBI International, Michigan State University, the Michigan State University Foundation and the University Corporate Research Park, the zone seeks to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses in the Lansing region. It will focus on business attraction, creation and expansion in the fields of life sciences, advanced manufacturing and information technology. Special attention will be given to helping firms capitalize on research and technical resources at Michigan State University and MBI International.
“Higher education and economic development go hand in hand,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “MSU was founded 150 years ago to be an engine for economic development for Michigan, and that’s what we’re doing today as well: connecting the knowledge we generate in our classrooms and laboratories with practical applications that create jobs and industries; working on a program of strategic research with public and private partnerships that will benefit Michigan’s people and Michigan’s communities.”

The Lansing SmartZone Consortium will include a total of 21 members, 11 of which will be from the private sector. The private sector emphasis is intended to ensure that the SmartZone will be serving the region’s business needs. Following are the consortium members announced today:

• George Benson - MSU Foundation
• Tim Daman - Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce
• Cindy Douglas - Michigan Economic Development Corporation
• David Hayhow - University Corporate Research Park
• Chris Holman - The Greater Lansing Business Monthly
• Loraine Hudson - Michigan State University
• Bob Johnson - City of Lansing
• Lori Meeder - National City Bank
• Susan Pigg - County of Ingham
• Lynnette Rhodes - L & S Associates
• Theda Rudd - Rudd Enterprises Kevin Schoen -
• Dean Souden - Lansing Community College
• Ted Staton – City of East Lansing
• Mark Stowers  - MBI International

The 11 SmartZones throughout the state represent collaborations between universities, industry, research organizations, government and other community institutions intended to stimulate the growth of technology-based businesses and jobs. The focus is on commercializing ideas, patents and other opportunities surrounding corporate, university or private research institute R&D efforts.

In addition to Epolito and Simon, speakers at today’s event included Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero; East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Vic Loomis; and Chris Holman, SmartZone Consortium member; owner and publisher of the Greater Lansing Business Monthly
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on MEDC initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at