Labor and Economic Opportunity
Expand economic opportunity and prosperity for all.
Make Michigan a place where all people, business and communities have the educational and economic means to reach their full potential.
Susan Corbin has been the Senior Chief Deputy of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity since the department's creation in August 2019 and is currently serving as Director.
As Senior Chief Deputy, Susan led operations for all of LEO, with direct-line responsibility for the Labor agencies and Unemployment Insurance Offices.
In the past, Susan has served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of Governor Whitmer, Director of Customer Assistance in the Michigan Public Service Commission, Deputy Director and Chief of Staff for the Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth where she had oversight responsibility for the Unemployment Insurance Agency, the Worker's Compensation Agency, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration. She has also served as Director of Appointments for Governor Granholm.
Ms. Corbin began her professional career working for the Michigan Departments of Commerce, Labor and Transportation assisting with their cultural, educational and trade relations with the People's Republic of China.
She has a degree in International Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University.
For the past two decades, Stephanie Beckhorn has played an important and growing role in Michigan's workforce and economic development.
Beckhorn has been lending her talents to Michigan's workforce development efforts since 2001 when she joined the Bureau of Workforce Transformation. In 2013, she went on to serve as Director of Workforce Policy and Strategic Planning for the Michigan Workforce Development Agency and in 2019, at the beginning of Governor Whitmer's term, she served as the acting department director.
Today, as the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's Director of the Office of Employment and Training, Beckhorn provides leadership and guidance for the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, and Workforce Development.
She approaches projects in an inclusive manner and seeks solutions that are effective and replicable. Whatever challenges Michigan has faced, Beckhorn's collaborative, data-driven approach has enabled Employment and Training to adjust swiftly to evolving economic demands.
Under her direction, Employment and Training administers key workforce programs and systems that equips both employers and workers with resources critical for their success, including vocational rehabilitation to support individuals with disabilities with gaining or retaining employment.
Beckhorn works directly with federal, state, and local level partners to provide the connections, expertise, and innovative solutions to drive continued business growth, build vibrant communities, and attract and retain key talent to fill Michigan's vast pipeline of opportunities. This work is accomplished through federal and state programs focused on job preparedness, career-based education, worker training, and employer assistance.
Beckhorn is a Certified Business Solutions Professional (CBSP) and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University.
Sean's focus at LEO will be on Labor issues, primarily overseeing MIOSHA, Workers' Disability Compensation Agency, the Bureau of Employment Relations and the Wage and Hour Division. He also supports the department's efforts across the spectrum as his experience spans many of its' goals. Sean currently serves at the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director.
As a lifelong Westside Michigander and activist for working people and families, Sean brings a wealth of experience across all areas of the state's economy. Sean served in the Navy and afterward started an apprenticeship and became a Journeyman Electrician through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). He maintains his membership in his Union and state license as a journeyman to this day.
Having been a shop steward and President of the Local, in 2004 Sean moved into a representative position with IBEW Local 275 in West Michigan. In 2007 he was elected by the members as the head of the Local Union representing construction electricians, manufacturing, broadcasting, and electrical motor service industries. His duties included managing the non-profit operations and representational activities for members. In 2010, he was named as one of the "40 under 40" by the Grand Rapids Business Journal.
During this time, he also served on the Board of the Heart of West Michigan United Way, including the executive committee and as chair of the financial independence focus as it was being developed. Somehow, he also earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Davenport University, and a Juris Doctor (JD) from Thomas M. Cooley Law School going to classes nights and weekends while continuing to work and raise his three children with his wife Christy.
He continues to serve his community as an avid volunteer through the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, his Local Union and Labor Council, the United Way as a volunteer tax preparer in the VITA program, and pretty much anywhere groups are focused on helping people lift themselves out of poverty and into the middle class.
Most recently he served as General Counsel to IBEW Local 876 which represents working people in construction, government, utility, line clearance and other industries. He also worked as an attorney with many other Labor Unions and worker focused efforts across Michigan.
He previously served as the president of the Kent/Ionia AFL-CIO labor council, the West Michigan Building Trades Council, Vice-Chair of the IBEW State Conference, Chairman and Trustee of the Michigan Electrical Employees' Pension Plan, Trustee on the Michigan Electrical Employees Health Plan and Executive Board of the Michigan AFL-CIO.
Sean currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Joint Michigan Apprenticeship Program (JMAP) which trains electrical utility and line apprentices for municipal and utility organizations across Michigan, is a delegate to the Kent/Ionia Labor Council, President of the Labor Heritage Society of West Michigan, and is a member in good standing with the State Bar Association of Michigan as an attorney.
As Deputy Director for Prosperity, Kim Trent is charged with guiding and building support for efforts to boost the economic security of Michigan citizens through strategic initiatives, programming and partnerships. Her portfolio of leadership duties in state government includes serving as the key staffer to the Michigan Poverty Task Force.
Trent's career has included leadership roles on the staff of former Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and former Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. For seven years, she held various key staff positions at Michigan Future Inc., a think tank dedicated to boosting prosperity in Michigan. She also served as an elected member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors from 2013 until 2019.
Trent's family first came to Michigan in the 1830s. She grew up in Highland Park and Detroit. She is a graduate of Detroit's famed Cass Technical High School and holds a BA in journalism and Africana Studies and MA in communications from Wayne State University. She also completed graduate studies at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa. She has completed fellowships with the American Political Science Association in Washington D.C. and the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University and is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber's Leadership Detroit program.
Liza Estlund Olson will serve as Acting Director of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. This will be Olson's second time serving as Acting Director of the UIA. She previously served as Acting Director from 2007-2008. Olson also previously served as Director of the Michigan Bureau of Workforce Transformation from 2008-2011. And most recently served as the Director of the Office of the State Employer. Liza is a graduate of Michigan State University's James Madison College.
Gary Heidel was appointed Acting Executive Director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) by the Authority Board in April 2019. Prior to the appointment, he served as MSHDA's chief housing investment officer.
Gary has held several leadership positions since he began his career at MSHDA in 1986 and presently leads the state's implementation of the new federal Opportunity Zone tax benefit. He also coordinates Meta, a team of senior staff from MSHDA, MEDC, Transportation, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, Treasury, Talent Investment and State Land Bank who work together on placemaking policy. In addition, he co-coordinates the Sense of Place Council with the executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. The Council is comprised of 40 state agencies and statewide trade organizations that work on place-based economic development.
Gary serves on the Advisory Committee of the Michigan Political Leadership Program at MSU and the National Charrette Institute at MSU. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan. He also has completed several executive leadership programs, including the Michigan Political Leadership Program at MSU, Governors Center at Duke University, and the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.
The Michigan State Land Bank Authority announced Emily Doerr as the Executive Director of the organization.
Doerr has worked alongside many key community development and economic entities throughout the state and brings a wealth of experience in the industry.
In her previous role, Doerr was the Vice President of Housing Development for Metro Community Development where she was responsible for the leadership and implementation of the organization's new real estate department's vision and strategy, asset management of the existing real estate portfolio and procurement and contract management for new development projects.
She also served as the Community and Economic Development Program Manager for the City of Flint where she oversaw the creation and implementation of a housing investment strategy for the city to ensure future housing development that will benefit residents, stakeholders, and the city as a whole.
Doerr's previous positions also include Real Estate Project Manager for Consumers Energy, Business Attraction Manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Oak Park, and Manager of Small Business and Urban Initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber.
Kerry Ebersole joined LEO as a Senior Advisor and Director of the Sixty by 30 Office. Ebersole has more than 20 years of experience in national, state and local politics, issue advocacy and government affairs.
Prior to this role, Gov. Whitmer appointed Kerry to serve as the Census 2020 Executive Director, helping to lead the state in surpassing our 2010 response rate. Before returning to state service in 2019, Ebersole was the CEO of Persuasion Link, LLC., a Michigan-based Public Affairs Firm.
She has served as the Michigan State Director and Senior Advisor to the Energy Foundation States and Regions Program, the largest climate and clean energy funder in the United States. She also formerly served as the Director of Get Out the Vote for Obama for America and as a Regional Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Messer comes to the MEDC from the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) where he has served as President and CEO since 2015. He led efforts around business attraction, small business growth, talent development, branding and market responsive, equitable economic growth while also cultivating robust partner relationships and leading efforts to secure significant private sector investment. Under Messer's leadership, NOLABA became one of fewer than 90 economic development organizations globally to earn accreditation from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
Prior to his role at NOLABA, Messer served as the assistant secretary at Louisiana Economic Development, the lead agency for economic development for the state of Louisiana. In that role he was designated President of the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation, helping to provide financial assistance to small and medium-size businesses in partnership with the private sector and federal agencies including the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Messer brings to his new role private sector experience at The Boston Consulting Group and O'Melveny & Myers LLP, as well as work at a variety of start-up ventures, including as a principal at Foster Chamberlain, LLC - a start-up venture accelerator and corporate venturing consultancy.
An IEDC certified economic developer, Messer received a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and his Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration from Columbia University's Law and Business Schools, respectively, and serves on board of directors of the International Economic Development Council, where he serves on the board's Committee for Public Conduct and also is the incoming Co-Chair, Racism in Economic Development Committee.