Labor and Economic Opportunity
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and its subsidiary agencies work to provide the connections, expertise and innovative solutions to drive continued business growth, build vibrant communities, create affordable housing, generate tourism and attract and retain key talent to fill Michigan’s vast pipeline of opportunities.
LEO will work relentlessly to innovate, create, cultivate and collaborate on strategies and programs that effectively utilize taxpayer dollars to drive continued business growth, build vibrant communities, create affordable housing, generate tourism and attract and retain key talent to grow Michigan’s economy, now and in the future.
Jeff Donofrio, director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, is charged with coordinating and streamlining the state's workforce and economic development programs to meet business and labor needs and grow communities where all Michiganders have equal opportunities to reach their fullest potential. Donofrio brings a wealth of experience and proven success in policy, government and workforce development.
Previously he served as the Executive Director of Workforce Development for the City of Detroit where he oversaw the City’s workforce system and was charged with development and implementation of strategies to increase residential employment and household income and improve the economic competitiveness of Michigan’s largest community.
Before joining Mayor Duggan’s staff, Donofrio served as an executive at Ford Motor Company based in Washington, DC. Donofrio also served as District Director for Congressman Sandy Levin and Congressman John D. Dingell and Transportation Policy Advisor to Governor Jennifer Granholm. He grew up working in his family’s bar, restaurant and bowling alley, located in Lincoln Park, MI, that was opened by his Great-Grandparents in the 1920s.
Donofrio serves on the boards of the US Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation, Detroit Drives Degrees and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In 2018, he was appointed to Gov. Whitmer’s transition team as Special Advisor for Jobs and Economic Development and was named to Crain’s 40 under 40 class.
Jeff earned his MBA from Georgetown University and BA in Public Policy and Secondary Education from Michigan State University.
Stephanie Beckhorn has nearly 20 years of experience in workforce and economic development and serves as director of the Workforce Development. As the director of the Workforce Development Agency, Beckhorn works directly with federal, state and local level partners to effectively implement key workforce and education programs, including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Adult Education, the Trade Act, Jobs for Veterans, Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), King-Chavez-Parks (KCP), Perkins, Going PRO Talent Fund and the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2). Beckhorn develops policies that align with, and support, the state’s key workforce development strategies. She actively engages internal and external stakeholders to ensure that policy and service delivery effectively address customer needs.
Through her work at the Workforce Development Agency, Beckhorn is responsible for the creation and implementation of the Agency’s Unified Workforce State Plan. She developed and implemented Michigan’s federally recognized incumbent worker layoff aversion strategy and is a member of the employer-led Governor’s Talent Investment Board. She approaches projects in an inclusive manner and seeks solutions that are effective and replicable.
Stephanie is a Certified Business Solutions Professional (CBSP) and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University.
As CEO, Jeff Mason is charged with implementing and executing MEDC’s core mission of business development and attraction, community development, providing access to capital and improving Michigan’s image and brand.
From 2009 to 2017 Jeff was the Executive Director of Michigan’s University Research Corridor which is an alliance between Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University to transform, strengthen, and diversify Michigan’s economy. The vision of the University Research Corridor (URC) is to play a key role in creating a vibrant Michigan economy that leverages the intellectual capital of its three public research universities, to work proactively to attract the knowledge economy businesses that can find the research activity that feeds new enterprise, educate the workforce, and plants the seeds for the new industries of tomorrow.
Prior to joining the URC as Executive Director he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In that role Mason led a team responsible for the retention and expansion of existing Michigan businesses as well as the attraction of national and international companies to Michigan.
Before becoming Chief Business Development Officer, Mason headed up the Technology Development Group working to grow Michigan’s technology oriented segments of our state’s economy. Technology Development was engaged in the areas of technology transfer and commercialization, venture capital, entrepreneurship, and business development. Their focus was in the sectors of life sciences, homeland security, and advanced automotive technologies. From 1990-1999, Jeff served in various roles on the Travel Michigan team, serving eventually as Managing Director of Travel Michigan.
Jeff received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Michigan State University.
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.
Jeff Huntington has worked for the State Land Bank since 2005, providing support and management for several projects at the local, state, and federal level.
Jeff has played a critical role in reducing blight across several communities statewide by administering over $84 million in demolition funding that has removed more than 3,000 vacant and abandoned residential, commercial and industrial structures.
He serves on the Michigan Association of Land Banks board of directors and the Eaton Rapids Public Schools Education Foundation.
He is a graduate of Central Michigan University earning a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration as well as a Master's of Business Administration. In addition, he has coached youth soccer and baseball for nearly a decade.