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Sarah Lucas

Director, Office of Rural Development

Sarah Lucas serves as the Office of Rural Development Director at MDARD supporting the strategic needs of rural Michigan, including economic and workforce development, infrastructure, public health, and environmental sustainability.

Lucas, AICP, has a 20-year career in community and economic development in small communities and rural areas in Michigan, leading a variety of cross-sector initiatives and planning efforts resulting in long-lasting coalitions, local and state policy change, and enhanced regional capacity for growth and investment. Previously she served as the CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership, Marquette County’s leading resource and advocate for economic development.

Prior to her work with Lake Superior Community Partnership, Sarah served as the Community Development Director for Networks Northwest, a 10-county regional planning agency in Northwest Lower Michigan; led the development of Housing North, a regional organization devoted to policy and communications solutions to housing needs in Northwest Lower Michigan; and, after relocating to Marquette in 2020, worked with the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region to develop a regional economic development plan for “building back stronger” in the region’s post-pandemic economy. 

Additionally, Lucas serves on several regional and statewide boards, including the Community and Economic Development Association of Michigan, the Economic Development Leaders of Michigan, and the Michigan Association of Planning, where she currently serves as Board President.

She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and is currently an MPA candidate at Northern Michigan University. She lives in Marquette with her husband and their three boys.