Benson moving to The Right Place

April 25, 2011
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Karen Benson of Muskegon Area First starts a new job at The Right Place in Grand Rapids May 2. According to an announcement last week by The Right Place, Benson will be the new director of innovation services.

Benson, an experienced economic and business development professional, will lead The Right Place’s Innovation West Michigan initiative, a service that identifies and connects intellectual property and technologies with area companies, creating new products, services, jobs and investment in the region. She will be responsible for furthering the initiative, building partner collaborations with industry, education and R&D organizations.

“Karen is extremely well connected within the West Michigan community and brings a wealth of experience to The Right Place team,” said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO, The Right Place Inc. “We look forward to leveraging her strengths to further develop the Innovation West Michigan initiative as the central hub for business innovation in the region.”

First launched in 2007, Innovation West Michigan has already assisted more than 500 West Michigan companies and entrepreneurs in the collaboration and commercialization of new products and services.

For the past several years, Benson has provided economic and business development services in the Muskegon area. Prior to her role as business development manager at Muskegon Area First, Muskegon County’s economic development agency, she was vice president of business development for Grand Haven Bank and economic development and small business development director for the Grand Haven/Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Chamber of Commerce.

Benson has been heavily involved in the MAF proposal for a centralized food processing facility in the Muskegon area. “But the effort will continue,” she said, “because we are all regional people and regional thinkers and we believe it’s good for West Michigan and beyond.”

Muskegon County also happens to be one of the eight counties served by The Right Place.

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