- people on the move
Birgit Klohs delivers West Michigan's economic development story
Editor’s note: Each issue of the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a profile of one of the Business Journal’s reigning 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan. The profile first appeared in the event program.
Think of Birgit Klohs as a Johnny Appleseed who travels the world to sow economic development in West Michigan. A native of Germany, Klohs has a tri-lingual arsenal and a worldly business view honed by extensive travel overseas.
Her experience adroitly translates to successfully marketing West Michigan to companies from around the world, including Germany, France, Sweden, Australia, China and Japan, regularly traveling overseas to market this region to the world.
It’s been a mission of Klohs’ the past 24 years to build and lead The Right Place Inc. from a local business development organization into one of the strongest economic development organizations, not only in Michigan but in the country.
Within her two-decade tenure, Klohs has led the development of more than $2 billion in capital investment and facilitated the creation of 30,000 jobs. She also participated in a number of other critical issues related to the long-term health and economy of the region, including the most recent establishment of a 13-county economic development collaborative.
Klohs administers a budget of more than $2 million and oversees19 employees for the regional economic development organization known for its retention, expansion and attraction of businesses to the area. Those initiatives have helped preserve jobs and have led to thousands of new ones, including a host of opportunities brought about by foreign companies locating here.
She serves on for-profit as well as nonprofit boards, including Macatawa Bank, ADAC Automotive, Grand Action, Spectrum Health, LDFA, Federal Reserve Board of Chicago and the Kent County Convention Arena Authority.