St. Paul, Minn. (March 9, 2011) – The newly formed private/public regional economic development partnership has hired a CEO to lead the organization – and the Minneapolis Saint Paul 13-county region – toward job retention, expansion and attraction.
Michael Langley is a veteran economic development leader, who has led regional economic development organizations in Florida and Pennsylvania, and has most recently been the president of an economic development consulting practice with offices in Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. It is in this capacity that Langley served as a consultant to the Itasca Project, a group of about 60 Minnesota CEOs and elected officials that identified a need for our region to market to prospective employers in a cohesive way on a national and global scale.
“Our search for the key position of CEO involved casting a wide net, looking at both local candidates and those from outside our region,” said Doug Baker, CEO of Ecolab, as well as a member of the Itasca Project. “Having an experienced and accomplished leader like Michael will allow us to reap benefits many times over. In addition, Michael’s work with the Itasca Project allowed him to become familiar with the region, as well as our business and government communities – experience that will allow him to hit the ground running.”
The Itasca Project led efforts to raise $2.8 million for the new regional economic development partnership’s first budget year from both private companies and from city and county governments in the region. Now that Langley has been hired as the CEO, the organization will become independent of the Itasca Project and will conduct its own annual funding efforts. Doug Baker will serve as its board chair.
“The Minneapolis Saint Paul region has so much going for it,” said Langley. “The opportunity to lead the new regional partnership and to work closely with the region’s business, government, and institutional leaders to accelerate new investment and job creation is very exciting. Places that are succeeding in their approach to economic growth are doing it very collaboratively on a regional level.”
The work of the Itasca project Job Growth Task Force included research that indicated that the Minneapolis Saint Paul region needed a more regional structure in developing its brand, its economic development strategy and its approach to business expansion and recruitment..
“As our regional efforts become better aligned, the Minneapolis Saint Paul area will be more prepared to retain our businesses and jobs, and will be a formidable contender for attracting jobs on a national and global scale,” Langley added.
Langley’s award-winning work includes his leadership as CEO of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Conference on Community Development, often regarded as a national model for implementation of best practices for regional economic development, regional advocacy and public policy research. He also was one of the founders of Florida’s Internet Coast technology initiative. Prior to his career in economic development, Michael had a successful career with Westinghouse Electric Corporation, rising to the senior executive ranks as CEO of a Westinghouse subsidiary.
While Langley served as CEO of the Allegheny Conference, the ten-county Pittsburgh region grew dramatically as a center of excellence in advanced materials manufacturing, life sciences, information technology and energy. More than 800 companies announced expansions or new facilities in the region, creating nearly 45,000 new jobs. In addition, under his leadership the region achieved more than $1.0 billion in business tax reforms; secured $250 million in water quality and sewer improvements that received $3 billion in federal funds (pre stimulus) across 10 counties; organized major air service customers to work in partnership with government to attract new airlines (Southwest, Jet Blue, and Delta international service); and led a successful community effort to retain the U.S. Air Force Reserve 911th Airlift Wing, along with its 1,700 jobs and $60 million annual economic impact.