Oakland University has named Irene Spanos, Oakland County’s longtime director of economic development and community affairs, as the university’s director of corporate and foundation relations. She will begin her new role on Dec. 10.
“We are thrilled to have Irene join the OU family in this critical leadership role,” says Michael Westfall, vice president of university advancement. “A friend to all she meets, Irene brings a wealth of experience that will enhance our valued relationships with the corporate community.”
Spanos was appointed director of the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson in 2011. While there, she oversaw the county’s role in planning, business attraction and expansion, community development, marketing and communications, and workforce and talent development.
Prior to that appointment, Spanos worked as a senior business development representative leading Oakland County’s Medical Main Street initiative, a 4,300 life-science company cluster. She also led Tech248, the 2,000-company IT/Tech Cluster. Both programs helped brand Oakland County as a destination for health care, medical manufacturing, and technology business opportunities. For more than a decade before that, Spanos served as a marketing, advertising, and public relations supervisor at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for more than a decade.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the residents, communities, and businesses of Oakland County over the last 14 years running the economic development department of the county government,” says Spanos. “I am thrilled to take those global relationships and experience from various technical industries to Oakland University. It’s exciting to see where Dr. Pescovitz and her leadership team are taking OU, and I’m humbled to be a part of that team.”
In addition, Spanos currently serves on the board of trustees for McLaren Oakland and Global Ties Detroit, is an advisory board member of the Michigan Defense Center and for the OU INCubator, and is a member of the International Economic Development Council’s research group.
Spanos earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wayne State University.