Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, has been given the Medalist of the Year Award by the Michigan Economic Developers Association. The Medalist Award —The MEDA’s highest award — is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to the profession of economic development, dedication to the growth of his or her community, and has a demonstrated record of achievement over his or her career.
Rothwell is working on efforts to make Michigan a top 10 state for job, economic and personal income growth through state policy changes and privately-led economic development initiatives.
Rothwell has worked as an executive in public, private and nonprofit sectors, having worked for three state governors and two Fortune 500 companies. He led the transition team for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. Rothwell is one of a handful of state executives to be honored with the National Governors’ Association’s outstanding public service award. He has been the president of Detroit Renaissance, executive director at Worldwide Real Estate for General Motors and executive vice president at MBNA Corp.
Among the projects that Rothwell has led in the planning and funding of include Comerica Park and the new Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Perhaps one of Rothwell’s most notable endeavors has been founding — and being the first president and CEO of — the Michigan Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public organization that became a national model that spurred the “privatization” of other state’s economic development functions. This organization resulted in Michigan being ranked by Site Selection and other economic development journals as having one of the nation’s best economic development agencies.
Development of the MEDC also led to the creation of some of the nation’s most leading-edge suite of economic development tools, including Renaissance Zones, Smart Zones, Brownfield incentives and traditional and high-tech Michigan Economic Growth Authority incentives.