Ann Arbor SPARK Begins Livingston County Work, Collaboration

Ann Arbor SPARK, a public-private partnership whose mission is to advance innovation-based economic development in the greater Ann Arbor region, recently finalized the agreement to assume management of business attraction efforts for the Economic Development Council (EDC) of Livingston County.  As part of those efforts, Ann Arbor SPARK hired economic development professional Jay Bahr, who will serve as a business development manager for Livingston County.

“In the face of intense global competition for jobs and investment, communities must work together regionally to be successful.  Companies don’t look at county lines when choosing a location, they look for availability of space, talented workers and other key business assets,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK.  “Ann Arbor SPARK’s successful model of open source economic development can now leverage the strengths of Livingston County’s available properties, facilities and talent to attract growing businesses.  This collaboration between Ann Arbor SPARK and the EDC is a great step forward to advance the economic interests of our region.”

Ann Arbor SPARK will include Livingston in its efforts to attract businesses to the region and provide business development services throughout Livingston County.  The EDC will provide funding, local oversight, and community representation to the collaborative effort. Bahr will work on-site in Livingston County.

Twelve units of Livingston County’s government, including the county, have agreed to fund the three-year agreement between the EDC and Ann Arbor SPARK.

“This collaboration lets us take a big step forward in economic development, to attract business and jobs to Livingston County,” said Michael Kennedy, chair of the EDC.  “Our funding partners recognize the need for this broader exposure and are excited to work with Ann Arbor SPARK to attract opportunity to the region.”

Ann Arbor SPARK’S new Livingston County location is co-located with the Brighton Chamber of Commerce and the region’s Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) office.  Another satellite office will be located at the Howell Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to joining Ann Arbor SPARK, Bahr, who has more than 12 years experience in economic development, was a regional workforce development director with the Ohio Department of Development.  In that role, Bahr was responsible for talent initiatives throughout 20 counties in northwest Ohio.  He has also served as the economic development director of Hillsdale, Mich., and village administrator for Waterville, Ohio.


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