April’s Board Member Spotlight is on Valerie Christofferson, Director, Business Customer Growth and Sustainability at Consumers Energy
Thursday, April 01, 2021
Greetings Mid America EDC Members!
Spring is always an exciting time for new construction projects taking off. We hope that you are experiencing some great economic development projects breaking ground in your respective communities.
A quick reminder that our upcoming Best Practices Conference will be virtual (May 12-13). If you haven’t had the opportunity to register yet, you can do that at the following link- https://www.midamericaedc.org/events-and-programs/best-practices-conference
As many of you know, we were originally planning to have the Best Practices Conference in Flint, MI. So since we won’t be in person, we wanted to bring a little bit of Michigan to you via this newsletter. We hope that you enjoy getting to know our Michigan Board Member, Valerie Christofferson with Consumers Energy!
Q.1 Tell us about yourself! How long have you been on the Mid-America EDC board?
I am the Director of Economic Development at Consumers Energy, where I’ve led the company’s economic development efforts since 2019. I joined the Mid-America EDC board in 2019 after joining Consumers Energy. I’ve enjoyed being part of the cross-state collaboration that Mid-America enables, especially during the past year that presented new challenges for us all, due to the global pandemics economic impact. Thru webinars and virtual events, Mid-America provides an educational platform for its members to learn and grow from one another.
Q.2 What are your economic development specialties?
My background prior to joining Consumers Energy was in business attraction, retention and expansion at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Ann Arbor SPARK.
Having this broad experience at both the state and local level allows me to be a “connector”. I always strive to listen more than I speak, so I can provide value and problem solve with my customers. This in turn has resulted in customers having a positive customer experience and future opportunities from the relationships I have built.
Q.3 Tell us about the region that you serve and are there targeted industries that you are looking to either expand or attract?
Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest utility and the nation’s fourth-largest combination utility. The company provides electricity and natural gas to 6.7 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
Michigan’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, world-class talent pool and geographic advantage are just some of the state’s key assets that we utilize to attract business growth. Michigan’s rich manufacturing heritage and technological know-how helps Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace, AgriBusiness, Automotive/Mobility and Medical Device companies develop the innovative, high-tech products of the future we all will utilize.
Q.4 Are there any specific economic development training courses/programs that you’ve taken during your career that you would recommend to others?
I recommend as individuals get started in their economic development careers, they take the Basic Economic Development Course. It provides a great introduction to all aspects of economic development and, here in Michigan, gives you 1:1 time with leaders from around the state (they are the teachers). It also sets you along the path of becoming a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).
I also have enjoyed getting more engaged with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) over the past few years. Their annual Leadership Summit and Annual Conference are two events that I try not to miss. I gain great insights and value from the sessions and networking time with peers from around the country.
Q.5 Mid America’s Best Practices Conference is coming up soon (May 12-14) and you’re a presenter.
So besides your session, what session are you looking forward to most?
I am really looking forward to the Best Practices Conference! Overall, I am excited for attendees to learn about the host city of Flint, Michigan. The city has a rich history and exciting developments that attendees will hear about. I’m looking forward to hearing from two of my former colleagues, Tyler Rossmaessler with the Flint & Genesee Group and Khalfani Stephens with the City of Flint, who will be presenting the “Flint: Changing the Narrative” session.
Feel free to reach out toValerieat firstname.lastname@example.org 616.648.2777.
Category: Board of Directors