Klohs decides its time for retirement stepping down as head of The Right Place
Since 1987, Birgit Klohs has guided regional nonprofit economic development organization, The Right Place.
“In addition to being really an economic developer, and making the deals and doing the expansions and bringing the new businesses, I wanted to be more deeply involved in the community as it went through its renaissance starting 30-plus years ago.”
Thirty-three years as President and CEO, Klohs has forged public-private partnerships leading to projects and business attraction and retention creating more than 50,000 jobs and generating more than $5 billion in economic investment across West Michigan.
“The private sector, the public sector and the philanthropy sector work together to really make this community what it is today and there was no reason to leave. Not only that but, we grew from a small organization of three people with one county and small budget to six counties and over 30 employees and team members.”
Klohs has worked with five governors and chaired or served on a number of boards including the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority, Grand Action and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Board to name a few.
Beginning in the mid to late 1990’s, she and The Right Place were there growing the Life Sciences in downtown Grand Rapids.
“There was nothing except old, dilapidated office buildings on Michigan. And now you have billions of dollars of investment; new hospitals and healthcare centers, the medical school. It’s been an unbelievable transformation and to me, that industry has really changed the trajectory of the community.”
In 2017, Klohs was named the first female recipient of the Economic Club of Grand Rapids Business Person of the Year award.
A nationwide search is underway seeking her replacement. Her final day is January 31, 2021.