The Michigan Economic Developers Association has created a fellowship named after Birgit Klohs, the long-time CEO of The Right Place Inc. in Grand Rapids who plans to retire at the end of January.
The Birgit M. Klohs Fellowship will go to “increase women and minority participation in economic development in a way that supports MEDA’s membership, its committees, and the organization as a whole, by increasing opportunities for the education needed to build each recipient’s skills and abilities in economic development,” according to the association.
“Birgit is a role model. She embodies success in the profession after growing during a time when there were not many females in the profession,” said association Executive Director John Avery. “MEDA looks forward to helping women and minorities grow in the profession in her honor.”
Klohs was one of the first three women members when she first joined MEDA in 1977 while working for the Berrien County Economic Development Corp. She has led The Right Place for 33 years. Under her leadership, The Right Place has become one of the top economic development organizations in Michigan.
“I am immensely honored and grateful to my fellow economic developers at MEDA for the creation of this fellowship,” Klohs said in a statement. “Increasing opportunities for women and people of color is critical to the future of the economic development profession and our state’s prosperity, and I look forward to seeing the success of future fellowship awardees.”
MEDA’s Emerging Leaders Committee will manage the fellowship and expects to announce the first recipient at its 2021 annual meeting next summer in Grand Rapids.