Maureen Donohue Krauss serves as the Director for the Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs
for Oakland County, Michigan. The Department focuses on two main areas, community development and business support services, and has five divisions: Planning and Economic Development Services, Workforce Development, Community and Home Improvement, Marketing & Communications, and Solid Waste Management.
In 2003, Maureen served as the president of the Michigan Economic Developers Association
. She is an active member of the German American and the French American Chamber of Commerce, and is on the board of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce of Detroit
, the Italian American Alliance for Business and Technology
, and the British American Business Council
She is also active on several community boards including the Rochester Community Schools Foundation, the North Oakland YMCA, and The Legacy Project. She is a graduate of the Leadership Detroit
Class of 2009.
Maureen has previously worked in economic development positions in Arizona and Metro Detroit. In 1994 the Arizona Association for Economic Development named her Economic Developer of the Year.
Maureen has a bachelors degree in political science from Albion College in Albion, Michigan, and a masters degree in public policy from the University of Michigan. She lives in Rochester Hills with her husband Dean and her two children, John and Natalie.
What are your talking points about our region? When you meet someone who is not from here, what are the key things you want them to know about Oakland County and metro Detroit? One issue that I am very passionate about is how we talk about ourselves. Think about it, if you were a car dealer and all of your employees bad mouthed the cars that you sold, you would have a large image problem. So when Oakland County has a national or international company in town that is looking to invest in our area, what will they hear?
We have some amazing assets in our region. Our work force is skilled, smart, hard working and available. The infrastructure is here. No need to build brand new roads, water and sewer lines, or power grids. We have ample real estate at amazing prices. Our future work force is trained through our community college and university network that are quick to evolve to the needs of new technology businesses.
In the past two years, Michigan lost a large investment from an international company because, as we learned in the exit interview– "They are all fighting there, the communities, the politicians, and the employees/employers." The winning state greeted the company at the airport with statewide officials and businesses that were eager to get the spin off from suppliers, new jobs, and more money circulating in their local economy.
From the time someone arrives in town what do they hear? Does everyone leave an impression that Michigan has great opportunities for their business? These people influence the visitor before we even have a chance to make our pitch.
You may have been taught that if you do not have anything nice to say about someone, say nothing at all. It is a lesson that we need to remember. It can make my job a little easier.
Welcome to my blog. As director of the Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs for Oakland County, the nearly 90 staff that fall under my Department are more interrelated than many would think. Housing, workforce development, planning, and marketing are all key aspects of economic development. When these areas are strong, it makes business retention, expansion and attraction, the heart of our mission, much easier.
Quality of life is important to what businesses think of Oakland County and Michigan. Two examples show the way we can make the public feel great about our area in a less direct way than a business brochure. This past weekend, the Third Annual Brooksie Way Half Marathon was run in the county. The sun shone (after it rose) on over 4,300 runners, making this the largest race yet. The beautiful course throughout Rochester and Rochester Hills brought people from multiple states and two countries to experience a first class event, and the press coverage makes residents and non-residents know that in Oakland County, we value community and people. We are already following up with one company executive who ran the race, liked what he saw, and wants to expand his business here.
The Pure Michigan campaign, which has been run nationally for the past three years, has brought many positive feelings to those who are not from Michigan, and helps set the stage when out-of-state prospects visit our area. Every prospect I have spoken with recently gets some of their initial impressions from this award winning campaign, which is meant to boost tourism but helps promote the quality of life we have to offer. A Reasonable Bunch, a movie currently being shot in Oakland County, cites the Pure Michigan campaign as one of the key reasons that Michigan would accommodate their film.
Companies can choose to locate almost anywhere in today's mobile society, and these two efforts, The Brooksie Way and the Pure Michigan campaign, make those from outside our area feel good about their decision to invest here, and help us to remember that we live and work in a great community.