Beacon Council Names Former Michigan Official President and CEO
April 13, 2017
Michael A. Finney, a former economic development chief for the state of Michigan, has been named the new president and CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, officials announced Thursday.
Finney, who takes over June 1, is the economic development organization’s fifth president in its 32-year history.
He has spent more than 30 years working in the field of job creation and economic development, noted Jaret L. Davis, co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office and volunteer chair of the public-private organization.
“We are thrilled to have such an experienced, well-respected, nationally recognized leader in economic development as our new president and CEO,” said Davis, who led an 11-member search committee of business and community leaders.
“Mike excels in all three prongs of our Market-Grow-Shape strategy: He is experienced in marketing major cities and states to the world; he has helped grow and scale-up local companies; and he has created programs to ensure all communities have the opportunity to share in economic prosperity,’’ he added.
Finney said he was impressed by the “sense of optimism and enthusiasm for Miami that was palpable from my meetings with the committee members and community leaders. My immediate priority will be listening, learning and doing what it takes to get to know the community and its diverse set of stakeholders.”
In an interview with the South Florida Business Journal, he said he and his wife think South Florida is a “wonderful location” with economic challenges of the “scale, scope and potential” he wanted in his next assignment. He said he hopes to bring to bear his experience in Michigan creating opportunities for small and medium-size businesses and creating employment for workers trying to earn a living wage.
Previously, Finney served as president and CEO of local and state economic development organizations, including the Michigan Economic Development Corp. from January 2011 to January 2015, Ann Arbor SPARK and the Greater Rochester Enterprise.
In addition to serving as an economic development executive for the state of Michigan, he briefly was the Senior Advisor for Economic Growth for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, from January 2015 to October 2015. He said he will resign at the end of May from his position as a member of the City of Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board, an oversight board that recently settled a federal lawsuit related to the drinking water crisis.
According to the Beacon Council, Michigan is considered “a leader in deploying innovative initiatives,” including a program that facilitated more than $3.5 billion in contracts for local companies, and another that found jobs for 4,500 people left without work because of shifts in the economy.
Earlier this year, he was said to be one of two finalists to become head of Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development organization, which is mired in a fight for its existence in the Legislature.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, who chairs the Council’s One Community One Goal Initiative with two private sector leaders, said he believes Finney “will build upon the strong foundation for business growth and economic diversification we have created for Miami-Dade’s continued trajectory as one of the world’s great global communities.’’
Interim President and CEO Sheldon T. Anderson will continue to lead the organization through the transition. Anderson stepped in when former Beacon Council CEO Larry Williams left in September after three years to become president and CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia.
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