Economic Development Veteran Tapped as Beacon Council President

April 13, 2017

National search leads to Michal Finney from Ann Arbor SPARK

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council will be led by a seasoned economic development professional from Michigan, starting June 1.

Michael A. Finney has been selected as president & CEO of the economic development organization.

Finney, who will be the Beacon Council’s fifth president, has a career that spans more than 30 years in the industry.

Jaret L. Davis, co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office and volunteer chair of the Beacon Council, led an 11-member search committee made up of a diverse group of cross-sector business and community leaders.

“We are thrilled to have such an experienced, well-respected, nationally recognized leader in economic development as our new president & CEO,” Davis said. “Our committee conducted an exhaustive, inclusive and comprehensive local and national search to identify the right leader to propel the Miami-Dade Beacon Council to the next level.

“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.”

Finney served as president & CEO of local and state economic development organizations including Michigan Economic Development Corp., Ann Arbor SPARK, and the Greater Rochester Enterprise, public-private organizations similar in scope and mission to the Miami-Dade Beacon Council.

In addition to serving as the chief economic development executive for the state of Michigan, he was the senior advisor for Economic Growth for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

At Ann Arbor SPARK, he developed an innovation ecosystem that helped grow local companies and attract new businesses such as Google Ad Words and Barracuda Networks from California and Aernnova Engineering from Spain.

Finney also served as CEO for Greater Rochester (New York) Enterprise. Finney started his career in the private sector including 13 years with Thomson Saginaw Ball Screw Co., a manufacturer of power transmission products for aerospace, defense and related industries.

Finney said his immediate priorities would be to listen and learn and getting to know Miami’s diverse stakeholders. “There is a sense of optimism and enthusiasm for Miami that was palpable from my meetings with the committee members and community leaders,” Finney said. “I am enthusiastic about stepping into one of the most well-respected economic development organizations in the country.”

The search committee has been working since November with the assistance of Korn Ferry International. The group reviewed more than 200 resumes from the local community and around the country, and conducted face-to-face meetings with more than a dozen candidates.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez who chairs the Council’s One Community One Goal Initiative with two private sector leaders said, “I am happy to welcome Michael Finney to our community as the new president and CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. I am confident that he 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.”

Beacon Council interim President & CEO Sheldon T. Anderson will continue to lead the organization through the transition.

Members of the search committee include:

Donna Abood, Avison Young; Miami-Dade Beacon Council Past Chair and Board Member;

Sheldon Anderson, Miami-Dade Beacon Council Past Chair, interim president & CEO and board member;

Jaret Davis, Greenberg Traurig; Miami-Dade Beacon Council chair;

Ernie Diaz, TD Bank, Miami-Dade Beacon Council immediate past chair;

Pandwe Gibson, EcoTech Visions, past client of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council;

Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation; Past One Community One Goal co-chair and Miami-Dade Beacon Council board member;

Nelson Lazo, Doctors Hospital; Miami-Dade Beacon Council chair-elect and past One Community One Goal co-chair;

Sidney Levin, FPL (retired), Miami-Dade Beacon Council co-founder;

Maya Tzur, BankUnited, Miami-Dade Beacon Council New Leaders Taskforce chair;

Alex Villoch, Miami Herald; Miami-Dade Beacon Council past chair and board member;

Dawn White, American Airlines; Miami-Dade Beacon Council treasurer and board member.

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