Reimagining Michigan's economic future

​CMU vice president, alumni appointed to new state economic development commission

Throughout her career, Central Michigan University's Kathleen Wilbur has witnessed firsthand the roles of government and education in shaping the economy. These experiences will guide her work as she and two CMU alumni join the newly formed Building the 21st Century Economy Commission.

"The strength of higher education and our future economy are intrinsically linked," said Wilbur. "I am honored to collaborate with leaders from across Michigan to develop strategies that will consider education and other sectors in the continued growth of our state."

Michigan's Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin Cotter, appointed Wilbur, CMU's vice president for government and external relations, to serve on the 23-member advisory commission. The group is charged with identifying economic development opportunities, priorities and action items that will continue to rebuild Michigan's economy over the next 20 years.

The commission is part of Gov. Rick Snyder's plan to prepare Michigan for continuing changes in the economy and education. The advisory group is expected to deliver a final report to the governor by June 30, 2017.

Members appointed by the governor and legislature include leaders from chambers of commerce, nonprofit, education, economic development, automotive and banking organizations, as well as eight state department and agency directors.

Two CMU alumni — JoAnn Crary, president of Saginaw Future Inc., and James Holcomb, senior vice president and general counsel for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce — also were appointed by the governor to serve on the commission.

Before coming to CMU in 2002, Wilbur was director of three state agencies spanning commerce, licensing and regulation, and consumer and industry services. She also served as CMU's interim president from 2009 to 2010 and vice president for development and external affairs in 2011 to 2016.

Earlier this year, she renewed her focus on the university's relationships in state government and improving CMU's state higher education funding.