Mason hired as first executive director of Michigan's URC

May 28, 2009

 Jeff Mason

Jeff Mason, currently senior vice president and chief business development officer for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., has been selected to become the first executive director of Michigan's University Research Corridor effective July 6.

Mason currently leads the MEDC's business development efforts focusing on national and international business attraction, as well as Michigan business expansion and job retention. In 2008, Mason and the MEDC team assisted more than 205 companies like Hemlock Semiconductor, IBM, and United Solar Ovonic in making over $60 billion in private investment creating and retaining more than 100,000 jobs.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to be part of the URC and the chance to help drive economic development involving these three powerful research universities,'' Mason said.

The URC is an alliance of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University to align their collective resources to transform, strengthen and diversify Michigan's economy.

As the URC's executive director, Mason will report to the URC presidents and be based in Lansing near the state Capitol, building on his previous experience to work with state and regional economic development agencies as well as university faculty and administrators, key business and policy leaders.

"Jeff is a consummate economic development practitioner in every sense of the word as well as a proud graduate of a URC institution,'' said MSU President Lou Anna Simon. "He'll accelerate our efforts to re-create a vibrant economy in Michigan
and help the Corridor's efforts to raise Michigan's international

U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said hiring Mason marks an important step forward for the URC.

"Our three universities are working to really collaborate on a deeper level than we ever have in the past, and Jeff's presence will enhance our drive to advance technology, innovation and creativity in our state," Coleman said.

She praised Mason's experience in technology development, technology transfer, commercialization, venture capital and business development, as well as his experience focusing on such key URC areas of strength as developing technology, life sciences, alternative energy and advanced manufacturing.

"As a current or former board member of organizations like the Core Technology Alliance, MichBio, Automation Alley, and the Michigan Information Technology Center, Jeff has a proven track record of working with business, government and academia on URC-related projects and priorities,'' said Wayne State President Jay Noren.

Prior to his current role, Mason oversaw MEDC's Technology Development Group, working to grow the technology-oriented segments of Michigan's economy, focused on emerging growth sectors supported by the state's 21st Century Jobs Fund.
In an earlier position, Mason led the MEDC's communication and media relation activities where he directed the corporation's marketing campaign, helping the state gain increased recognition as an attractive place to work, live, and do business.

He also served as managing director of e-MEDC, the MEDC's initiative to create an e-business strategy offering economic development products and services to its customers and previously worked in roles promoting the state's tourism industry. Prior to joining the MEDC in 1999, Mason held several posts in state government, including several roles with the Michigan Department of Commerce. Mason received a bachelor of science in business administration from MSU.

Mason will join the URC presidents at a 12:30 p.m. news conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island Thursday as the URC presidents release a new URC report conducted by Anderson Economic Group.

For more on the URC, visit:
For more on the MEDC, visit:

Contact: Joe Serwach, (734) 647-1844 or
Russ White, (517) 432-0923,

Francine Wunder, (313) 577-5699,