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New head of Leap, Inc. plans big changes
Posted: October 19, 2011 - 7:30 AM
A regional economic development group criticized by some for a lack of direction is turning to the architect of much of Lansing's recent development.
Bob Trezise will leave his post as president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Development Corp. early next month to take over similar positions at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership Inc.
Trezise, 45, said after the Tuesday announcement he will shift his focus from promoting business growth in the city of Lansing to a more regional focus.
And he is promising dramatic changes at LEAP.
"It's going to be turned upside down and it's going to become a very real economic development agency producing measurable results," Trezise said.
Nonprofit LEAP has come under scrutiny from some business and government leaders - including Trezise - for not accomplishing enough tangible results since its formation in 2007.
The group is funded by local municipalities along with public and private companies and organizations. Several of its high-profile members have left LEAP in recent months, to be replaced by other larger firms and smaller operations.
Some of those who left LEAP cited a need to cut costs, but others said LEAP's goals did not mesh with theirs.
Trezise said LEAP's situation is similar to the one he found when he took over as LEDC chief more than five years ago.
"The Lansing EDC was a struggling organization," he said. "I like those kinds of challenges because I have a real organizational instinct about what needs to be done to quickly make it an effective economic development organization."
That would be welcome news to some.
The Capital Region Airport Authority, an original LEAP member, dropped its funding for the group this year, citing frustrations with the group's direction.
Trezise "is a true developer, a recruiter of business, and I think that's exactly what LEAP has needed," said the authority's executive director, Robert Selig. "Assuming that Bob is going to move LEAP in the direction he says he's going to, I think there's every possibility that the airport authority board will reconsider a membership in LEAP with the next budget."