Tyler receives economic developers award

Published 10:55 am Monday, August 24, 2009

State Rep. Sharon Tyler is this year’s recipient of the Michigan Economic Developers Association Medalist Award.

The award, which was presented at a reception in Kalamazoo Thursday evening, identifies outstanding contributions to economic development efforts within Michigan. Tyler, who served as an economic developer for 30 years in southwest Michigan before being elected to the state Legislature, said she was honored to receive the award.

“It really is a great compliment to have my work recognized by other economic development professionals, but at the same time, it is incredibly frustrating to see lawmakers in Lansing ignore the principles of job creation we know work,” said Tyler, of Niles.
“Working as an economic developer in a border region is especially challenging because our efforts are handicapped when we are competing for jobs against Indiana and Ohio by the overly-burdensome Michigan Business Tax. We need the right tools to attract and retain jobs, and that’s why I ran for state representative in the first place.”

Tyler has a long record of experience as an economic developer, having obtained more than $177 million in new businesses and created 2,200 jobs during the 12 years she served as Executive Director of the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance. Tyler also has 18 years of experience with the Berrien County Economic Development Department.

Tyler said she views her roll as a lawmaker as an extension of her roll as an economic developer: “A lot of people in Lansing are talking about raising taxes to solve the budget crisis, but what they don’t seem to realize is that jobs is the key.  Jobs equal money for police, jobs equal money for education, jobs equal money for roads.”

In addition to her work as a state representative, Tyler also serves on the governor’s Council for Labor and Economic Growth.

Tyler was nominated for the Medalist Award by local businesses, and her nomination was supported by Congressman Fred Upton. She is the first member of the Michigan Legislature to ever receive the Medalist Award. Tyler was previously named the 2004 Economic Developer of the Year by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.