MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon’s financial growth director, who beforehand was Muskegon Heights’ metropolis supervisor, has been named an “rising star” by a statewide group.
Jake Eckholm, financial director for town since March 2019, was named the primary ever “Rising Star” by the Michigan Financial Builders Affiliation. The award acknowledges “early profession achievement in financial growth.”
“I do know what actually drives Jake is a transparent love and devotion for the neighborhood he calls house,” Muskegon Mayor Steve Gawron advised MLive, saying Eckholm has a “eager sense” of what companies and residents alike want.
“The town of Muskegon doesn’t make use of a bunch of bureaucrats, within the derogatory sense,” Gawron mentioned. “We make use of individuals who give a rattling about the one who walks of their neighborhoods.”
Eckholm, a Muskegon native, mentioned the award means loads as a result of it’s the first one given out.
“Truthfully, I take into account it a workforce award,” Eckholm advised MLive. “I sort of equated it to the small-town soccer workforce that acquired the primary trophy within the trophy case.”
He mentioned it’s additionally significant to him as a result of he lives within the metropolis the place he works – a “sizzling matter” amongst these in public service.
Eckholm beforehand labored because the Muskegon Heights metropolis supervisor since October 2016.
“We have been excited so as to add Jake after we did, and we’ve been very proud of the progress that he’s made in constructing our fame as a neighborhood to speculate it,” mentioned Muskegon Metropolis Supervisor Frank Peterson.
Eckholm reorganized town’s enterprise retention program, making connections with present companies and serving to join them with metropolis departments to deal with points they’ve, be it public works, planning or police, Peterson mentioned.
“Once we employed Jake, the thought was Jake can be the particular person they known as it doesn’t matter what they wanted,” he mentioned. “The massive tasks come and go, however retaining (companies) right here and ensuring they’re profitable is about 85 p.c of what you’re employed on.”
Previous to working in Muskegon Heights, Eckholm was metropolis supervisor of Stanton and village supervisor of Lakeview in Montcalm County. He’s a graduate of Muskegon Group School and Grand Valley State College.
The popularity helped validate his influence as an financial growth director and his resolution to maneuver out of a metropolis supervisor position, Eckholm mentioned.
“It was positively gratifying within the sense that is my first public service place the place I’m not town supervisor,” he mentioned.
Eckholm obtained two nominations for the award, from Jonathan Wilson, Muskegon County’s former financial growth director, and Sam Janson, town supervisor for North Muskegon.
Janson mentioned his metropolis is just too small to rent its personal financial growth director and that Eckholm’s professionalism made nominating him for the award a “no-brainer.”
“Including Jake for us was an enormous increase,” Janson mentioned. “Doing it myself takes years. Having a accomplice that I can work with to advance these tasks actually shortens that timetable from three to 5 years down to at least one to 2 years.”
Wilson dealt with financial growth affairs for town earlier than Eckholm was employed and now works as a regional supervisor for company and authorities affairs for DTE Vitality. The 2 have labored collectively intently since Eckholm was at Muskegon Heights, Eckholm mentioned.
Gawron mentioned throughout these occasions when authorities service has “misplaced its luster,” it’s “greater than gratifying” to have youthful folks like Eckholm gravitate to and excel in it.
“He has a wealth of understanding of what the wants are, whether or not it’s the challenges of dwelling in a rural space, or the problem of dwelling in what we’d take into account hard-pressed city areas,” Gawron mentioned.
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