JUSTIN HORVATH, PRESIDENT/CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, was honored as one of the 50 best economic developers in North America during a recent conference in Scottsdale, AZ.
Horvath is humble about the recognition, but as a passionate supporter of the economic success in the county for nearly 20 years, the honor is likely well deserved. Horvath, an Owosso native, is continuously striving to keep Shiawassee County on the economic map of the country – and in the forefront of businesses and/or industries that might be drawn to the area.
Horvath was honored with the Consultant Connect award, which was for 2020, but the presentation was delayed due to COVID.
As he explains, Consultant Connect is a national organization created several years ago with a goal of bringing economic developers and site consultants together. The concept is to form professional relationships between developers and consultants who are seeking potential industrial or business growth. It creates a network platform for developers and consultants to learn from each other and allows economic developers to promote the areas they represent. Site consultants come from various business realms including real estate and finance and represent a number of different firms and agencies.
Horvath shared there were roughly 24 site consultants from all across the country at the most recent conference in Arizona. He estimated around 200 economic developers were in attendance.
The conferences are held several times throughout the year and Horvath tries to attend regularly.
“We can’t hope that businesses are just going to show up on our doorstep,” he stated. “It is part of our job to get out there, get outside of the county, be seen, be heard, talk to people, engage them and let them know what we have to offer.”
The honor bestowed on Horvath was created by Consultant Connect. He does not know specifically who nominated him, but he does know there is a nomination process, followed by a review committee, before honorees are chosen.
“Just getting the Shiawassee County name out there with people around the country is huge,” he said. He discussed local companies that are currently “hungry for talent” and the numerous conversations he has had with employers on becoming an “employer of choice” in the current market.
Horvath is about every layer of the economy – and not just job creation, though that is highly important. He stresses that employers need to recognize that while increased compensation is great, job seekers are looking for more with childcare being huge on that list. Employers are going to have to be creative to entice and keep talent in this market, hopefully incentivizing workers to live here, too – thus helping with the local tax base.