MEDC staff infusion enhances Oakland County development efforts

Oakland County’s Economic Development team has opened its doors to four experienced staffers from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

As part of MEDC’s new regional approach to development efforts, Oakland County is providing workspace to members of MEDC’s local Business Development Team. Under this new cooperative arrangement, team members report to MEDC but work closely with Oakland County’s staff as well as developers, counselors and financial experts to provide efficiency and access to state resources. Previously, team members worked from their home offices when they weren’t on the road assisting clients, which left little time for interaction with local development authorities.

“Economic Development is a team sport and we are thrilled to have our state partners under our roof. In the end our businesses will benefit and so will the County. This will make our nationally recognized economic development program even better”, said Maureen Krauss, Oakland County Director of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

Oakland County’s development efforts are assisted by these four MEDC staffers:

Mandy Rossman comes to Oakland County as a Business Development Manager after three years at the MEDC. In her previous role, she served as the Partner Relationship Specialist managing communications, meetings, contracts and agreements with the MEDC’s 155 corporate and interlocal partners as well as the state’s Strategic Service Providers and 15 SmartZones. Rossman formerly worked in the district office of U.S. Rep. Sander Levin’s as a community liaison and scheduler. She also worked for Macomb County in the clerk’s office and at the city of Detroit’s Health Department. Rossman obtained her undergraduate degree from Wayne State University and is working on her graduate degree.

Cynthia Grubbs is a veteran of the business development, community outreach, leadership, entrepreneurship, human resource performance improvement, sales and marketing arenas. After a successful first career in performance improvement and sales at AT&T, Grubbs has been with the MEDC for 11 years. Previous roles include diversity manager and marketing and entrepreneurial developer. Grubbs has a degree in business administration and personnel management from Davenport University, and is a Certified Economic Development Specialist through the National Development Council.

Clarinda Barnett-Harrison is an experienced economic developer who has worked in southeast Michigan at the local county, regional and state government levels. Barnett-Harrison has been employed with the MEDC for nearly three years. Barnett-Harrison studied economics at the University of Michigan and urban planning with a concentration in economic development at Wayne State University.

As director of the MEDC Water Technologies Initiative, Gil Pezza is responsible for positioning Michigan to become a center of excellence for the development, advancement and commercialization of needs-driven water technologies and management systems. Pezza is an attorney who worked in private practice with the Business Law and International, Immigration and Customs practice groups of Butzel Long in Detroit. Pezza holds a law degree magna cum laude from the Detroit College of Law, and graduate and undergraduate degrees from Wayne State University.

For more information about Oakland County’s Business Development Services, see