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Susan Houston of MassEcon receives a Governor’s Proclamation from EOHED Secretary Jay Ash

As it celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018, MassEcon is receiving well-deserved praise from government and business leaders throughout Massachusetts. Under the leadership of Susan Houston, MassEcon has become one of the state’s premier nonprofit business organizations, contributing to the growth and economic health of Massachusetts.

At MassEcon’s 25th celebration this summer, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash described himself as not only a strong supporter of MassEcon as Secretary, but also as someone who relied heavily upon MassEcon when he was City Manager and before that Planning & Development Director in Chelsea.

“There’s been a constant,” Ash said, “and that’s been all of us being able to rely on MassEcon as part of a great team that puts Massachusetts’ best foot forward.”

Secretary Ash then read a proclamation from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, which praised MassEcon for creating “an enduring partnership between the public and private sectors to grow Massachusetts as a competitive location for expanding businesses.”

Founded in 1993 by a consortium of utility companies led by then-Boston Edison, and embraced by the William Weld administration, MassEcon was the first private-public partnership to promote Massachusetts as an exceptional place to do business.

“I’m a huge MassEcon fan,” said Gloria Larson, former President of Bentley University and former Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Affairs. “I worked a lot with MassEcon, and it was really all about our regional and U.S. and global reach. It fit hand in glove with what Governor Weld and my team were trying to do, putting Massachusetts on the map with respect to economic goals.”

A nonprofit organization with a membership of business, trade associations, universities, chambers, and state, local, and regional economic development agencies, MassEcon has been working to help businesses come to, expand in, and thrive in Massachusetts — from the Berkshires to Boston.

Over its 25-year history, MassEcon has facilitated the location of 275 companies, associated with 30,000 jobs, as they expanded or relocated to Massachusetts. Its partners in this endeavor have included the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, MassDevelopment, Massport, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and scores of regional and local economic development groups.

MassEcon’s unique position as a non-partisan entity allows the organization to serve as a bridge from one administration to the next – from the Weld to the Patrick to the Baker administrations. Each Governor during its 25 years has chosen to be with MassEcon at its signature events and its members, leadership, and staff have been selected to serve on boards and commissions that have influenced policy.

Some of the “firsts” initiated by MassEcon include:

  • The Site Finder Service, established in 1994, to enable companies to find the best place to locate within the Commonwealth
  • The Massachusetts Industrial and Research Park Directory, published with NAIOP in 1996
  • The ReadyMass100 portfolio of vetted properties that are potential homes for new companies
  • The Annual Corporate Welcome Reception hosting 136 companies new to Massachusetts from 16 different states and 24 different countries
  • The Annual Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards honoring more than 250 companies from throughout the state that have contributed to the Massachusetts economy by adding approximately 19,000 jobs and investing approximately $5 billion

Those honored last year added 1,000 jobs in the state, invested more than $381 million and expanded their facilities by more than 2 million square feet. “You have competed in all shapes and sizes and played in all kinds of spaces,” Gov. Charlie Baker told the winners and guests at the Awards luncheon last November.

To help the Commonwealth grow its rich economic base, MassEcon each year hosts out-of-state events that introduce the assets of Massachusetts to corporate site selectors, those professionals on the front lines representing companies considering expanding or relocating. In 2018, MassEcon hosted hospitality receptions in New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., and took the Massachusetts story on the road to South Carolina and Atlanta.

For almost 20 years, MassEcon’s monthly newsletter “In Brief” has been bringing news of company expansions, product launches, and the advantages of doing business in the Bay State.

Stephen Flavin, Chairman of the Board during MassEcon’s 25th year and Vice President for Academic and Corporate Engagement at Worcester Polytechnic Institute remarked that “The solid foundation that has been built over the years puts the organization in great shape to reach even higher levels of achievement.”