TRAVERSE CITY — Economic development, remote work, post-pandemic infrastructure, housing and child care are among the topics of the third annual Northern Michigan Policy Conference.

The Jan. 15 virtual event is scheduled to run from 9:15 a.m. to 1:40 p.m.

The regional economic development conference is led by the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance, a coalition of 16 chambers and economic development organizations in the region boasting more than 7,000 member businesses.

Cost of the conference is $25 per person. Registration is available at

According to a release, the conference “is designed to leverage diverse strategies to enhance the northern Michigan region’s standing as a world-class place for business, residents, visitors and students of all ages.”

Following coffee with northern Michigan legislators, welcome remarks and an alliance recap, Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will present a federal update from 10:30-11 a.m.

The keynote address on economic development from 11-11:45 a.m. is from Jeff Finkle, president and CEO of the International Economic Development Council.

Following a break are two sets of breakout sessions. Participants are asked to attend one live session, but both will be recorded.

From 12-12:45 p.m. are:

  • Remote Worker led by Lance Robbins, director of economic & workforce development with Distribute Consulting
  • Infrastructure After a Pandemic led by Jon Roberts, principal with TIP Strategies, Inc.

From 12:45-1:30 p.m. are:

  • Childcare Panel Discussion led by Alexa Kramer, director of government affairs with Grand Rapids Chamber. Panelists include State Representatives Greg VanWoerkom and Jack O’Malley, State Senator Curt VanderWall and Mary Manner, Great Start coordinator/5toOne project manager with Venture North.
  • Housing Session: Building Communities One House at a Time led by Dawn Crandall, political affairs director with Home Builders Association of Michigan.

More information on the conference is available at

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