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Rick Snyder is the state’s 48th Governor. Rick Snyder has built a career on successfully creating jobs.
After graduating from Battle Creek Lakeview High School a semester early, Rick earned three degrees from the University of Michigan, all by the age of 23. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree with high distinction in 1977, his MBA with distinction in 1979 and a JD in 1982.
Following a successful career with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), where he became a partner in six years, Rick left his home state of Michigan to help manage Gateway computers. As the 763rd employee to join the company, he guided the growth of Gateway until it became a Fortune 500 company with over 10,000 employees. During these years of rapid growth, Rick was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of the company. He ran the day-to-day operations of Gateway and worked directly with Ted Waitt – the founder of the company.
Rick’s record of job creation didn’t stop when he left Gateway in 1997. After proving he can help build and run a multibillion dollar publicly traded company he chose to return to Michigan and focus his efforts on building new businesses from the ground up.
He raised an unprecedented $200 million in venture capital funds to invest in building startup businesses, taking ideas and translating them into exciting companies. One of Rick’s many success stories is the creation of HealthMedia, Inc., which provides internet based wellness and disease management tools. HealthMedia’s business plan was crafted on a whiteboard with Rick and a University of Michigan professor, Vic Strecher. With Rick’s investment and leadership, the company has created over 130 jobs in Michigan.
In many cases, Rick has helped diversify Michigan’s economy by bringing global companies to the state. HealthMedia was acquired by Johnson & Johnson, giving the large company a presence in Michigan. HandyLab, in which Rick’s company was an early investor, and for which Rick was board chairman, makes revolutionary medical diagnostic testing equipment and currently employs nearly 50 Michiganders. The company was recently acquired by Becton, Dickenson and Company (BD), a $6 billion medical equipment company. Not only is HandyLab staying in Michigan, but BD announced in a press release that HandyLab’s “novel platform will allow further expansion of the BD molecular diagnostic menu.”
Rick has provided early investment and start up assistance for a number of other successful businesses, including Esperion Therapeutics, which was later purchased by Pfizer.
In addition to creating new businesses, Rick has been actively involved in economic development on a statewide and local level in Michigan. Governor Engler appointed Rick to serve as the first Chair of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in 1999. Rick quickly put in place a strong business model that became one of the nation’s leading public-private economic development programs. From 1997 to 2000, Michigan won the prestigious Governor’s Cup award from Site Selection magazine every year. This award is presented to the state with the highest number of new or expanded facilities in Site Selection’s database. Also under Rick’s leadership, in 1999 the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor was launched. During Rick’s tenure as Chair, the MEDC initiated legislative efforts for SmartZones to support technology startups. These programs contributed to the formation of new companies across the state.
Rick has also been an economic development leader in Washtenaw County for the past decade. Rick wrote the business plan and was the first Chair for Ann Arbor SPARK – one of the most successful economic development programs in the country. Ann Arbor SPARK’s mission is to “advance the development of innovation-based businesses in the Ann Arbor region by offering programs, resources, and proactive support to business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations looking for expansion opportunities.” Using their Open Source approach to economic development, Ann Arbor SPARK has been instrumental in growing new businesses and attracting existing businesses. Programs include Michigan’s SmartZone network, the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center, the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, the Michigan Innovation Equipment Depot and the Economic Development Coalition of Southeastern Michigan. SPARK recently reported that in 2009 it helped secure $147 million in investments for the region, while helping 33 companies announce expansions with plans to hire a total of 2,118.
Creating more and better jobs was the number one issue for Rick Snyder in this campaign. He understands what it takes to plan and launch a new business. He has the vision and plan for creating jobs throughout the state. Michigan needs businesses to start, grow and flourish in order to be a great state again – and as Governor, Rick will lead the way.