Rick L. Laber

Member Spotlight

Rick L. Laber , President — Develop Michigan, Inc. Lansing

MY BUSINESS ... MYSELF

Develop Michigan, Inc. (DMI) is a Lansing-based, non-profit, innovative development finance organization formed through a partnership between Cinnaire Corporation, Michigan Strategic Fund, and Development Finance Group. DMI finances commercial real estate projects in Michigan to help spur statewide economic development. I joined Cinnaire in 2006, where I serve as Executive Vice President, and DMI in 2011, where I serve as President. My family and I have lived in Michigan all of our lives and are proud to be Michiganders. 

GREATEST CHALLENGE

The capital stack for financing commercial real estate projects tends to be quite complex, often needing a variety of resources to "make a deal work." Larger projects are able to find traditional bank financing from regional banks. Smaller projects find financing from community banks and credit unions. The deals in the middle, based on total development cost, have a harder time finding financing. DMI works to fill this niche, financing transactions that create jobs, often in low- and moderate- income census tracts.

GREATEST OPPORTUNITY

There are many real estate transactions that represent good real estate, but can't get financed. Before DMI, some of these deals just didn't get done, or were financed by the State of Michigan. DMI is a unique public-private partnership that leverages private investment in Michigan. I am excited about what we have done so far and plan to do in the future to drive economic progress in Michigan, by financing good real estate transactions that create jobs for Michiganders. 

WHY I BELONG TO THE CHAMBER

I have found the Michigan Chamber to be a valuable resource. Our company has participated in the seminars and found the value to be outstanding. I have also found the Regional Meetings a great way to stay in contact with business leaders . And of course, the legislative advocacy is invaluable to Michigan businesses. The Michigan Chamber is the preeminent business advocate in Michigan with an outstanding reputation nationally. I am grateful to be associated with the organization.