Michigan Economic Developers Association’s (MEDA) Robert Sieghart Award for Enthusiasm for the Economic Development Profession recipient is someone who enjoys economic development and understands the importance of the profession to all communities. This individual is interested in bringing more professionals into the fold with their passion and dedication. They know that more jobs and investment in a community will benefit the entire state, that the rising tide lifts all ships. This year, the award went to MEDA’s 2019 Board President, Justin Horvath, CEcD, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP).
Justin embodies the definition of the award. He is always friendly and professional, taking the time to make others around him feel valuable. Justin started his career in economic development in 2002 at the SEDP, where he has been the President and CEO since 2009. He works hand in hand with local, regional, state, and federal stakeholders to improve not only his county, but the whole State of Michigan. Understanding all facets of a strong community, in 2019, Justin raised several thousands of dollars toward the Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity his “Mr. Owosso” Campaign, which he won. He is truly a champion for the companies, and community, that he works with.
In addition to his community, he has served MEDA with dedication for many years. He regularly speaks at MEDA events, including Michigan’s Economic Development Basic Course, sharing his knowledge and receiving high ratings each time. He served on the Certified Business Park Committee in 2002 and 2003, was a MEDA Champion for nine years, and he currently serves on the MEDA Board. As President in 2019, he worked with MEDA’s Membership Committee and staff to champion a goal of bringing MEDA’s membership past a record number of 500, which was met in August.
Beyond MEDA, in 2017, he one of Development Counselors International’s 40 under 40 award winners.
Stephanie Carroll, Manager of Business Development and Community Relations for the City of Auburn Hills, who presented the Sieghart Award to Justin, said, “It was truly an honor to nominate and present Justin with the Robert Sieghart award. Justin is a leader and advocate for our profession and has elevated the status of MEDA throughout the region. He is a great collaborator, supporter, and motivator. He is a valued member of our Board and this award represents the dedication and commitment Justin has made to the organization and I hope he understands how much he is valued and appreciated. Justin has made a tremendous impact on the communities he serves and I look forward to more great things to come.”