Community Thankful as Stites Retires From Capital Area Michigan Works

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

Whether it's in the office, or throughout the community, Doug Stites' impact, while CEO of Capital Area Michigan Works, has been profound.

Abandoning a creative writing career in the 1970s to help others find work, Stites eventually worked for Governor Engler, building Michigan Works into what it is now.

In 1999, he became head of Capital Area Michigan Works and has since helped thousands get jobs.

"I really liked being in the local area, running local programs," he said.

His work helped grow local companies like Liquid Web and Sparrow Hospital.

"It's been an impact on workforce development and economic development," said Bob Trezise, President and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. "He was one of the leading thinkers on fusing the two issues together."

Now, Stites is passing the torch to current COO Edythe Hatter-Williams, who knows Stites' presence won't be replaced.

"There will never be another Doug Stites, but I think you'll see in me a lot of the steps and the things that he put forward," she said.

That means dealing with the ups and downs of being a CEO, like the recession of 2008, but Stites says the response to the recession is his biggest accomplishment and continuing to respond will be key as Lansing moves forward.

"It's really up to the region," he said. "It's all about what we want to do here, not what somebody else is going to do for us."

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