Quentin Messer Leaving NOLABA

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Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Business Alliance (Facebook)

NEW ORLEANS – On Monday, May 17, Quentin Messer, president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance — the official economic development organization for the city of New Orleans — officially resigned his position and announced he will begin serving as the CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on July 19. 

“It was an incredibly challenging decision,” said Messer. “I didn’t sleep all weekend.”

Messer will spend his last day in office at NOLABA on July 1, six years to the day from his first day on the job.

Under his leadership, NOLABA has racked up a long list of wins in its focus areas of business attraction and retention, small business development, strategic neighborhood development, and talent and workforce development. One of the most recent accomplishments was the May 4 announcement of the receipt of a $400,000 grant to support phase two of NOLABA’s Resilient Corridors Initiative — a partnership with the City of New Orleans designed to support businesses and commercial corridors deemed most vulnerable to disasters like the current pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, NOLABA has been a leading force in efforts to support workers and businesses in New Orleans. The organization was the first local entity to set up a direct relief effort with the launch of its Gig Economy Relief Fund, which ultimately raised over $1.5 million for gig workers, small business owners, opportunity youth and hospitality workers. In recognition of his leadership throughout a wide variety of efforts aimed at assisting local industries throughout COVID-19, Messer was named Biz New Orleans magazine’s 2020 CEO of the Year this past January.  

An unapologetic and tireless supporter of the city over the last six years, Messer said he’d frequently hear about other positions but was never interested, until a job opened at the MEDC in December.

“This one was different because I literally had seven different people tell me I needed to consider the job,” said Messer. “So, I looked at it, and the thing that really stood out to me was that MEDC was an economic development organization that also included tourism and hospitality. MEDC runs the ‘Pure Michigan’ tourism campaign. It’s basically like if you married NOLABA with New Orleans and Company and put it on the state level.”

Although Messer is excited for the new professional challenge, Messer said he’s equally excited for the future of NOLABA.

“I was named by [former] Mayor Landrieu, and I think the Cantrell administration has very strong thoughts about what it will take to grow this economy and they should have the opportunity to put one of their people in place,” he said. “This is an opportunity for the mayor and the NOLABA board to look at what the organization wants to be as it enters its second decade.”

One of the challenges he said the organization will have to address is how to retain top talent.

“Two of the last six Young Economic Developers of the Year nationally were from NOLABA — Alejandra Guzman and Victoria Adams Phipps — and neither of them are still with the organization,” said Messer.

As he prepares for his move to Lansing, Michigan, Messer said what he’ll leave most grateful for is the colleagues he’s had.

“I have had the privilege to work with the best, most committed, economic development professionals in the world,” he said. “It’s really bittersweet, and I can tell you that a big part of my heart will always be in New Orleans.”  

 

 

Categories: Nonprofit, People On The Move, Today’s Business News