REDI President Mike Brooks announces retirement

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 | 7:14 p.m. CDT; updated 9:21 a.m. CDT, Thursday, June 19, 2014

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include information about the timeline for Brooks' retirement.

COLUMBIA — Mike Brooks, who has served the community as president of Regional Economic Development Inc. since 2009, announced his retirement Wednesday.

In his term as president and as Columbia's economic development director, Brooks has helped to foster the growth of local businesses. His focus was to expand existing employers, in addition to promoting entrepreneurship.

Highlights of Brooks' career include bringing Columbia an IBM service delivery center, which created approximately 500 jobs, and a factory for Beyond Meat, a company that uses MU research to create soy-based meat substitutes. 

Brooks said that these expansion programs have been "very rewarding" to the city and him personally.

REDI strives to help entrepreneurs expand their start-ups to become significant employers, according to its website. The corporation also works to bring more jobs and businesses to Columbia. 

REDI has begun hosting an annual summit focused on spreading entrepreneurship to the community. In February, an all-day conference called #BOOM was hosted in Columbia, featuring speakers such as Secretary of State Jason Kander, Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, and the founders of nine different local start-ups. 

Brooks said he hopes his work at REDI will continue to serve Columbia after his retirement.

"I would like nothing better than to see the efforts we put together over the last five years be building blocks for even stronger entrepreneurship," he said.

Brooks said he had proposed to leave on Sept. 30, but offered to stay until the end of the year to help the city transition into new leadership.

Before moving to Columbia in 2009, Brooks was the president and CEO of a statewide nonprofit in Indiana, the Indiana Health Industry Forum, which focused on advocating for the health of industry throughout the state.

Brooks and his wife will be moving back to their home state of Indiana, where his wife is the primary caregiver for her mother. 

Supervising editor is Mary Ryan.

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