Executive Director of Michiganís University Research Corridor (URC) in Lansing. An alliance between Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University the URC works to transform, strengthen, and diversify Michiganís economy by leveraging the intellectual capital of these three public research universities. The most recent URC report found the universitiesí combined impact added $14.5 billion to the stateís economy. A URC-supported collaboration between researchers at the universities began with a $523,282 seed grant that helped them win a $12.5 million federal grant less than a year later, leading to scientific progress and several new partnerships and publications. Under Masonís leadership, new collaborations include a competitive program to support symposia on major research topics with the potential to lead to new research funding opportunities. Another URC-supported project, involving efforts by the universities to turn biomass, such as corn stover and switch grass, into fermentable sugars, high-quality pulps, high-value added chemicals, and other bio-based products, has resulted in several patent applications, publications, presentations, and new collaboration. Prior to joining the URC, Mason was senior vice president and chief business development officer for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., where he led a team responsible for the retention and expansion of existing Michigan businesses as well as the attraction of national and international companies. In 2008, that team assisted businesses in creating or retaining over 105,000 jobs and more than $7.6 billion in private investment. Previously, Mason headed up the group working to grow Michiganís economy in the areas of technology transfer and commercialization, venture capital, entrepreneurship, and business development Ė focusing on the sectors that make up Gov. Granholmís 21st Century Jobs Fund, a $1 billion, 10-year fund to grow and diversify Michiganís economy. He also served as managing director of e-MEDC, creating an electronic business strategy offering economic development products and services, and worked to promote the stateís tourism industry. Mason received his bachelorís degree in business administration from Michigan State University.

WHERE BORN: “Muskegon.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “Two early mentors I worked with really taught me the importance of keeping a positive outlook and being committed and driven to success.”

LAST BOOK READ:Start-up Nation: The Story of Israelís Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Focused, driven, intense.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “Given our organizationís role in terms of working with three major research universities, one area where our field is headed is toward collaboration and the notion that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Itís really no longer about competing with each other but looking for win-win and collaboration.”


FAVORITE PLACE: “Little Traverse Bay and the Petoskey/Harbor Springs area.”


FAVORITE FOOD: “Seafood Ė any kind of fresh fish.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I really enjoy cooking at home.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As someone who was passionate, who had everything in perspective, and who understood the balance between work, family, and play.”