Phil Michel will retire from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) on December 30 after 32 years of service.
Phil first accepted a position as business recruiter with DED in 1983. Previously, he worked in a stock and commodity brokerage business in Lincoln for eight years following his graduation from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a business degree.
Phil’s work with New York investment firms gave him the solid foundation for quickly developing a niche for working with CEOs and business leaders of companies located in greater metropolitan NYC and the surrounding area. Throughout his career at DED, Phil made yearly recruitment trips there. In fact, it was within this hotbed of commerce and economic development activity that Phil first contacted Fantus Co., a real estate company specializing in relocating factories and offices, marking his beginning with several Nebraska recruitment projects targeting the Bavarian Motor Works, better known as BMW.
The work with BMW not only took Phil to NYC, but to Northern Europe where, for 27-28 years, he called on companies primarily located in and around Germany and England. Phil was instrumental in helping successfully recruit companies, including Graepel from Longinen, Germany to open Graepel North America in Omaha; the initial siting of the original Cargill facility in Blair, Neb., followed by future locations of Degussa GmbH and Evonic Industries from Essen, Germany (now known as Evonik Degussa GmbH following a merger), and Purac (now known as Corbion) on the ever-expanding Cargill Campus; Bioberica from Barcelona, Spain, to open a facility in Geneva, Neb.; and Neapco with a plant in Dueren, Germany, to open a plant in Beatrice, Neb.
Phil also worked with the City of Grand Island to recruit the former International Harvester Company, and New Holland (now CNH) both manufacturers of key agricultural machinery.
His New York recruitment trips also resulted in development of the spinoff Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. (KMM) near the original Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corporation in Lincoln, Neb., a second Arnie’s Bagelicious Bagels plant opening in Nebraska City, Neb., (in support of its Brooklyn, NY headquarters); and Cargill Meats Specialties in Nebraska City.
The Nebraska Department of Economic Development will greatly miss Phil’s irreplaceable expertise, unwavering work ethic, and enthusiastic team spirit, but we know he is embarking on an exciting new chapter of life and we wish him and his wife, Rosie, the very best always!