Katharine Czarnecki Merritt is a community development professional, trained in urban planning and placemaking and is a certified economic development finance professional. Katharine is the co-instructor for UP894/494 and instructor for UP201 for the spring 2022 semester. She is a lover of downtowns, local businesses, historic buildings and the people of Michigan. Prior to joining MSU as an instructor, Katharine was the Chief Operating Officer at the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) where she managed the marketing, finance and policy teams. During her tenure she transitioned the organization into a fully functioning cloud-based organization allowing MEC to continue its work virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to MEC, Katharine spent over a decade at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) where she oversaw operations and management of the community development business unit. Under Katharine’s leadership, the state’s economic development agency worked closely with community partners to create initiatives to improve main streets, renovate and preserve historical sites, prepare communities so they will be ready and attractive to developers, facilitate crowdfunding campaigns, and promote key development properties to developers outside of Michigan. Katharine has worked with hundreds of local government leaders, state agencies, developers, associations, and involved stakeholders in order to strengthen the role of downtown development and planning in communities across Michigan.
Before joining the MEDC, Katharine worked with the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and was a planner in private practice. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. In addition, Katharine has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Michigan State University.