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Updated: May 1, 2023 / Power 50 for 2023

2023 Power 50: Meredith Harris

A woman with her arms crossed, smiling Photo | Courtesy of Marlborough Economic Development Corp. Meredith Harris, executive director, Marlborough Economic Development Corp.
Meredith Harris Title Executive director Organization Marlborough Economic Development Corp. Residence Marlborough College University of Massachusetts Read all the 2023 Power 50 profiles here
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While Marlborough does not have the population of other cities in Massachusetts, it punches above its weight economically with corporate offices, lab space, and new residential developments.

Part of this is due to the efforts of the MEDC. Led by Meredith Harris, the quasi-public nonprofit helped to fill 350,000 square feet of space and bring approximately 500 jobs in 2022 through business relocation and expansion. In April, Cambridge-based biotech firm Moderna purchased a biomanufacturing facility in Marlborough. Another notable relocation was bringing the BJ’s Wholesale Club headquarters to Marlborough from Westborough. In late April, Moderna, Inc. bought a property in Marlborough for $91 million, part of its plan to invest $322 million in a facility there.

New residential and mixed-use developments are popping up in the city including Alta Marlborough, with 276 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space. To help solve a major issue with employers in MetroWest with their employees not being able to get to their offices using public transit, MEDC runs a commuter shuttle.

On top of partnering with banks and credit unions to offer financing for small business starts and growth, MEDC runs business grant programs, as part of its development toolbox. The organization has awarded more than $400,000 in reimbursement grants, helping to fill 147,000 square feet of commercial space while retaining and adding more than 230 jobs in the city.

How should professionals best use the power they wield? “By listening to their team and by respecting dissenting opinions. The ability to build consensus, compromise, and understand where other people are coming from is the key to success. It’s easy to surround yourself with people that agree with you, but to make a well-rounded decision, it’s critical to not only listen to opposing opinions but to listen with an open mind and a willingness to change your own thinking.”

Roughing it: For more than 20 years, Harris has camped on an island with no electricity or running water every summer with her family in Lake George, New York.

Read all the 2023 Power 50 profiles here.

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